Twin Sense: A Sanity-Saving Guide to Raising Twins -- From Pregnancy Through the First Year [NOOK Book]


Although everyone experiences unexpected challenges with the arrival of a new baby, the parents of twins face their own unique sets of joys and frustrations. As the parent of three children under the age of six, including three-year-old fraternal twins, Dagmara Scalise knows firsthand just how daunting that all-important first year can be. Now, in Twin Sense, she offers real-world advice on dealing with the many issues that arise when caring for newborn twins. Concise and easy to follow, this book shows harried ...
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Twin Sense: A Sanity-Saving Guide to Raising Twins -- From Pregnancy Through the First Year

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Although everyone experiences unexpected challenges with the arrival of a new baby, the parents of twins face their own unique sets of joys and frustrations. As the parent of three children under the age of six, including three-year-old fraternal twins, Dagmara Scalise knows firsthand just how daunting that all-important first year can be. Now, in Twin Sense, she offers real-world advice on dealing with the many issues that arise when caring for newborn twins. Concise and easy to follow, this book shows harried parents everything they need to know, including: baby-proofing • stocking up on what they really need • preparing and involving previous children • breast-feeding two babies at once • making errands possible • getting through the night • bathing the babies • traveling with twins • keeping the peace • responding to probing questions about having twins • and much more! Filled with lively anecdotes and practical advice, this is a true insider's guide that will make raising twins a pleasure.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

There are a plethora of titles promising to reveal everything one needs to know about parenting, so kudos to journalist Scalise for actually delivering a truly valuable, accessible, and witty book that will be indispensable to parents of newborn twins. She takes a no-nonsense approach, presenting what looks like a manager's checklist, and instead of the usual organization by age, her text is arranged by task, such as "Stocking Up," "Getting Through the Night," "Making Errands Possible," and "Air Travel." This makes the book easy to reference but no less interesting to read from cover to cover. Scalise thoroughly outlines what twinspecting (this reviewer's term) parents should purchase and what can be borrowed or purchased singly, followed by good product recommendations. Her boot-camp sense of humor is fun and effective, and her advice is wise, practical insider stuff (e.g., prepare formula in the blender and warm it in a Crock-Pot, then feed the quiet baby first). Despite the completely unimaginative title, this is one of the more valuable twin books to be published recently. Highly recommended for all parenting collections.
—Julianne J. Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814410677
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 9/10/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 275,425
  • File size: 403 KB

Meet the Author

Dagmara Scalise (Chicago, IL) is the author of The Everything Health Guide to PMS. She is an award-winning journalist, researcher, and former educator who has written many how-to guides for healthcare and business leaders.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

How Different Can Having Twins Be?

You've just learned the news. You're having twins! You're euphoric, exhilarated, and rightly so. Learning that you will have twins is exciting. Although a lot of people do seem to be having twins these days, it's still a pretty exclusive club, and you will be guaranteed to get extra attention from family, friends, and even total strangers from the moment you tell the world.

So how different can having twins be? After all, it's not like it's rocket science—they're just babies. And if you've already had one child or two, then you've got some experience. Conventional wisdom suggests that having twins is twice as hard as having a single baby. You basically have to do everything twice and buy twice as much of everything. But the truth is, a twin pregnancy is unlike a singleton pregnancy from the get-go, and parenting twins demands more time, energy, and resources than parents of singletons or any new parent can imagine. It's not just that you have two babies; it's that those two babies make some of life's most basic tasks, things you now take for granted, like getting dressed or taking care of errands, a virtual Olympian challenge! And the challenges just keep coming as your twins grow.

Things are different from the start. During pregnancy, expect more doctors' visits and more tests. During delivery, expect far more people in the delivery room. Also, say good-bye to your money, because twins are definitely more expensive, from the food you feed them to the kind of car you buy for transporting your new, larger family. And say good-bye to your free time, because caring for twins is hard, physical work and you will have far less time for yourself, or for anything beyond the babies, in the initial few months. In addition, you may have to deal with your babies' special health issues, and you may have special health issues of your own. That's why knowledge and preparation are key.

Financial Considerations

Accept that having twins will be more expensive.

Borrow what you need.

Save early, save often.

Explore flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts.

Make big purchases with your twins in mind.

During Pregnancy

Prepare for more visits to the doctor.

Make special arrangements to accommodate visits to the doctor.

Expect more medical tests.

Think about prenatal testing.

Take specialized pregnancy classes for twins or multiples.

Get informed about preemies.

Anticipate bed rest.

Fight boredom.

Get Internet service; go wireless.

In the Hospital

Expect to be wheeled into an operating room.

Expect a crowd.

Prepare to bottle-feed.

At Home Afterward

Arrange for help.

Stock up on necessities.

Say good-bye to free time for the time being.

Say yes to babysitting.

Special Challenges: C-Section Complications

Don't be too hard on yourself.

Use photos or video to keep involved and share special moments.

Special Challenges: Caring for Preemies

Arm yourself with knowledge.

Communicate with hospital staff.

Be persistent.

Find an advocate.

Get a night nurse.

Seek emotional support.


It's no secret that having kids is expensive, but having twins means you have an even greater need to plan for the financial challenges ahead.

Accept That Having Twins Will Be More Expensive

From the moment you become pregnant, a twin pregnancy seems to require more money. You grow out of your maternity clothes at warp speed and have to buy more and more clothes just to keep your belly covered. If your health insurance requires co-pays, you will have to pay for more doctors' visits and tests. And, of course, you need beds, mattresses, bassinets, car seats, diaper bags, and the like, in plural!

Borrow What You Need

Sure, it's nice to have new things, especially if these are your first babies. But twins require so much stuff, and so much of it is immediately outgrown, that borrowing from friends and family is a smart option.

Save Early, Save Often

Save early, save often means buying things like diapers and wipes in bulk. It also means saving for your babies. Investigate savings options for your twins, such as higher-interest savings accounts like ING's Orange Account, or purchase low-cost stocks through companies like

Explore Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts

Ideally, you set up and use flexible spending or health savings accounts for your medical expenses before you get pregnant, but even if you set them up while you're pregnant or when your twins are born, you will offset medical expenses by tapping into pretax funds.

Make Big Purchases with Your Twins in Mind

A perfect example of a big purchase you'll need to make in advance of your twins' arrival is the family car. A car that is fine for a family with one child, or even one older child and a baby, is not really great for a family with twins. Even if you can fit your twins into the backseat of your midsize car, once you think about all the gear you'll have to carry for the next several years, such as strollers, diaper bags, baby carriers, clothes, and wagons, many "roomy" cars become as cramped as matchboxes. Plan accordingly.


Twin pregnancies differ from singleton pregnancies from the first doctor's visit—expect more medical management, more time spent at appointments, and more tests.

Prepare for More Visits to the Doctor

It's a given that pregnancy-related doctors' visits take up a lot of time, especially if you have to factor in a long commute. In a typical singleton pregnancy, a woman may see her obstetrician roughly twelve to fifteen times before delivering her baby. For the first six months, she will see her doctor once a month, then twice a month for months seven and eight, and finally once a week for the last two to four weeks of her pregnancy. Contrast that with a woman who is pregnant with twins. While your initial visit may take place in the same time frame as a woman carrying a single baby (anywhere from the week you find out you are pregnant to several weeks out, depending on your practice), as soon as your doctor confirms you are having twins, you are likely to immediately start seeing the doctor twice a month, and then once a week from week 32 on. That's roughly 30 percent more doctor visits for moms of twins.

Make Special Arrangements to Accommodate Visits to the Doctor

Be sure to arrange for extra time off from your employer or arrange for childcare to accommodate your schedule. And remember you will have to find time in your schedule to work in extra medical tests as well!

Expect More Medical Tests

If you became pregnant with medical help, then you are likely to know that you're having twins early on. If your pregnancy is a surprise, it may take some time and several visits to the doctor to learn that you're having twins. Either way, women who are pregnant with multiples are subject to more tests, including earlier and more frequent ultrasounds (often at every single visit); fetal heart monitoring as the pregnancy progresses; and, frequently, genetic testing.

Think About Prenatal Testing

Women of advanced maternal age, defined in this context as thirty-five or older, are generally offered the option of genetic testing to screen their babies for Down syndrome or other genetic problems. Older women typically undergo amniocentesis between sixteen and twenty weeks. However, if you are carrying twins, your doctor may prefer that you undergo a test called chorionic villus sampling, or CVS. Unlike amniocentesis, this test is done much earlier, generally between eleven and twelve weeks of pregnancy. (Many testing centers will not do the test after week 12.) So if you are interested in prenatal screening or anticipate that your doctor will recommend it, talk to your doctor early during your pregnancy, so you are fully prepared to make the right decision for you.

Take Specialized Pregnancy Classes for Twins or Multiples

Specialized pregnancy classes are great at familiarizing you with the delivery and hospital experience, and they are especially targeted to parents of multiples. For example, the classes often will show a film of a twin delivery and include a tour of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Be sure to schedule the class early on in your pregnancy, as early as sixteen weeks. In many cases, women who plan to take the classes later miss out because they end up on bed rest.

Get Informed About Preemies

If your twins are born prior to thirty-six weeks, there's a good chance they will be admitted to the NICU. They may even stay in the hospital after you're discharged. This is simultaneously a joyful yet stressful time. On the one hand, your long-awaited babies are here. On the other, their health is at issue and you may have to leave them. Help yourself manage this emotional firestorm by preparing ahead of time: Read, ask questions, and familiarize yourself with what happens if your babies are born prematurely, so that you can be assured that you are doing what is best for them.

Anticipate Bed Rest

Many women carrying twins (and other multiples) find that they are forced to go on bed rest, even if they thought they were in optimal health. It's just a reality: Twin pregnancies carry more risks for the babies and for the mother-to-be. Twins have a higher likelihood of being born prematurely (before thirty-six weeks for twins is considered premature). To prevent this, many women are put on bed rest by their physicians, either as a precaution or in response to preterm labor. Even if your babies are in ideal health, there are numerous sources of physical and emotional stress—such as having other children to care for, working full-time, or caring for family members—that can take a toll on your body and have a negative impact on your pregnancy. Your doctor may put you on bed rest for a short two-week period at the end of your pregnancy, or you may find that you have to be on bed rest for three or four months of your pregnancy. It's best to prepare yourself emotionally for this challenge ahead of time (when you first learn you're pregnant or in the first trimester) and plan on how you might handle several weeks or months when your activities are severely restricted.

Anticipating bed rest is one thing, but planning for extended bed rest is another. If you have the luxury of working for a large employer who offers sick time and medical leave, then do your utmost to stay on bed rest after your babies' birth. But many women may feel they are forced to work, even if they have a medical reason not to. It could be for financial reasons or because a small company depends on them to keep the business going. (Companies that employ fewer than fifty people are not required to abide by the Family and Medical Leave Act, which grants eligible employees twelve weeks of unpaid time off for the birth of a child.) How can you work and still abide by your doctor's orders? Talk with your employer in advance about its expectations. Check to see if telecommuting is an option; perhaps arrange a step-down schedule in which you initially work from home and gradually do less and less work while on bed rest. The key is to plan to be out of work.

Fight Boredom

The blunt truth is that bed rest is boring. There's only so much television you can watch and only so many books or magazines you can read. Plan projects that can be done while reclining—for example, creating and addressing baby announcements, crafts like knitting and crocheting, organizing those photos you've been meaning to—but do not expect you will get anything done that requires standing, sitting for extended periods, bending, or walking. That includes cooking and working on the babies' room. Forget about it and lay back down.

Get Internet Service; Go Wireless

Go online, check out the twins forums, and read about women going through the same experience you are. Learn about caring for preemies. Update your blog. Having access to the Internet will make you feel more connected to the world while you're on bed rest; having a wireless Internet connection gives you options for "exploring" other areas of your house besides the bedroom.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments xxi

Introduction xxv


1: How Different Can Having Twins Be? 3

Financial Considerations 5

During Pregnancy 6

In the Hospital 8

At Home Afterward 9

Special Challenges: C-Section Complications 10

Special Challenges: Caring for Preemies 11

2: Getting Information and Support for Your First Year with Twins 13

Where to Begin 14

What to Keep in Mind 15

Where to Go for Information 16

3: Responding to Dumb or Probing Questions About Having Twins 22

The Fine Art of the Witty Retort 27

Special Situations 30

4: Stocking Up on What You Really Need 31

Bedding and Clothes 35

Diaper-Changing Gear 39

Bathing 41

Feeding 42

Miscellaneous Extras 44

Questionable Items 46

5: Preparing and Involving Your Other Children 47

Preparing Your Child 48

Involving Your Older Child 50

Making Your Child Feel Special 52

Adjusting Your Expectations 55

6: Preparing and Involving the Father of the Babies 56

Breaking the News That You’re Pregnant 57

What He’s Most Worried About 58

During Pregnancy 60

Hands-On Training 62

After the Babies Are Born 63


7: Getting Through the Night 67

Preparing the Babies for Bed 68

Creating the Optimal Sleep Environment 70

Getting Everything All Ready 70

8: Breast-Feeding 74

Building Your Confidence 76

Having the Right Supplies 80

Adopting a Step-by-Step Process for Nursing 81

Important Things to Keep in Mind 83

If You Encounter Problems 84

9: Bottle-Feeding 86

General Considerations 87

Formula and Supplies 88

Preparing Formula 91

Feeding the Babies 93

10: Bathing 95

Before Starting 96

Bathing Strategies 97

When You Have an Older Child 98

When You’re Alone 99

Making Bath Time More Comfortable for You 100

Choosing Bath Aids 101

Managing the Toys 103


11: Making Errands Possible 107

Strategies for Shopping with Twins 108

rategies for Shopping with Three or More Children 112

Preparing the Gear and Yourself 113

12: Preparing, Packing, and Bundling Your Twins for a Car Ride 116

Getting Your Babies in the Car 117

Arranging the Seats 120

Taking Long Trips with Twins 120

What to Bring 123

Good Distractions 124

13: Traveling by Plane 127

Before You Fly 128

At the Airport 131

On the Flight 133

When Traveling with Car Seats 135

Great Travel Gear 136

14: Vacationing with Your Children 138

Planning Your Vacation 139

Tips to Make Your Trip Smoother 143

If You Choose a Hotel 146

If You Choose a House 147


15: Keeping the Peace 151

Laying the Groundwork 152

Making Sharing Easy 154

In the Heat of the Moment 157

Practicing How to Share and Take Turns 158

16: Baby-Proofing Your Home 161

The Fundamentals 163

The Kitchen 164

The Living or Family Room 166

The Bedrooms 167

The Bathroom 169

Your Home Office 170

The Area Around the Stairs 171

Outside Your Home 172

Additional Suggestions 173

17: The Best Life-with-Twins Tips Ever 176

Making Life Easier for Yourself 177

Making Life Easier for Your Twins 179

More Ways to Organize Your Life 180

Additional Tips for Making Your Life with Twins Easier 182

Appendix: Resources 187

Index 193

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    Best Book on Twin Parenting!

    This was the BEST book I read regarding twins. It is really informative and easy to read. I would recommend this to anyone pregnant with twins, or who just had twins!

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    Posted March 25, 2011

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    Posted December 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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