Though having multiple children at one time, may be two or three or still more, may seem amusing to others, but it is a nightmare for the parents, especially the mother. It is tougher if they live in a unitary family and there are no other members to provide help to them. With the increased use of fertility treatment in case of parents who wait long to have children due to their professional or other occupations, incidents of having multiple babies at one time have increased considerably. The financial, emotional medical and logistical challenge posed by the birth of multiple children has to be faced with courage and calm otherwise things are bound to go haywire, especially when you land up at your home after the hospital stay.
In such cases, you should try at your best to be patient, though this is a really tough task in this situation. Following are some helpful suggestions to face this problem:
Can’t be managed alone: When you are back at home with two or more babies, it is certain that you will need help. Your husband may be there to help you but he has certain limitations. Sooner or later he has to join his office as financial requirements with two or more babies will increase considerably. It will be better if you could get the help of some experienced mother, may be from extended family but if it is not possible, you need to hire the services of a helper on a full time or part time basis. You may also solicit the help of your friends, associates or neighbors. It is possible that there may exist self help groups in your town having parents with multiple children as members. You may join some such group for information about how to bring up children. It is also possible that you get some volunteer to help you out temporarily for free or on a small payment.
While selecting a volunteer or a paid assistant, ensure about the health and cleanliness of the attendant as she will be looking after your child who is very small and may catch infection or other illnesses easily. Always remember to make rules for handling of the child, the first rule being washing of hands. The child should not be touched unless hands have been properly washed using disinfectant soap and running water.
Feeding of multiple babies becomes an issue. In case you are breast feeding your children, they will have to be fed one after the other. Though breast feeding is best for the child but you have to adjust to the circumstances you have been placed in. The supply of milk may not be adequate to feed more than one child, making him feel hungry all the time and have the others crying unnecessarily. If you are fussy about breast feeding the child, you may have to pump the milk out and keep it to be given to the child when needed.
It is better to start feeding the children on formula milk as this will provide some relief to an otherwise exhausted mother. You can make two bottles together and slowly master the art of feeding two babies with their respective bottles. If you have some assistance, the assistant can feed one child in your presence and supervision, and you can feed the other child. Bottle fed children remain contented for a longer time thus giving you much needed relief.
Bathing and Dressing: Till the time the children have not reached the age when they can sit on their own, bathing of multiple children is an issue. You cannot bathe two or more children together as this involves a lot of precautions so this has to be in sequence or the help of someone may be needed. When the children reach the age of sitting, life may be slightly easy. Dressing up on a daily basis should not be an issue. For small children it is possible to share clothes or you may decide on a color code for clothes to be purchased for a particular child and dress them accordingly. When they grow up, you may need to be more specific but by that time you may be off some other initial problems.
Sleeping: In case of no assistance, often sleeping of both mother and children becomes an issue. Often when one child sleeps the other will get up and start crying and the mother has to be alert all day around without rest. You can try feeding the children at the same time. When one wakes up for a feed or for change of nappy, the other should also be woken up and given feed. Do not allow the babies to sleep much in the evening so that they sleep well at night. In case part time help is available, let her look after the kids, and you have your sleep.
To enable the children to grow up with a distinct identity, it will be necessary to name them in a way that they sound distinct. They should be dressed up in a separate manner and have their individual toys. Even though they have their birthdays on the same day and may be celebrated jointly, but give them separate gifts. Let them pursue different interests and spend time separately with each of them instead of grouping them up always. Avoid comparing them for each and every thing when they have reached an age of understanding.
You will need to do a lot of sacrifice to bring up multiple children.