If you have twins, it is hard not to compare the two. Resisting the urge to compare your baby’s development is difficult enough if you are just visiting with others at the park or playground. To see a growing gulf between the abilities of your children daily is even more difficult.
Identical feedings don’t equal identical growth.
Development challenges have many different causes, and often no apparent cause at all. Even if you know that you did everything you could to ensure proper development in the womb, and treat both babies the same in terms of nutrition and interaction, there can be a noticeable difference in development. This can be more troubling because the conventional wisdom is that children of multiple births generally reach milestones at around the same time.
Although it is common for most twins to reach their milestones at similar ages, it is not unusual when it doesn’t happen. The key is to determine if there is something amiss, or if one child is simply developing more slowly than the other.
Don’t get too stuck on what your idea of normal twins should be.
When one baby rolls over, starts to crawl, or sits up on their own, it is normal to expect the other to do so within days. It is important to remember that there is a window of development for each of these activities. While one of your babies may reach that milestone early in the window, the other may not reach it until much later. As long as each baby is generally reaching the milestones within the recommended window, there is no reason for concern.
Some babies are more physically active than others. Other babies enjoy food and mealtime or quiet time with mom or dad. If one of your babies is naturally more restless and active, this likely translates to more rigorous tummy-time and exploring what they can do with their body while they are in the crib. It is only natural that this baby will roll over, crawl, and pull up to a standing position before a more peaceful, quiet baby.
Twins change twice as fast! You’re not going crazy.
If there is a noticeable gap between the development of your babies, you may start to think of one as more advanced than the other. You mustn’t let these preconceived notions take hold and affect the way you deal with your babies.
Child development moves in fits and spurts. While one of your babies may seem ahead of the other physically, the tables may quickly turn once they start verbalizing. Treat both of your babies as individuals, and make a conscious effort to not make any comparisons between the two. Children have a way of living up, or down, to our expectations.
Ask for medical advice.
If there is a clear difference in development between your twins, even if there are no missed milestones, don’t be afraid to talk to your pediatrician. While it is likely that you will be reassured that everything is fine, you may also find that your child has some slight developmental delays.
Having a child with these delays is very common, and early intervention can quickly get your baby back on track. Working with a physical, occupational, or speech therapist can help your baby develop in areas where he is falling behind. In these cases, the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome.
Focus on the good while letting parenting storms pass.
Raising children is hard, and raising multiples is even more of a challenge. There are so many things to keep track of and accomplish in a day, it can be easy to fixate on some small issue and worry for no reason.
As long as your baby is gaining weight and generally meeting milestones, he is probably fine. You shouldn’t compare him to his twin any more than you would compare two siblings that were born years apart. If you are still concerned, speaking with your pediatrician should help ease your mind.