Multiples of America weighs in with some advice and resources for parents of multiples during this time.
•Establish a list of priorities.
Your babies’ needs will head the list, including feeding, bathing, cuddling, and sleeping. Rest and proper nutrition for you should be high on the list, as well. Other things to consider are making sure you have some alone time to spend doing things that bring you comfort and joy. These might include exercise, watching a favorite movie or program, or even calling or meeting up with a favorite friend. In the early months and years with multiples, it will be important that you are strong mentally and physically and connecting with friends and even other parents of multiples will be like a life raft in often turbulent seas. Find a parents of multiples group near you.
•Use a chart for the care of your babies.
This little bit of organization will allow you and your spouse or anyone helping you, to see at a glance who has been cared for, how they have been cared for, and at what time. In the early days, your pediatrician may have you tracking things like feeding (how much and how frequently), sleeping, possible medications given, and even bowel movements. A care chart is an obvious visual tracker and is something you can easily share with doctors when asked.
•Accept all offers of help.
Obviously with COVID-19, this can be much trickier, as you want to ensure anyone coming in contact with your new little ones are healthy and safe. Your family may want to set boundaries for additional help such as wearing masks in the home, requesting a quarantine period before helping in the home, or sharing specific needs that could be done outside the home which could help keep exposure to a minimum. Things of help could include meal prep, grocery shopping, doing laundry, etc.
•Treat your babies as individuals.
Avoid referring to them as “the twins” or “the triplets.” Over time, your multiples will develop unique personalities and the easiest way to allow those to flourish is to treat each child individually and separately from the other(s).
•Respect the unique bond that may form between your multiples.
It’s not unusual when multiples develop a special bond. Many specialists encourage raising them as individuals, while allowing them to maintain this bond. Your children may talk to each other in a language only they can understand. You may notice that they may develop signs or signals unique to their relationship. Do not be upset by the “twintalk”, as most outgrow it.
•Speak clearly and read aloud to your multiples.
During a pandemic, there are many things we cannot do in order to keep the greater good safe. Visits to places and experiences may be limited, but one thing is certain — we can still read and use our imaginations at home, well before you think your babies can comprehend. Reading stimulates speech development and lays a foundation for literacy. The earlier you begin, the stronger foundation they will have.
•Take walks with your babies.
Just getting out of the house may be a morale booster for you, but the fresh air does them good, too. In times where many of us feel isolated, getting out in your neighborhood or local park to walk and take in your surroundings will help lift your spirits.
•Support each other.
Whether you are new parents or have older children welcoming your multiples into the family, taking care of multiples takes a toll on even the most experienced parents. Communicate with each other and be clear when you need a break. Respect that you will each need time for yourselves and be a help to each other whenever you have the physical and mental energy to do so. Parenting as a team will make things on the whole family unit so much easier in the long run.
•Seek help specific to multiples.
If you are returning to work soon after the babies are born, look for a sitter or childcare option who will understand the needs of caring for “more than one.” Obviously, safety precautions are of utmost importance, but having whoever will be taking care of your multiples understand their unique needs will give you peace of mind in your absence.
Learn more about parenting multiples
For more information on parenting during COVID:
COVID- 19 and Concerns of People with High-Risk Pregnancies
COVID-19 Resources for Expectant Families
Using Telehealth For OB Patients During COVID-19
High-Risk Pregnancy + Coronavirus: Q & A with the Experts