As the mother of three boys (fraternal twins and a singleton), I’m often approached by new moms of twins who inevitably ask the same questions. “Are they close?” or “When does it get easier?” Pretty standard stuff. But when these moms spot my youngest son—the singleton—they lean in close, eyes widening and ask, “What’s it like having a singleton after twins?”
My youngest son is exactly two-and-a-half years younger than his fraternal twin brothers. If truth be told, he was a surprise as we were not actively trying to increase the size of our family at the time. All during my pregnancy, I worried about the impact of having three kids—boys, no less—all under the age of three with a ew baby. I thought it was hard enough and now another one? I even cried the day I went into labor knowing that when I returned home from the hospital, life as I had so carefully controlled and had scheduled down to the minute, would be no longer. We would have to start all over. How would I ever handle it?
And then my son was born, and I fell in love. Instantly. Completely. I cried again but this time with tears of joy. Suddenly every fear I had had about bringing another child into an already busy household vanished.
Was there a period of adjustment? Absolutely. Were there challenges? Of course. But having another baby was not nearly as terrifying as I had initially thought. So if you, too, are thinking of trying for another baby after having twins, go for it! And here’s why.
My singleton pregnancy was easier than my twin pregnancy.
During my twin pregnancy, I gained 60 pounds. By my fifth month, I couldn’t sleep comfortably. A short walk to the car left me breathless. I developed PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), a condition characterized by annoying rash that sometimes affects pregnant women, especially those carrying twins. But with my singleton second pregnancy? I gained a mere 30 pounds. No panting and puffing when I walked. My feet didn’t swell; my back didn’t constantly ache. Sleeping was easier, too.
Twins for my first pregnancy was fantastic in a sense because I didn’t know anything different. It was just my normal. But now after having a singleton, I’m truly noticing how drastically different it is! The third trimester was a breeze in comparison. Normal maternity clothes fitted well! Even though I had twin toddlers to run around after, carrying a single baby is a lot easier on the body.
Nursing a singleton was much easier.
The whole breast-feeding process fell into place from DAY ONE. I was calmer and more peaceful. After all, I had nursed my newborn twins so now I was an experienced nursing mom!
I only had soreness for approximately a week breastfeeding just one. I was in a lot of pain for around 2 months after having the twins. When they wanted to eat, I would literally cry because it ached so much and I didn’t believe I would be able to do it again. You never really get time to recover, its one baby on, one baby off. With a single breastfeeding you can rest and let pains heal better.
It’s also easier to nurse on the go. With the twins, I had to nurse at home and plan it and work around the schedule of feeding them. With the youngest, we can just go and feed wherever, its much easier to do and much less planning.
As a mother of three-year-old twins and a newborn, I can attest that the first few months with twins are far more difficult than with a single child. For me, the level of sleep deprivation and paralyzing restriction of freedom that resulted from the technical difficulties of being a new parent with two babies, as well as the three-hour breastfeeding clock (though for me, it was more like every two hours), made the first six months after having the twins unbearable! It was by far the most difficult period of my life.
Bonding was different…in a good way.
Yes, I bonded with my twins quickly. But there were two of them, and it was rare when either baby ever had my full, undivided attention. But since they were my first children, I had nothing to compare it too, so bonding with two at once was my “normal.” However, when my singleton was born, I had a huge “ah-ha” moment. “Oh, so this is what it’s like!” I thought. Bonding with my singleton felt different. It felt more intense, like falling in love. And if I’m honest, I liked it. I truly enjoyed the whole getting-to-know you process with him. I felt so lucky to have the chance to nurture just one baby at a time.
I didn’t worry as much.
I didn’t sweat every cough or sneeze because I had done it all before. It wasn’t my first rodeo, as they say. I also got more bed rest, I took it when needed as I learned from the first you need to keep your own strength to keep on going.
Caring for a singleton after twins was a piece of cake.
Really. Easy. One diaper to change. One baby to nurse. Getting out the door for the day was a snap, especially with preschool twins who could run and fetch things like the diaper bag.
Sibling jealousy was low.
We’ve all heard stories about older siblings who sometimes use attention-getting behavior (bed wetting, reverting to baby-talk) once a younger sibling is brought into the household. After all, a first-born child is not used to sharing the spotlight with a newborn sibling. Yet when twins are the eldest, much of that behavior doesn’t exist. Why? Because the twins have each other. There has always been another sibling in the house so neither one was ever top-dog, or mom and dad’s sole focus.
When my singleton was born, the transition from a family of four to a family of five was much easier than I anticipated. When my twins came to visit me in the hospital, for instance, they seemed completely uninterested in both me and their new brother (they were more interested in all the monitoring gadgets in the room). I didn’t take it personally. Actually, I was relieved. When their younger sibling came home, they just went about their business, slowly integrating him into their day-to-day lives.
So were there any challenges to adding a singleton after our twins? Yes, but just a few.
My husband and I were outnumbered.
It was now three-against-two. Translation? More household chaos. Twin parents can divide and conquer, one each. A twin mom at home with three is tough! It’s totally normal on some days to just feel overwhelmed. We’ve decided not to have any more kids as our family now feels complete, if a little chaotic at times.
My singleton sometimes feels left out.
I’ve talked a lot about the plight of the singleton sibling to twins here on this blog. It can be tough for some single-born children in a family with twins as they sometimes feel left out—mom and dad have each other; the twins have each other. But who does the singleton have? Furthermore, if the twins are identical and/or closely bonded, the problem can be exasperated. Solution? You need to work hard at building strong relationship among all siblings, and focus on the family as a whole, not just the uniqueness of twins. Even though the boys are not identical twins, they still have a unique bond.
And by the way, if you’re worried that you’ll have another set of twins, relax. Although lightning can strike twice, the odds are pretty slim that you’ll conceive twins again.
So what do you guys think? Are you ready for another baby? My friend with identical twin girls has vowed to have no more!