My husband and I welcomed four babies into the world last August. We already had a one-year-old son who was the love of our lives and is now a big brother to four more little loves. Although there’s a lot more on our to-do lists and life is hectic our world has changed in the best way! With the support of our friends, family, and each other, my husband and I are raising five little ones together.
Honest asked me to share what surprised me most about having multiples, and I guess it’s not really a surprise, or shouldn’t be, but I’m surprised that I barely have any time to sit down, or finish a cup of coffee, or eat lunch. I’m going practically nonstop from the time I wake up. Even on the days I have help! There’s just always something that needs to be done. Actually, there’s always lots of somethings to be done! I’m so glad we prepared ahead of time! Of course, you can never fully prepare for everything four babies require but planning was our best friend before the babies arrived.
I wrote a blog post in December about our experiencing having quads. In the more than five months since I had them, we’ve learned a lot. Below are some tips for parents expecting multiples, or anyone expecting.
For any soon-to-be parent of multiples, here is what I’ve learned:
- Get as much organized as possible before they arrive. Most multiples arrive early, and many women end up on bed rest, or in the hospital as I did. We were in the process of moving when I landed in the hospital, so it was up to my husband and my mother-in-law to wash, fold, and organize all the baby clothes, towels etc. And don’t bank on a long NICU stay to give you time to get ready. Ours were home a lot faster than we thought. (Not that it’s a bad thing!!)
- I created a binder to log sleep, feedings, diaper changes, medications, milestones, and notes because mommy brain is terrible. I bring it to the pediatrician so she can see how they are doing and I don’t have to remember.
- I also made a schedule for the babies. I read some child-rearing books and I scoured the internet for other quad moms and moms of multiples to see what they did. Basically, everyone said getting them on a schedule is the most important thing. The NICU kept them on a schedule so when they came home it was easy to continue what they had started.
- Accept help! Everyone told me this, and I just blew them off because I don’t like accepting help or asking for it. But I accepted help from my mom and a family friend who wanted to each come one day per week to help, and those are my favorite days of the week! Also, accept offers to babysit. I wrote down whoever had offered to help and when they were available. But nothing was scheduled until the babies got home because we had no idea what to expect, or how much help we would need. But you need to get out, even if it’s just to walk around Target, or to go on a date with your husband. Or if you have another child, it’s great if someone watches the quads so you can spend time with your older child.
- Make sure you have a game plan with your husband as to what each of your duties are, and what kind of schedule you are going to keep. For us, we are both up at night when the quads are up, but you may want to take turns to give someone some continuous sleep. In our family, we agreed beforehand that he would continue to play ice hockey, and I would continue to play soccer as soon as I was able. It’s so important for us to be able to get out and relieve some stress with sports! I have also enjoyed time out with my girlfriends, thanks to my wonderful husband, and that is priceless to me. It’s easy to be consumed with your mommy duties, and forget about your fun away from all that!
- As far as buying baby supplies ahead of time, we already had a lot of stuff from when our son was a baby but we knew we needed just more of everything. I got bottles off Freecycle, and my sister loaned us all of her baby stuff like Boppy, Exersaucer, bouncy chair, etc. We were given tons of clothes, and also received bedding, blankets, cribs and seats from friends who wanted to help. Due to the generosity of so many around us, we really didn’t have to buy much. Just bottle nipples really. The most important things to have around are bottles, burp cloths, diapers, wipes, and clothes.
- Most importantly, try to go into this experience with an open mind, and lots of flexibility! As much as you try to plan, things don’t always work out the way you thought, and things change along the way. Be open to switching things up. That being said, you will get a lot of advice, and people will say a lot of things to you that may have you second guessing yourself or making you feel as though you have to defend your parenting choices. Try to stick to what you believe in, and don’t let others make you change what you feel is right. This to me is the hardest part.
You can read more about Kerry’s life with quads on her blog, Quads Make It Seven.