All parents respond to their babies in different ways, whether they have one baby or four. Some are immediately besotted with them, for others there might not be this immediate feeling. Both of these responses are normal.
If you are separated from one or more of your babies, for example if they are in neonatal care, you may find it hard to believe that the babies are really yours. This can make you feel a little detached from them, but try not to worry; when you start to look after the babies yourself it will begin to feel real. In the meantime, display photographs of the babies in your home and show photographs to friends.
To help with the bonding process, try to make time to cuddle, interact and get to know each baby individually. Bonding with higher multiples can be especially difficult as you will of course have less time with each baby, but even 5-10 minutes each day can help you and your babies develop a relationship where you can see their individual personalities coming out.
The most important thing for babies is a close emotional bond with a caregiver. This secure attachment gives them a feeling of safety which acts as a base from which to explore and learn about the world. It is also where they experiment with communication.
In the early weeks, make time to talk to your babies by incorporating it into the daily routine. For example, tell them everything you are doing as you change their nappies: this is how babies pick up words. Try to listen to your babies’ signals too, and when they start to make sounds, listen and respond.
Try getting some help. Even if it is only once a week, ask a trusted family member or friend to take one or more of the babies out for a stroll in the pram while you have some special time with just one. Swap around which of the babies goes out each time so that they all get a turn to spend time with you.
Some parents like to have a day each week which is ‘one-on-one day’: on Saturdays, for example, one of you could take one of the babies out for the morning, then swap over in the afternoon. That way each child gets some individual attention and a chance to develop their unique bond with a parent.
Below, Director and Family Consultant at Bespoke Family, Claire Burgess, talks what kind of activities you can do with your multiples, and dad Chris talks about what it's like to be a father to more than one.