Your newborn twins
You may want to ask if you can have a private room where you can get to know your babies in peace. Some hospitals also allow partners to stay overnight.
Twins and special care
If your babies are born very early, they may need to spend some time in special (neonatal) care. According to the Twins & Multiple Births Association (Tamba), about 40% of multiples need extra care after they are born.
Your babies will be nursed in an incubator (or incubators), and may be surrounded by wires and tubes. You’ll still be able to touch them and help with their care. Staff will show you what to do.
If your babies are too small to feed themselves, you’ll be shown how to express breastmilk for them. This will be given to them via a thin tube that passes through their nose and into their stomach. This won’t hurt them.
It’s natural to feel worried if one or both of your babies are on a neonatal unit. Staff will understand this and offer plenty of support.
If your twins are born early
If you’re likely to give birth early, here are a few things to think about beforehand:
- You may need to move to another hospital to make sure there are enough beds for both your babies in the neonatal unit.
- Ask if your hospital has a transitional care unit: these units allow mothers to care for their babies if they don’t need intensive care. Hospitals with transitional units are more likely to be able to keep you and your babies in the same place.
- Check if your hospital has cots that allow co-bedding (where your babies sleep in a single cot), if this is how you want your babies to sleep.
- If you have one baby in the hospital and one at home, you‘ll need to think about splitting your time between the two. When you visit your baby in hospital, ask if you can bring their twin and if co-bedding is allowed during visits.
- If you want to breastfeed and only one twin can feed effectively, you may need to put the twin who can feed on the breast to encourage milk to flow for both babies. Read more about feeding multiple babies.
- Check if your hospital offers support from a community neonatal nurse. This could mean your babies can leave hospital earlier – for example, if one of them is still tube-fed.
Taking your twins home
Taking your babies home with you is a moment to celebrate. Dividing your time and attention between two or more babies can feel overwhelming. You may miss the help and support you had in hospital.
Remember that your health visitor and GP will be there to support you through these early weeks.
These tips may help you to stay on top of things:
- There’s no need to bath your babies every day – two or three times a week is fine. You may like to bath your babies on alternate nights, so you can get to know them individually.
- If you live in a house, keep one set of nappy changing gear upstairs and one set downstairs.
- Whenever you cook for yourselves, make double portions and freeze one.
- Accept offers of help from family and friends so you can rest and spend time with your babies.
- Ask your partner, friend or relative to limit visitors – too many can be tiring.
- When you go to clinics for follow-up appointments, ask for apppointments later in the day – this’ll give you more time to get out of the house.
Read more tips for new parents.
Getting twins into a routine
Tamba advises that the best way to cope with caring for twins is to develop a routine that suits you. Think about your babies’ needs – feeding, sleeping and playing – and develop a routine around these activities that works for the whole family.
If your babies have been in neonatal care, they may already be in a routine and it’s probably worth sticking to this when they come home. However, you’ll need to adapt the routine as they grow up and their needs change.