Maureen Doolan Boyle, executive director of Mothers of Supertwins (MOST) and a mother of triplets, offers tips for preparing for, and surviving, the supertwin challenge.
Color code Boyle suggests assigning each baby a primary color and then matching as much as possible -- crib bedding, clothing, bottle tops, medications -- to that color. Jen Geoffroy, a mom of one-year-old identical triplets from Long Island, NY, keeps items such as cribs, dressers, and walkers in the same order. "Alexa's things are usually first, followed by Nicole's, and then Rachel's," she says.
Prepare for early arrivals Getting ready to care for premature babies is essential when you're carrying higher- order multiples. Boyle advises expectant parents to tour their hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and meet the staff before they deliver. This will reduce the "scare factor" of seeing your babies in the NICU after they are born.
Ready the troops Many moms of supertwins find that visits from relatives are simply not enough. Boyle recruited members of her church group to help hold and feed her babies when they were small. Geoffroy used an au pair to help with household chores, while she, her husband, Glenn, and 9-year-old daughter, Danielle, took care of the babies. Boyle suggests connecting with other families of higher-order multiples; MOST (mostonline.org) offers web forums.
Count your blessings
"One of the biggest bangs I've ever had as a parent," says Patricia Malmstrom, coauthor of The Art of Parenting Twins, "was observing their dawning consciousness of who the other is. One twin looked over at the other one asleep beside her with an expression that said, 'Aha! How could this be better?'" Looking at each other becomes talking to each other, and then giggling over jokes only they seem to understand. By then, your adaptive memory loss will have kicked in, and the grueling early months will be a distant blur. "Aha!" you'll think. "How could this be better?"