Newborn twins – finally your babies have arrived home after a very long twin pregnancy and you can ‘see’ your babies in person ! Every mother wants to check out their babies carefully from head to toe to really get to meet these little people who took up residence in your belly!
Most singleton babies weigh in at between 7-8 pounds or between 3200 and 3600 grams. This is not always so with twins and you may find yourself looking at 2 very tiny babies – or one that is small and one that is bigger, or two good sized babies!
You’ll notice that their bodies are probably all squished up with bend knees and elbows and even their hands and feet may seem tightly curled up. Don’t worry – they will stretch out and uncurl with time – after all , they’ve been squashed together inside you for a long time !
If you’re lucky, your newborn twins will sleep most of the time at first – and hopefully at the same time. When they are awake, their arms and legs will flail out , and their little hands will grasp your finger if you place it in their palm. These are involuntary movements – they don’t control them. When you lay your babies on their tummies, their heads will be able to move from side to side and may seem to ‘bob’ up and down. Their neck muscles are very weak though, and will need to be supported whenever they are lifted.
Newborn twins will startle easily at loud noises , their arms may fly out to the sides and they may cry. ( Newborn babies don’t have tears though – those come later on !) Now while most babies learn to roll over around 4 months of age, it is not uncommon for one to flip over on you when you’re not expecting it. To be safe make sure you always have your babies within arms reach , or on a safe surface like the floor. Having two newborn twins can be distracting, so if you are going to answer the phone, lay your babies down in their crib or bassinette first. Now is the time to start making sure your home is twinproofed!
Newborn twins skin
At birth most infants have very red skin because they have a higher red blood count. Their hands and feet may look slightly bluish due to immature blood circulation and may feel cold. Some babies also have a bit of white ‘vernix’, which essentially is their waterproofing in the womb, you may find it under the arms, behind the ears and in the groin area.
Don’t be too concerned with various little rashes or skin imperfections that you find. There may be tiny white spots on the nose, some baby acne or little bumps that look like mosquito bites. These are all normal and will disappear with time.
You may want to see if your babies have any birthmarks – especially if you have identical twins, as this can aid you in telling them apart. Some babies have flat, pink or red spots over their eyelids or at the base of their necks – commonly known as stork bites. These can become more noticeable when your baby is crying. These will fade over time.
Sometimes babies have spots on their backs just above their bottoms, or on their ankles and wrists that look like bruises. These are called ‘mongolian spots’ or ‘sacral nevi’ and are caused by pigments in the deep skin layers. These are more commonly found in babies who are Chinese, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. They are nothing to worry about.
Newborn Twins Heads
Your babies heads appearance will depend on how they made their arrival into this world. A baby who was born breech or by Caesarean section will have a round, nicely shaped head. A baby born vaginally head first will have some bruising on the top of their head and a less than perfect shape. This will shift in time as the bones of a newborn’s head can move due to the fontanelle or soft spot on the top.
The fontanelle on top of your babies’heads is the space between four of the growing head bones and is covered by a tough inner skin. It will feel squishy though, don’t press hard on it but don’t worry about washing your baby either.
Your babies eyes will be closed a lot of the time at first and you may not be sure what colour they are going to be for as much as 9 months. Usually a child with brown eyes will have brown eyes, but a baby with blue, green or hazel may have may eye color changes.
Your newborn twins may look slightly cross-eyed at times and this is normal due to immature eye muscle development – and it makes for taking some funny pictures! If it continues past 6 months of age, you’ll want to bring it to your doctor’s attention.
You may notice little red spots in the whites of the eyes. These will go away in about a week. Your babies may wake up with a runny eye, a spot of yellowish pus or their eyelids stuck together. This is often caused by a blocked tear duct. It is usually not serious and easily treated with antibiotic drops.
Your newborn twins may or may not have hair. Some babies are born almost completely bald and others with a full head of head, or somewhere in between. Many times those who have a lot of hair at birth will lose it all and it will grow back later – often a different color altogether.
Bathing newborn twins
One at a time ! And with help preferably – this can be a big job. Figure out what time of day works best for you and make it part of a routine. Before bed usually is a good idea – and try not to right after a feeding.
Have the room warm and the water lukewarm to warm but not hot.Always test the water with your wrist or elbow to make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. And remember to NEVER leave a baby alone in the water – even for a few seconds.
Hold your baby securely with one arm and both hands and lower them into the water. Wash your baby’s face with plain water and use a baby soap for the rest of the body. Make sure you get into all those wrinkles and creases and rinse well. Your baby’s hair does not need to be washed every bath – once or twice a week is fine. You can use plain water or a little baby shampoo. After drying your baby’s head use a baby brush or comb to help prevent the white flakes ( cradle cap) that newborn babies often get.
Your babies nails are soft but the edges are very sharp and they can cut themselves. The best time to trim them is when your baby is asleep. Cut straight across using baby nail clippers.
Caring for the umbilical cord – it will fall off on it’s own in about 7-14 days. Just gently clean around it until the cord area is dry and healed. There should not be an odor or discharge- if there is – see the doctor as there may be an infection.
Jaundice in newborn twins
Babies have extra red blood cells and the red pigment ( hemoglobin) is processed through the liver after the red cell has done it’s job. Babies livers are immature and sometimes are not able to deal with all the extra pigment. This pigment is yellow ( bilirubin).
This can cause your babies skin and eyes to take on a yellowish cast. Normal jaundice peaks around day 4 and then gradually goes away, although breastfed babies can take a little longer to lose the yellowish look. If they have been checked by a doctor they are likely fine as long as they are feeding well and gaining weight.
Weight gain in newborn twins
All babies lose weight after being born. This is normal. As long as your babies are eating, the weight will come back in about one week, and will be back to their birth weights at about 2 weeks of age. Formula fed babies are usually a little faster at gaining weight.
Your babies will want to feed 7-10 times a day! All babies are different – some like to feed more often, others less. SOme babies wake up and want to eat right away, others wake and are calm and content for a while first. All babies need to eat during the night.
All babies get hiccups often – nothing to worry about. You can try putting them back on the breast for a few minutes and they should go away. If you are breastfeeding your twins, on demand works best. Having newborn twins is a huge job! As parents you are getting new information, learning tons of new things – babies and breasts and burping, bathing, feeding, changing….the list is endless. Raising twins is a 24 hour a day job. Relax. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed with how you feel things ‘should’ be. Just love your babies and create a safe environment for them and you’ll all make it out OK.