Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Neil Patrick Harris, and Celine Dion all have twins, while Beyonce just gave birth to her pair.
In fact, the occurrence of twin births in the United States rose 76% from 1980 to 2009, according to the CDC.
But what’s it actually like? Should parents expect double trouble, or is it a more-the-merrier situation? Here, several experts explain what the Clooneys—and anyone about to give birth to twins—can expect.
Yes, You’ll Have to Buy Two of Everything
This part is very real. While parents of singles can buy one crib and then save it for their next if they plan on having a second, parents of multiples have to buy two of everything because they’ll need it at the same exact time. However, this isn’t all bad. When your kids grow up, it’ll actually come in handy. Did one twin forget their math book at school? No problem—just share the other twin’s book.
Twins Will Be In Sync With Each Other
While the only thing in common between fraternal twins is their birthday, you should expect all twins to have an intense bond as children. In fact, Borba says you should be prepared for them to be “emotionally in sync,” which means that when one cries, the other probably will, too. But it works the same way when they’re happy or tired as well. “You’ll see the other pick up on the same behavior,” Borba says. “It’s the wonder of twins.”
Yes, You Can Breastfeed Twins At the Same Time
Tandem breastfeeding is not only possible, but helpful in some situations for saving time. However, it’s not something you should start out with, since you’ll want to get to know your babies’ eating habits individually at first. It’s also critical to alternate babies and boobs, Diaz says. Since your body has a supply and demand system, you’ll want to switch it up so that one baby doesn’t get more milk than the other all the time. It’s also possible that your boobs could change size if you don’t mix it up now and then (yes, really).
Yes, You Can Tell Them Which One Is Older
While many parents of twins wait to tell them who is older in order to prevent competition between them, Diaz says it doesn’t really matter if your twins know which one came out a minute or two earlier. In fact, her twins find it “supremely comical,” since her daughter—who is much smaller than her twin brother—is the older twin, and nobody can guess correctly.
Schedule One-On-One Time With Each Twin
It’s important for any child with siblings to feel special and important, and parents of twins might have to work a little bit harder to make their kids feel like individuals. If you only spend time with your twins together, you might not find out what their own special strengths are. Does one excel at painting? Does one love trains? Diaz recommends finding out each of your children’s strengths and plan date nights around that.
“It’s important to get to know your kids on their own,” she says.
Expect Them to Gang Up On You
“They totally gang on me all the time,” Diaz says. “They also gang on their teachers and their fellow students—they’re their own little pack.” While this may present some tricky disciplinary situations when they’re older, expect twins to always put each other first before their other family members and friends.
“If the boat was sinking they’d save each other before me and I’m fine with that,” Diaz says about her twins. “They are each other’s constants. I never realized anyone could have a relationship that strong.”
Remember to Put Your Partner First
Parents of twins have a higher rate of divorce than the national average, perhaps because “Everything’s hitting at once,” Diaz says. Whether it’s emotional stress or financial stress, expect double what parents of singles have to deal with. So while most parents are told to put their kids first, Diaz actually recommends putting your partner first, since one of the most important things to show your kids is what a good relationship looks like. When they grow up, they won’t remember what brand of stroller they had as a baby, but they will remember how their parents treated each other.
“Twins wreck your house and body,” Diaz says. “The calm in the eye of the storm should be your partner.” She also recommends having any hard conversations with your partner—whether it’s about your sex life, where you want to live eventually, or where you will celebrate the holidays—before the twins are born. “You won’t have any in depth conversations for the first year,” Diaz says.