Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Twins: Taking Care of
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 impossible. Fortunately, many other parents have been
through the same thing. They can tell you ways to make things easier. Here are
some ideas about how to make life with twins more of a joy and less of a burden.
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. Even though this
may be hard for you to do, 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 good for your children as well as for you. Start
childbirth classes early. Many twins are born prematurely. 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 should we
- Contact your local Mothers of Twins Club. Talking
with others who have had twins is invaluable. You can get many helpful ideas
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 helpful ideas and tell you what to expect. You
may want to subscribe to a magazine for parents of twins.
- Consider breast feeding. Breast milk is the best
way to feed a baby even when there are two. Many women breast-feed twins. Get
some advice from those who have done it from the Mothers of Twins Club or La
Leche League (a support group for mothers who breast feed). It might be easier
than you think.
- 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.
- Expect to have some negative feelings from time
to time. With the intensity of the experience of having twins, 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.
- 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.
What shouldn't we
- Don't pick names for the twins that sound alike.
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
- Don't dress them alike, for the same reason.
- Don't call them "the twins." Use their names just
as you would two 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.
- Don't forget the other children in the family.
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.
- 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!