Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Preparing for Twins: Classes

I highly recommend taking a class or classes, even if you have already had singleton children.  However, finding a class that caters specifically to twins or multiples in your area may be difficult.  Check with your local Parents of Multiples group to find out if they are aware of any such classes.  I think we heard about the class at Becoming Maternity in Toronto from a friend.  We also attended a general child birth class offered at our hospital and facilitated by a retired nurse.  It offered a tour, which was useful and reassuring, but was catered to singleton births with very little information specifically for twins or multiples.  I understand, however, that some hospitals, particularly those specializing in multiple births, do offer a twins or multiples specific class and tour.
The class at Becoming Maternity was excellent.  It was instructed by a practising labour and delivery unit nurse and was three consecutive Saturday afternoons.  There was only one orher couple with Lisa and me in the class, and so the attention and help we got was tremendous.  She told us exactly what to expect during the pregnancy, including what would happen if they were born extremely premature, and then what to expect at the hospital.  This was the first time I was aware that the two babies would almost immediately be given to me, if it was a natural birth.
The other thing that I recall vividly was learning how to swaddle a baby.  I had never even heard of swaddling before but I got pretty good at it.  For those uninitiated like me, swaddling is way of tightly wrapping the baby in a blanket to keep it warm.  A few months after Josh and Abby were born, Lisa told me that they had outgrown swaddling.  I was quite disappointed because it was one aspect of fatherhood I thought I had perfected.  At these classes we learned about many aspects of giving birth and the first few months of raising twins, including the hows and whys of breast feeding, and about doulas.  A doula is a postpartum mother's helper, particularly at night to help the mother get more rest, and/or at the hosptial working as a birthing coach. 
I highly recommend taking such a class if one is available in your hometown area or at the hospital.

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