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Dealing with Multiple Births


Do you have twins or triplets or are you expecting a multiple birth? Then join the Multiple Connection Group (part of Cana Movement).

Membership costs just €5 / year and you will receive practical advice regarding management and coping skills by sharing experiences with other families with multiples. This will take place through informal meetings and social activities for the whole family.

For more information, contact Diane Fenech on 7931 9444 or visit the Group's website here.

A Facebook support group called Multiple Births Malta has been set up for parents of multiples who want to share their experiences and connect with other parents in the same situation. Here you will find tips, great articles, and a dose of humour.
The wall is open for anyone looking to post and ask for advice. The group may be contacted on multiplebirthsmalta@gmail.com. See the Facebook group page here.

Breastfeeding Multiples
A routine is vital. Begin by feeding new babies on demand : whenever they seem hungry. This is important because you build on a supply of milk based on how much the babies suckle. If your twins are very small or premature, you may be advised to feed them every two or three hours, regardless of whether or not they are hungry.
It is practical to feed both babies simultaneously unless there is a good reason not to. If one wakes for a feed rouse the other one. In this way the breasts will not leak uselessly.
Getting and keeping the babies securely latched on is the main difficulty to begin with. Whilst still in hospital, get a midwife to stay with you throughout the feed, to give you a hand in case one of the babies comes off the nipple in mid-feed.
Some mothers swap breasts at each feed, whilst others keep one breast for each baby. Since babies don’t always need the same amount of nourishment, this can result in temporary lop-sidedness. If your babies are very different in weight you may prefer to alternate breasts.
It is best to feed as often as the babies seem to want, rest assured that five to ten minutes at the breast per feed will usually drain most of the milk.
You can always express milk if your breasts are engorged, or you want someone else to feed for you, perhaps if your babies are in the special care baby unit.
In the feeds and months that you are breastfeeding, make sure you have plenty to drink. Make sure you eat enough too, especially protein and carbohydrate.

There may be times when you want to top up with a bottle of formula milk. Mixing breast and bottle works well for some. The snag with bottles – apart from having to prepare them – is that a baby then sucks less from the breast, decreasing the milk supply. If you are going to offer bottles as well, make sure you do so after a breast-feed, not before.
Breastfeeding multiples is a great commitment. It is time consuming and you will need to rest more than if you only had one baby. Various sources can give you advice on breast-feeding like the Parentcraft Support Services of Karin Grech Hospital Tel. No. 21230292 and the Breastfeeding Counsellors of the Cana Movement.
Breastfeeding triplets, being generally smaller and more premature than twins, is beneficial though thoroughly exhausting, but many women have successfully managed it – and enjoyed it – for as long as six months or more. The Multiple Connection Support Group can put in touch with mothers who are happy to share their experiences and pass on practical advice.
The choice with breastfeeding triplets lies between :-
  1. Breastfeeding one or two babies and bottle-feeding the other, perhaps on a rota basis so that every 24 hrs all get breast-feeds and all get bottles.
  2. Breast-feeding two and giving your expressed milk to the third
  3. Breastfeeding all three at different times ( very time-consuming)
To make a go of breast-feeding triplets, you really have to put your own health first. This means rest, healthy food and plenty to drink. You should then be able to produce enough milk. If you are not sure you are succeeding in nourishing three, weigh your babies more often, say twice a week.
Equipment you will need for bottle-feeding triplets
You can make up powdered formula in individual bottles, or you can make a larger quantity in a jug and then put in bottles.
  1. At least 18 bottles, which should come complete with teats, sealing discs and caps.
  2. Measuring jugs to measure the amount of water needed for each bottle.
  3. Formula milk.
  4. A kettle filled with fresh tap water.
  5. Plastic measuring spoon or scoop – you’ll find it in the formula milk
  6. Plastic knife to level off the powdered milk in the scoop
  7. Kitchen paper to dry the equipment once it has been sterilised

Multiple Concerns: Buggies, Prams and Highchairs
A double pram will usually last most of the first year. By the age of four months, however, most babies can go into a buggy. Many mothers favor a side-by-side buggy so that the babies can see each other.
Before you buy, Check the width (with the width of your front door), weight, folding qualities and handle height. You will need highchairs sometime in the first year, usually between five and eight months, when the babies sit up to eat. Always use a proper harness as well. Folding highchairs obviously save space.
Multiple Concerns: Healthy Eating
Achieving a balanced diet means eating several portions a day from each of these groups :-
For carbohydrates, fibre, protein and vitamins
For vitamins especially folic acid and vitamin C , fibre and minerals
For protein, iron and vitamin B12
For calcium and protein
Avoid soft ripened cheeses (like Brie) ,blue-veined cheeses, pate of all kinds and cook-chilled foods. Vitamin A could be harmful to the fetus if taken in excess. Avoid eating liver or cod-liver oil.
In the first 12 weeks of pregnancy a daily folic acid supplement is recommended to avoid spina bifida and other NTDs
  1. Avoid fatty or spicy foods
  2. Eat frequent small snacks of carbohydrates (dry biscuits , toast, etc)
  3. Drink milk
  4. Avoid heavy meals just before bedtime
  5. Sleep with two or more pillows, so that your head is higher than you stomach
  6. Avoid tight clothes

Making Life Easier
Many mothers of twins and triplets regret having spent so much of their time and energy on drudgery and chores in their babies’ first year instead of being with them and enjoying family life. If they could have the time again, these women would do it differently. You can make it easier on yourself by re-examining your priorities…
  1. Get into a routine you can live with. The sooner your babies’ habits are simplified, the better. For instance, you still don’t have to give them all daily baths : they don’t get dirty at that age.
  2. Get help if you can, to look after one of your babies for an hour or two, or else to do the domestic chores.
  3. Make a point of playing with your babies and giving them attention. Go out regularly to toddler groups (the Cana Movement provides these), no matter how hard it seems at the time. Once you get there you will all benefit from socializing.
  4. Ignore comments that are plainly unhelpful and advice which doesn't apply to multiples. You can acknowledge useless with a non-committal “I’ll think about it.”
  5. Banish guilt. There will be good days and less good days, but there is no need to punish yourself when you don’t get things quite right.
  6. If you can afford it, consider taking a family holiday.

Multiple Concerns: Weaning
  1. Give your babies their first taste of solids at around lunchtime, when you’re all relaxed.
  2. Wash your hands, then prepare a little puree or baby rice in a bowl, and make sure it is at room or body temperature. Have the bowl and spoon right next to you. Start feeding your babies as usual, by breast or bottle.
  3. Halfway through the feed (or at the end), offer the babies a tiny spoonful of food. Just place it at their lips – don’t put it inside their mouths – and let them lick or suck at the spoon. If they aren’t keen, put the food away and try another day.
  4. If they do seem keen, you can offer some more, but never force feed. Follow their lead and stop when they have had enough.
  5. If you’re feeding slowly and steadily it may be that they want you to speed up. The gaps between mouthfuls can be very frustrating.
  6. If your babies are still hungry, offer them more milk to complete their milk as usual.
  7. Make some time for yourself and your partner.


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