Twins: 4 Tips for Milestones and Transitions
Getting through the day with twins can feel like a huge accomplishment. You’re focusing on two babies, and that means double the transitions and baby milestones. At what age should they be doing that? Is it normal for one twin to be more advanced than the other? Will the other catch up?
Having a clear picture of expectations when it comes to your twins’ transitions may help you get a better handle on the ever-changing journey that is raising twins!
While some babies love being swaddled, others may prefer to be less constricted. Babies should start transitioning out of their swaddles by 3 months. This is optimal for shoulder development, and it is important to have them out of the swaddle when they start to roll over. It may be a bit later than 3 months with twins, as 70% of them are born premature. You’ll want to readjust their age to their due date instead of their date of birth, and calculate transitions from there. This may be a harder transition for some babies, and may be done gradually by taking one hand out of the swaddle for a couple of nights and then taking out the other arm. Other twins, because they have spent such a long time in NICU, where they are not swaddled, may never take to a swaddle once home.
In my case, my daughter loved being swaddled and slept so well being snug and cozy, but we had to take my son out of the swaddle before the 3 months. He was moving so much that he ended up turning clockwise around the crib. The moment he rolled over to his stomach he slept so much longer at night.
One of the biggest transitions for twins is when they finally sleep through the night! It’s a glorious day when they do. But this will be a challenge for the family, as you will be trying to synchronize two infants sleep patterns. If babies have been in the NICU, they will have already been implementing a very strict feeding routine. This will transfer when they are home, but he timing and age at which it is appropriate to start sleep training will vary based on the babies’ wright and your pediatrician’s recommendations for nighttime feedings.
If babies have spent time in the NICU, they will be able to sleep train a bit later between 5-7 months. Do not go by what your singleton mom friends are doing, sleep training twins is a bit trickier! If they will sleep in the same room, like most twins do, they innately can and will sleep through the others’ crying. My daughter was a bad sleeper but my son, 2 feet away, would not be phased by her cries all night! That was beneficial when we sleep trained them as she wouldn’t bother him at all. Eventually, around 7 months, they were both sleeping through the night with no night feedings.
The different types of techniques and methods of sleep training may vary from family to family and what parents are willing to accept and tolerate. Being that there are two babies, these techniques may also differ from baby to baby. It is important to note that sleep training should be done when there are no major life changes for your twins, like a change in routine or environment. They shouldn’t be sick with a cold or teething as those things will not make the transition ideal.
Although parents may be delighted to see a pearly white bud out in their babies’ mouths, this might be the start of a very trying time for both baby and parent. This teething milestone for your babies is going to be as hard for them as it is for you.
Babies will start budding their teeth between 4-7 months old. Some as early as 3 months and others well after their 1st year. Both of your babies may start teething at the same time, and dealing with their pain of their gums being swollen and the tireless nights will be exhausting for mom and dad. Ours needed extra cuddles from Mom and Dad. One baby would rather drink her milk, as gumming food was too uncomfortable. My other baby preferred food, as that applied pressure on his gums and he felt relief. But you may get two babies that will teeth one before the other. This may allow you to tend to the fussy baby a little easier as the other is not uncomfortable yet. But sure enough, as soon as you are out of the woods with one, your other baby will start teething. But hopefully it will provide quality time when one baby is sleeping and you’ll have the opportunity to be extra cuddly with the teething baby.
3. Rolling Over, Crawling, Walking
When you have twins you will always compare and wonder when both will start crawling and walking. This one was a tricky one for me as my daughter was always so advanced in motor skills. I thought my son would never walk! He seemed to have no interest in moving. He was perfectly content just sitting or being carried around. My daughter was so desperate to be on the move and independent! My daughter sat up 2 months before my son did, she crawled at 8 months, my son crawled at 10 months and my daughter was walking at 14 months and he at 16 months almost 17!
Last but not least, the ever-challenging transition known as Potty-Training Twins! For my older child, potty-training was the easiest thing we ever did. She turned 3 in May and we potty-trained that July as she was starting school in September. It literally took 3 days, no pull-ups, just real undies and in the toilet, no baby potty! She slept with night time diapers for a good 3-4 months, but she never woke up with a wet diaper after those first 3 days of training! Not once!
Flash forward to Potty-Training our Twins. They are June babies, and they were scheduled to start school in August and I thought, “Great, they’ll turn 3 and I’ll do the same training with them as I did with their older sister.” Then it dawned on me that they were going to Summer Camp end of May and they needed to be potty-trained! I completely panicked as they weren’t 3 yet and everyone I knew who had started before 3 was not as successful.
I’ll spare you the story, but their training experience was a lengthy one. My and most of my friends’ kids all had an easier transition time potty-training at or after age 3. You are able to talk to your child and they talk to you and let you know their needs, making it so much easier on everyone. But definitely one piece of advice, once they are in real undies never put them back in a diaper (in the daytime). This is just letting them know it’s okay, you have a diaper you don’t have to go potty, and that can be counter-productive.
Having twins, myself, I know it can be tricky as early milestones approach. You’ve got this, mama! Let us know in the comment how transitions with your twins have gone.