Being a parent of multiples is a challenge that only other parents who have been through the same experience can truly appreciate. From conception all the way to adulthood, raising your twins is not just about meeting their basic needs. Raising healthy twins requires parents to understand the unique physical, emotional and mental needs of both.
Carrying more than one child at a time increases the risk that your babies will be born prematurely.
Upping the risk that twins might suffer from low birth weight and have
birth defects. To combat this problem mothers can consult with a
registered dietician to be sure that they get the necessary nutrients
needed for raising healthy twins. Women pregnant with twins might be
expected to consume 4,000 calories a day and gain up to 60 pounds,
depending on starting weight and other conditions. Protein, calcium and
iron tend to be lacking in the diets of pregnant women, so special attention should be given to ensure these nutrients are consumed.
For physical well being after birth, raising your twins will involve much of the same recommendations for raising single children. Regular physical activity will help them avoid becoming overweight and help them sleep better. Mommy & Me classes are great for getting parents playing with their children from an early age. As twins age, physical activities that are fun or hobby based will help them keep interested in physical activities.
Feeding your twin babies, changing their diapers, talking to them, bonding and generally taking care of their physical needs is about all that parents of newborn twins can manage. And, at this young age, it is really all that is required for raising healthy twins. However, from the moment a couple finds out they are pregnant with twins they should begin thinking of them as two unique individuals. As children age into toddlers, individual personalities really start to emerge. At this stage, parents can begin doing more to encourage healthy individual identity in their twins.
The first step in raising your twins to develop emotional well being is in the choice of clothing. Parents of twins have to be careful not to force their children to dress like bookends past the first few years. Where it may be fun when they are young, as they get older it may make it hard for others to see your children as separate individuals and makes it nearly impossible to tell them apart, especially if they're identical. Having their own clothing and separate closet and dresser space for clothing also helps promote an individual mindset and gives them the option of picking out their own clothing as they get older. Even having their own bedroom or if not feasible, different colored bed linens and towels in their room helps promote the idea of twins being individuals and helps with raising healthy twins.
When first entering school parents have to handle the option of placing their twins in the same or separate classrooms with care. Neither way is necessarily right but should depend on the twins' emotional attachment to each other and preference. Forcing children to separate or stay together who indicate a different desire can cause negative feelings to develop and build resentment between siblings. Parents raising healthy twins might start by allowing their twins to be placed in the same classroom, allowing them to gradually gain independence and have the support of their co-twin to ease the transition into a structured school environment. Twins can then separate down the line if joint classroom placement proves to be unsuccessful or as they realize they are capable of doing activities and making friends without the assistance of their twin.
When raising your twins, their emotional well being is often dependent on being recognized by their parents as unique. Though it can be easy to get distracted by a twin who requires more physical care or emotional support, parents should take time to spend individual time with each child on a consistent basis.
When twins are younger, the help of
caregivers or supportive family members who are willing to help cook,
clean and baby-sit might be needed to make this feasible. When raising
healthy twins, taking each child out separately can help them feel like
an individual and discourage them from becoming interdependent. Pick an
activity that both you and your child will enjoy, but remember to still
make time for family outings.
Twin birthdays should not mean that twins necessarily have to function as a unit. Giving each a separate cake, letting them invite different friends, giving separate presents and singing "Happy Birthday" for each of them avoids feeling trapped by a twin relationship. For twins who indicate they want a different birthday experience compromise can be done.
For example, a twin who wants a clown themed party while their sibling wants a superhero theme should not mean that one twins preference should be chosen over the other. Instead, parents can send out separate party invitations and give two parties at the same time in their home. Simply holding one party outside and the other inside or splitting the decorations in a room right down the middle will keep both kids happy and help promote their emotional well being.
3) Fathers of twins may feel neglected or left out during the early years of life. If you're a dad of twins, get involved from day one to form an emotional bond with your twins.
An article from the Examiner on raising healthy multiples...