Twins are an undeniably exciting addition. Behind the adorable matching outfits and double strollers, though, is a lot of work and worry. The first year can feel like a giant mystery, even if you're not a first-time parent. While every baby and set of twins are unique, there are a few things parents of infant twins can probably expect from the first twelve months.
Delivering twins is never completely predictable. Unexpected complications can occur in late pregnancy, from twin to twin transfusion syndrome to early labor. Premature birth is more common. If the twins are in different amniotic sacs, one water can break before the other. Twins can even be born days or weeks apart.
As long as the parents are meeting with their doctor and things look okay, there's no reason to panic. While creating the birth plan, however, it's good to leave room for surprises.
There is a lot of conventional wisdom on how to tell whether twins are identical or fraternal. Identical twins tend to share a placenta, while fraternals usually have separate amniotic sacs. People may examine the babies for identical features. While these can be hints, none of them is a sure way to tell whether twins are identical.
Some identical twins have different placentas or look different due to small changes that occurred during pregnancy. Fraternal twins can look identical, especially in the first year of life. The only way to know for sure is a DNA test.
Research suggests parents of twins are more vulnerable to mental health challenges, postpartum depression, and anxiety. At any point in the first year, either parent can experience severe mood swings, uncontrollable crying, difficulty bonding with the baby, fear, anger, and even thoughts of suicide.
Postpartum symptoms do not mean someone is a bad parent or that they don't love their babies. There are treatments that can help, so it is important to share any symptoms or feelings with a doctor.
It is possible most of the time to feed two babies at once, but that doesn't make it easy. New parents might rely on lactation consultants in the hospital and may need to master feeding each baby separately first. Bottle feeding can be a valuable resource because it allows the work to be shared between parents or caregivers.
For those who are breastfeeding twins, special pillows can help support the babies while they eat. Another tip is to alternate breasts to ensure both infants are getting enough milk.
Newborn twins require roughly 150 diaper changes and over 100 feedings every week. For the first few months, parents may be caught in a blur trying to meet the competing needs of two babies.
If parents have family or friends that can help or can afford a nanny, it's a good idea to arrange regular support. There are also twin parent clubs that can provide advice and help.
Placing twins in a cot together for the first few months can help regulate their body temperatures and sleep patterns. This can also allow them to stay in the same bedroom as their parents more easily. It is recommended infants sleep in the same room as parents for the first six months if possible.
Twins can attract a lot of attention. While that can be fun, some parents may become overwhelmed by comments and questions. An even bigger concern is strangers who try to touch the babies. Asking people to step back, buying a sign for the stroller or sanitizing the babies' hands after the interaction can help keep them safe from illness.
Many twin parents dream of their babies being best friends and playing together. Twins at around six months to a year may notice one another, babble, or reach out, but they're more likely to play side by side than together until they're older. This is called parallel play and it's a natural part of development for siblings and unrelated infants alike.
From a young age, a parent of twins may notice they're mimicking each other's babbles. Twins may begin to use words, gestures, and sounds unique to them as they approach their first birthdays. This can develop into cryptophasia, a private language between twins that others don't understand.
This made-up language might concern some parents, but most twins develop perfectly fine language skills later on. Speak with a pediatrician if you are concerned.
While long delays are a concern, parents shouldn't worry if one twin masters walking, rolling over, talking, or crawling before their sibling. It's typical for twins to hit milestones at different times, even if they're identical.
Many parents of twins find that one child can inspire the other. A baby may be more determined to crawl if they see their twin zooming around the living room.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.