When your twins are born, they often look very similar. This is a big question parents of twins ask: How do you tell newborn twins apart?
Your twins will give you natural indications of which one is which. Additionally, you can help identify them with tricks you can put into play.
Obviously if you’ve got boy/girl fraternal twins, you will never confuse which baby is which. However, when your newborns are swaddled up in their blankets and all you see is their little faces, don’t be surprised if they look very similar.
Fortunately, if you do mix them up, you can always verify who is who with the next diaper change.
Even identical twins will be born with different lengths and weights. For example, one of your twins may have a more round face or chubbier legs than the other.
This may help you tell them apart right away. However, your twins will have weight gains and losses as they adjust to the real world and learning to feed. So don’t count on the weight difference always being there.
Your twins’ hair may be different colors or lengths when they are born. Your twins may not have any hair at all! Hair may be a good differentiator in the beginning, but since hair does grow, it isn’t reliable long-term until you can actually cut and style it differently on each twin.
When our girls were born, one had very red skin like she was blushing or hot. Our other daughter was more pale and white colored. Your twins may have different shades of color as well. In our case, the color difference was temporary. So while it was helpful in the hospital, things soon normalized and color wasn’t that different.
Look for birthmarks or other natural marks on your twins when they are born. One of our girls had a small red patch on her eyelid. I used that mark for several weeks to help tell them apart before it eventually faded.
Sometimes your babies will be born with scratch marks where their sharp little fingernails left a mark on themselves or each other while in the womb.
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You’ll notice behavior, personality, and mannerism differences in your twins. Don’t rely on these 100 percent as twins will switch personalities right before your eyes.
Physical Indicators Change
As you can see in the physical ways to tell your twins apart listed above, they all seem to change (except gender, of course) over time.
Use what you can to tell your twins apart but be prepared to supplement any physical differences with some systems or tricks that you put into place.
Dressing your twins in different clothes is my favorite method for telling newborn twins apart. We used different colors with our girls. One of them was always in warm colors like reds, pinks, and yellows. The other was always in cooler colors like blues, greens, and purples.
This color pattern made it easy to tell them apart across the room and was easy for others to remember as well.
Many parents of twins will paint a toenail on one of the babies to help tell them apart. This works great during the summertime when little feet may be exposed. However, when babies are swaddled in blankets or bundled up for winter, this method doesn’t allow instant identification.
As soon as your twins are born, they get medical wristbands in the hospital. These don’t come off until you get home. I even left our girls’ wristbands on for a day or two after we got home just to be sure I could rely on other methods to tell them apart.
Establish a Pattern
However you decide to tell your newborn twins apart, you need to be consistent. Help others tell your twins apart by explaining the pattern to them.
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Additionally, keep the pattern in mind when taking pictures of your newborn twins so you can actually tell them apart years from now when looking at their photo albums.
You’ll find more tips on managing your twins’ identity in Chapter Seven of my book, the Dad’s Guide to Raising Twins: How to Thrive as a Father of Twins.