'The best strategy': Expert advice on how to take care of twins or triplets

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"How to take care of multiple babies." Photo: Getty Images
"How to take care of multiple babies." Photo: Getty Images

Whether twins, triplets, quadruplets or having nine babies like the Malian woman who broke the world record in May 2021, taking care of multiples babies at once can be too much.

Especially when you are a new parent still recovering from crazy hormonal changes or you simply do not know how to take care of so many children.

But we got your back!

News24 spoke to three women who know a thing or two about taking care of more than one baby at a time. 

'Raising triplets and a preschooler' 

One of them is Chantelle Whittles, a mom to 6-year-old Nikolai and almost-two-year-old triplets Cole, Niah and Chayse.

Her triplets spent three weeks in the neonatal unit and finally went home just a week before Christmas. Although the nurses and doctors told Chantelle what to do, she says she was super anxious and nervous for the first couple of months.

Read: Expecting multiples? We have dozens of baby names for twins, triplets and more

Support from family

"We had and still have a really good support system in place as my mom lives with us and my in-laws come to help out over weekends. We were never alone with them for the first few weekends after the triplets were discharged from the hospital. We always had help at home," Whittles recalls. 

"I can't imagine how we would've been able to cope alone with four kids. As the trips had to be fed every 3 hours while also attending to Nikolai," she added. 

Adjusting to a routine

Whittles says that it is critical to adjust to a routine when raising multiple children; implement a schedule that works for you, she says.

"There's no handbook on how to raise triplets or multiples, so it's important that you and your husband/partner do what works for you. It's challenging raising triplets and a preschooler and some days seem more crazier than others but I cannot imagine our lives without our four kids. It's fun having a full house, kids running around, riding their bikes down the hallway, shouting and singing along to songs on the television. Seeing them play with each other, without fighting, warms my heart."

Also read: WATCH | Malian woman gives birth to nine babies in possible world first

The Nanny Movement 

Evette van den Berg is the founder of The Nanny Movement, an organisation passionate about designing workshops with relevant information about childcare, brain development, and child stimulation.

She told us that it is essential to prepare your home and have a more practical and user-friendly space for your babies. Here are her tips. 

Nappy changing station

"Decide if you are going to have more than one nappy changing station and what you can include there to make it easier for you, like loads of clean onesies at the beginning so you can just change them when you need to," she says.

Kitchen-related responsibilities will require advance preparation too, she says. 

"Prepare a spot in the kitchen with all the babies' things, organise it in a way that makes sense to you," she added.

Prepare your guests

She says that obviously, you will have guests coming to see the little ones, so prepare for it and prepare yourself mentally. Another thing that Van den Berg says is that getting a trained nanny will make things easier for a mom of multiples.

Stock up the freezer

When it comes to nutrition, she suggests stocking up the freezer. "Being exhausted and tired can quickly spiral into bad eating habits. And as new parents adjust to all the new things, you need to get in good nutrition. Ask someone to bring fresh produce weekly, at least for the first few weeks," says Van den Berg.

She also highlights the importance of prioritising and planning to keep tabs on your mental health.

"It helps to have a mental health plan in place even before you give birth. This will help you when the babies come in case you can't cope. You will have someone you can speak to."

Must read: What will help boost my chances of having twins, triplets, or more?

Tips from a paediatrician

Professor Claudia Gray, a paediatrician and allergist based in Cape Town says that scheduling is crucial. 

"Synchronise schedules for the little ones as soon as possible. This is probably the best strategy to maintain some measure of sanity!

Your multiples should, for example, feed, sleep and play simultaneously.

For feeding she says that a mom can either breastfeed one baby with breast milk while the others are fed with expressed breastmilk or formula if milk is not enough and then she can swap again. She says this will be easier if there is someone there to help.

"Try to learn a simultaneous breastfeeding position. A session with an experienced lactation consultant will be well worth it," advised Professor Gray.

"Also, keeping track of feeding on a written or electronic diary will be a lifesaver, especially with a tired and fuzzy post-partum brain," she added.

Professor Gray says that there is no need to buy two or three of everything. She says there are some things that you will have to buy in twos or threes, like car seats or pacifiers, but many things can be shared.

Sleep safety is essential 

"Sleep safety is essential for multiples, especially if they were premature. Keep the babies in your room, ideally in a cot next to your bed, for the first six months of life," says Professor Gray.

"Sleeping on their backs is important as is making sure that there are no loose blankets etc. the babies can sleep in the same cot (in fact, they may enjoy having the same company as in the womb!) as long as there is no risk of loose blankets," she added.

She says that safely enclosed play areas are a must in a play-pen or a self-created play area. "Fill it with lots of safe toys so that you can have your hands free for short moments to get on with the tasks of life," she added.

'Accept as much help as you can!'

"Your partner will be vital to the process of raising multiples and should chip in from the word go," she says.

It is essential to let people come and help if they volunteer- to cook, clean or hold the babies for a while so that you can have that cup of tea.


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