Taking care of a few little babies is something that might not seem daunting, but in reality having helpful people around in those first few weeks or months is a life saver (just ask any mother of multiples!). Figuring out who it should be, how much time to request, and the potential cost – speaking in hours, days, and months – is a question that needs good answers.
Our wonderful family members and spouse are usually the automatic choice, but there are many options. Here are some things to consider:
How much time can your spouse/ partner take off from work? If grandparents or other family members live close by or offer to stay with you, perhaps your spouse should consider being home the first few weeks, and taking the remainder of paternity leave after all the family members are no longer as available.
Consider using a website like LotsaHelpingHands.com to create an online calendar, complete with your needs for help and food. Let your friends sign up to come over and hold babies, or go with you to a pediatric appointment. Or they can sign up to bring you a meal (or two or three). The website sends your friends and family an automatic reminder.
Twin Club Members
Go to the New Parent meetings of your local twins club, and meet MoMs who are due after you are. Invite them over to “see their future”, and help with your babies. They might want to do this once a week for a while. It’s a win-win for everyone. (hint: if you want to see your future, make this offer to someone due before you). You can also find MoMs who live near you through the club website.
These are wonderful, professional women who love to help new moms and their babies. Having a postpartum doula is like having a personal mom-baby coach whose knowledge is extensive. They often have lactation support training as well. Postpartum Doulas can be hired for a few hours per week, to full time. For full details on what a Doula can do for your family see our article here. Your local twins club often has recommendations for doulas or other MoMs.
Getting help with newborns during the night is definitely something to consider. A night nanny (also called a night doula) usually assists between 10pm-6am, bringing hungry babies to mom for breastfeeding, and then taking care of the changing and soothing back to sleep. Mom can pump and sleep a bit more, while the night nanny feeds by bottle. Formula fed babies can be cared for by the nanny throughout the night. Some night nannies will do laundry and other tasks for you while the babies are sleeping. Ask your club or search online for local night nannies.
This is a fabulous way to have 45 hours of care each week, usually at a fraction of the cost for a full time, live-out nanny. To be with newborns, Aupairs must be “infant qualified”, proving 200 hours of experience with children under 2 years old. You view their profile, speak to them on the phone, and create a “match”. They can stay in the USA for one or two years. They assist in caring for the babies and being an active member of your household. An Aupair is an extension of your family, a multi-cultural experience, and often leads to a life long friendship. There are several excellent Aupair agencies to choose from.
Babysitters and Mother’s Helpers
This might be the teenager or college student who lives in your neighborhood. Check the local pay rate and get references from other parents. Depending on the age of the babysitter and their experience level, you can decide if this person is a welcome extra set of hands while you are home, or if you can leave your babies in their care. Sometimes having someone do laundry, empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, etc. is great help, so you can be with the babies, knowing all those other things are not on your To Do list.
Plan plan plan
The most important thing is to create your plan to have others help you out when your babies arrive. Make your decision, and know that your plan will most likely morph as you get used to being a parent of multiples. Everyone in the “baby business” knows that new parents are learning as they go, so flexibility is essential. Best of luck finding the right fit for your family!
About the Author
Carole Hanson LC, TLC’s Prepartum Associate for the San Francisco Bay Area and Marin, is the proud mom of teenage fraternal twin boys and a Certified Perinatal and Lactation Educator. Carole’s odyssey began in 2001 with the arrival of her twin boys, and she has been sharing her passion ever since. For more details on our Marin services, you can email Carole at firstname.lastname@example.org.