A Mom recently asked:
I am being discharged from the hospital along with 1 of my twins, while the other twin is remaining in the NICU. I would like to know how other moms handled being at home with 1 twin while still having the other twin in the NICU.
Here’s what our Twiniversity fans had to say!
– One of my twins had to stay in the NICU for 2 weeks after his brother and I left the hospital. I had maxed out my insurance stay (5 nights) for a C-section in order to give them both more time to grow in the NICU while I was still there. It was really hard. the hospital was an hour away. We have no family in town and I couldn’t drive because of the C-section pain meds. I had a newborn and a 2 year old at home to care for. My husband took half days and spent them with him in the NICU. I got to go maybe 3 times. Our hospital did not have it, but many have temporary apartments for parents whose children are in the NICU that you can apply for so you can stay on campus. I will say that we made it through (you have to work with what you are given and be accepting of that some times). Both twins are almost 4 and absolutely thriving.
– Our baby A came home 2.5 months before baby B because she had extensive issues and required heart surgery. Our NICU allowed me to bring baby A with me to visit baby B so long as it was understood that she was solely my responsibility. It was emotionally and physically exhausting but both girls are home and healthy now after almost 7 months in the hospital. Be strong mama. Just remember this is temporary. You can get through it!!
– It was rough on me. Baby A came home with me and Baby B stayed because she couldn’t keep a regular body temperature. She was almost there for a week. We would go there every afternoon to feed her and bond. We had to take all our kids with us since we had no family to watch them. The kids were only 4 and 5 years old and the other sister who wasn’t one yet. Plus the hospital was almost an hour away.
– Our daughter came home 1 month before our son. Emotionally it was heartbreaking to leave one child behind. You want to be excited that one is coming home but you feel guilty because one is still there. We also lived an hour away from the hospital so we would use hospital housing sometimes and other times we’d drive the hour each way. Luckily my mother in law was staying with us so she’d watch our daughter, who was not allowed back in the NICU once she was released. Other times, to give us a break, she would go sit with our son.
– It’s tough. Our twins were born last week at 35 weeks. Our girl has a cleft pallet and is in the NICU. You probably won’t be able to take your other twin when you visit. Line up babysitters for the other twin so you can go as much as possible. Also, ask someone if they will start a meal train for you. It has been a big help for us! Take one day and one moment at a time. You don’t want just anyone around baby, but accept all help offered to you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. If you have pets, line up someone to care for them or board them for at least awhile. It has been kind of a blessing to have this time to adjust to having one baby at home before we have 2. If you can get someone to stay with your baby who is home that would also help. Sometimes even just having them take them a few hours so that you can get at least some sleep. You will also meet other nicu families when you visit. The ones who are experienced usually have some great advice. Also, let yourself grieve and cry when you need to. It’s really tough leaving your baby in someone else’s hands.
– Don’t guilt yourself. Enjoy the time and work on your skills while you just have 1 baby at home. Its so much easier said than done, but just know that the baby in the NICU is where they need to be. When you’re in the NICU, focus on that baby – sing, skin to skin, etc. She/he will know you are their mom and trust me, its a blip on the radar. My NICU didn’t allow children under 7 years old in, however since both started in the NICU, they allowed me to bring him with me to visit his twin brother. Allow your husband 1 on 1 time with one while you visit the other in the NICU. Its not easy but my biggest piece of advice is take care of yourself and don’t get in your own head too much.
– The hospital let me bring baby A with me to visit baby B in the NICU. I went in the mornings with my husband before he went to work and sometimes after work when he got home. It was exhausting, but i knew it was temporary. Before you know it they will both be home. It’s kind of nice to start bonding with one baby at a time.
– My baby A was in the NICU for 12 days and baby B came home with us. My husband and I would take baby B with us and we’d go visit and stay with baby A for most of the day. We’d also call in the morning to see how her night went before we went in.
– It’s not uncommon for that to happen, although it’s definitely a tough situation, I can relate. Baby A came home 1st and Baby B a week later. My husband and I took turns while keeping the discharged baby with us in the waiting area. Make plans ahead of time ie: who will feed or bathe the baby in the NICU and how much time each of you will spend there. Keep to the feeding/changing schedule of the discharged baby. Communication with each other, along with the doctors and staff is key. While it wasn’t ideal we know that this was for the health and safety for both babies. Also, since we got some practice with caring for one baby, we weren’t as nervous once Baby B came home.
– That happened to us. We were allowed to bring baby B with us to visit every day and the NICU nurses kept a bassinet for him to use. Ask for help, seriously. Talk to your neighbors, parents, friends, anyone you trust. Ask them to go grocery shopping for you, make and freeze meals for you, walk your dog, vacuum your house, whatever you need. It may seem like you’re putting them out but this is the ONE time most people will totally do anything you need them to without asking. It takes an army to raise twins. The best advice I can give is to ask for help now. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not someone who can sit in a hospital all day. I couldn’t, and I took comfort in knowing our NICU nurses were amazing and taking the best care of baby A. Take care of yourself and get strong for when they are both home. You will need your strength!
– Our baby B was in the NICU for 14 days. It was emotionally and physically exhausting but somehow we got through it. My husband had to go back to work and we lived about 45 minutes from the hospital, so I tried to adjust to one baby (first time mom with our twins) and heal from giving birth during the day. At night we would go visit the NICU. My sister and my parents would visit him at times when we couldn’t and then helped watch baby A in the waiting room while we visited baby B. I would call twice a day and check on him before we could get up there to visit. I will not lie, it is HARD. I would cry and cry about it, but you survive and each day baby gets stronger. The day we got to bring him home was amazing. You can do it! Everything will work out and you meet the most amazing nurses and doctors through the NICU!
– We were told 3.5 weeks before our twins were born that they both were developing on schedule. The day they were born baby A was an average baby. Baby B was 3lbs 15oz and stayed in the hospital 10 days after he was born. We had help from family and if you have that option I would say call in the troops. My husband had to return to work right after they were born. I would look I into if the hospital will let you stay in the hospital. My hospital let me and baby A stay 3 extra days to be with both of them. After being discharged I would return to the hospital everyday for his 9 am and noon feedings, my mother in law stayed with my daughter and completed her feedings. I would then return home and do her 3 pm and 6 pm feedings. My husband would stop by the hospital on his way home from work and complete our son’s 3 pm feeding. We would go back at 9 pm for his final feeding of the night. My mother in law stayed with our daughter. We did this everyday until he came home. Our family was happy to help as long as we needed them. Today they are happy healthy 17month olds.
Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz’s new book “What To Do When You’re Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!
The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
What to Do When You’re Having Two is the definitive how-to guide to parenting twins, covering how to make a Birth Plan checklist, sticking to one sleep schedule, managing double-duty breastfeeding, stocking up on all the necessary gear, building one-on-one relationships with each child, and more.
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