Just like singleton babies, your twins’ pediatrician will want to see your twins on a regular schedule over the several months after birth.
These visits usually involve some vaccinations and checkups on the child’s physical and mental development.
This article will show you what to expect with your twins’ well baby check-ups for their first year, how to plan for doctor appointments, and what you need to do while at the doctor to make your twins’ (and your) experience go as smoothly as possible.
How Often Are Well Baby Check-Ups?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following well baby check-up schedule for your children through the first year:
- Newborns (while they are still in the hospital)
- 3 to 5 days after birth and within 48 to 72 hours after discharge from the hospital
- 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
These are guidelines for the average, healthy child. Your twins may have been significantly premature or have lingering health issues that will require a different twin baby pediatrician visit schedule.
The AAP has an extensive chart showing when your children should have check-ups and what will be done at each visit. Of course, your doctor may recommend a slightly different schedule based on your twins’ needs.
As you likely noticed, there are at least 7 well baby check-ups after birth and in your twins’ first year. These don’t even include if your twins get sick or need other medical attention.
Once you go through a few check-ups, you’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t for your twins. Be patient and flexible to minimize your stress with these frequent doctor visits.
What is Done at Well Baby Check-Ups?
Each visit will typically include:
- Health history and questions about how your twins are doing at home (feedings, sleeping, moving, etc.)
- Measurements including weight, length/height, head circumference, and blood pressure. You’ll also see how they rank on growth charts for height and weight.
- Sensory screening including vision and hearing
- Blood work and testing
- Physical evaluation from head to toe
- Developmental and behavioral surveillance and evaluation
Expect to spend lots of time with the nurse and medical assistants and a brief but intense time with the twins’ pediatrician.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Twin Well-Baby Check-Up Scheduling
When you make your well-baby appointments after birth and discharge from the hospital, remind the scheduler that you have twins and would like to see the doctor at the same time.
Your doctor’s office should schedule you simultaneously or with back-to-back appointments so that you can stay in the same exam room the entire time.
Before Your Doctor Visit
Make a list of concerns or questions you’d like to discuss with the doctor. Once you get in the room and your twins are going crazy, you’ll forget everything you wanted to ask unless it is written down.
Ask your doctor’s office if you can fill out the required paperwork and forms ahead of time. Ideally, you can fill these out online or print them at home so you don’t have to mess with this in the crowded waiting room while your twins clamor for your attention.
Remember to not let concerns or issues stack up. If you’re ever worried about your twins, call your doctor immediately. Don’t wait another month for the next well-baby checkup.
Be mindful of your twins’ feeding routine, sleeping schedule, potty habits, mobility, speech, and other behaviors. Your doctor will want a snapshot of how your twins are doing on a daily basis. Keeping a log will help with reporting this.
Twin Check-Up Logistics
How do you survive a well-baby checkup with twins?
It’s simple: have two adults go with the twins. Preferably this would be you and your wife. If you can’t go, then an extra pair of hands needs to be ready to fill in.
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
This extra helper could be a grandparent, friend, or older sibling (if available).
At one of our twins’ doctor visits, I was late getting away from work. When I arrived at the doctor’s office, my wife was alone in the exam room, holding both of our wiggly daughters (who had been stripped down to diapers) on her lap.
My wife’s face clearly indicated that it had been a struggle getting the girls to that point by herself.
If you think a nurse or the doctor will be able to assist you with the twins during the entire well-baby checkup, think again.
You’ll spend a surprising amount of time alone with the kids or be maneuvering them while the nurse readies a shot or the doctor writes some notes in the medical record.
You are in charge of handling your twins, getting them undressed and dressed, and helping them cooperate for the doctor’s examination.
This is definitely not an easy task with twins.
Therefore, be prepared: be sure you have one adult per twin.
(NOTE: Still expecting? Get weekly updates on your twin pregnancy here.)
This enables you to:
- not have to worry about the other twin while you wrangle the one in your arms
- soothe and comfort the distraught baby that just got a shot
- get the babies undressed and dressed quickly
- distract a baby as needed while the sibling is evaluated by the doctor
- keep a baby warm (doctor’s offices are always cold even in the middle of summer)
Bottom Line: Don’t go alone to a well-baby checkup with twins. Please don’t make your wife go alone either!
Bonus: Many times when I’ve gone to a well baby check-up, I’ve thought of questions to ask the doctor that I hadn’t mentioned to my wife beforehand. So if you go, not only do you get your questions answered, but you both get an update on your twins at the same time.
Picture by Nate Davis