Twins can be twice as nice, or partners in crime. But at least you get double the love and double the snuggles. Whether you’re pregnant with twins or you’re already a mom, it’s no exaggeration to say that raising twins (or multiples) can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be twice as hard.
In fact, there are some twin moms and dads that argue that raising twins is easier than parenting two children of different ages. You might agree or disagree with that fact, but read on and you’ll see the perks of raising twins.
Here are 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Raising Twins:
1. They Need To Be On The Same Schedule
This may be hard at first, but you have to try. The sooner that you get your twins on the same schedule, the easier your life will be. If your twins are on different schedules, you’ll basically be up 24 hours a day. That makes for a very unhappy mom, and two fussy babies!
If your twins leave the hospital on a feeding and napping schedule, try to keep it up once you’re safely home. This means when one baby wakes up to eat, wake up the other baby and feed him or her at the same time. And when it’s time to put one to sleep, try to get your other twin to sleep as well.
Your twins may not be in sync right away, but they will learn to adapt.
2. Breastfeeding Isn’t Impossible – Feed Twins at the Same Time
The breast is best; so don’t deprive your twins of the helpful antibodies and perfect blend of nutrition that can only be found in breast milk. And despite what you might think, breastfeeding with twins is possible.
Obviously, you won’t be breastfeeding your newborn twins simultaneous in the first few days that they’re home. Your babies will need to get the hang of it. Plus, twins may be more difficult to breastfeed, since a majority of twins are born prematurely. They may have a harder time latching on.
Not to worry – Breastfeeding your twins can be done, but it takes practice and help. To make nursing more comfortable, invest in a good nursing pillow (or just surround yourself with a lot of pillows). There are a few companies that make nursing pillows for twins, such as the EZ-2 Nurse Twins or My Brest Friend Deluxe Twin Nursing Pillow.
Get the nursing pillow in place and get your husband or significant other to help you implement the football nursing hold – you will hold each twin at your side with your elbows bent. You will support each baby’s head with the closest hand, and each twin’s back will rest on your forearm.
Breastfeeding two babies at the same time takes a lot of patience and coordination. Some women may not like the sensation. If you find it uncomfortable, you can nurse one baby, while you give your other twin a bottle of pumped breast milk.
Do what works for you and your family.
3. You Don’t Need To Buy Two of Everything
Just because you’re having twins, this doesn’t mean you need to buy two of everything. Let’s start in the nursery. You don’t need two cribs initially. Newborn twins can sleep in the same crib in the beginning. In fact, they may sleep better when the other one is close by. Many parents make the switch to two separate cribs once the babies start to roll and bump into each other, though some parents allow their twins to crib share until they’re ready for toddler beds.
In addition to the single crib, you can get by with buying a single changing table and a single activity mat. Other gear, like car seats, baby swings, and high chairs will need to be bought in pairs.
When shopping for your twins, don’t forget to stock up on diapers (twins go through a lot!), towels, burp cloths, and blankets.
One of the perks of parenting twins are the shopping discounts you can find. There are many stores – like Babies R Us – that offer discounts for twin parents. You can find discounts on diapers and other baby products.
4. Expect Twins to Share Everything – including Germs and Language
A twin bond is special, and most twins share everything – including the germs that they get.
When you have a sick twin, chances are high that the other baby will also catch the illness, especially if they are sharing the same crib. You may consider separating your twins if one comes down with a contagious infection. While you can’t completely reduce the risk to zero, you can minimize the possibility of sickness.
In addition to sharing germs, twins grow up imitating each other. It’s easy for twins to use the same nonsense word for something – i.e. “wawa” for “water.” You should correct this when it happens. You should repeat the correct word back to your twins. This will help socialize them and teach them proper language skills.
5. Twins May Look Alike, But They’re Different People
One important thing to understand about raising twins is that they’re different people. No matter if your twins are identical or fraternal, you should never compare them to each other. Each baby has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. You should encourage your twins’ differences to minimize any competition and comparison.
Twins often have opposite personalities, and they may need different things from their parents at times. Raising twins takes a lot of juggling from your part, but parenting will get easier. As a twin parent, you will quickly learn how to handle and raise your twins!
6. Twins Hit all Major Milestones Together
Parenting twins might be easier than raising two children of different ages. Twins will go through all major milestones at the same time. They will go through the terrible two’s at the same time; they’ll be potty trained around the same time. Raising twins also means that you’ll have one bath time and one bedtime ritual. This makes parenting much easier on you!
Plus, twins are usually each other’s buddies. They play together. They teach each other (even though they don’t realize it). And they entertain each other when you can’t. They have a special bond that’s wonderful to watch.
Here’s another perk – twins rarely throw tantrums at the same time. When one twin is having a hissy fit, the other one is calm and normal.
7. Bonding Can Be More Difficult with Twins
Don’t feel guilty or struggle with mommy guilt just because the bond between you and your twins isn’t immediately. This is actually a common complaint of twin parents – they can have trouble bonding with their babies. When there are two babies, it can take longer for you to learn about each one. Plus, you’re probably overwhelmed with all of your responsibilities. This can make connecting with your twins harder.
You aren’t a bad mother if you don’t feel the instant bond with your twins. You might even have a favorite twin. Not to worry – next month, your favorite twin might be the other baby. All of these feelings are normal. Just be patient with yourself. Bonding and the connection will come in time.