Parenting is one of the most beautiful and enriching experiences of one’s life. However, raising more than one child at the same – time be it twins or triplets – can become quite demanding. While multiples are a bundle of joy, caring for them could become quite hectic. It could involve months of sleepless nights, changing diapers and feeding and therefore, an exhausting phase for the parents.
The number of families with twins and triplets is steadily increasing due to the use of fertility drugs and other treatments. It can also be a hereditary tendency. A lot of preparation is required for the first two or three years of parenting to go on smoothly.
Care during infancy
The major challenge of raising twins or triplets during infancy is in keeping them together, bathing, feeding, and oiling them. This could be achieved with the support from extended family, a trained nurse or spouse. There are also classes available on how to parent multiple infants. Proper preparation will make your journey a little easy.
Shazia Aslam, dentist and currently a homemaker based in Bangalore had her twin sons in 2010. “I personally did not take up any classes after I knew I was pregnant with the twin children. I was overjoyed and could not believe I would be having multiples.”
“After the birth of my sons Mohammed Hassan and Mohammed Hussain (currently in class III and eight years old), for the first six months I had enough help and support from my mother and sister. One of the key challenges during the first two weeks was in breastfeeding my twin sons. I found it hectic as they would cry every half an hour after feeding. After 12 days, I switched to bottle feeding. I believe that parenting is a beautiful process and should be learnt with the flow.”
Stick to a certain schedule
Time management is essential while managing all the chores of the infants. If one wakes up, wake up the other too. If the first one eats, it’s time for the other to eat. After feeding them, do make one burp and then repeat the same process with the second baby. Once your babies turn six months old, it becomes easier to give then bath together.
“Since my sons were non-identical twins I did not have to struggle in identifying who is who in the early days. The crucial identification becomes necessary for the parents of the identical twins while giving them medicines. As a caution it is better to have some identification mark such as nail polish on one toe. It becomes easier for the parents,” adds Aslam.
Sharing duties between husband and wife
Singapore based Isaq Ahmed M, freelance software consultant who is the father of four children – eight-year old daughter Zarah and five-year old triplets Ammar, Ali and Zain – recommends having a system in place to handle the parenting responsibilities, which helped him and his wife Hajira Tabassum.
“I was elated when the doctors told us that we are going to have triplets. Since we already have a daughter, parenting as such was not new to us. But we now had to take care of four children together. As a husband you have to stand by your wife. Learn how to do simple chores like changing diapers, burping the child and bottle feeding them. Also if possible be proactive at nights because the infants get up quite frequently,” said Isaq Ahmed Khan.
“Don’t push the night duty entirely on your wife. She needs rest too. Most importantly, expenses on unnecessary and expensive things should be avoided. This way you will be able to save enough financial resources for essential things. Always support your wife and don’t complain about your office work at home. The father of the house should keep the ambience cooler so that it becomes easier for the wife. Most importantly while taking care of your triplets or twins, do not neglect your first born. If possible involve them in the process so that they can grow closer to their younger siblings,” adds Isaq.
Education of children
Parents can choose to send their children to the same school. However, if possible try and keep them in different sections so that one does not overshadow or compete with the other. In this way, they can also have different peers and it will give them enough time to develop independent qualities. Aslam adds, “I made a conscious choice of keeping my children in two different sections. I did this so that they become independent, since most twins are interdependent, and have enough space to grow and mature as strong individuals.”
On the other hand Ahmed says “My triplets are in K1 and are in the same section. We believe that our kids should develop a bond with each other right from their childhood itself. They should know to share and care for one another. Also, the reason to place them in the same section is that they can help each other in their homework and studies. Interdependency is good in some way and it will keep them together. We are also happy that they are together when we cannot be around them.”