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Multiples -- The Early Days

The Bureau of Labor Statistics pins the percent of twin births at about 3 percent of all live births as of 2005. But, really, doesn't it seem like twins are everywhere these days? The next door neighbor. Friends. In the classroom. Cousins. Co-workers. Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony.

I, for one, can't get enough of watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 on Discovery's TLC. Watching them manage to feed, clothe and care for twins and sextuplets makes me appreciate the simplicity of my singleton boys.

Twins' moms concur wholeheartedly. Bridget Stokes of Clarksburg, Md., knows the differences firsthand. First, she gave birth to twins, ages 3 1/2. Their sibling followed two years later.

Stokes describes the pregnancy realities as far different from her expectations: "The nausea was five times worse. Halfway through the pregnancy, the aches and pains were terrible. Everything hurt. The reflux was out of control. I couldn't eat food and had to drink Ensure shakes just to gain weight." Her second pregnancy was a complete joy in comparison, Stokes says, allowing her to exercise to the end.

Then came Stokes' twins birth. The twins were 4 1/2 weeks early, weighing between 5 and 6 pounds. "We had to wake them up every 2 hours to feed them. It was torture at night. Just as you're falling asleep, you'd have to wake them again," Stokes says. It didn't help, she admits, that she put so much pressure on herself. While her daughter nursed easily, her son couldn't latch properly. So, she both nursed and pumped. "They'd both cry at the same time. You're a parent and you have to reconcile yourself to which child to go to first." Finally, Stokes said, she realized that you have to let go and realize that "it's okay to hear them cry."


Colleen Fisher holds sons Gus and Mack

Colleen Fisher of Chevy Chase, who had a 21-month-old son when she gave birth to identical twins, recalls those first six months as terrible. First came the doctor visit to confirm the pregnancy, and surprise, two heartbeats. Fisher had three thoughts: First, she says, I thought there's no way I can handle this. Second, was a "religious moment" that God wouldn't give her more than she could handle even though she describes herself as not overly spiritual. Her third thought: "We need a really big car!" The first few days at the hospital were great, Fisher says. The nurses had the babies on a rigid schedule; they fed every 3 hours during their two-week stay in the NICU. But that false sense of security devolved quickly once Fisher and her husband brought the babies home.

One would wake at night and she and her husband would have to decide whether to wake the other. Though they were paying $170 for a night nurse, it really didn't pay off, Fisher says. They ended up with two pack and plays in the living room with both parents sleeping on the couch. Each one was assigned a baby. They'd get up in the morning to a kitchen sink full of bottles and crying. "It was awfully overwhelming," said Fisher. To complicate matters, the babies were attached to heart monitors for three months; wherever the babies went, along went two laptops for monitoring.

"We had them in February," Fisher says. "And one day, we woke up and it was August." It took a long time to iron out what help they needed, she says, adding that changing the help from the night nurse to $10 college sitters between 5 and 8 p.m. (the Witching Hours) served the family much better.

Do you recall that first year of your children's lives? What would you change to make your life more manageable? What worked? Parents of multiples: What advice would you give others about to embark on your journey?

Next Week: Multiples Part 2

By Stacey Garfinkle |  February 25, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
Previous: Disciplining Someone Else's Kid | Next: The Curse of the Picky Eater

Comments


I was having a conversation with a coworker about having a second child. She said, wouldn't you want twins? A resounding NO! was my answer. One is more than enough. I'm thankful I didn't have to go through fertility treatments for many reasons, one of which is the possibility of multiples.

Posted by: atb | February 25, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Identical twins are always really cute!

Posted by: DandyLion | February 25, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The first year with twins is always a challenge - although my husband and I were fortunate, as we didn't have any other children. Our feeding schedule (every three hours) worked well during the day, but not at all at night. We were told that when one baby woke to feed, we should wake the other so that we could feed them together. Well, have you ever tried to persuade a sleeping baby to feed when she doesn't want to? Believe me, it didn't work for our twins. Once we accepted this, and fed them on their own schedule at night, they settled down and started to sleep longer between feeds at night. By four months, they were sleeping from around 11pm to around 5am.

One thing that I would have done differently - I breast-fed my girls until they were 15 months old, and I never offered them bottles at all. This proved to be a problem when I began to wean them - they rejected bottles outright, and never took to the rubber nipple. If I were to do this again, I would ensure that the babies became used to the bottle early enough to ensure a smoother weaning process.

Posted by: Jill de Roos | February 25, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Our twins just turned 21 but I remember well the first year. Our eldest was 2 1/2 when the twins were born. We also found it best to let them be on their own schedule at night. While I breast-fed till they were six months, they both were given a bottle once at night by my husband. That allowed us to trade off night duty and also made it easier if I wanted to go out without them. The best thing we were able to do was keep our eldest in his day care situation. During the day I could focus on caring for the twins and then focus on him when he came home. Other mothers of multiples would always say 'it will get easier'. It does. Enjoy!

Posted by: eidebc | February 25, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

My twins (identical young men, now) are 26. I don't remember much about the first year of their lives, except that anyone who came through the front door was liable to be handed a baby! Due to the relative infancy of ultrasound back then, we had 3 days notice that twins were coming. Had to get one more of everything on short notice (found out on a Friday afternoon), and two more sets of names, since gender determination was a 50-50 thing then. But we found out that if you survive the first year, and if you have the kind of twins who are rule-enforcers rather than co-conspirators, it's heavenly after that. Wouldn't trade the experience for anything. And yes, when you mention that you have twins, it seem like about every third person you meet are twins.

Posted by: Bill Mosby | February 25, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I have 5 month old twins, and no night nurses or other help. It's a lot of work, but not nearly as much work as this post makes it out to be. Although my husband and I marvel at how easy one baby must be.

Posted by: poster | February 25, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

My first few weeks with my new baby were a blur. He stayed up all night and slept all day. If I wouldn't have had someone staying with me, I would have never gotten any sleep. I can't imagine having twins.

Posted by: Irishgirl | February 25, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm an identical twin and had nannied for twins when I was in undergrad, so I dearly hoped DD would be one, too. I'm sure it must have been hard on my parents at first, but I loved being a twin, and wanted that for DD).

Once DD was born, I wasn't sure I wanted twins anymore, but now that we'll be needing infertility treatment, I find myself once again hoping for twins. Hey, if I have to stick needles into my body every day, might as well get some extra benefit, right?

Posted by: newsahm | February 25, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I have 3 kids - 6 1/2 year old son and twins - boy and girl - age 17 months.

I am not sure that my husband and I could have done anything different. Make no mistake - the 1st several months are just no fun at all! My mom stayed with us and helped out tremendously. Not so much at night, but during the day which allowed me to catch up on sleeping. My poor husband still went to work, tired and all, and never complained.

We worked together at night (no, we didn't have night nurses either)to take care of the babies when they woke up. Once one woke up, we woke up the other to feed them both so that we could maintain some type of schedule. It did work out for a while, but after about 6-8 weeks, we stopped waking if one was sleeping. It was my daughter that tended to sleep longer, so we let her. She still sleeps late now and doesn't wake up at all in the night.

The best advice is to take help when it is offered. And for anyone who says they can't imagine having twins - you just do what you have to do. Amazingly, it works out and they are a ton of fun. For those with other kids older than twins, be sure to carve out special time for them.

Posted by: Nina | February 25, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"I'm thankful I didn't have to go through fertility treatments for many reasons, one of which is the possibility of multiples. "

They do occur spontaneously as well :). I was only 30 when I became pregnant this time, and have no family history of twins so I never expected it at all. I didn't even find out there were 2 babies until I was 20 weeks along (and I know 2 other people this happened to). They are due this spring and I am scared to death! We also have a daughter who is almost 3, and debated long and hard about even having a second, let alone a third. I am sure things will work out, I'm just trying to take a long-term view and keep my sense of humor.

I was not expecting this pregnancy to be so much harder than my last, though. I figured I would have a relatively easy time like I did the last time. Ha! It's like the rate of growth is so fast your body never has a chance to get used to it, and everything just hurts all the time. Does make chasing the toddler awfully challenging.

I have a neighbor with twins and she said the first year was really, really hard but after that it was really easy because the kids just played together all day. I'm hoping that proves to be the case with us as well.

Posted by: reston, va | February 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I have 3 1/2 year old twin boys, and I wouldn't change a thing. My one piece of advice (and this is easier for twin parents) is not to tiptoe when they are babies! If they can sleep through noise, it will make your life a lot easier. And remember, even when it's hard, they are totally worth it.

Posted by: RH | February 25, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

My 3 yr old twins were born 15 weeks early at barely 1 1/2 pounds each. They were in the hospital for 4 1/2 months and still came home on oxygen and heart monitors. The next 6 months were the hardest of my life (and my husbands). Each girl would only eat 1-2 oz of formula at each feeding every 3 hours. So we were literally feeding someone all the time. They both had bad reflux and one even had a feeding tube for 2 months because she would not take anything from the bottle. The girls came home on Thanksgiving Day and I was finally able to leave the house with both of them at the same time (not to a doctor)in April. And we finally got rid of their heart monitors in June.

The girls are healthy now. They are still quite small for their age, but they are fantastic eaters and have reached all the appropriate milestones! Needless to say, I don't have any other children. . .

Posted by: LBH219 | February 25, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I have two sets of twins and three singletons. Twins are in a class of parenting all by themselves. The pregnancy is different, I measured full term at 30 weeks both times with seven to eight more weeks until delivery. I couldn't walk, couldn't lay flat and toward the end couldn't reach the sink to do do dishes. The first few months were incredibly hard, two crying babies, three singles needing care, a husband with a new job and every day was a blur of diapers and no sleep.
With my first set I forced the same schedule on them. I woke them up at night and changed and fed them-they did really well and I gave them one bottle a day so I wasn't their only source of food. My second set of twins has been harder in every way. They would not, no matter what I did, be on the same schedule. They slept and ate when they wanted and they payed no attention to my wants. They also have very similar personalities so they both want to be the boss, and they are co-conspirators in life, making messes and noise wherever they go.
Now they are four and they are so cute together. They giggle and laugh and play all day. They are funny though because one of them is very proud of being a twin and tells everyone "we are twins". Her twin sister however denies it whenever she is asked with a loud "NO".
There are more challenges to twins then just the baby years. My older set are in the second grade and school can be challenging. Two birthday parties, two classes to volunteer for holiday parties, two sets of birthday invitations, two sets of homework and the list goes on and on. They have also become more competative over time and the grades and school work is an easy way for them to compare against each other. We haven't even gotten to the teenage years yet with them.
I have always made a point of spending time with my older kids by themselves so they know they are important too. The public loves multiples and forgets that the other kids are not selectively deaf when people are fawning over the "wonderful twins".
My advice to those expecting twins is the same for any new mom, sleep when the baby sleeps, accept any help, see if someone will give you a frozen meals shower, and be sure to try and take care of yourself because a crazy mommy isn't good for anyone.
And yes, there are lots more multiples now then ever before with the fertility treatments and women waiting longer to have babies. Our small local town has over two hundred mothers with multiples, that is a lot of babies.

Posted by: magnificent7mom | February 25, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

When we were first pregnant with our daughter, I secretly hoped for twins. Between the miscarriages and fertility stuff, I felt extremely lucky even to manage a healthy pregnancy. So part of me thought if we didn't have twins, we might not be able to manage a second. And the other part of me thought, pregnancy is so freaking miserable might as well get it all over with at once. :-) I was a little disappointed to find out she was a singleton. Of course, as soon as our daughter arrived, and I realized just how much work even one was, I wondered what the heck I'd been thinking! Of course, now that she's older, I'm back to thinking, "gee, that would have been nice." :-) My hat's off to everyone who has survived the first couple of years of multiples with marriage -- and sanity -- intact.

Posted by: Laura | February 25, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I have a 6 year old son and 3 year old boy/girl twins. The first year was a blur. Some days our life is like a circus. Most days, actually...but they are a lot of fun and fortunately get along with each other really well. My advice to someone about to have twins is to let go of any need for perfection you might have and get as organized as possible, ahead of time. To make your life easier, get the largest capacity washing machine/dryer set you can fit in your space. If you are having boy/girl twins get some gender neutral clothing. It makes packing the diaper bag easier. I also kept four sets of gender neutral clothes in my car. You never know which one is going to get dirty when you are out and about!

Posted by: Mom_2_LED | February 25, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"Sleep when the baby sleeps" If one more person said that to me, I was going to wallop them. When do twins sleep together????!!!! aargh

In any case, the best advice I can give is to join your local Parents of Multiples group (go to nomotc.org to find it). I am NOT a joiner, do NOT like those things and they saved my life. They told me all the things that were normal and all the things that were not and they totally helped me be sane. I absolutely think I am a better parent because I had two at first and I couldn't spoil or worry as much as I would have with one.

But if you think there are challenges at the newborn stage (and there are!!), just continue with same-sex twins through the school years. Challenges are not tiring at all, but they are exhausting!

Posted by: Andrea | February 25, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I was born 2 years after my twin brothers and all my life I heard what an easy, sweet adorable baby I was compared to the twins! And toddler and so on - it made teenage rebellion almost nothing to my parents - what could I do that the 2 of them hadn't put my parents through already!

Posted by: Amelia | February 25, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

To magnificent7mom and Andrea: Today's blog is part of a series of blogs I'm writing on multiples. I'd love to chat with you further about the school years with multiples. Please e-mail me at parenting@washingtonpost.com. Thanks.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | February 25, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

the comments about school years reminded me how challenging elementary/middle school was with our boy/girl twins. Their academic abilities developed at very different paces and we worked hard to not let her get overshadowed by her brother. They were in seperate classes and we made a point of not doing homework or reviewing grades/tests together. By high school, they were in different schools which really allowed them to develop individually. As different as they are, they have both been very successful academically and I think they would both tell you, that while they knew what we were doing (at least by middle school), that the strategy worked.

Posted by: eidebc | February 25, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

This brings back so many memories - good and bad. My fraternal girls are now 17 and high school seniors. Doing college applications for two has been stressful. New moms of multiples, some parts are easier and some are harder (particularly the first year) but the joy of their bonding is incredible. Piece of advice - separate them in school when they are ready (for our girls, first grade)to avoid direct comparison.

Posted by: Kirsten | February 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Wow, this brings back memories. We have identical twin daughters who are 8 and a 3 1/2 year old daughter. So many thoughts:

1)It was a scary pregnancy, as my wife was monitored for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (a condition where the twins share the placenta and fluid levels are not balanced). Fortunately the condition did not materialize, but the second trimester consisted of weekly ultrasounds and the hope amniotic levels remained in the normal range. Our daughters were born an ounce apart at 36 weeks.
2) We've never made the excuse of having twins slow us down. Much to the chagrin of other passengers, they've flown all over the country, and unfortunately for the twins, they've been on vacations they'll never remember.
3) We never dressed our twins in identical outfits and their names are very different.
4) They're currently in 2nd grade and have been in the same classrooms together since preschool. There have been studies and a NY Times article indicating that identical twins who remain together have higher reading levels, which we often show to teachers and administrators http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/24/national/24twins.html I think our daughters might be ready for different classrooms as the are naturally seeking more independence from each other.

I have loved being a dad of twins.

Posted by: Dan S. | February 25, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

My twin boys (non-identical) are now 2 1/4 years old and a joy to me and my wife. The first couple of months were rough. Breast feeding was particularly a problem as my wife struggled to produce enough milk to feed two hungry and rapidly growing boys. What we thought would be a
We wound up supplementing with formula.

The big (and I mean BIG) change was when both started sleeping through the night. We were very lucky in that one slept through the night fairly early and the second did as soon as he learned how to roll over. I might often be sleep deprived, but like the Stones say, you can't always get what you want, but sometimes you can get what you need.

The most striking aspect of parenting twins is finding out just how different they are, right from the beginning. Seeing the comparisons in real time is fascinating.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | February 25, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

In that picture, she's breastfeeding them all wrong.

Posted by: Tom T. | February 25, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I have a question about schools- do you get to decide whether your children will be in the same class or not? I thought that in Fairfax County, where I live, all twins were seperated in kindergarten regardless of the parents' wishes. But from what I'm reading here, that isn't the case everywhere. I imagine what works best is different for every set of twins, but I'd like to think I'll have some kind of a say in the matter.

Posted by: reston, va | February 25, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I will second the joining of your local mothers of multiples club. Mine has been a life and sanity saver.

As to when twins sleep I slept in the lazy boy rocker with mine while they breast fed and also when they were in their swings. I let my house go, I hired help and I made sure my whole family pitched in more. I had to re-evaluate my whole concept of what was clean enough.

My older girls are in the second grade. Our school district strongly recommends separation when they begin kindergarten. I wanted them separate so they could discover their own strengths and weaknesses and so they could develop on their own. I know of families that have kept their twins together and that has worked great for them. I think it really depends on the kids and their level of dependancy. I would not let any school district tell me what I have to do with my kids, they don't know them, their personalities, or needs--I believe in being a strong, but not obnoxious advocate for them and what they need.

I love the stories of older twins, especially girls, who have survived the hormones, dating, and high school with their relationship intact. I have heard that two hormonal teenage girls is not fun, but I haven't had to deal with that yet.

I encourage my kids to be independant of each other but I want them to have a strong sibling relationship and sometimes that is a difficult line to walk--twins or not.

Posted by: magnificent7mom | February 25, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I definitely do not envy the process of being a mother to two infants at once, let alone all the extra stress and change that pregnancy takes.

Not directly related to the topic, but how do people feel about multiples and the relationship to fertility treatment? Should there be some regulation?

Posted by: Liz D | February 25, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

For the first few years, we often dressed one twin, Bob, in blue, and the other, Fred, in red for quick identification. Assuming we never got them mixed up, that is. They were that identical for quite a stretch. I remember discovering a freckle that Fred had under his left eye and using that as a positive ID. After a while, whenever I leaned in close enough to make the ID, they took to saying "I'm Bob, dad" (or "Fred", as the case may have been). Anyway, their mom was with them in a laundromat one day when an older man came up to her and said "I was the red one.".
How many other people had to resort to color coding?

Posted by: Bill Mosby | February 25, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Liz D -- Well, first, I think the question is largely misunderstood. Most people think immediately of IVF, and jump right to "should we limit the number of embryos docs can implant?" But in reality, all of the real high-order multiples you hear about -- and a lot of the twins and triplets, too -- come from fertility drugs, not IVF. And I don't know how you regulate that, since practically all reputable doctors already try very hard to monitor dosages to prevent those sorts of situations in the first place (ours did a number of ultrasounds to make sure too many eggs weren't developing -- her cutoff was 3).

For IVF, I think you have a very tough situation of low odds, high costs, and little to no insurance coverage. When you're paying 5 figures out of pocket PER CYCLE, plus $2-3K just for the drugs, even a well-off couple is likely going to be limited to a handful of tries before they run out of money. So couples have every incentive to implant as many embryos as the doctor will allow, in the hopes that one will take (and of course the doc has every incentive to implant a whole bunch, so he can market his "success rate"). When you're balancing the possibility of multiples against the very real likelihood of running out of money, well, suddenly the idea of twins or triplets seems almost romanticized -- a small price to pay compared to ending up with no baby at all. We didn't have to go there, but it was a very real possibility, and I can tell you that I had already decided to go with at least 3 embryos, possibly 4.

I think the most effective solution to this problem may be insurance coverage. I believe there have been some studies (though I can't put my finger on them) that show that women who have insurance coverage implant fewer embryos, and end up with fewer multiples. Which seems pretty logical to me. But that makes this both a business issue and a sociological one. The insurance companies have to figure out whether paying for IVF will save money, long-term, over the costs associated with riskier multiple births. And the government needs to decide whether to compel insurance coverage because it may save both money and human suffering associated with higher-order multiple births that do not go well. (Note: not suggesting I know the answers to those questions).

Posted by: Laura | February 25, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Laura- It's true that higher order multiples are mostly due to clomid, etc, but the stats say IVF has the highest relative number of twins: 1% of natural pregnancies end with twins, 10% of clomid pregnancies end with twins, and 25% of IVF pregnancies end with twins. If I had to do IVF, I'd hope for twins, though. My goodness, the needles and hormones and doctor's visits! Clomid scares me.

Posted by: atb | February 25, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Just one thing about ultrasound: double check! We were mis-diagnosed at 20 weeks with fraternal twins, when our girls were actually identical. This mistake had huge ramifications because I was not being monitored for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, which only occurs with identicals. By the time the dr. realized they were identical and had twin-to-twin, they needed an emergency delivery and my "donor" twin almost didn't make it. Thank goodness, she's fine now.

The first year was hard, but now they are 3 and it's fantastic!

Posted by: Rebecca B. | February 25, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I mean this to be a very respectful criticism!!

Everyone's stories are interesting and all, but Stacey please don't do a whole series on multiples? That's really eliminating the other 97% of your readers. While things that apply to specific parents are nice every now and again just to see another point of view (autism, twins, etc) - there is so much common ground that we have as parents and it seems very wasteful to do a whole series on something that applies to so few.

Posted by: To Stacey | February 25, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I have twin girls that are 2 1/2, and would love to have twins again, although my husband thinks that I am crazy. The first little while is extremely difficult, but the rewards are amazing.

Posted by: Sarah H | February 26, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

these comments were good, as they always say to mothers try to rest when they do. and accept any and all help especially at this time when you are trying to get your stamina built up. My daughter goes to bed near her childrens time as 5 am and working at 8 are three hours of baby time.

Posted by: lg | February 26, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Jill de Roos,

I don't understand your point about regretting not putting your twins on bottles. At 15 months old, why not wean them to cups? Or at the very least, sippy cups? At that age they don't need bottles anyway. Technically, not even newborns need bottles.

Or am I missing something?

Posted by: Christina | February 26, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

My fraternal twin boys are turning 20 on Monday and have gone to rival colleges. I think the first 18 months of their lives was the most difficult, but by 2 1/2, having a peer to play with all the time made them much easier to handle.

I only ever wanted 2 kids but felt that we never got to enjoy them as babies since so much time of our lives were spent just taking care of their physical needs, that we wanted another but after 2 miscarriages I turned 40 and decided I was done. Imagine my surprise when I found myself pregnant again at the age of 42. Compared with the twin pregnancy, this one and the labor and delivery were a piece of cake, but from the minute she was born, she has been a handful, whereas once the trauma of the birth and early months ended, the boys have never caused me a lick of trouble. We always say that if we had her first, there wouldn't have been any more, but I'll take my twin boys any day.

Posted by: Vamomof3 | February 26, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

We have fraternal twin daughters that are currently in the first grade. A few things I remember about their first year:

-- It was VERY exciting and VERY tiring. The first 3 months were an amazing blur of babies, diapers, feedings, laundry, babies, diapers and babies.

-- In the beginning our kids were up every 2 or 3 hours to eat and get changed. Ideally, we tried to keep them on the same schedule of eating and sleeping. However, we kept our schedule different from the girls. Like on a submarine, we tried an approximate "6 hours on - 6 hours off" schedule. When you were 'on duty', you were primarily responsible for feeding and changing the children. When you were 'off duty' - you slept and took care of yourself before returning to 'babyland'. Sure we did many things together as a family (walks, errands and even traveled), but in the beginning we kept our schedules different from the girls and it worked for us.

-- Someone told us to keep a daily log / notebook for the first three months and document when they ate, slept (or didn't sleep) and get changed. I am so glad we did this. It was a lifesaver when we went to the pediatrician and were able to tell them how much each one is eating, if they were regular and who may have run a temperature or felt sick. We still have our newborn notebook tucked away and when we tell other parents that we changed 20 - 24 diapers a day for the first few months, we can actually back it up! We often wrote random notes to each other in the notebook. Some are hilarious and difficult to read, like anything written between the 2am - 5am hours.

Posted by: ljs | February 26, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm not much of a poster, but couldn't resist this one. Twins are such a challenge, but really such a joy, too. I gave birth to boy/girl twins in 2002 and 3 years a month later to the day, gave birth to identical twin boys. (Yes, we're done having kids, and no, I didn't think that I would have having twins the second time around). As much as I love each of kids individually, that first year of twins is HARD. Sleep deprivation, constant need, etc.,. Complications such as the apnea monitor, pumping plus nursing, and older kids just add to the chaos. But now, I feel like I wouldn't want it any other way. Our now 5- and 2-year olds are great sharers, very loving with each other (unless a favorite book or toy is in the mix), and content with themselves even in (because of?) the chaos.

Posted by: Danielle | February 27, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I have 24 month old boy/girl twins. The pregnancy wasn't too bad, though by the 5th month I had to stop taking public transportation to work--too much walking involved. It was a healthy preganancy though, right up until I went into labor early (at 32 weeks). We felt very lucky that the twins both were healthy although they needed two weeks in the NICU. They were home with us more than a month before their due date. We were very lucky that for the most part they were willing to eat and sleep on the same schedule. They still do, but now the rub is that the one that wakes up first (or doesn't want to go to sleep) wants the other twin awake too for company.

Twins certainly are a challenge, but in some ways I think it may be easier having two the same age than two at different ages. Sure, there's a double dose of the tough times (the first weeks, the terrible two's--which we are in now) but then they both get through it at the same time (or close enough).

Posted by: Tonya | February 27, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Christina,

I realize I should have expanded a little - actually, my girls started to drink water from a cup at around 8 months of age. Of course, I also started them on solids at around 6 months or so, and by 15 months, they were just being breast-fed in the morning and evening. In fact, they used to fall asleep on the breast at night. Giving up the morning feed was not a problem, but giving up the breast at night certainly was! They not only refused to take a bottle, but they also would not drink milk in any form - I tried every kind of formula, whole milk, and soy. And a cup of water in the evening was no substitute. They did eventually get used to it, but we had very unhappy babies for a couple of weeks. I felt that if they'd been used to a bottle and formula, weaning them off the breast completely would not have been so traumatic for all of us.

Posted by: Jill de Roos | February 27, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

My twins are in kindergarten now and life is sooo much easier than it was that first year. In fact, the first night I got no sleep and there was projectile poop, and lots of crying, and diaper changes... And when I finally came to bed that morning I was in tears and convinced I could not handle raising twins.

But you can adapt to pretty much anything. And I did. And our twins are the greatest thing that ever happened to us. Certainly not the easiest, but definitely the greatest.

Posted by: twinmom | February 29, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

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