Preparing for Multiple Births

What to Do

Few parents feel completely prepared for a child, but you get used to feeling like a member of a very small improv troupe after a while. Here are some sanity-saving tips gleaned from the pros to keep the show going.

Accept all offers of help. Keri advises, "When [the babies are] newborns, make sure to book visitors for at least the first few weeks, if not longer. People who will actually be helpful rather than just making goo-goo eyes at them." People may want to help but not know what to do, so if they offer, take them up on it and name some specifics -- ask for assistance running errands and hand over a shopping list, or request an extra pair of arms to hold an infant for a few hours while you throw in some laundry or take a nap.

Crunch some numbers. After any maternity leave is up, you and your partner will need to decide on what you can afford when it comes to childcare. An accountant or financial planner can help you figure out your budget. Because good childcare is so pricy, and even more so for multiples, many couples have found that it makes more financial sense for one of them to stay home.

Give yourself a break. It's simply not possible to spend the exact same number of minutes with each baby each day unless a stopwatch is involved. Some days, the fussier baby is going to need more attention than the other kid(s). You don't have to feel guilty for giving it. It will all even out. And forgive yourself when you're tired to the point of hallucinating and short on patience. Terry said that in the difficult early weeks, before things had fallen into a rhythm, "I would tell myself that each naptime was a do-over and when they woke up I had another chance to exude patience and love them to pieces."

Sneak some sleep whenever you can. Seriously. Whenever.

Be a good teammate. Whether you're part of a couple or doing it with the help of friends and family, you're not alone. Love -- and the desire to bring more of it into the world -- started this whole baby thing, and that's what's going to keep it moving. When you see your partner hit the ledge, take over. He or she will do the same for you. Those moments will pass, but how you handle parenting together sets the stage for your future as a family.

We've got the to-dos -- now, take a look at the NOT to-dos.