Dear Barb—Twin Training

Dear Barb:

I am a first-time mom of twin girls.  My husband and I were surprised, to say the least, when we were told we were having twins.  We knew there was a possibility of having twins since they run in both our families, but the reality was still a shock.  Our girls are three months old, and my husband and I are crazy busy, but loving it as well.  I have read many books and have received a lot of advice from family and friends about raising twins and some of the issues we may face.  However, I am wondering what, in your opinion, is the biggest challenges we may face in raising twins.  Mom of Two in PEI.

Hi Mom of Two:

Congratulations on the birth of your twin girls.  I also have twins in my family, so I have heard and witnessed some of the challenges faced by family members.  The incident of twin births has increased over the last few decades because of women becoming pregnant at an older age.  Part of the reason for this is because older couples tend to use fertility drugs, which increases your chances of having a multiple birth.  Also, as you age, a woman’s ovaries tends to release several eggs per month, therefore increasing the chance of more eggs being fertilized.  The probability of having identical twins is one in approximately 250, whereas the chance of having non identical twins varies according to whether they run in families, especially on the mother’s side.  Non identical twins tend to run in my family.

I did some research and came up with five prevailing challenges parents face when raising twins.  The main being sharing your attention between two children of the same age, as they both have the same level of needs.  When planning activities or outings, try to plan things that both children will enjoy.  If possible, bring along another caregiver.  A big issue with twins is whether to dress them alike.  The consensus seems to say not to dress them alike, treat them as individuals.  Allow them to choose some of their own clothes, and always refer to them by name, not “the twins.”  Also encourage them to explore different activities, do not register them both for the same events, unless of course that is something they want to do.  It is important for each of them to have their own birthday cakes and gifts.  Try not to give the same gifts when possible.  They deserve to be recognized for their uniqueness.  Another prominent issue with twins is separation anxiety.  Since twins are together almost all the time, they may have some difficulty separating from each other, which is a normal reaction.  Therefore, it important for you to provide them with time apart.  For example, send one to grandma’s for a sleepover and the next time send the other one.  This will also provide you and your husband bonding time with each child.  There are many issues you will face in raising multiples, but the rewards are immense.  A good place to begin your journey as parents of twins is to join a support group in your area, a meeting place when parents can talk about the challenges they are facing and be able to learn from other parents who may have already experienced similar issues.  Best of luck and I hope this information was helpful.

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