Just as learning to take care of your babies takes time, getting to know who they are doesn't always happen right away, either. In fact, it may take a few days to master the most basic information: which one is which! After all, even fraternal twins can look alike at first. To avoid confusion, don't remove your babies' hospital ID bands until you're sure who's who.
Of course, you may not have this problem if one of your multiples is still in the intensive-care nursery. In this case, dividing your time between hospital visits and home can make life more stressful and bonding harder.
Tending to the needs of two newborns at once may mean that you don't fall in love as instantly as you were expecting. But this is completely normal. The more you get to know your babies as individuals, the closer and more connected you will feel to each of them, says family and child therapist Eileen Pearlman, PhD, author of Raising Twins (HarperResource). Try to notice what's unique about each one, such as the way your daughter curls her lip before she cries or the way your son startles when he hears noises.
It's also important to treat your babies like distinct individuals so they begin to see themselves that way too. Giving your babies names that rhyme or sound alike may seem cute, but experts advise against it. They need to have their own special names that are not built on someone else's, says Pearlman. It's also a good idea to talk to them individually and refer to them by name, rather than as "the twins." As your babies get older, make sure they have their own clothes and special toys.
While raising multiples can make you feel like you're at the center of a three-ring circus, you will become more adjusted to them with each passing day, and they will reach milestones that make life easier -- such as sleeping through the night and holding their own bottles. Twins may be double the work, but they're also double the love, hugs, and kisses!
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, May 2003.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.