You successfully conquered a high-risk pregnancy with multiples, now what? Parenting one child can be scary and overwhelming. How do you care for two (or more) at the same time?!

When your family doubles within the blink of an eye, your life is more complex than just multiplying what you do for one child. Being the parent of multiples is a unique, rewarding, and yes, exhausting experience. Here are some things to consider as you begin your journey.

  • Know, there is no “one way” to raise a child and there are thousands of ways to raise multiples! As with any parenting advice, take it all in and make your own.
  • Treat your babies as individuals…Have fun with matching or coordinating clothes and gear. Keep in mind that each child has a distinct personality. Avoid referring to them as “the twins” or “the triplets;” use their given names. You set the example for others to follow.
  • Be mindful of your purchases. Teach your children how to share to avoid buying unnecessary items. Add separate and safe sleeping spaces to your registry. Rotate which baby will enjoy the swing and the bouncy seat during playtime. Seek out infant carriers and strollers that are designed for multiples.
  • Build a special one-to-one relationship with each child. Take advantage of every precious moment, to make a close connection. Schedule dedicated time to read a book of your child’s choice or to talk about their favorite topic. This allows each of your children to focus on you as much as you focus on each child.
  • Take photographs of each child separately. Often, children will ask for a picture of themselves. If your littles are identical, create a system to label their photos. When taken together, one standard could be the oldest is on the right and the youngest is on the left. You think you will always remember, but as the years pass, you are likely to forget.
  • Foster privacy. Privacy is especially important if your children share a room. Organize an individual space and offer them some alone time. Give each child their own shelf, drawer, or assigned corner to develop a sense of ownership. Model with them how to share when an item belongs to them.
  • Focus on their differences rather than their similarities. Your children are unique people who deserve to be treated as such. If one or more enjoy sports and the other(s) enjoys music, respect their differences and nurture their preferences. Praise each one individually. Avoid competition or comparisons.
  • Allow each child to make choices. When your family is together and when your children are apart, ask their choice of bedtime story (different nights) or breakfast (different mornings). Do not insist that the vote be unanimous each time.

Parenting multiples is a unique, joyful, and challenging experience. There are community and state resources like clubs, support groups, and books that offer guidance. As you enter the wonderful world of parenting multiples, surround yourself with information and a network that will support you on a continuous basis.

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Jennifer Peterman, RSN, RN, IBCLC is a clinical practice leader on postpartum and well baby hospital units. She is also a certified lactation consultant.

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