After your twins are born, when should you bring their siblings to the hospital to meet them? How should you prepare them for meeting the infant twins and seeing Mom in a hospital bed?
When our twin girls were born, our other boys were 3 and 1.5 years old. They knew that baby sisters would soon be joining the family and we were excited to introduce them. Here’s how you can get your other children ready for the introduction:
Leading up to the delivery, talk opening and clearly with your children about what is going to happen. Regardless of the age of your other children, they should know that Mommy has two babies inside her. Your children should know that they will soon have two new babies in the family.
Talk about what will happen when the twins are ready to be born. Your other children need to know that you’ll be going to the hospital and that they will likely be cared for by some one else while you are away. That caregiver could be Grandma, a friend, or neighbor, etc. Whomever you choose, the kids need to know that in advance.
Describe (in an age appropriate way) what happens when you go to the hospital. Siblings should at least understand that when the babies are born, the doctor checks the babies to make sure they are healthy. The babies then sleep a lot. Mommy will rest in a bed to recover. Mommy may have tubes (an IV) attached to her and will be very tired.
Tell your kids what a hospital room looks like and what they can expect to see when they come to visit.
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
When You’re At the Hospital
During labor, delivery, and the initial recovery, you’ll be busy and won’t have time to be with your other children. During that time, make sure that their caregiver knows (ahead of time) to reinforce the expectations you previously set. When the kids ask their caregiver, “where’s Mommy and Daddy?”, he or she should be able to reinforce the hospital story you’ve been telling your kids all along.
When to Bring the Kids for a Hospital Visit
When our twins were born, we took a day in the hospital to recover before bringing the kids over. My wife had gone through a c-section to deliver the twins and needed some time to physically recover.
Since every twin pregnancy and delivery is different, don’t commit to any visitors until the twins are born and you’ve settled down in the hospital. Last minute complications can arise that will squash any firm plans.
If your twins go to the NICU, be sure to reset expectations with their siblings. Your other children need to know that their new twin babies will be hooked up to lots of machines and that they won’t be able to hold or touch them.
Prep the Hospital Room
To younger kids, a hospital room is like a playground. There are so many things to discover and climb on (like the fully adjustable hospital bed) that you’ll need to at least do a first pass at kid proofing the hospital room. Dad, this is your job since your wife will still be recovering physically. Tidy up before your kids arrive to meet their twin siblings or you’ll spend the entire visit trying to keep your kids out of trouble.
Welcome the Siblings
We had purchased some “gifts” ahead of time that would be from our twin girls to their brothers. Your twins will get all of the attention from everyone. This will create an attention gap with your other children that they won’t necessarily like. Before the twins, your child or children were the only show in town. Now that the twins are here, you need to be mindful of making sure your other children still feel loved and appreciated.
(RELATED: Still expecting twins? Will you be having two boys, two girls, or boy/girl twins? Answer these quick questions to see what several old wives’ tales claim you’ll be having….)
Our boys were excited to meet their twins sisters and really excited to get presents from them. It worked well in our case but you should consider your other children’s ages and needs and plan accordingly.
◦Picture by Gareth Saunders