Support Services for Parents of Twins
Having twins may give you more to worry about than simply needing two of everything. Parents of twins are even more time pressed and sleep deprived, with the extra cost of food, clothing and accommodation being a big headache too. Thankfully there are many support services and agencies within New Zealand who know how hard it is and are here to help you.
Financial Support for Parents of Twins
There are three government agencies which work together to help parents with twins: Work and Income, Working for Families and the Ministry of Education.
Work and Income Multiple Birth Home Help Payments – parents of twins who also have another child under the age of 5, are entitled to receive 240 hours of assistance in their home within the first 12 months after the birth of their twins. This is to help with things such as housework or cooking around your home. For more information, MultiplesNZ has a fantastic resource document to help you apply. It is important that you apply well BEFORE your babies are born as it can take a while for the application to be processed and can take multiple trips to your local WINZ office which is not ideal when you have newborn twins!
Working for Families Tax Credits – depending on your family income and children’s ages, you may be eligible for one of four payment types from Inland Revenue.
Childcare Subsidies – there are childcare subsidies available from Work and Income and Working for Families, though they are dependent on the age of your twins and your household income. You can find out more about these in our Childcare Options article.
Other Work and Income Support – also depending on your financial circumstances, there are other support payments which you may be eligible for including Accommodation Supplement, Special Needs Grant, Transition to Work grant and a Temporary Additional Support grant.
Other Support Services for Twins
Postnatal depression is an utterly horrible experience for any new Mum and her family. Reaching out for help is hard, especially with the society expecting us to manage everything on our own. Yet there are plenty of ways to get help if you or another Mum are experiencing PND.
Mothers Matter – a nationwide website with explanations of PND and links to NZ wide support agencies.
Mothers Helpers – has some useful questionnaires to help identify if you may be suffering from postnatal depression, as well as help on finding the right support for you and your family.
Mental Health Foundation – a solid explanation of PND, signs and symptoms, myths and links to support services.
There are also other more general support services available including:
MultiplesNZ – the national body that represents 13 local Multiple Birth Clubs and the nationwide Triplets Plus group, consisting of over 1500 families throughout New Zealand. They provide education, support and advocacy via the local multiple birth clubs. For more information on joining a local club you can find out more on our multiple birth club article.
Plunketline – a friendly ear of a registered Plunket nurse is always available 24/7 at 0800 933 922. They have plenty of empathy and experience themselves, so are a great way of getting support or help and especially so in the middle of the night!
Mothercraft Unit – Waikato Hospital has a Mothercraft unit where Mum and her babies can stay for a week at a time for help with feeding, sleep issues, PND and even for support when you have reached the end of your tether. However, you and your babies must reside in the area set by the WDHB to be eligible to attend.
Plunket Family Centres – In some areas around New Zealand, extra help and support on parenting is available from Plunket family centres. Centres are staffed by Plunket nurses and volunteers. They offer support and information on different parenting issues including breastfeeding, infant nutrition, sleeping, child behaviour and parent/family needs. This is a free service and your Plunket nurse will be able to tell you if there is one close to you.
Bellyful – meals are cooked and delivered by volunteers for free to parents with new born babies or young families with a member who has a terminal illness. It is based on an emotional, not financial need and you can refer yourself or a friend.
Early Buds – a free pack containing clothing, toys and other essential items are given to premature babies by this Rotorua based charity.
Little Sprouts – another charity offering new babies in need a free box of baby essentials including clothing, bedding, toys and even baby food.
Having twins is hard work both physically and emotionally. We’ve been there and we know that though asking for help can be hard, it’s the support of family, friends and other support services which make life just that little bit easier. Help is available, so please remember there is no need to struggle alone.