The baby development of twins in the first year is staggering ! They actually will TRIPLE their weight in that time and the tiny ones who may have been born premature or at a lower birthweight will actually grow even faster! It goes without saying then , that your job is mainly to feed those babies and then feed them some more ! The first few months are a whirlwind of feeding, burping, changing, sleeping and then doing it all over again.
They are doing other things than just eating though ! They are beginning to develop their sight, hearing , taste , smell and sense of touch. As you are caring for your twins, even if you are half asleep you are teaching and communicating with them. They learn what you sound like, smell like and feel like. They are learning about their world outside of the womb, and separate from each other as twins.
Newborn babies don’t seem to have too much awareness of being social when they first come home. They don’t make eye contact for the first few weeks – and in the case of twins – really don’t seem to ‘see’ each other but rather just know the other is there by familiar sounds and smells.
As they get to 8 weeks or so in their baby development, this changes and they can recognize and smile at you, and at each other. Their emotions develop along with their facial expressions. They pick up on the other’s crying and may chime right in . Some babies will experience stranger anxiety and others won’t – our twins had very separate personalities – and who they were comfortable with at any given time seemed to change back and forth. They are twins – but still , separate and unique little people , so we learned to not expect them to react to situations the same way.
Some differences in development can become apparent when one twin has a disability
Around the age of two months, your twins will probably start to lift up their heads when lying on their tummies. ( Tummy time is very important for healthy physical baby development !) This usually results in a head bobbing effect and they tend to feel everything with their mouths. It also gives them a completely different view of their world.
By around four months of age , your babies may have started to roll over from their tummies to their back. You’ll leave them on the floor alone for a minute and come back and someone will have flipped! Now things will start to change more quickly . The more mobile your twins get – the more twinproofing you’ll have to do around your home !
By the age of six months or so , you’ll find your babies just love to be sitting up – whether propped up by pillows, or on your lap, in a swing or bouncy seat – they are starting to really like the view ! They will also start to show an interest in toys and colorful items as well as reaching to touch their twin . At this age , our twins absolutely loved their excersaucers – it gave them the ability to be upright and swivel around. We had 2 different ones and would alternate the babies in each. Occasionally one would take a nap ! Baby development at this age is so much fun.
BabyProofing for Twins
Next stage in baby development of your twins is creeping and crawling ! Now life changes A LOT. They can move – they can pull , and they can start to get into everything! This is a big difference from just having twins – you’re used to the two baby thing already – now you have two babies that can travel and soon who will stand, walk and then run. Gone are the days of being able to lay them down on a blanket on the floor and go to the washroom ! Be prepared to spend almost all of your time reaching, gasping, taking things away from, running after, running to help – you name it – it’s a very very busy time. By the end of the first year some babies can pull themselves up on furniture or with the help of willing hands, others will be taking those first tentative wobbly steps !
Fine motor development during the twins first year is all about their hands ! From little balled up fists as newborns to gradually opening up to reach and grasp and hold things they want. They will figure out, around 3 or 4 months of age, how to hold things , but not necessarily how to let them go. They may just fling the item across the room or drop it once it’s forgotten about. They will also start wanting to help you feed them – as that spoon of cereal gets closer they’ll attempt to grab it. Feeding does get messy at this stage of baby development, but it’s all about their developing the skills needed to feed themselves. Introducing Solids!
Baby development in the second half of the first year gets busy! Somewhere around seven to nine months, you’ll notice your twins trying to pick up items that are small with their thumb and forefinger – pincer grasp. If you lay a few Cheerios in front of them they will spend a lot of time trying to pick them up – and then of course trying to get them into their mouth ! Everything goes into the mouth at this stage – so be very aware of choking hazards, small toys, rocks, loose change – anything – if they can find it on the floor while they are creeping and crawling – they will try and put it in their mouths. Babies usually start sprouting their first little teeth around 7-8 months – in the case of identical twins – almost at the exact same time. Expect lots of drooling and everything into their mouths ! More info on teething here!
You’ll see an amazing change in language development in that first year. They will start to recognize you and smile, they’ll cry and you’ll know which one it is – and what kind of cry it is ! It’s a kind of communication that just comes from parenting twins. They’ll start babbling and cooing around six months and they’ll play repeating games with each other . This babbling back and forth is teaching each of them as part of their baby development, and does start to become more recognizable as real words during the the second half of the first year. As they are going to be learning a lot of their language from each other – it is very important for the parents to be speaking to and reading to them at the adult level to develop their speech properly. Usually a single baby only has a parent or an older sibling to talk to – but with twins – they do a lot of the language between themselves – some of this can evolve into a sort of ‘twin talk’ that they understand – but you do not. More on twin talk in twin parenting – here