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Raising twins

3-minute read

Once your twins arrive, you'll be busy looking after looking after them. It’s wise to look for practical information about what to expect while you are still pregnant.

When you have twins, you will most likely need as much support as you can get from family and friends. It can also help to talk to other people who have had twins and are in a similar position. The Australian Multiple Birth Association has local clubs that provide support, information and equipment to borrow.

Sleep

A good sleeping routine for you and your babies is important. If your twins are born prematurely, they might spend time in neonatal care. The noise and frequent handling that babies are subjected to in hospital can affect their sleep routine. You can help them develop a good routine by massage, music and setting up good sleep patterns.

In the early stages, you may want to have both twins sleep in the same cot, particularly if this was done in neonatal care. However. it’s a good idea to be flexible about it. For example, one baby might be comfortable in a cot and the other might prefer a bassinette.

Sometimes one twin is settled and the other is not. The settled twin usually gets used to the unsettled one and won’t wake up. If both twins are unsettled, if possible have someone who can help you.

With both babies, always follow safe sleeping guidelines. The Australian Multiple Birth Association also has information on settling and routine. If you can get your babies into a good sleep routine, you can use that time to catch on sleep for yourself.

The ‘twin bond’

Even before they are born twins touch, hold and hug each other. The bond can be very strong and you might feel left out. It’s important to accept this, while knowing you will still be a significant person in their lives and you will have your own bond with them.

If you have other children, you might notice that their behaviour gets worse for a while. They might have tantrums, be aggressive towards the twins, go backwards in their development or withdraw. It is important you have one-on-one time with your other children so they don’t feel left out.

Twins might also feel sibling rivalry with each other. While it was good to bond and share a womb as twins, it’s a whole different story to share a toy or a mother as a toddler.

Getting out and about

You may find it harder to get out and about with your twins than other parents who have single babies. It helps to be organised by making sure the nappy bag is well stocked with nappies, wipes, formula and snacks. You might also need plenty of help and support from friends and family to get out.

Toddler twins

As your twins grow, you have double the chance of tantrums. As for any child, these happen for a range of reasons, including boredom, hunger and tiredness. But you can also have double the chances of the surprises and joy that kids can bring.

You may feel exhausted raising twins but it's important to try to make the most of your play time with them - the time to just bond and enjoy.

More information

You can find more information about twins on the Twins Research Australia and the Australian Multiple Birth Association websites.

Sources:

Cochrane Library (Sound reduction management in the neonatal intensive care unit for preterm or very low birth weight infants), Cochrane Library (Co-bedding in neonatal nursery for promoting growth and neurodevelopment in stable preterm twins), Twins Research Australia (The psychology of rearing twins and multiples), Tresillian (Tresillian tips for sleep and settling)

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Last reviewed: October 2019


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