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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Preparing Twins for a New Baby
Preparing Twins for a New Baby
Congratulations on your news! Bringing home a new baby is a big milestone in a family"s life. Add an older set of twins into the mix and you'll find that some of the burdens appear to increase exponentially.

Feeling overwhelmed and sleep-deprived is par for the course for any parent of a newborn. Plus. with a third baby in the family. you"re suddenly outnumbered. too! But don"t despair. adding a third sibling can be easier in some ways as well.

Don't forget. becoming a Big Sister/Brother is special too!

One after Two - Easy !
Going from one to two children. parents must learn to multi-task. split their attention and deal with the challenges of bringing up each child as a unique and special individual. Parents of twins already have a huge head start on mastering those skills!

"Having a singleton after multiples is wonderful!" says Dr. Rebecca Moskwinski. executive vice president of the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs as well as the mother of twins and four singletons. "It is so much easier. When you have fed the baby - you''re done! When you''ve changed him - you''re done! (Unlike with twins when it seems you are never finished!) I got to hold him a lot more since there was just one of him. Plus. the twins were used to sharing Mum and Dad with someone else. so it wasn''t as much of a shock to them."

Plus. your twins also already have a built-in best friend for life. and that can really work in your favour as you begin to need more time to tend to the new baby. Your twins will enjoy playing together and keeping themselves busy and the unique bond is really a plus which you should use it to your advantage.

If you need some time alone with the baby. set aside some quiet toys for independent play. and your children can entertain each other while you are feeding. changing or putting the baby down for a nap. If you want to get the children involved with baby care. assign each child an age-appropriate and personality-appropriate role. such as getting nappy supplies. singing to the baby or even taking care of baby dolls of their own.

Preparing Your Twins
In many ways. preparing your twins for a new sibling is exactly the same as preparing a singleton for a new arrival. and all the usual suggestions apply: Take advantage of the scores of great new baby videos and books at your local library or bookshop paint a positive but realistic picture of life with a new baby in the house have the children make a picture book of their life with a new baby and buy each twin a baby doll of their very own.
Including your twins in preparations for the baby's arrival is a good idea. They needs to become accustomed to the idea of having a sibling. Allowing them to help with the arrangements may also bring them closer to the baby once he or she finally arrives. They can help you narrow down names. choose a theme for the baby's room. paint and decorate and shop for furniture.

And when the baby arrives. the same tactics apply for older siblings: Buy each child a present from the new baby give each child a role or tasks to help care for the new baby and welcome guests and visitors set aside special alone time each day with each sibling and double up on the hugs. cuddles and "I-love-yous."

The key with any new sibling is to be calm. Let the twins hold the baby under your supervision. You may find that they will only want to hold him/her for a short while and quickly lose interest. Doing this may be far better than always saying. "Don''t touch the baby!""

Stress Individuality
As a parent of twins. you already know the burden twins face of being lumped together with their womb-mate. Add to the mix a new little person labelled "The Baby." and you can see the potential identity crisis. The best way to help each child to grow into his or her own person is knowing each child"s personalities. If you create a role for each member of the family that can evolve as the child grows and the family structure changes. each child can learn to feel special and unique with an understanding of their place in the larger family unit.

Talk to your twins. It is very important to talk to your children about the changes. Assure them individually that there will always be one-on-one time with each of the parents. Emphasize their special places in the family.& Prepare for them to regress a bit when the new baby comes.

Feeling Outnumbered!
No matter how you slice it and despite the fact that there"s always enough love to go around. there will still be many times when you"ll feel just plain outnumbered. When that happens. keep your head. take a deep breath and try one of two tactics: Divide and conquer (by having a parent take one child aside for a special errand or game) or ask for help.
"Even if having one is easier than two. a little help can go a long way." says Pam Fierro. author and mother of twin girls. "Enlist grandparents or other family members. hire a babysitter (for either the twins or the newborn) or utilize the support of an organization like local multiples club."

When you get overwhelmed. remember. in parenting. as in life. it"s all in how you handle the situation: Approach your children with trepidation and you"re in for a bumpy ride stay focused and keep your wits about you. and you can forge a wonderful family unit with strong relationships that last a lifetime.

Top Tips

For Your Twins
Ensure that you have a supply of inexpensive. easy toys and games for moments when you need to tend to the new baby. but the multiples also need some attention. Be sure these items do not require extensive assembly or direction or you will defeat the purpose! Some ideas include puzzles. colouring books and new crayons. Play-Doh (I know it''s daring. but at some point. you''ll be desperate) or a new film or interesting book.

For Your Home
Do as much as you can each evening to prepare for the next morning so that you aren''t in a frenzied rush. especially if you have somewhere to go early in the day. Lay out clothes. fill cups with milk or juice and lay table for breakfast including non-perishable breakfast items like cereals.

If possible. hire someone to clean your house every two weeks or so. even if all they do is dust and clean the bathrooms. It will make life much easier to know that the bathrooms WILL get cleaned within two weeks if you don''t get to them (and you probably won''t). rather than fear that an Environmental Health Officer might show up any minute and declare them unfit for use.

For You
Be sure to take a few minutes each morning or evening to organize and cleanse your OWN head! Take a long shower or bath or spend a few minutes reading a chapter of a good book before you pass out each evening. It''s so important to take care of yourself during this chaotic time. You can only take the best care of your family if you''re also taking the best care of yourself.

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