Caring for Multiples

aaaTwins are Individuals

The most important priority for nannies and au pairs caring for twins and multiples is to prioritize! It requires a tremendous amount of energy to care for even one baby then add another one, or two… As Sarah, a nanny working in the Atlanta area says, “Basically, if you can survive the first year, you can do anything.”

When caring for multiples in their first year of life make caring for the children your first priority. Don’t waste all of your energy on the household chores. But, let’s face it, if the parents didn’t need an extra pair of hands with the domestic chores they wouldn’t have hired you in the first place. Just don’t feel guilty if you need a break due to exhaustion now and then. When the children are napping make it your chance to rest too. Parents of multiples understand the need to rest.

As the twins develop, nannies and au pairs should appreciate the children as individuals. Allow the children to express themselves separately. Avoid comparisons between children. Also ignore comparisons with other nannies or mothers. Until they have had to care for two or more babies at the same time, they haven’t a clue about how hard it is.

Lynn, a nanny of triplets in South Dakota says, “Having a sense of humor is the only way to successfully care for three babies at the same time. Have you ever tried to feed three hungry babies, bathe three babies, or go on a walk with three babies at the same time? You have to be able to laugh at yourself.”
Pat, an au pair in the Boston area recommends, “Allow the children to each have their own toys. This will actually help them learn to share and see themselves as separate people in the long run.”

Anastasia, a nanny in Los Angeles says, “Help each child to develop to their own separate and individual best potential. Never compare them. Let them be themselves.”

Do you have any advice to share about caring for multiples?

Comments

  1. I remember this newsletter had a survey about this topic and the best advice from the answers in the survey I will share now. I found that letting newborns sleep together was most helpful. That way you can pat two tummies of crying babies at the same time. But, as they get older they must be separated (especially since one crying baby can wake the other). But in the beginning as nannies we help the mother a lot. If she wants to breast feed, bathe, feed both twins then the nanny is her extra pair of hands to get through the day. Unlike other nanny jobs, I found that the housekeeping really is not the priority. All parents say that housekeeping isn’t a priority but it really is. When working with twins it really isn’t. Like stated in article above, parents do really understand your need to rest when the babies rest. If you are a live-in it may be your or the mothers chance to shower, or just read a book, and obviously for the nanny to help with laundry. But Mom Boss never got mad if I took a cat nap while babies napped. It’s a lot of work. I think laundry is just the exhausting extra help that is needed when working with twins.Michelle K. Career Nanny 18 yearsJersey City NJ

  2. Granted we have a lot to do while twins are napping like laundry but nannies I really think you need to sleep when the twins sleep. Parents will understand.

  3. Most important thing to remember is that a crying baby is still a safe baby (you have secured them in their crib, or baby seat). Sometimes I will be bathing one, the other starts crying in their crib. Best to finiish the bath quickly and safely, then address the crying baby in the crib. Baby in crib is safe so a little crying is just temporary noise. When bathing babies always do it separately. That is where a nanny is helpful. Mom can entertain one baby while I bathe the other. Then we switch. Cynthia DonovanNanny, Philly

  4. If the mother is breast feeding we nannies can help tremendously by helping positioning the babies comfortable for the mother and babies. Feeding twins at the same time allows for more time to rest between feedings. It is great if a nanny can bottle feed at same time too. Use boppy cushions to help keep the babies secure. I sometimes would put them in their side by side stroller even in the house so I could feed them at the same time. But it is easier on your arms if you can sit comfortably on the sofa with boppy cushions to hold the babies so your arms do not tire out.Deb in Montville NJ

  5. a good tandem stroller with seats front to back rather than seats side by side are better to get around, especially tight corners.steffi nanny of threeChicago

  6. Unlike Steffi’s comment above I have preferred the side by side stroller because the seats recline better. The kids can both lay down if necessary. I think it is easier to handle around corners. Most buildings are handicapped accesible now so squeezing though tight doors.Gwen Goldberg, nanny of twinsHouston Texas

  7. Caring for multiples is so difficult so you and the parents need keep track of everything because it is easy to forget what you have done and certainly impossible for the parents to know. If the mother changed one childs diaper 15 minutes ago but it is time for you to change diapers and the mom doesn’t record on the chart that she changed the infants diaper, it is a waste of time and a diaper if the nanny then changes the diaper. Never is a daily log more important than when caring for multiples. Make a chart to track feeding times and amounts, diaper changes, medications, anything and everything!mary m san diego

  8. Problem I am having is twins teething at the same time. Being so young they do not understand one color bottle is the boy’s and the other the girl’s. So a lot of pacifier swapping and bottle swapping is going on between the two of them unintentionally. The parents and I are great at color coding and keeping things sanitary but it’s just impossible with quick moving little kids to catch them quick enough and inevitably they end up sticking the other sibling’s items in their mouths. Gross!

  9. It drives me nuts that the identical twin girls I watch are always dressed exactly alike and given same everything! They are separate individuals and I would like them to be treated as such. But they will be starting Kindergarten next year and the parents want them to attend the same class. I am glad they have each other to play with but they are too attached at the hip. When another girl comes over to play the twins exclude her. They do have different strenghts and weaknesses and different likes and dislikes. I’d love to see them learn to be more independent. I won’t dare leave my name for I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

  10. As an Au Pair who cared for twins, starting from when they were 9 weeks old I can relate to a lot of whats already been said…I particularly agree with what Steffi said, a back-front stroller rather than a side-side one would of been a godsend! Because having to set up the stroller outside the front door (because it wont go thru it up) and then placing one child then the other into it, pretty much destroyed any energy or desire I had to leave the house! Also…as for the teething issues, to be honest, at first I had the same reaction but in the end I just gave up on trying to stop them from swapping pacifiers! And the twins survived! I think at the end of the day, thats what caring for multiplies comes down to…prioritising, and just letting the little things go…you’ll be less stressed and you’ll kids will be happier because of it!!Sarah, Aus.

  11. Personally too much is made out if making sure twins are individuals. It becomes apparent very early that they are different. They gave different opinions and interests. I have not found that twins both like the same sports, musical instruments, or subject as school. Be willing to encourage individuality sure, but it won’t be hard to do as kids get older it become more obvious who they are as individuals. Best advice is to PUNISH and discipline fairly. Twins will have to be disciplined seperately.Meggie, Providence, RI

  12. Please consider checking out http://www.MOSTonline.org for tons of FREE info on working with and supporting families of multiples and preemies!

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