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Mothering the Mother of Multiples

From: New Beginnings, Vol. 29 No. 5-6, 2009, p. 17

All nursing mothers need support and mothers with more than one baby need even more help.

Here are some ways to help moms of multiples (and of single babies, too!)

When visiting a new mother of twins

DON'T

  • Expect her, or any member of her family, to entertain you.
  • Give advice when she complains about being tired or about how difficult everything is.
  • Ask whether the babies are getting enough milk or whether they are sleeping through the night yet. These questions can undermine her confidence.
  • Cause her stress by offering to take the babies out. She might be grateful for the same offer at some point but a new mom will want to be with her babies.
  • Create more work by bringing huge bags of unwanted baby clothes. A small bag of baby clothes of the right size is more manageable for a mother to sort through than a large unsorted one, particularly if you take away what she doesn't want rather than leaving unwanted clutter.
  • Forget that the mother of twins needs extra help for at least the first 12 months, not just the first few weeks.
  • Forget to keep on offering your support.

DO

  • Bring food when you visit (meals and snacks that need little or no additional preparation).
  • Bring her something healthy to drink.
  • Make a meal and serve it to her, or leave a packed lunch ready.
  • Do the grocery shopping for her.
  • Clean up the kitchen, wash the dishes, vacuum, tidy up.
  • Do laundry, fold the clothes, and put them away.
  • Give her a back rub or a foot massage while she nurses her babies.
  • Change the babies' diapers.
  • Take care of the babies while she sleeps.
  • Look after the babies while she takes a bath or shower, or a short walk.
  • Accompany her when she has to go somewhere to offer an extra pair of hands to hold a baby.
  • When a baby needs to nurse in the middle of the night bring him to her.
  • Change diapers.
  • Bring over copies of New Beginnings.
  • Help her find another mother of twins to talk to.
  • Offer to take her to an LLL meeting.
  • Listen to her worries.
  • Comfort her.
  • Let her know what a good job she's doing caring for her babies!

Resources

Gromada, K. K. Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More. Third edition. Schaumburg, IL: LLLI, 2007. Available from http://store.llli.org/public/profile/205 and www.karengromada.com

Tips for Breastfeeding Twins. Information sheet LLLI 2009. Available from http://store.llli.org/public/product

Tips for Breastfeeding Twins. LLLGB No. 4721, 2008. Available from www.lllgbbooks.co.uk

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