I love the theory of attachment parenting: immediately responding to your baby’s  cry, carrying him/her around in a sling, co-sleeping and breastfeeding. I think all of these practices make healthier babies, both physically and emotionally.

My first child was breastfed until he was 19 months old and I got pregnant again. I felt simply too nauseous and weak to continue nursing him. He loved being carried around in a baby carrier and sleeping in my armpit. He started crawling at four months old, walking at eight months old and talking in two languages (Russian and English) at eight months of age.

When I learned that I was expecting twins the second time around, I got worried:  how would I be able to  give my children the same attachment parenting practices that me and my first child enjoyed so much? As I read up on the subject and spoke to friends with twins, the subject of raising them became even more confusing. It seems that all of the information about parenting twins is divided into two camps : the first one insists on keeping the babies close together from birth on and the second one emphasizes that these babies are two separate children and therefore should be kept separate, otherwise they’d drive you nuts. There also appears to be conflict on the twins’ schedule: some experts insist on keeping the babies on the same eating and sleeping  schedule, while the other camp says the schedule is not important. Both camps say that breastfeeding is great, but not mandatory, since it’s harder to breastfeed two babies.

Reading all of this didn’t make the anticipation of my twins’ arrival less scary. It made it agonizing.

With my first child, I relied mostly on intuition and it worked great. I believe in an almost psychic connection a mother has with her child. some mothers are not aware of it, but it’s still there. I “knew” when my first baby was hungry, upset, tired or bored. I felt when he needed comfort, love, food or all of the above. After having read about parenting twins, it seemed to me that most of carrying for two babies is not intuitive, but highly scientific, with all of these schedules, matching up, and “double of everything.” How was I going to have the same loving and peaceful intuitive connection with two babies?

And then, the babies came. They were delivered safely at home ( no, I am not crazy, I’ve done my research.) My husband and I put them in the little bassinet we had left over from our first child. They fit in it together so harmoniously. And I decided to just watch them and let them “tell” me what they wanted, as attachment parenting is first and foremost child-led parenting.

The babies woke up. At the same time. Then, they pooped. At the same time! Then, they both got hungry. The babies started to function in an incredible, well-balanced union since birth, without any interference from me of their father.  They were functioning like two separate babies with a  very strong connection between them. If one got sad about their nails being cut, the other would wake up and scream, to show support. If one was hungry, the other one would eat, too, albeit lazily, to keep the first one company.

Now they are almost five months old and are growing as happily attached twin babies. They started rolling over at one month old and crawling at 4.5 months.

These are my suggestions to those mamas that would like to combine having twins with attachment parenting rules:

1. Breastfeed. There is no substitute for breast milk when it comes to baby’s health. If you think you don’t have enough milk, call lactation consultant. If you really don’t have enough milk, take fenugrek, shatvari , Mother’s Milk Tea and pump regularly to increase the amount of milk you produce.

Try to feed your babies together. Look up positions for that. If one of the babies is hungry, but the other one is asleep, be sensitive enough not to be the slave of the “schedule. ” Feed the hungry baby : it’s an opportunity for you to bond with him/her.

2. Co-sleep. Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper is a wonderful thing. You can keep both babies in there for quite a few months. Or you can have two of those co-sleepers. Or, you can have one baby in the co-sleeper and one baby in your armpit. Or you can keep the babies in a bassinet or two. Or you can have a baby in each armpit and a husband on the couch. 🙂 I like to have one baby close to me and one in the co-sleeper.

3. Wear your babies. Get a good baby carrier and alternate the babies in it. You can wear a baby while doing housework or while out. I think having a single stroller for twins is not crazy. It’s good for attached babies. Just make sure that both babies get equal time on you.

4. Do not enforce strict schedules on babies younger than a year old. If one baby wants to sleep, and the other one wants to play, don’t take this as interference with your Internet time. Take this as an opportunity to bond with the baby that’s  awake.

5. Let your babies be together: they should sleep together or be very close to each other, bathe together, enjoy life together. They roomed together in a pretty close proximity for nine months and share a special bond. Honor that.

6. Understand that they are not “the twins.” They are individuals with a special connection.

7. Go ahead and allow yourself to abandon everything you read on the subject of raising twins. Most parenting is intuitive. A mother can be as “psychically” connected to multiple babies, as she can be with one: I learned this by having twins. The hard part is tapping into that connection. Then, you can throw away my rules.

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