Many twin parents wonder if their twins are Identical or Fraternal — even when they have already been told one way or the other by their Healthcare Providers. The truth is, many parents have been misinformed by their Healthcare Providers, who may be perpetuating a common mistaken belief that separate placentas always equates to fraternal twins. But, when those close to the twins have difficulty telling them apart, one cannot help but wonder.
Recent studies have shown that twins are probably actually identical if the following are all true:
Same Hair Color
Same Eye Color
Often Mixed Up by those around them
Everyone seems to have an opinion. Just for fun, we’re posting pictures of twins over on our Facebook page, and guessing as to whether or not they are identical. So, come on over and add your twins’ photo and guess on all the rest!
We’ll feature the photos with the most comments in an upcoming slideshow here on our website — so check back!
Happy New Year! As the year draws to a close, it is important for Twin Families to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming year. Use our list to inspire your own family questions, or print it out and cut into pieces to put into a hat for each family member to draw out and answer aloud. Or, maybe you want to just think about it over the upcoming days. However you choose to reflect this New Year’s Holiday, just do it.
What is the single BEST thing that happened in the past year?
What is the most Challenging thing that happened in the past year?
What is your biggest Learn from the past year?
What Milestones were achieved?
What is the Kindest thing you did in the past year?
How can you positively impact someone’s life this upcoming year?
What is the One Thing you can change that will make a BIG change in your attitude?
What will you do this year, this is for *you*?
What are 3 traits that you cherish, about each member of your family?
How can you ensure you will spend quality time with each family member this year?
Hopefully this list inspires you to reflect and discuss among your family this New Year. What are some questions you reflect upon at this time?
One of the most common questions asked by those expecting twins is, “Can you breastfeed twins at the same time?” Of course you can! Our previous article, How to Feed Your Twins at the Same Time (Tandem Feeding), offered many practical tips for tandem feeding twins — whether by breast or bottle. But seeing is believing. That is why this wonderful video by Melissa that we found is such a huge help. Melissa shows us easy steps to make tandem breastfeeding twins a success — including how to burp one baby while the other continues to feed.
Here are a number of tricks for successfully tandem breastfeeding twins, captured in this wonderful video by Melissa.
Supplies Needed for tandem nursing twins
1 back support pillow (for mom)
2 boppy pillows
1 twin nursing pillow
1 support pillow or folded towel
2 burp cloths
water bottle and snacks for mom
optional entertainment devices for mom (phone, book or e-reader, TV remote, etc.)
Step 1. Prepare your area
Before bringing in your babies, prepare your breastfeeding station. Set up all your supplies so that everything is within easy reach. One bobby pillow will be placed on either side of mom, with burp cloths across the back of the couch.
Step 2. Bring in the babies
Place one twin in each boppy pillow on either side of mom (on the side that they will be nursing on — note that you will want to switch sides with the babies for each feeding). Position yourself, with back support and twin nursing pillow. Use an extra pillow or folded towel to make the height of the babies on the twin nursing pillow just right for you. Pick up both babies and set them on the pillow before latching either of them so that you won’t have to twist and possibly un-latch a baby in the process of picking up the other for tandem nursing.
Step 3. Latch ‘em on
Okay, this is probably the toughest part when you are a new mom. Relax. It’s okay. Latching is tough when you have just one baby — but add another and the complexity goes way up. In the early days, you may find that one will latch easier than the other — or one side (of you) will work better than the other. If you can, plan to have a helper with you for the first couple of weeks of tandem feedings until things begin to go more smoothly.
Step 4. Re-latch.
As noted above, at first you might spend most of your time latching one baby and then the other, and then back to the first again. Hang in there — it will get better as your babies learn how to latch, re-latch, and stay latched.
Step 5. Read, Relax, Enjoy, Bond.
This is your time to take a breather. Relax. Do something for you — and love on those babies!
Step 6. Burp
When one is ready for a burp — pick up the baby and sit her on the top of the nursing pillow, supporting her on her chest under her chin. Gently pat her back until you get a good burp. Use your elbow over the other nursing twin to hold him in place.
Step 7. One Twin is Done
When one of the twins is done nursing, burp him and then place him in the bobby pillow on the side where the other twin is still nursing. This way you will lean in the direction of the nursing twin rather than leaning away from the nursing twin, which could cause her to un-latch. If you need to attend to the baby that has arleady finished feeding, again, you are leaning toward the nursing twin rather than away.
Step 8. Both Twins are Done
After the second twin has finished feeding — give her a burp and place her in the other boppy. You have just successfully tandem nursed your twins!
Hopefully this excellent video by Melissa on Tandem Breastfeeding Twins has given you the confidence to try tandem nursing. There is no faster way to feed your twinfants. But if nursing (either tandem or one at a time) doesn’t work out for you — don’t be discouraged. There are many benefits to bottle feeding, too, and this is a very personal decision for you and your family. One size fits all definitely doesn’t work in TwinParenthood.
Can you add any tips we’ve missed? What has worked for you? Please leave us some comments.
It’s nearly every parent’s fear that they’ll deliver on the side of the road — and as with many thing “multiple”, when you’re having twins, triplets, (or even more) — that fear can be multiplied.
Utah Highway Patrol sergeant Cade Brenchley is a father of four and called on his own experience in the delivery room as well as training he received as part of his job. When Seargeant Brenchley arrived, one baby had already been delivered — but he was just in time to help with baby #2.
“The mother was a real trooper — for lack of a better word — for holding on to this baby and then getting ready to have the second one,” Brenchley said.
After delivery of the second twin, Brenchley says, “Good job, mom.”
It’s Official. We’re running a Spring/Easter Photo Sharing Contest at TwinParenthood!
It’s time to sweep out those cobwebs, and put a fresh coat of paint on something. For us, that meant a new cover photo for our Facebook page — featuring Spring and Easter photos of twins shared on our wall by friends and members of our community.
Would you like your twinkies featured in our cover photo? Now’s your chance! In fact… by sharing a spring or Easter photo to our Facebook wall during our contest, you will be automatically entered to *win* 2 books by Paris Morris!
Paris is now a 14-year-old girl living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and wrote the first of these two books in 2008 at the age of 10. Paris’ books are available over at the best book store for twins and multiples, Double Up Books.
I’m Having Twins
“I’m Having Twins” is an inspirational children’s book about a 3-year old girl named Paris who comes to terms with her parents adding twin siblings to their family mix. The story begins as Paris learns that she will soon have twin siblings and ends as the family leaves for the hospital to have “Her Twins.” The book takes Paris through the trials and tribulations of a twin pregnancy from the big sister’s perspective and shows her how they are really hers, too, easing her transition to Big Sisterhood. It is based upon the real-life experiences of a little girl named Paris living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
My Twins are Coming Home
In the second book in the series, Paris describes her experiences once her twin siblings are born, including their time in the hospital and their coming home. She shares her thoughts on visiting her twin sisters in the hospital and waiting several weeks for them to come home, why they came home at different times, and her thoughts about now sharing the attention of her family and friends with the new arrivals.
These wonderful books can be yours if you are the lucky randomly selected winner of our TwinParenthood 2012 Spring / Easter Photo Sharing Contest. As usual, full contest rules are available on our contest page. Winner must respond within 48 hours after notification through Facebook. Facebook is not affiliated with this contest. Spring or Easter photos of twins and/or their families posted to our Facebook wall between April 1st and April 10th, 11:59:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time, will be automatically entered. Winner’s response to our email constitutes acceptance of all contest terms.
How to Enter
Like our page, and share a Spring or Easter photo of your twins (or your family with your twins) on our Facebook Wall. (This step is required before any additional entries will be counted). Each family may post as many photos as they would like to share, but only 1 basic entry per family will be counted.
For each entry, please post a separate comment below.
2. Publicly share our Facebook Contest Post on your Facebook wall. (1 entry)
3. Tweet the following (1 entry): [ Got Twins? Share a photo to win 2 Paris Morris Twins Books! http://bit.ly/HpimEq (ends 4/10) #twintuesday #tph #multiples]
4. Refer a friend to our Facebook Page (1 entry)… just ask them to say hello on our wall and tell us that you sent them for an extry entry for both you and your friend!
That’s it! Easy – Peasy!
Our winner is Crystal B of Summerville, SC. Congrats, Crystal!
Starting twins on chores at a young age and managing chores effectively as they grow older can be a life saver for busy parents of twins, triplets, or higher order multiples. If you begin chores early with twins, you can reap an early payoff and long awaited easing of some of the burden of having twins.
How old should twins be when they start easy household chores?
Parents can (and should!) effectively start twins on chores as young as 12 – 18 months. Yes! Many reading that will scoff and say that just doesn’t make sense. But, in truth, starting twins (singletons, triplets, or any child) on chores at a very young age will teach them that chores are an everyday part of life. Doing chores regularly will ensure that doing chores becomes a habit — like brushing your teeth. And, at this young age they are eager to help.
Even if you have missed the early window for beginning household chores, it is never too late to introduce a nightly “5 minute attack“. Each night after dinner, set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes and everyone participates in picking up the house. Model the behavior you expect, and make it a fun game. Turn on some music, and then in a very animated way, rush around the house picking up. You can even add an occasional “Hurry! Hurry! How much can we get done?!”
But what can very young twins really do effectively? Well, the word effectively is relative. We didn’t say they would do a good job — at a very young age, you are just establishing good habits. In some cases, having them do chores actually results in more work for tired parents — but the investment is well worth it. You can invest in your children now and have real help in a few short years, or your can just do everything for them and face the music later when you are still doing everything for them into their teenage years.
The truth is, very young children can pretty much “help” with almost any chore if you carefully select out the part that they can do without danger to themselves. It is also important to get them smaller sized tools to make the task easy for little hands.
The following lists will give you some ideas of chores that can be accomplished by age. These lists are by no means exhaustive and you will, no doubt, identify many chores that should have been listed — so please do let us know in the comments. And, stay tuned for an upcoming article about chore charts, assigning chores, and rewards. For now, just get your twins started with the habit of doing chores and being a responsible member of the family.
Chores for Under Age 3
Many of these chores require help, but can be started at a very young age to begin the habit of doing chores. As they grow, you add more responsibility and independence into the chore until they are accomplishing the entire chore on their own.
- pick up toys
- sweeping (mini broom & dust pan)
- wiping windows (paper towel & water)
- making bed (pulling up the blankets/covers)
- taking laundry to the hamper
- sorting dirty laundry into bins by color
- matching up socks
- helping to feed the pets
- helping to cook
- raking leaves (mini rake)
By introducing chores at a young age and then progressing them through increasing responsibility, they will eventually be able to complete chores unsupervised — at a much younger age than you would expect. One example of this is the laundry. This is a chore that very young children can participate in, and over the years they learn the ins and outs of the chore. By the time they are eight to nine years old, they are capable to performing the whole chore themselves.
All of the above, progressing in responsibility and independence, plus:
- Pick out clothes and get dressed
- Set the table
- Put away silverware and plastic items from Dishwasher
- Vacuum (buy a small cordless vacuum for them to use)
- Empty some wastebaskets into central garbage
- Folding some types of laundry
- Wipe the bathroom counters
- Carry in some groceries (and put away)
How can you help your child to do chores independently? Preschoolers are ready to start independently doing many chores. With each chore, try to identify ways to set up your kids for success while acting independently from you. Emptying the dishwasher, for example, can be a chore they can add and will be excited about the new responsibility. You can move their plastic cups, plates, bowls and utensils to a lower cupboard that they can reach. That way, you can tell them they are responsible for putting away their own dishes — and keeping the cupboard organized. You have now made it easy for them to be successful.
Young School Age (6 – 8 years)
All of the above, progressing in responsibility and independence, plus:
- Take out the trash
- Clean windows and mirrors
- Empty Dishwasher (after adult puts away breakable items and knives)
- Running loads of laundry (with supervision)
- Sweep the porch / deck
- Assisting with household repairs
- Pack parts of their own lunch
Protecting your children from household cleaning chemicals is important. Try purchasing children’s rubber gardening gloves for use in performing household chores that might otherwise begin to unnecessarily expose them.
Older Children (9 – 13)
All of the above, progressing in responsibility and independence, plus:
- Wash the Car
- Yard Work (mowing, raking)
- Laundry (full job, end to end)
- Bathroom full cleaning
All of the above, with full responsibility and independence, plus:
- Prepare meals
- Changing the oil in the car(s)
- Household repairs
Parenting twins requires a lot of effort. Starting twins on chores at a young age can begin to lessen the effort of Twin Parenthood. It might be more work in the short run, but will quickly pay off in the long run — and that makes it worth the extra effort.
What do you think? Did we miss some obvious chores that you’ve started your multiples on? Leave us a comment and let us know!
We all suspected we were seeing more twins, and now a new report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) confirms it. The CDC says that the rate of twin births in the United States continues to rise. Twin rates had been stable at about 2% of births from about 1915 through the 1970′s. But beginning in the early 80′s, the rate began to rise.
One in every 30 infants born in 2009 was a twin.
The number of twin births more than doubled from 1980 through 2009, rising from 68,339 to more than 137,000 births in each year from 2006 to 2009. In 1980, 1 in every 53 babies born in the United States was a twin, compared with 1 in every 30 births in 2009.
Twinning rates rose by more than 200 percent among women aged 40 and over.
Twin birth rates increased for women of all ages over the three decades, with the largest increases among women aged 30 and over. From 1980 to 2009, rates increased 76 percent for women aged 30–34, nearly 100 percent for women aged 35–39, and more than 200 percent for women aged 40 and over.
In 2009, 7 percent of all births to women aged 40 and over were born in a twin delivery compared with 5 percent of births to women aged 35–39, and 2 percent of births to women under age 25.
Health Implications of Twins
While twin parents everywhere rejoice in their happy but difficult circumstances, the increased rate of twin births does have implications for the health of the mother and the babies. The rise in the rate of twins, which comprise the majority of multiples (96 percent in 2009), has had an unfavorable impact on key indicators of perinatal health such as rates of preterm birth and low birthweight.
Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK. Three decades of twin births in the United States, 1980–2009. NCHS data brief, no 80. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.
When you’re having twins, it’s always fun to speculate about them being born on separate days. And if your due date is anywhere near the last day of the year or shortly after, it can be even more fun to imagine your twins being born in separate years. And that is exactly happened this past New Year for not one, not two, not three, but for at least four US families.
Twins Ronan and Rory Rosputni were born in Buffalo, NY at 11:37 p.m. Dec 31, 2011 and 12:10 a.m. on January 1, 2012, according to the Buffalonews.com. Hundreds of miles away in Minnesota, Beckett Humenny (New Year’s Eve — 6:40 p.m.) and sister Freya (New Year’s Day 12:26 a.m.) were welcomed to the world in separate years as well, as detailed by the StarTribune.com. In South Dakota, Kylee and John Jr. Anthony were born at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, and at 12:03 a.m. Sunday as report by Azcentral.com. But not to be outdone, TBO.comreports that Leah and Jenna Bear hold the honors for first baby of 2012 and last baby of 2011 in Hillsborough County (Tampa), Florida.
At least one of the families speculated about how they would celebrate birthdays and suggested that they will have one combined birthday for their twins. That is a fantastic idea when they are very little — but when twins are born on separate days, parents should consider having separate celebrations as their twins get older. When little, combining the celebration is far easier for parents and little ones are happy to celebrate together. But as they grow older, twins often struggle to be recognized independently of their twin and celebrating a separate birthday, especially when they actually fall on separate days — or years — can go a long way to build that recognition.
The TwinParenthood family would like to congratulate all of these special twin families, and we wish them all the best for a fantastic 2012! Happy New Year!
All pregnant women should be aware of the dangers of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). TTTS is a complication of disproportionate blood supply to twin fetuses during pregnancy. It is critical that all women have an early ultrasound to identify if they are having multiples.
World TTTS Awareness Day is an international mobilization effort created by The Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome Foundation to increase awareness of the #1 problem facing multiples. It is crucial for women to get an ultrasound in the first trimester to identify multiples and then to determine whether there is one placenta or two. Women must learn the warning signs of TTTS, the 15 questions to ask at each ultrasound, and the available treatment options. World TTTS Awareness Day is about empowering parents and is filled with messages of Hope, Help and Encouragement. Your babies can make it and be healthy. Don’t ever give up. Please, Get Educated, Get Ultrasounds, Ask Questions, Get Treatment and Get Involved! This day is also a remembrance day for all the babies who have had TTTS. Candles will be lit tonight across the world during the vigil and messages may also be left for your babies through lighting online candles. Please visit their websites to learn more about TTTS.
What is Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome?
Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a disease of the placenta (or afterbirth) that affects identical twin pregnancies.
TTTS affects identical twins (or higher multiple gestations), who share a common monochorionic placenta.
The shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels, which connect the umbilical cords and circulations of the twins.
The common placenta may also be shared unequally by the twins, and one twin may have a share too small to provide the necessary nutrients to grow normally or even survive.
The events in pregnancy that lead to TTTS – the timing of the twinning event, the number and type of connecting vessels, and the way the placenta is shared by the twins are all random events that have no primary prevention, is not hereditary or genetic, nor is it caused by anything the parents did or did not do. TTTS can happen to anyone.
If you are pregnant, what should you do?
If you are pregnant, it is critical that you get an ultrasound within the first 3 months. With this ultrasound, you can determine if you are having twins, triplets, or even higher order multiples. As early as 7 weeks of pregnancy, it can be determined if you are having multiples. If the placenta is monochorionic, or single, your pregnancy is at risk for TTTS.
Once you have identified that you are having twins or higher order multiples, it is imortant that you ask questions at each ultrasound. For multiples, ultrasounds should be performed more frequently than in singleton and lower risk pregnancies. Listed below are the TTTS Foundation’s 15 Most Important Questions to ask at each ultrasound.
Confirm at initial ultrasounds (preferably by 10-16 weeks)
Is the placenta monochorionic?
Are the babies the same gender?
Can you see the dividing membrane?
Is the placenta implanted on the anterior or posterior surface of the womb?
Do the twins’ umbilical cords each have the normal 3 blood vessels, or does one of them have 2 vessels?
Are the umbilical cords fully attached to the placenta?
Questions to ask at weekly ultrasounds (16 weeks to delivery)
What is the largest vertical pocket of fluid for each baby?
Can you see the bladder of the donor baby?
What are the weights of the babies in grams? (every 2-3 weeks)
Are the dopplers normal for both babies?
Is the heart of the recipient baby enlarged or thickened?
Does the recipient baby have hydrops?
What is the measurement of your cervix, is it long and closed or thinning or dilated?
PLEASE, get an early ultrasound to determine if you are carrying multiples. If you are pregnant with twins or higher order multiples, PLEASE ask the questions provided by the TTTS Foundation. It could save your babies’ lives. If you are diagnosed with TTTS, or would like more information, please contact the TTTS Foundation for help, information, and support.
Increasing your protein intake is critically important if you are pregnant with twins.
Why Increase Protein intake in your Twin Pregnancy?
Increase your chances of carrying to term
Increase your babies’ birth weight
How much protein do you really need if you are expecting twins?
While recommendations for protein intake for singleton pregnancies are right around 80 grams per day, protein intake recommendations for twin pregnancy are much higher. Upwards of 130 grams of protein per day is recommended for moms expecting twins, with some researchers recommending more than 170 grams of protein per day for your twin pregnancy. Beware, out-dated information is still floating around with much lower twin pregnancy protein recommendations. It is best to check with your doctor for the most current recommendations. If your doctor recommends less, be sure to dig deeper to understand the recommendation.
Why so much?
Preterm and/or low birth weight babies are much more likely to have health problems at birth resulting in the need to spend time in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit).
Researchers have found that there is a direct correlation between protein intake and weight at birth. Low protein intake typically results in low birth weight. For singletons, each 10 gram increase in daily protein intake by mom correlates to 1/2 pound increase in baby’s birth weight.
What birth weight is considered to be “low”?
According to the March of Dimes, babies born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2,500 grams) are considered to be low birth weight. These babies are at increased risk for serious health problems as newborns, lasting disabilities and even death.
What are some good sources of protein?
Lean meats such as Turkey, Chicken (skinned), Pork, and Lean Beef are a great source at an average 7 grams per ounce
Nuts/Seeds including peanut butter at 4-5 grams per tablespoon; Sunflower Seeds 6 grams 1/4 cup; Pumpkin Seeds 8 grams 1/4 cup
Fish 6 – 10 grams per oz — but don’t overdo tuna as it contains mercury
Eggs 1 large = 6 grams
Beans 7 – 10 grams per 1/2 cup / Soy 14 grams 1/2 cup / Tofu 1/2 cup = 20 grams
Any steps you can take to increase your protein intake during your twin pregnancy will pay off — in bigger babies. So go ahead and have another serving of milk or that extra piece of cheese — you’ll enjoy it, your babies will benefit, and so will you!