What Parents of Multiples Need

Bonding With Both

It's hard to imagine falling in love with two people at the same time. Yet that's exactly the challenge facing parents of twins. "I bonded immediately with my firstborn," explains Bonnie Cope, of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. "But it took longer with the twins because I was always busy thinking about the next diaper or the next feeding."

"It takes extra time to get to know each of your babies' temperaments, patterns, and preferences," Dr. Pearlman explains. To hasten the process, seize opportunities to give each baby undivided attention. Talk and play one-on-one while changing a diaper. Make sustained eye contact during feedings. Use a front carrier around the house, alternating which twin gets to ride. Join a Mommy and Me gym class, and let the babies take turns attending with you.

Also, consciously think of your babies as individuals. Refer to them by their names rather than as "the twins." To avoid mix-ups, leave the hospital bracelets on or paint one toenail until you can pinpoint a distinguishing feature -- a rounder face, a birthmark, or one twin's tendency to suck her fingers instead of her thumb. Don't berate yourself if telling them apart takes time. "At first, I felt disappointed when I couldn't find lots of distinctions between my girls," says Judy Levy, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. "Then I realized that all I had to do was give them love and tenderness. Their personalities would emerge over time."

And don't feel guilty if you find yourself favoring one baby. It's not uncommon for a parent to be more drawn to the twin, for example, who's easier to soothe. With twins of different genders, you may initially prefer the child of the sex you'd hoped for. If one twin is hospitalized longer, you might feel closer to the baby at home. "Do you love your parents the same? Probably not, but you do love them both. That's how it is with twins. You respond to each as an individual, just as you would with any other kids," Dr. Pearlman explains. To meet other mothers who can relate to the challenge of raising multiples or to find a local club, contact the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs at 877-540-2220 or see the website below.

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