Care of multiple birth babies
Often, multiples are born small and early. They may be initially cared for in a special care nursery called the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
In the NICU
The NICU combines advanced technology and trained healthcare professionals to provide specialized care for the tiniest patients. NICUs may also have intermediate or continuing care areas for babies who are not as sick but do need specialized nursing care. Some hospitals do not have the personnel or an NICU, and babies must be transferred to another hospital.
In most cases, you can be with your babies in the NICU at any time. The staff of the NICU will give you instructions on special hand-washing techniques before entering the area. In some cases, you may need to wear a mask. Occasionally, during a procedure, or when the hospital staff are making "rounds," parents may be asked to wait for a few minutes before coming into the area. Although most NICUs permit visitation of babies by other family members, limiting visitors is a good idea. Many sick and premature babies are very susceptible to infection. Siblings should be carefully checked for signs of colds or other illness. They should also be helped with hand-washing before visiting their baby brother or sister.
Most parents find that becoming involved with their babies' care gives them a sense of control. It also helps them bond with their babies. This is also important for the babies. It helps the babies feel secure and loved. Once the babies' condition is stable, parents are encouraged to hold and rock them. Staff in the NICU can show you how to care for your babies in many ways. Learning these aspects of care is helpful in preparing you to take your babies home.
Once babies are able to feed, grow, and stay warm, they can usually be discharged. Other babies who are healthy at birth may need only a brief check in a special care nursery.
Breastfeeding multiple birth babies