This question comes from Michelle, who’s currently living in England with her husband. Because they’re living in England, away from home and away from family, she has a question about handling older children after the twins are born. She writes, “What happens if the babies have to be in the hospital for an extended period of time? How do you juggle handling the toddlers that are home as well as the newborn twins that may be in the hospital?”
Definitely one thing to watch out for as you are expecting twins is that your twins may spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit, or the NICU. Now, not all the twins are going to be in the NICU. Ours, for example, weren’t.
Many other twins are not, but depending on how early your twins come, or any potential complications, they may spend some time in NICU from a couple of days to several weeks, or months even.
Ask for Help
The challenge of taking care of the family at home, your older kids, as well as visiting and spending time with your newborns is a big one.
One thing that I would suggest for Michelle, and others of you that may be in this same situation, is that as you line up helpers that are going to be able to help with the twins, or with your other kids. I always recommend asking either family members or friends to help with the care of your newborn twins, or even other family members.
Perhaps you can use those helpers to watch your older children at your home while you or your spouse goes to the hospital to visit with the newborns that are in the NICU.
Bring Siblings to the Hospital
Eventually you may be able to even take your older kids with you to the hospital. Oftentimes there are viewing windows where the kids or family members can look through the window into the nursery and see the babies with out actually going into the NICU.
This will help the kids understand why their baby sister or brother have not come home yet, and they’re going to see them, and start to get used to them before they even come home.
It’ll definitely be a juggling act if your twins are in the NICU and you have a family at home, but it is doable.
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast episode 17: Caring for Twins by Yourself, Family and NICU, and Healthy Pregnancy.
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
Picture by Jeremy Miles