You might look at other parents of multiples and wonder if they are going through the same things with their babies as you are with yours. The short answer is yes…yes they are. And now is your chance to peek inside their heads. We gathered some of the most common things that other parents of multiples find difficult, as well as the best solutions to each dilemma.
Fears about being a good parent
Will you show each of them that you love them enough? How will you divide your attention between them? Are you even ready to handle all of this? These kinds of concerns are all too real, and all too common. We’d love to tell you that one day you stop wondering any of this, but most parents of multiples agree that the fears don’t necessarily go away; they just fade over time, as you realize that no parent is perfect.
Solution: Acknowledge these fears, but don’t allow them to overwhelm you. And remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. A lot of mistakes.
Difficulty enforcing sleep patterns
Regardless of whether or not they decide to sleep train, experts advise parents of multiples to keep their children together at night, rather than apart, and to change their night feedings so that they’re feeding less often at night (more on this below). Make sure that you have a fixed nighttime routine for the babies so that they know when bedtime is on its way, and try to put the babies to bed when they’re drowsy but not too close to sleep – this can help them learn to fall asleep on their own.
Solution: There are a lot of factors that decide if or when parents eventually sleep train their babies. With multiples, sleep training can save you hours of sleep, and it might be worth sticking with it even if things seem impossible at first. So the solution really varies from family to family, but overall if you decide to sleep train there are lots of helpful tips out there to do it successfully.
Feeling overwhelmed with it all
There will be (many) times when you just want throw in the bib. But instead of blaming yourself or calling yourself a bad parent, take a second to think about the reality of the situation: you’re running on little sleep, transitioning through a major life overhaul, exposed to constant stimulation and have much more responsibility. Anyone would be overwhelmed, and you know what? Everyone is! It’s okay, and more importantly, things will get easier.
Solution: Don’t attribute this feeling to your sense of self-worth as a parent. All parents feel overwhelmed at times. Use this as a way to see how you could make things a little easier for yourself, or at least spend a little more time relaxing.
Finding the right gear
With all the information out there about the best strollers, toys, high chairs, and baby bottles (to name a few) to buy, it’s no wonder that parents of multiples often feel confused about what items are the best to purchase for their babies. And always buying new items can really rack up a bill.
Solution: Do your research, ask around, and check online forums for real reviews of products. In general, you’ll save a ton of money borrowing items or buying discounted stuff. And then there’s the multiples discount that many stores offer, so see if your store has one!
Dividing responsibilities between partners
If you’re parenting with a partner, the two of you might have settled into a groove right now in terms of who handles what chores or responsibilities. Or maybe one of you carries a slightly heavier burden of parenting duties. If this works for both of you, then that’s great! But it’s likely that the scales could eventually tip, leaving one parent to feel overburdened. In fact, many parents of multiples report struggling to figure out how they can split their tasks without overloading the other.
Solution: This depends on the dynamic you might have with a partner, but ultimately many parents decide to split night feedings and also to trade off daytime chores so that each parent has time to be by themselves. At the end of the day, how or whether you and your partner divide any work between you is a totally personal decision and depends mainly on the kind of people you are. But if you do find yourself feeling overburdened, this might really help.
The biggest thing to remember is that you’re not alone in any of your struggles! Parents have tackled these problems before, and they’ll tackle them again. Stroller-shopping, rotating night feeding shifts, wondering if you’re giving them enough attention – it’s all a normal part of raising a child. Or two. Or three.