Meeting with multiple-birth families
About 800 families give birth to twins or triplets each year in Finland. Quadruplets are quite rare. The pregnancy and birth of twins or triplets are different from the process of having a single child. Often, parents are afraid of the pregnancy terminating prematurely, the children being born prematurely and the management of daily routines with multiple infants. Many also worry about how their family will manage financially. Assuring sufficient assistance, particularly support in the home and with child care, is a vital service for parents facing this type of challenge. Peer support is also important for many.
What should a professional take into consideration when meeting with multiple-birth families?
Provide the family with as much information as possible about multiple pregnancy and birthing, premature babies, breastfeeding and child care.
Ensure that the family has a support network, as assistance will be particularly crucial after the infants come home from the hospital.
Remember and remind the family that not all social benefits take twins or triplets into consideration.
Recommend that the family attend training especially intended for multiple-birth families.
Free, comprehensive materials for multiple-birth families are available online (in Finnish) at www.suomenmonikkoperheet.fi.
Encourage and support couples, avoid frightening them.
Congratulate parents expecting multiple children.
Encourage the family to treat each child as an individual.
Make separate appointment times for twins and triplets. If, for example, the family requests that the appointment be shared, make an effort to clearly deal separately with each child’s individual issues.
Encourage the father to be an active participant in the family’s everyday activities, particularly the care of the infants.
Discuss the family’s financial situation.
The financial burden on the family is particularly heavy during infancy. The family may require advocacy for their application for more reasonable customer fees.
Multiple children in day care
The individual group placement of multiple children should be done with consideration for the hopes of the parents.
The different sibling relationship between twins and triplets should be taken into consideration in the day-care setting.