It’s Multiple Birth Awareness Week (20-27th March), which is an annual, Australia-wide campaign that aims to increase positive health outcomes, awareness, and equality through advocacy, education, and community engagement.
The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) was excited to announce that the theme for 2022 is ‘Educating the Educators’.
AMBA Chairperson, Larissa Jordan said “The theme, Educating the Educators, is our opportunity to put the spotlight on the unique needs of multiples and their parents, in the educational context. We want to ensure that families, medical and educational professionals have access to high quality information on how to best support and cater for the specific needs of multiples, across the lifespan.”
With this theme in mind, we want to share with you the support and resources that are available if you’re expecting multiples.
Parenting multiples: Available support and resources
Discovering you’re pregnant with twins, triplets, or more can come as a surprise and shock. You might be feeling a variety of mixed emotions – overwhelmed, excited, scared, happy, or disappointed. All feelings are okay and to be expected.
Pregnancy is the perfect opportunity to put a postpartum support plan in place. To optimise yours and your babies’ health and emotional outcomes, it’s vital that you find out about some of the practical issues ahead of you and the equipment you’ll need for a start. It’s also essential to research the support you can access, and to surround yourself with like-minded people.
Here is a list of available resources and support to help you on your exciting journey of parenting multiples:
Emotional and practical support
Join your local AMBA affiliated member club. These clubs are run by volunteer parents of twins and triplets, who regularly get together to not only provide mutual support and friendship, but also for equipment hire and buy/sell/swap opportunities. Find your nearest one here.
Australia’s largest and most supportive online community of twins and triplets, Twinfo, has an extensive directory of services that are useful for multiple families, such as equipment hire, babysitting, products to make life easier, and sleep consultants with a focus on multiples. They even have an online course where you can learn all the practicalities of a multiple birth pregnancy.
Here is a list of the types of in-home newborn support out there if you’re able to outsource some help, plus some other suggestions for practical services. Find out if your area has a multiples volunteer association, such as Melbourne-based Multiple Birth Volunteer Support Foundation. MBVS recruits and organises local people to assist families by providing hands-on help in the home.
Breastfeeding support and information
If you would like to breastfeed, find a lactation consultant that can offer advice about feeding multiples before they arrive, and help you when the time comes.
Join your local Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) group to meet up for mum-to-mum support. ABA also has an ebook, ‘Breastfeeding: Twins, triplets and more’, you can download for a small fee here.
To help with the costs of raising multiple babies, the Australian Government pays a Multiple Birth Allowance for families who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A (for more information visit Services Australia)
Safe sleep information
Red Nose Australia has information about the safest way to sleep twins here. Your babies should not share a cot once they start to move around in it.
Mental health support
Parents of multiples are at much higher risk of relationship stress, exhaustion, postnatal depression and anxiety. There is plenty of help available, including these helplines:
- PANDA – 1300 726 306
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
There are also online community support groups, including: