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Most parents of multiples will need extra support during the first few months. The following are some of the options that are available to parents of multiples for support.
NIGHT NURSE OR NANNY`
A Night nurse or Nanny is very popular with parents who can afford them in the early weeks. Some parents have used their first multiple birth grant and the extra child benefit to pay for short-term help to support them in the first six weeks. Another option is to post on some of the popular parent’s discussion forums and ask other parents to recommend someone. IMBA has been contacted by several night nannies so if you would like to contact them, please email us. IMBA does not carry out any background/reference checks so please make sure you do your own. We do not take responsibility for anything to do with these night nannies.
CHILDMINDER OR AU PAIR
Many parents of multiples go down this route – some taking on au pairs to help out even before the babies are born so they are well settled in with older children’s routines. A major advantage of a dedicated childminder is the flexibility and lower costs. Typical costs from parent’s experience: Live in au-pair– depends on hours 35 hour week €300-€350. Live out - €10 to €12 per hour upwards depending on experience, language skills etc
A Mothers helper usually helps out with a variety of duties such as child care, errands, meal preparation and light house work. The role of a Mother's Helper is usually held by someone that is planning to move into other child care positions in the future. While a Mother's Helper usually has babysitting experience, no qualifications are required to perform the job. CPR and first aid training are recommended.
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE
Public health nurses in Ireland are employed by the HSE) to provide a range of health care services in the community. They are usually based in your local health centre and will be notified of the birth of your babies by your maternity hospital. They will usually visit you in your own home shortly after the birth to assess how you are coping and how well your babies are. Public Health nurses can be a great source of information and can usually be contacted by phone to ask questions or for advice.
Your GP may carry out your babies six week check up and will more than likely have a few visits from you and your babies during the first few years. Your GP is a good person to confide in if you think you may be suffering from Post-Natal Depression as they can decide the best course of action and options for you. Also check out www.pnd.ie
The Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland may provide home help services to people who need them. The HSE is not limited in the categories of persons they can assist at home. Each application for home help services is considered on its own merits. The Local Health Office may take a number of factors into account, including income, other family support available, remoteness from services and availability of suitable people to provide the service. Home helps usually assist people with normal household tasks although they may also help with personal care.
The service is generally free to medical card holders. Other people may be asked to make a contribution to the cost of the service.
There are not enough people available to provide home help services to people who are assessed as being in need of the service. In some areas, you may be asked to identify a person who may be able to provide the service. If that person is considered suitable by the health board, then he/she may be offered the job.
The home help is expected to provide a set number of hours assistance each day or each week. The precise arrangements can usually be agreed between you and the Health Service Executive (HSE). The sort of work that a home help is normally required to do includes light cleaning, possibly some shopping and cooking and laundry but it depends on your individual needs. Home helps who are employed to assist families may be largely concerned with child minding, collection from school, etc. Home helps are not expected to provide nursing or medical care.
How to apply
You should apply to the local public health nurse, who assesses your need for the service and then processes the application to your Local Health Office.
Home help is very much provided at the discretion of your local public health nurse (PHN) who usually comes to see you at home soon after your babies come home from hospital. Typical examples of when a home help would be required are mothers who may have other young children and no family or support network nearby, mothers who have suffered from post natal depression in the past or who have additional medical complications. It can take some time to organise home help which is usually required by multiple parents sooner rather than later. Therefore if you think you may require home help (e.g. triplets and older children and no support network in place) it may be advisable to contact your PHN before the babies arrive. Some parents have said they used local TD clinics to hurry things up (with mixed results). Keep in mind home helps are a scarce resource but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it!
Home Start provides help, friendship, advice or support to families with young children. They support any family, as long as they have at least one child under five. Trained volunteers, that are parents themselves, visit families once weekly in their homes, offering emotional support and practical support such as assisting with children or housework. They also support access to other local services and training and host family mornings. Training courses for parents in First Aid, Parenting, Self esteem and more may also be provided directly or facilitated by Home-Start.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
These can be invaluable in the first weeks. If you get on with your mother or mother-in-law ask them to move in for the first weeks but it wouldn’t be wise to consider this option long term – multiples are hard work for parents never mind grandparents! Another option is to consider getting help from an older niece or nephew during the summer months.
Contact our Phone Support Line if you would like advice on anything or simply to chat to another parent of multiples. Come along to one of our multiples clubs and meet other parents with multiples of all ages. Alternatively you can submit a question to our Frequently asked Questions section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.