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TWINS: How parents with ‘double the fun’ cope

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TWINS: How parents with ‘double the fun’ cope

A new mother may find that sleep is the thing she most desires after her child is born. However, the mother of multiples may be looking for something entirely different: lots of information and help. Multiples bring many things to the family, such as joy, mystery and confusion. Experts agree that families with twins and triplets have unique needs from singletons.

Parents of multiples can attest that strategies must be set up so an activity, such as giving the children a bath, doesn’t turn into a fiasco. Some might say that having multiples requires parents to be expert event planners and organizational gurus.

Special Needs: Multiples have special emotional needs that may not be an issue for a single baby, or even siblings in a family. For example, many multiples operate as a unit, and it can be difficult for caregivers, family, teachers or even parents to treat them separately and foster each child’s individuality. And there’s no escaping the comparisons among multiples: Who is smarter? Who is more athletic? Who did this or that before the other?

It’s important for parents to spend time individually with multiples and tune into the unique needs each child has. Doing so helps foster individuality and may help keep multiples from making comparisons as they get older.

Finances: Multiple babies use two to three times the amount of supplies as single babies. That can be a large financial burden for parents. Consider shopping in bulk for reduced prices, or scouring garage sales or swaps with other parents of multiples. Research what assistance programs are available. Many manufacturers and stores also offer a discount program for parents of multiples. It may just require a quick call and proof supplied by the children’s birth certificates. Go online and find multiples forums where you can get other ideas from savvy parents.

Patience: More than any other thing, patience is something parents of multiples need in droves. But just as with single babies, much of the more trying tasks dissipate as your children get older, making it much easier to manage with multiples. The early years when the children are heavily dependent upon their parents will be the most difficult.

Personalities: Remember that multiples have unique personalities that must be appreciated. It’s remarkable how babies born at the same time – or even from the same egg – can grow up with completely different personalities.

Make time for yourself: Parents of multiples may be more susceptible to the perils of parenthood – constantly putting the children first and not making time for adult activities. Parents must remember to consider their own well being so that they will be happy and healthy and better able to be good parents to their kids.  (MS)