An exciting time
Having twins can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It can also be one of the most demanding. While twins will bring you special joys, caring for twins is a big job. Sometimes just getting through the day can seem overwhelming.
Here are some ideas about how to make life with twins a little easier.
The first few months after the babies arrive can be a blur of diapers and feedings. Take the chance during pregnancy to look for help in those first months. Accept any help that is offered--it can make a big difference. Talk with your partner about how the duties of caring for the babies can be shared. Having both parents involved in child care is both good for you and your children.
Start childbirth classes early. Many twins are born prematurely (before the due date). If you don't start classes early, you may not finish before the twins are born. Make all your other arrangements early too, so you're ready.
What else can I do to prepare?
- Contact your local Mothers of Twins Club. Talking with others who have had twins is invaluable. You can get many helpful ideas and advice from the parents in this group about how to get through those early years.
- Read some of the books written about caring for twins. These books can give you more helpful tips and tell you what to expect. You may also want to subscribe to a magazine for parents of twins.
- If you consider breastfeeding, get some advice from those who have it from the Mothers of Twins Club of La Leche League (a support group for mother's who breastfeed). It might be less difficult than you think.
What should I expect?
Expect to be tired. It will be a long time before you get a full night's sleep, so take every chance to rest during the day. With the intensity of the experience of having twins, expect to have some negative feelings from time to time, too. It is natural to have these feelings. Try not to feel guilty about having them. Most parents of twins have moments when they feel they aren't up to the job of caring for the twins. These feelings won't last and you will soon get the hang of life with twins.
As you get used to life with twins, don't forget about yourself or your partner. Talk to each other about your feelings and problems. Try to find some way to take a break regularly. You need it and you deserve it! Also, remember to give other children in the family the attention they need. The amount of time that it takes to care for twins can make other siblings feel forgotten. Make a special effort to set aside time regularly to be alone with the other children.
What are some things to avoid?
One of the most difficult jobs for all children is to learn who they are as people and how they are different from others around them. This job is harder for twins, especially identical ones, who are always being compared with one another. There are things you can do to help:
- Avoid picking names for the twins that rhyme or sound alike.
- Avoid dressing the twins alike.
- Avoid referring to them as "the twins." Use their names just as you would 2 children of different ages. It helps them learn who they are.
- Don't make comparisons between the twins and don't create competition between them. It is natural for all siblings to compare themselves and be competitive with each other. Being a twin and being constantly compared with your twin can make these feelings worse. You may want to think about putting them in different classrooms at school.
It’s also important to give each twin time alone with you. They need to know they are important as individuals and not just as twins. Make a special effort to speak and read frequently to each child. This may help with the delay in language development that some twins have.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff