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Preparing for Multiple Births

        Health | Multiples

When your new babies arrive, people may want to help but not know what to do. If they offer, take them up on it and name some specifics.
When your new babies arrive, people may want to help but not know what to do. If they offer, take them up on it and name some specifics.
Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Thinkstock

Parenting is no cake walk, even if the rewards are sweet. Becoming parents to twins, triplets or higher-order multiples requires even greater reserves of patience, a near-fanatical devotion to organization and, ideally, a few extra sets of arms.

Haley Terry, mother of twin girls, attests, "Sometimes you are literally juggling them, one in each hand. After a near-drop experience during week 1, I never did that again." Terry, a life-long athlete, describes parenting multiples as the most physical job she's ever had, likening the lifting, squatting and carrying to a CrossFit regimen.

So in the future, you'll have great biceps and find untapped wells of patience. But you can work your way to the planning expertise -- starting now.

First, prepare for the realities of carrying multiples. It's likely that bed rest will be involved and possible that the babies will be premature. A C-section may be necessary, and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may hold your infants for a little while. A good way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by negative possibilities is to learn as much as you can. Touring the NICU, for example, will make it less of a shock to see wires and tubes connected to your babies later -- you'll know what each machine does and how it's helping your newborns get stronger.

Because of the possibility of bed rest and premature birth, you're also on a shorter timeline for getting things ready. You'll want to finish the nursery and all your baby-proofing prep ahead of schedule, because after you're taking care of two, three, four or more little ones, you won't have the energy -- or the time.

We've got your next step -- on the next page.


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