Before you hang the "Welcome Home" signs, know that your babies might not be released from the hospital at the same time. Twins are almost always going to be preemies, says Kate Hall, chairwoman of Bluebirds, a nighttime infant-care agency for twins in Boston.
The March of Dimes reports that multiples make up about 3 percent of all births, yet are 20 percent of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions. Going home before your babies or leaving one behind in the NICU may not be the homecoming you imagined. But the good news is that most preemie issues (infection, feeding intolerance, respiratory distress, jaundice) are not life threatening.
Once you're all (finally!) home, expect feelings of joy, exhaustion, and everything in between. "Some days are filled with tears," Batterton says. "I have to choose between eating, sleeping, and showering, because before I know it, it's time to feed the babies again." A mother of multiples can get so wrapped up in meeting her babies' physical needs that there's no time to interact with them in other ways, Bowers says.
But bonding with two or more babies can take up most of your day, and you may find yourself wondering when you'll ever get some sleep. "That whole first month is a blur," Swan says. "I've never been that tired." Putting the babies on the same feeding pattern will help, Hall says. But that might mean you'll have to wake the babies to feed them every two to three hours. Alyssa Shaffer, of New York City, kept her twins, Nolan and Layla, on a really tight schedule: "With twins, you don't have the luxury of waiting till they're hungry." And most multiples are born prematurely and underweight, so you're constantly feeding them. Experts also say you should wake them together for daytime feedings and offer that last 10 p.m. feeding to encourage longer nighttime sleeping stretches.