December 28, 2015

Raising Twins

My twin kids, Julia and Rafael just turned 13 last December 8. I just realized I haven't written an article about raising twins.  It's never too late, as more and more people I know are giving birth to twins, just like Vangie, my favorite bank teller. I hope this can be of help to those who are expecting twins.

While it is true that twins can bring double the joy, parenting twins can also require double the work . Allow me to  run down important things I have learned for the past 12 years. You can never be too prepared for two. 

1.  Shop early on for baby equipment and prepare your house. Set up a portable crib or playpen in the area where you will be spending most of your time with the babies, so that you have a safe place to leave one baby in case you need to attend to the other.

2. Hook up with other parents of twins because they can tell you what to expect.

3.  Hire 2 nannies (if you can afford). If not, be sure to enlist the help of friends and relatives. You'll really appreciate an extra set of hands. 

4. You can breastfeed both babies at the same time, although nursing two infants at once is tricky, yes you can, really! Buy a U-shaped nursing pillow because  fits comfortably around your waist and keeps both babies at the breast, leaving your hands free to adjust each baby's mouth.  Just experiment with different positions to find what works best for you.

5. If you cannot breastfeed both babies at the same time, don't be guilty to bottle-feed the other. Sit down on the floor, breastfeeding one infant while the other lay on a pillow in front with a bottle. The whole feeding experience would require coordination, balance and patience.

6. Refer to them by name rather than as "the twins".

7.  It's important to treat your babies as individuals so that they begin to see themselves that way too.  and as they get older, make sure they have their own clothes and special toys.

8.  Celebrate their individuality. Twins are two children who just happen to be the same age, born on the same day but they have different personalities and likes.  Encourage the differences between twins and never compare them to one another.

9. Avoid favoritism. As a mom, sometimes you may need to remind yourself that when you feel particularly frustrated with one twin for behavioral reasons, it is not that you favor his/her sibling. When you are exasperated and exhausted, remember to separate the act from the actor. Don't guilt yourself into believing you "favor" one of your twins.

10.  Separating the twins eventually is also helpful. When they turned elementary we placed them on a separate school. Julia in an exclusive for girls, and Rafael in an all boys school. It is in their best interest to be separated and to get their own group of friends because it encourages independent decision-making and better self esteem.

Contrary to popular belief that raising twins is hard, raising twins is easier because they have each other to play with so they learn the value of sharing early on. They' may be double the work, but twins are also double the love, kisses, and hugs.

This cute, colorful, informative and helpful book, Twice as Nice, written by Nicole Rubel, about raising twins is a good read. Try and find at online stores as they may be out of stock already from popular bookstores because it was originally published on October 6, 2004.

Fraternal twins Bonnie and Ronnie take readers on a whirlwind tour of twinship, interspersing informative segments on everything from "Where Do Twins Come From?" to "What Are the Odds?" with amusing sections of twin riddles, advice to twins, twin interviews, and snappy answers to dumb twin questions ("Wow, am I seeing double?" "Yes, maybe you should get your eyes checked"). Also included: a retelling of the story of two of the most famous twins of all time, Jacob and Esau, and dozens of fascinating snippets about amazing twins from history and the present day, among them Castor and Pollus, Abby and Ann, and Mary-Kate and Ashley.

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