Raising Twins and Multiples

Getting Ready

Preparing ahead of time is a smart move when you're pregnant with one baby, but it's a necessity when you're expecting two or more. There's a good chance that you will deliver before your due date, or you may need to decrease your activity (or even go on complete bed rest) to lessen the risk of preterm labor or other pregnancy-related complications.

Early in your pregnancy, you'll need to shop for baby equipment (many baby stores offer a twins discount if you buy two of the exact same thing), find a pediatrician, and get your house ready. When organizing your home, don't just focus on the nursery. If you have more than one floor, plan a changing station on each level of your home that includes diapers, wipes, and extra baby clothes. That way you can avoid running up and down stairs every time one of the babies spits up or need to be changed. Also, set up a portable crib or playpen in the area where you will be spending most of your time with the babies. That way you'll have a safe place to leave one baby in case you need to attend to the other.

Now is also a good time to hook up with other parents of multiples. They can tell you what to expect during the first weeks, weigh in on the merits of side-by-side versus front-to-back double strollers, and help you feel like you're not alone. If you don't know anyone, you might want to join a support group. The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs, Inc. (www.nomotc.org) has more than 475 local support groups and an active bulletin board on its Web site. Also try www.twinslist.org and www.tripletconnection.org.

Finally, be sure to line up friends and relatives to pitch in after the babies are born. You'll really appreciate an extra set of hands. If there's no one available, consider hiring a baby nurse (pricey, but many say it's worth it), a sitter who can come for a few hours a day, and/or a cleaning service.

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