Having Twins


Developmental Lag

If one twin has a chronic condition and must stay in the hospital much longer than the other one, a developmental delay may occur. Even with stimulation from the nursery staff, the hospitalized baby is at a disadvantage because he or she can't get to know you very well in a hospital setting. To counteract this and facilitate bonding, some hospitals occasionally allow a pass for a baby who is medically stable to visit home for a day. Ask your babies' doctor if this is possible. A home visit is especially important if older siblings have not been allowed to come to the Intensive Care Nursery. They need to be reassured that their newborn sister or brother is alive and growing. Remember that preemies, in general, will be developmentally behind for a time. If they come home at three months, they'll be more like newborns than three month olds.

One mother whose twins were born two months early says, "To me, the hardest thing about having premature babies is the developmental lag. Even though you know that they'll be behind, when you work so long and hard and at four months old they still don't look at you or smile, you get very discouraged. My twins were born at the end of August, and at Christmas they still didn't notice me in particular. Bonding just takes a lot longer than you wish it would, and you begin to think it'll never happen. It developed so gradually with us that I can't really say when we bonded. By the time they were a year old I knew we were all in love with each other the way we should be, but it happened very slowly."

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