Comparing twins, dealing with differences in milestones

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What to do when your twins develop at a different pace

The twins. The babies. The dynamic duo. There are many times where you’re twins will be lumped together whether you like it or not. But when it comes to their development, chances are they will prove very individual in their speed of development. 

Regardless of being twins, each baby moved through their milestones at their own rate of speed. While most babies will achieve their milestones at relatively similar intervals, no two babies will be the same. 

This is why it requires patience and knowing when to compare your babies development and when to accept them for the unique individuals they are. 

The Benefits of Comparing Your Twins

While most experts will caution you from making comparisons amongst your twin set, it can be hard not to. As they move through the many early milestones parents will find that those little comparisons like which twin is born first or which baby is smaller can segway into much bigger comparisons. 

While most experts caution parents from making too many comparisons amongst twins, there are a few benefits of having two babies to compare (especially in the case of new parents!). 

Helps You Notice Lags in Development

One benefit is that having two babies is that is can help identify any lags in development. Science has shown that twins are slightly more likely to have delays in reaching their milestones. Whether it be due to low birth weight, prematurity or other some twins will reach their typical developmental milestones after their singleton counterparts. 

Having a twin set allows parents to identify if one of their babies is falling behind. It can be hard for parents of twins when their comparison points are singleton babies who were born full-term and more typical birth weight. Twins will often seem “behind” those babies. 

However, when you have a twin set born at the same time and often similar weight, you can start to see where your babies stack up. If you find that one of your babies is falling behind this is important information to share with your child’s doctor. There are some tips and tools your pediatrician can share to help make sure that babies stay on track. 

Start to Identify Their Unique Strengths

Another benefit of making some basic comparisons is that you can start to see their strengths emerge long before other parents. Instead of looking at how one twin walks later, you might want to reframe it and see how that twin’s sibling is excelling when it comes to their gross motor skills. Look for strengths instead of weaknesses. 

Allows Twins to Show Off Their Personality

Many twin parents will tell you that they feel like they learn their babies personalities long before singleton parents. Twins often “come out of their shell” before babies who don’t have the stimulation of a twin. 

As you watch your twins develop, chances are you will see their unique personality sooner. 

The Downside of Comparing Your Twins

With the good, comes the bad. Making comparisons between your twins has some perks, but if you are not careful it can have a downside as well. These are a few pitfalls to try to avoid. 

Comparing Twins Stresses Parents Out

Comparing and contrasting twins can lead you down a wormhole of worry. It can make you question everything your twins do and do not do. Parenting is hard enough in the early months of twin parenthood without making comparisons. Rather than allowing yourself to stress over what might seem like one twins shortcomings, remember that each twin will naturally develop at their own rate. 

Not An Accurate Gauge

Another reason that making comparisons between babies can be a parenting pitfall is that your babies are not necessarily the best gauge of typical development. Perhaps one of your babies are developing their fine motor skills at a much faster than average pace. If you are not careful this might lead you to falsely believe that their sibling is behind. 

Your twins are not going to be the best scale by which to measure development. There are plenty of outstanding resources out there you can use to make sure your babies stay on track. 

Don’t View One Twins Strengths As the Others Deficit

We have already made mention of this already in this article but it’s worth pointing out directly. Don’t let comparisons between your babies cause you to see one twins strength as the others deficit. When one baby is advancing beyond another, it can be hard to tell whether one baby is ahead or the other is behind. 

This makes it easy to lose sight of the amazing strengths each of your children has. Try to remind yourself that a strength outweighs a weakness any day! 

Instead of assuming the worst, try to see things in the positive. 

Let Your Twins Be Unique

Each child will ultimately do things at their own speed. Whether they are identical or fraternal, they are their own person. Allow them to work at their own pace and be who they are and it will make all of your lives easier.  

Remind yourself to let them develop into the amazing people they are designed to be. There are times when you will make healthy comparisons that are beneficial, but be sure to stay positive. 

Conclusion

If you feel like one twin is lagging behind you can always talk to their pediatrician. This is the safest and best course of action whenever you have concerns about babies development or health. 

Your best bet is to be informed about typical milestones and remember they are loose guidelines and not hard and fast rules. 

Regardless of when your babies reach their milestones, chances are they will not get there at the same time or in the same way. This is normal! Each of your babies is going to tackle the world in the way that works for them. Support that and enjoy watching their personalities bloom.

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