Biggest Nightmares of Twin Parents

Situations, scenarios and stresses that keep parents of twins awake at night

From the moment you find out you're having twins, your mind starts racing. How did this…? What will we… ? How do you…? There are some things that are simply terrifying for parents as they contemplate the realities of raising multiples. From the real possibility of a complicated pregnancy or preterm birth, to the demands of juggling the needs of two children the same age, there are some aspects of parenting twins that are truly anxiety-provoking. Here's an overview of some of the conundrums, complications, and challenges that haunt the hearts of parents of twins and keep them awake at night. 


Family holding their twins
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How will you know who's who? This seems to be a big question on the minds of parents awaiting twins. Twin mix-ups and identity switch-ups are a popular plot twist for books and movies, so the concern that they will mix up their babies or not be able to tell them apart may loom large for parents awaiting twins. But that usually dissipates once they actually meet them. While identical -- or monozygotic twins -- may have a strikingly similar appearance, even fraternal (dizygotic) newborns can look exactly alike. While their identity may be a mystery to others, Mom and Dad quickly become familiar with the subtle differences of each individual child and instinctively know who's who. If you're still worried about mix-ups, try these tricks for telling twins apart as well as these strategies for helping others keep them straight



Twin boys eating breakfast together
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Adding a baby to the family is a big expense. Adding two babies at the same time can really weigh on the wallet. One of the biggest fears for parents of twins is, "How will we afford this?" Perusing the aisles of the baby store, they mentally calculate the costs of buying for two. From double diapers to a double stroller, it's true that the cost of twins adds up. But take heart. While it's true that you'll need to double up on some things (like car seats), you don't necessarily need two of everything. Use this guide to figure out when to buy two, and when one will do. 



Twin babies crying on a bed
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Babies make lots of noise. While the sounds of a newborn's coos and chuckles may be music to the ears, their crying has the opposite effect. While crying is part and parcel of being a baby, calming the crying is part of being a parent. Parents are driven to soothe their babies' distress and quiet their crying. So the thought of two babies crying in unison is the stuff of nightmares for parents of twins. Who to comfort first? What if they never stop? Soon enough, the parents' own wails will join the cacophony. Dry those tears, Mom and Dad. Try these tips for coping with crying.



Mother holding twins
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Yawn … Sleep is a precious commodity for parents of young twins.  After a long day of taking care of twins, and facing the prospect of another abbreviated night of sleep, most parents of baby twins fall straight into slumber when their head hits the pillow. But as the days pass and exhaustion set in, a nightmarish thought creeps in … "I will never sleep again!" These are temporary times, though. Even then crankiest of twins will eventually stretch their sleep time into a more agreeable schedule. Here are some tips for getting more sleep with baby twins. Soon enough, the sleepless nights with newborns will be a hazy memory. Until you have teenage twins that stay out past curfew.



twin sin double stroller
Twin babies make twice the mess in a double stroller. Ching Chen / Getty Images

The antidote to the fear that you'll never leave the house with twins is a double stroller.  If you want to get out and about with twins, you're going to need one, a good one. One that will last more than a few months without the wheels falling off. It's probably going to be pricey, and it may be bulky and heavy. And it may feel like you're driving an 18-wheeler semi truck when you're trying to negotiate shopping malls. A double stroller is invaluable, but it's not always easy to manage. Think your car has a roomy trunk? Try fitting a double-wide stroller in it. Learn to avoid escalators, narrow doorways, tight corners, curbs, stairs, and crowds. Handicapped accesses will be your friend. Before you buy a double stroller for your twins, make sure that it will fit the bill. Here's how.


They'll Run Away … In Opposite Directions!

Male toddler playing with puppy on dining room floor
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When you first have twins, your main focus is keeping them fed, changed, and quiet. As the months pass, you establish routines, get them on a schedule, make time for play, and feel like you're getting a handle on things. Then things get complicated. Because up until now, your babies have been stationary. But soon enough, they're sitting up, scooting and crawling. Then before you know it, they're walking. And just like that, they're running. Away from you. In different directions. That's the stuff of nightmares! Who do you chase after first? Don't you wish you could clone yourself and tackle both of them at once? It may be the first time you feel that way, but it won't be nearly the last! Trust your reflexes here. Start after the one headed for the biggest danger (i.e. the street or stairs) and then scoop up the second. At least for now, you're faster than they are.

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