Twin Parenting Dilemmas

Issues and Choices for Parents of Twins

Parenting is full of tough choices. In the twins community, there are several parenting issues that create dilemmas. Parents want to do the best thing for their children, but sometimes there is not a clear choice. With multiples, parents have additional factors to consider; cost, convenience and sheer logistics sometimes dictate decisions. Here are ten of the biggest dilemmas faced by parents of twins and multiples. Click the links for more resources to help you make decisions about each issue. 

Diapers: Cloth or Disposable

Parents of multiples go through a lot of diapers -- a LOT. When you're going to change something that often (think 8-10 times per day ... PER BABY), you've got to put some thought into what product to use. There are plenty of reasons to recommend both cloth and disposable products, and each family has to choose based on their own arrangement of priorities, from cost to convenience to conscience. 

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Sticking to a Schedule or Feeding on Demand

Mom with Twins. Getty Images / Science Photo Library

The majority of parents of twins will say that a schedule is the secret to saving their sanity. Feeding, changing, bathing and putting down both babies at the same time lends a structure to the days, and some parents even claim that it helps them get more sleep. But some parenting experts encourage feeding babies on demand rather than setting a schedule. How do you figure out what works best for your family? 

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Choosing Names

2014 Most Popular Baby Names. @Pamela Prindle Fierro 2014

Rhyming names? Matching first initials? Coordinating or theme names? Choosing names is one of the first decisions make for their babies, and one with a lifetime of consequences. It can be difficult to select a name for just one baby, but when your'e choosing for twins or multiples, parents must also consider how the names work in combination. 

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Stroller Style

Zooper Tango Double Stroller
Zooper Tango Double Stroller. ©2010,

In order to get from place to place with young twins, a good double stroller is a must. There is no one perfect stroller model -- if there was, everyone would own it! Instead, there are a variety of models and styles, including tandem double strollers (with the seats arranged front to back) and side-by-side models with seats next to each other. Heavier duty models may last longer, but they can also be hard to maneuver and too bulky to fit in the back of the car. Streamlined strollers may not hold up to the extra weight of transporting twins. With strollers costing hundreds of dollars, it's important for parents to give careful consideration before purchasing this important piece of twin equipment. 

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Dressing Alike

Mother holding twin baby boys

It's incredibly cute to see two twins dressed in matching outfits. But it is harmful? Some argue that it damages twins' individuality. It certainly can make it more difficult to tell identical twins apart. And from a practical standpoint, it's not always feasible. What do you do when one baby spits up on their outfit -- do you change both? Each family will have to decide for themselves about their stance on dressing twins alike. 

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Classroom Placement in School

It's not much of an issue for the first few years of life, but when multiples prepare to enter school, it's a big dilemma for parents. Should twins be together in the same class? Or separated into different classes at school? Some school systems make the decision automatically, but others give families the freedom to choose. How do you know what is best for twins? 

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Breastfeeding or Bottlefeeding

Feeding those hungry babies is a priority, and this is one dilemma that needs to be addressed right away. There are lots of reasons that breastfeeding is beneficial, but there are also some strong arguments in favor of bottles. And while every family has to decide which feeding strategy works best for them, they'll be the recipients of plenty of opinions from everyone else, making this a particular sensitive subject. 

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Sharing a Room

If your house is small enough, there may not be an issue. With limited space, twins may have to share a room whether they like it or not. But many families have to evaluate how they'll allocate the bedrooms in their home. Should twins share a room or have their own space? Will separate rooms mean double the mess? Or peace in the house? 

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Celebrating Birthdays

Twins share many things, including their birthday! (In most cases!) And that means that some parents choose to get creative about how they celebrate this milestone each year. One cake or two? Joint parties or two separate events? One big present for both, or one present for each? There are lots of mini dilemmas tied up in the issue of celebrating birthdays with twins

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Keeping Things Fair and Equal

 When you're children are different ages, birth order helps establish some of the rules. But when you're children are twins or multiples, all bets are off. Parents can fall in to the trap of trying to keep everything equal. They do it with the best of intentions, but ultimately, it will lead to frustration. Life just isn't fair, after all. 

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Determining Zygosity

One of the most ubiquitous questions about twins is: Are they identical or fraternal? The answer to this questions seems very important to everyone else, if if the parents of the twins don't know and don't really care. In some cases, it is obvious. (Boy/girl twins are almost always fraternal.) But in other cases, it's not clear, or parents are misinformed

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