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How Does She Do It? Raising Multiples!

multiples

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Team Work
"I have always trained my twins to look out for each other. If I gave one a sippy cup, or a cookie, I told him to take one to his brother as well. Now, they do it without being told. If one goes to get his shoes, he'll grab the other pair for his brother. If one goes to the fridge for an apple, he'll take two. It makes my life easier because I'm running around less and they've learned how to care for each other."
--Erin Vonder Bruegge, mom of twins St. Louis, Missouri

Unique Speak
"I always refer to my kids as individuals, not 'The Twins.' We do one-on-one 'dates,' when my husband takes one boy and I take the other. This shows them that we see them as two people, and that it's okay to be apart."
--Jennifer Crowley, mom of twins Lombard, Illinois

Smart Packing
"When we travel -- whether it's overnight or a week away, I put entire outfits in plastic bags. That way whenever I need an outfit I just grab a bag, instead of having to hunt through my suitcase for one-pieces, shorts, socks, and such for each baby."
--Lani Lyons, mother of triplets Orlando, Florida

Night Moves
"Once your babies have started sleeping through the night, if one of them cries and you're sure everything's okay, just let him be. The better sleeper will learn to sleep through the disturbance and the crier will learn that he won't get any attention -- soon you'll have two good sleepers."
--Angela Bass, mother of twins Blaine, Minnesota

It's Your Party
"We bake three different cakes and sing 'Happy Birthday' to each of my triplets. They usually have to share everything else, so they deserve to have their own 30 seconds in the spotlight."
--Michele Starman, mom of tripletsLas Vegas, Nevada

Taking Notes
"The best thing I ever did was to write down everything -- from which baby just nursed to whose diaper I changed last. When you're half asleep and bleary-eyed in the middle of the night, it can all be a blur. I can't tell you how many times my husband started giving a bottle to the same baby I had just fed a few minutes earlier!"
--Angela Bass

Clothes Calls
"A real time-saver for me is to fold my daughters' clothes in sets of two. Just place one on top of the other and fold them the same way you would fold one. That way all I have to do is grab a set and I'm ready to go!"
--Rosemarie Carroll, mom of twins; Hanover Township, New Jersey

Rest Period
"I make sure they get one good nap at home every single day, regardless of what else is going on. I even turn down invitations or leave an event if it conflicts with this sacred time. Yes, people get extremely judgmental, making comments like, 'Life shouldn't revolve around your kids' nap schedule.' But it's stressful enough having multiples, and I need the two hours a day when I don't have to see or hear a child for my sanity!"
--Nicole Yraceburn, mother of twins San Diego, California

Dinner Duty
"Even if you breastfeed exclusively, use bottles so your partner can help. Just because you made the meal doesn't mean you have to serve it."
--Angela Bass

Meal Plan
"To give two bottles at once, sit in a comfy chair and put the side of your left foot on the other knee to form a V with your left leg. Put both babies in the crook of your knee, and you can hold both bottles in one hand."
--Phyllis Ghingold, mom of twins; Orlando, Florida

Feet First
"I buy all the same socks and shoes. It's easier to keep track of six of the same shoe, rather than trying to match up pairs. Right now they all wear the same size, thankfully."
--Pam Kocke, mom of triplets New Orleans, Louisiana

All Piled Up
"My trick to hold both of my babies at the same time: Stack them on top of each other with one baby's head at the other's feet. I can rock them and bounce them, and they seem to like being so close to each other. I don't know how long it will last, but for now it works!"
--Melissa Bell, mom of twins Camby, Indiana

Feeding System
"When the kids started solids I bought bowls in three different colors -- one hue for each kid. There have been many times when I'm alone all day and after feeding two children I think, 'Wait. Which one didn't eat?' The colored bowls remind me!"
--Jamie Rannila, mom of triplets Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Money Savers
"You don't need two of everything. You can get by with one Exersaucer, one swing, and one activity center -- it's what I call 'circuit baby,' rotating the babies in and out of the toys." It may even lay the groundwork for sharing later on.
--Minde Herbert, mom of twins, Lithia, Georgia

Originally published in the June 2011 issue of Parents magazine.