7 Things You Didn't Know About Raising Newborn Twins
Expecting twins? You can never be too prepared for two.
Amita Shroff, MD
In the U.S, about three of every 100 pregnant women give birth to twins or triplets. And by many accounts, twin pregnancies are on the rise. Still, even experienced moms may not know what to expect when they bring home newborn twins.
While it is true that twins can bring double the joy, parenting twins can also require double the work -- at least initially.
"This is survival mode," says Jennifer Walker, Atlanta-based pediatric nurse and co-author of The Moms on Call Guide to Basic Baby Care. Walker is also a mother of twins.
The key to not feeling you're over your head with twins is planning ahead. Here's what the experts say.
1. No schedule means no life for you.
"It's hard enough with a single baby, but when you have newborn twins, things have to be on a schedule," Walker says. "You want to get the babies on the same feeding and napping schedules. They will eventually learn to adapt."
2. You can breastfeed both babies at the same time -- really!
"If you breastfeed, you can feed both babies at the same time with one twin on each breast. But it takes great coordination and patience," Walker says. "I personally did not like the way it felt."
She recalls that breastfeeding her newborn twins felt like she was balancing two bobbing heads. The solution? "I breast-fed one and bottle-fed the other," she says. "I would sit down on the floor, breastfeeding one infant while the other lay on a pillow in front of me or on my side with a bottle. The whole feeding experience would take me 45 minutes total."
3. One crib is fine in the beginning.
"Newborn twins can certainly remain in the same crib initially," Walker says. "If they sleep better when they know the other is close by, crib-sharing can last up until they move into their childhood beds."
Many parents may make the switch to two cribs when the twins begin to roll, bump into one another, and wake each other up, she says.
While one crib is fine, two car seats and a double-stroller are absolute musts for newborn twins.
4. Newborn twins may be more likely to have respiratory problems.
Newborn twins are more likely to be born early and underweight. "Preemies often have more respiratory issues because their lungs may not be as developed as babies born at term," pediatrician Alan Rosenbloom says. This doesn't mean that both premature newborn twins will have respiratory issues. "If you have two premature twins born at 32 weeks and one needs a breathing tube, this twin may be more likely to have respiratory issues down the road than a twin who had slightly more mature lungs and only needed some oxygen via a nasal cannula."