Extend paid parental leave for those with multiple births or premature babies, urges MP

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng feeding his twin daughters, Poppy (left) and Katie, who were born 10 weeks premature in February. Even now, he says, he is back in hospital

Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng feeding his twin daughters, Poppy (left) and Katie, who were born 10 weeks premature in February. Even now, he says, he is back in hospital “every other week” as the girls have to see a host of specialists.

Ms Emily Chung, 40, has hit the twins jackpot, not once but twice. But as with almost 60 per cent of twins, all four of her children were born premature.

The first set were born at 35 weeks in 2011, and the second at 31 weeks in 2014. This has meant long stays in the neonatal intensive care unit (Nicu) and the special care nursery.

For instance, in 2014, Ms Chung and her husband shuttled for two months between the hospital and home, where two toddlers aged three also demanded care.

They worried about the newborns: One was born at just 1.3kg and the other needed heart surgery at week three – something her husband, a civil servant, was absent for because he could not take leave.

“I was also stressed about going back to work as we were not sure when the twins were going to get discharged,” said Ms Chung, a bank manager. And when the twins were discharged, she had “no more than 20 minutes of sleep at any given time”. Her domestic helper and mother did not dare to handle the babies, who were tiny.

Her experience is not rare among parents of premature twins. Nee Soon GRC MP Louis…

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