Irish Twins

I get tired just thinking about Irish Twins!  Our children are 27 months apart, almost 24 months apart, and 37 months apart.  I’m not sure what the most ideal child spacing would be, and quite frankly, I don’t believe in being totally “in charge” of such decisions.  Keep reading for my sweet friend JessieLeigh’s experience with Irish Twins.

Rare is the mama who announces she is expecting another baby well before her last child even hits the six month mark.  But it does happen… it happened to me.  Did it happen to you too? Are you wondering how on earth to cope?  (Or, perhaps, are you just fascinated by the idea much in the way I’m fascinated by families with oodles of children?)  Having raised my own set of Irish Twins and lived to tell about it- well, they’re both about five right now- please allow me to share a little of what I have learned.

Since so many people have a 2-3 year space between their children, this may well be the situation of most of your friends and family. And they will try to offer you (well-meaning) advice. What I want you to know is this: much of it does not apply to you.  By all means, listen to them.  Take what works and ditch what doesn’t.  Just be aware that tips that work with a toddler and a newborn may not apply with a baby and a newborn.

If I could give you just one big tip, it would be this: Do not forget that your older baby is still just that- a baby. Your family make-up is strikingly different from those with more widely-spaced siblings. Many of their suggestions won’t work well for you.  And that’s okay.

It is not uncommon for parents to work hard to help their “baby” graduate to new things before the new baby arrives. Parents of toddlers or preschoolers often scramble to get the current youngest out of the crib, off the pacifier, potty-trained, etc, etc. And that’s fine. I fully understand that it is easier to do those things before the new baby arrives than it would be to try and accomplish them after the birth.

You cannot do this. Please do not try. Your 11-month old simply does not BELONG in a toddler bed. Your not-even-1-year-old should not be expected to use the potty. And it is NORMAL for your older baby to still be on the breast or bottle and perhaps using a pacifier. None of this needs to change with the arrival of a new baby. One of the reasons they’re called “Irish twins” is that, in many ways, raising them can be similar to raising twins.  You are going to need some extra gear, but that is a topic for a whole ‘nother post.  One that I will be writing for you, never fear. 😉

As I keep pointing out, you will be raising two babies.  When you first arrive home, you will feel like your life is an endless cycle of feeding, diapering, naptimes, soothing, rocking, singing, and putting to sleep.   Here are five of my top tips for making it a little easier:

  1. Do not try to put them on the same schedule. Newborns are notorious for sleeping and eating whenever they want/need to.  That is fine.  Ten- or eleven-month olds, on the other hand, tend to thrive with a predictable routine.  Keep following your older baby’s schedule as closely as possible.   Let the newborn live “on demand”.
  2. Embrace baby-wearing. You certainly don’t have to, but you’ll make your life a whole lot easier if you invest in a quality wrap or sling.  Anything that helps free up an arm or two can be a life-saver!
  3. Get out of the house. Seriously.  I know it’s hard, but go to the grocery store, just you and your babies.  Even if you only pick up a few items, there’s a real sense of empowerment that you’ll feel when you realize that you CAN do it.  (p.s. Park by the carts- this will help a lot!)
  4. Celebrate simultaneous naps. These may not happen everyday.  But, when your babies happen to sleep at the same time, enjoy it.  Do not rush about trying to clean.  Take a moment.  Breathe.  Rest.  Celebrate the moment.
  5. Most importantly, realize that, eventually, you will reap the rewards. I cannot even begin to tell you the joy I’ve experienced by having two children so close in age.  They are such good friends.  They like the same things.  They’ve never had sibling jealousy because, well, they’ve never known a time without each other.  I am not saying there is not strong sibling love between more widely spaced siblings- not at all- but there is something uniquely special about children who are born so close to each other.  It is a beautiful thing to witness as a parent!

Are you the parent of very closely spaced children?  What questions do you have about raising “Irish twins”?

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  1. Great post!! I had to laugh because it made me think of what my grandma use to say (My dad and uncle are 13 months apart), she would say Who would choose to have children that close in age. Then when I found out I was having twin boys, she hasn’t said it since, lol!

    I will say this, with twins there are always two, and you only have one pregnancy! I so agree with no rushing the older baby into toddler bed, etc. Let them be babies!

    • I should probably have been clearer in my post that I am in NO way trying to compare my experience to that of “actual” twin parents. There are many, many things that were much simpler for me, no doubt! For instance, by the time #2 arrived, the first was already in a well-established sleep pattern. And was less prone to diaper blow-outs. And… well, you get what I’m saying. 😉

    • Great post! Thanks for sharing! My two girls are about 1 1/2 and 2 1/2. I think it’s time, well probably past time, to take the pacifiers away. Any recommendations? Take them both away at the same time? Take the older ones first?

  2. My first two kids are 13 months apart. While others were kinda shocked and thinking I was crazy, it’s been wonderful! The older is a boy and he’s now 4, the younger is a girl who is 3. They play well together – most of the time – and actually seem to be on the same page in most cases. My 3 year old has been ahead of the game a lot (as in she was talking in complete and understandable sentences at 12 months!) and so she easily keeps up with her older brother. I wouldn’t change a thing and love the closeness in their ages! I also have another girl who is 15 months (two years between her and her older sister) and am pregnant with baby #4 due in January. (There will be 17 months difference between the new baby and my youngest girl.)

    Thanks for posting this! It was neat to read and to hear about another mom who has close babies. Most of the time, I get one of those “Oh MY, you certainly have your hands full” kind of comments. Well yes, they are full, but it isn’t a problem or something I wish I could do differently. God has blessed me with three (soon to be four) wonderful children…so what if they are close in age?

    • Your comment made me smile! I think it’s a lovely blessing to have 3 (almost 4!) wonderful children close in age. My second child’s birth experience was pretty traumatic, so we have a larger gap before #3 (3 years) and I’m enjoying that too… but I really treasure the closeness of my first two. (Mine are also boy then girl.)

      • My Irish twins are 9 months apart. My youngest was born at 24wks. Their birthdays are 01-13-01 and 10-31-01. Flip the numbers around and they’re the same. They are both boys but never knew about the Irish Twins thing until yesterday.!!! Where can I find out more information?

    • Jess Aufdermaur says:

      I hear “You have your hands full” EVERYDAY from strangers! My babies are 10 months and 5 days apart. And I get shocked looks. I was offended at first but now I think it’s funny, and an honor. I am going to start replying “My hands AND heart are full :)” I LOVE it. Now, I DID have an anxiety attack when I first found out I was pregnant 20 weeks in while my son was 6 months old. And yes, I felt guilty not knowing she was “IN” there until I felt her move…but hey….I was nursing full time and eating right. This has rocked my world. Another note – I am blessed to have a 10 year old daughter that helps me out SOoooo much. Yay for Irish twins! The bond between my Irish twins (16 month old boy and 6 month old girl) is SO intensely sweet and special already…and it happened naturally!

  3. I meant to say too that my son was certainly still a baby at 13 months when I had the baby. He kept his pacifier, still slept in his crib, and was by NO MEANS ready to potty train. He was walking though which was a gigantic help with not having to carry two babies at the same time!

  4. I love having Irish Twins. It was such a huge adjustment at first. Being pregnant with such a tiny baby was challenging and then taking care of a newborn and an 11-month-old also took some time to get used to. The girls are now 3 and 2 and have a great time playing together. I’m so glad it worked out this way.

    • I think the “being pregnant while caring for a little infant” part may have been the most challenging of all. I can still recall the fierce nausea as I spooned up pureed food for my older baby! 🙂

      • Ah, I can relate!

        My second was born when my oldest was 2.5 and I thought that was a bit challenging. So when our fourth was born when the third was 18 months old, I thought, “Oh, they’re a whole 18 months apart, no problem!” Ha ha, I wish, but definitely easier than 11.5 months apart.

        What’s funny is I always felt sorry for my MIL because she had 4 kids in 5 years. And then I did the same thing 🙂

    • rachelle marshall says:

      I have a question is my babies Irish twins they were born Feb 4 2015 and Feb 2 2016

  5. I have experienced both large space between kids and irish twins, really triples you could say. I have an 11 yo, then a 5,4,soon to be 3 yo. My 5 and 4 yo are 11 months apart and then the 4 yo is 16 months older the my youngest. i completely agree you can not rush the older “twin” out of the stages. It will only create alot of frustration on all parts. Going from having a years difference to an 11 month difference was quite alearning experoence. Happily we made it though and are so in love with are children. My advice for parents goin g though this now is 1. only you know your babies, do what feels right for your babies. 2. God does not give you more then you can handle! I said that to myself often to remind myself that everything will be fine. Also to remind myself that God is there to lean on when I need it.

    • “God does not give you more than you can handle” <– I have said this over and over so many times! I completely agree with your advice, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Oh I can so relate. Our #3 and #4 were 15mths apart. I seriously cannot remember how I survived it all. But they are now 7 and 8 and we call them our pseudo twins since I had not heard of the term Irish twins till now 🙂

    • I like “pseudo twins”! I had actually heard of Irish Twins before I had them and I can vividly remember thinking, “Who on earth has two babies in ONE year?” Ha! God likes to chuckle at us. 🙂

      • Oh gosh, I thought I was alone. My Irish twins are now 5&6 (boy and girl) whoop whoop! They were born in the same year of ’07. My second one was born one month premature his due date. I always get asked if there’s an error on their birth years. I’m like, “No, they were born in the same year ha, ha!” And I’m proud of it.

  7. My oldest daughter was only 9 months when I found out another was on the way. It was a hard adjustment to make, but they are 4 and nearly 3 now and very close. I also have an 8 month old and just recently lost another. Children are such a blessing from God!

  8. I am in awe of mommies who can handle two babies at the same time. My mom had twins and I know it took a toll on her. My “baby” is 16 months old and although I would be open to having another baby right now, I first have to get my husband on the same page ;)! Great post, I can understand how wonderful it would be for the children to have a playmate so close in age.

    • I honestly think, Miranda, that there are advantages to all the various “gaps”… I just happen to have lots of experience with super closely spaced babies! As a result, I get the joy of built in playmates… BUT the trade-off was I never had an older “helper” child. I know that whenever you and your husband have your second child will wind up being just perfect for your family. I truly believe that’s how it works. 🙂 Enjoy your 16 month old! (Still definitely a “baby” in my book… I still call my 17 month old a baby!)

  9. I have ‘almost’ Irish twins…or triplets? Three in three years, all boys. My oldest two boys are 15 months apart. Honestly, my second was a bit of a surprise. I can still remember feeding my oldest baby in a state of shock right after I got a positive pregnancy test. Then he surprised us again and came six weeks early. People always ask if we ‘planned’ to have two so close. (Which I think is incredibly rude and none of their business.) While we didn’t necessarily plan to have two so close together, I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are best buddies and constant entertainment for each other.

    • Oh, I got that question too, Brittany! I remember an old man asking me that when my younger “twin” was in the NICU. And I recall thinking, “Really? This is what you’re most concerned about? My family planning?” But I digress… 😉 Three boys in three years– what a busy bunch of joy that must be! 😀

  10. Correct me if I’m mistaken.. but isn’t Irish Twins a term coined for children who are actually apart by 12 months or less?

    I have two toddlers. A girl who’s almost 26 months and a boy who’s almost 15 months. My two were 11 months and 2 weeks apart. I found out I was pregnant with # 2 when my daughter wasn’t even 3 months old.

    Crazy. I know.. but I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a matter of fact, my husband and I look at other couples and go “wow.. your kids are really far apart!” Cause we don’t know any better! LOL 🙂

    • You’re correct, Ricarda. My first two are 3 days shy of eleven months apart. They were both born in 2005. I don’t think you’re crazy. 😉 I think that there are so very few parents of “true” Irish twins that those with the 13, 14, 15 month gaps are often included in the group too. Let’s face it… anything under a year and a half is far smaller a gap than average! 🙂 And I understand your feeling about other gaps… my #2 and #3 are three years apart. I think that gap is HUGE, but others seem to think it’s totally normal.

      • Agreed! The traditional definition of Irish Twins is 12 months and less in age difference, but we are also one of those families that has Irish Twins at not quite 14 months apart. The girls are so similar in appearance, etc that we are asked all the time if they are twins…including parents of (real) twins!! When they were in diapers, there was 6 months or so they were in the same size diapers! (That made our shopping a little easier :D) Our girls are currently in Kindergarten together (they are homeschooled) as the younger sibling has had the advantage of learning and playing with her older sister and is slightly ahead academically compared to her peers. Sorry for rambling 🙂 I wanted to share our story on how our girls are don’t fall into the traditional 12 months category, but are still close enough in age to be mistaken for twins and have the benefit of learning from each other.

      • Natalia Rivera says:

        Well my boys don’t fall into the typical Irish twins category but becoming a single mom shortly after having my third basically made me feel like that! I have a 14 yr old girl, 8 yr old boy, and 6 yr old boy. When I first learned I was pregnant with my third baby my other baby was only 16 months old and he was a surprise! Yes the relationship between there father changed and I was pretty much alone but I was to busy with two baby boys to feel sad. My daughter who was 8 at the time of my youngest birth has been a great helper. I love how my boys love each other so much yes they fight like cats and dogs but they also look out for one another they all are truly my greatest blessings!

  11. When our twin girls were 4 months old, I found out I was pregnant again! We had three girls in 13 months. I used to tell people it got a little easier everyday, but then they became teens, and I don’t know what happened!

    When they were small we always made our youngest “play up” in sports, so they could all be on the same team. This put us at a disadvantage, because not many coaches wanted three kids from the same family on a team, in case of illness, etc. Well my youngest was an excellent player (the others weren’t bad either), and one day a coach for the younger group can to me and said ” don’t you want your daughter to be a Big Dog on her own field”, and I said “no we just want all our dogs on the SAME field!” I know people thought we were crazy, but you do what you have to!

  12. You are so right- you do what you have to! And you do what works for YOUR family! Because of where their birthdays fall (Jan and Dec) and our state guidelines, my older two could have been put in the same grade. This would have made it easier for me for a couple years with transportation and all but, you know what? It wasn’t what was best for them. We know our own kids. 🙂 Are your daughters all very close now that they’re (almost) grown?

  13. I have 3 in 3 years also. My oldest girl born in March, my son 1 week short of 1 year later in March, and the youngest born this past July. They are almost 12 and almost 17 months. I also get the “you have your hands full” a lot too. I look at other people with kids father apart and think it isn’t really that much easier. You have different challenges and different things that are easy with different spacings. My older two are like twins now. The girl is small for her age and the boy is large so they really look like twins. Someday I hope to see the purpose God had in giving me these three.

    Thank you for posting about this subject. I could go on and on talking about it. Its not often I see a forum where Irish twins are seen as a good thing and something to be proud of. Thanks again 🙂

    • My first 2 are 17 months apart and weigh the exact same, to the ounce. People think they are twins all the time. They have the same hair color and really do look alike. It is fun to pretend that they are when we are in public, but now that my daughter is 4 I can’t get by with pretending because she’ll correct me. LOL

      • This makes me giggle, just because- even though they’re less than 11 months apart- my son (the older of the two) is HUGE and my daughter is very petite. As a result, people never even believed they were born in the same year. He has always looked at least two years older than her. 🙂 (As a funny side-note, I know a Jennifer with two daughters 17 months apart who are the same size- our 4yo daughters are friends. Oh, the irony!)

    • You’re right- I don’t think “wider gaps” make it easier. Each situation has its own advantages and challenges. The key is to embrace what we’ve been given, right? 🙂

  14. Your article was very good! My first two daughters are 2 years and 9 months apart and then my son (who was a surprise) is 16 months younger than daughter #2! She was 7 months old when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t know how I was going to leave the house with 3 kids so little. My oldest daughter turned 4 about a month before my son was born. Luckily, daughter #2 walked at 9 months and she did potty train when she was 2 but for awhile I had 2 in diapers. Then I had son #2 almost 4 years later (son #1 turned 4 a month after son #2 was born) and it seemed so weird to have such a huge gap! Now I have 3 teenagers 17,14 and 13 and a 9 year old. I really enjoyed his babyhood though since the others were kind of a blur! We really didn’t “plan” any of our children but I always say “someone planned them, it just wasn’t us!”.

    On a side note, my Aunt had 3 boys all 9 months apart! I remember her telling me about that and thinking, wow! My Dad and his sister are almost exactly a year apart (he was born Oct 20 and her the next Halloween). My husband is 21 months older than his sister and then has a younger brother 9 years younger than her! Talk about your age gaps.

    Good luck to all you moms out there with little ones. It is tough and so fun all at the same time!

  15. I am an Irish twin. My sister and I are 11 months apart. My husband (although Italian) was an Irish twin, 13 months apart. We both loved it growing up. We decided to have our children (on purpose) as close as possible (God willing). One thing I did not count on when we had our Irish Twins was the lack of family support. His family is in Ohio and mine is scattered in my home state, NC. My advice to anyone with Irish twins, get a support team together STAT. I would not change it for the world. My neighbors have been great and my husband really pitches in (as he should). I do have a question. I feel bad when my little girl (2 yrs old) does something and gets put in time out, then my son (1 yr old) does the same thing and doesn’t get put in time out b/c he doesn’t get it yet. Also, I can tell my daughter no and she listens, but I tell my son no and his lip quivers and he starts to cry. My daughter likes to boss my son around and take things from him then put them in places where he can’t reach them. Is this normal? How do you deal with it?

    • Close as they are in age, there is a world of difference between ages 1 and 2… and the expectations for one can’t be the same as the other at this point. I don’t think you should feel bad for treating them “differently”. Your son will listen and “get it” soon enough! I think your daughter’s behavior is also very normal and that parents of children with wider age gaps witness the exact same things. How to deal with it depends a little on the situation and your children’s personalities… I would try to be calm about it, but return the toys to your son and give very little attention to your daughter for the behavior. Most likely, she’ll get sick of it. And, really, I can almost promise you that- down the road- it’s going to be fantastic and they’ll enjoy playing with each other so much! Thanks for commenting!

    • Look into Peaceful Parenting- check out, or read Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. The behaviour is very typical, and using peaceful rather than punitive techniques, you will be able to better manage the behaviour between the two, strengthen your bond with both even more, and give you some peace 🙂

  16. I HAVE A QUESTION: My babies will be 11.5 months apart. I am scheduled to have a c-section and my last c-section resulted in a spinal headache. Rare, but horrific in that I couldn’t even bend my head to look at my baby nurse. Just imagine the worst migraine ever. Anyway, how did you guys deal with the first 6-8 weeks of healing process. We just moved moved here when I was 4 months pregnant b/c if hubby’s new job which means no Family Medical Leave. I have yet to find a play group and I’m afraid of how to handle the fact that I won’t be able to lift my 11 month-0ld or let him crawl on mommy’s tummy like he’s used to now. I can’t possibly have people stay with us for that long. I have the first 17-20 days covered, but that’s it. The move here was expensive and I don’t think we can afford a nanny. Any ideas? We also live in a two story home, if that helps.

    • I don’t want you to miss JessieLeigh’s response below, so I’m going to c/p it here just in case:

      Oh, Veronica, your comment hits so close to home for me and I wish nothing more than that I lived wherever you do so that I could help! My second child was born via a massive, classical c-section when my first was not yet 11 months. I was on major restrictions that meant I couldn’t adequately care for him. What I ended up doing is right here: (Warning: It’s sad and still makes me cry.)
      I think you have two choices here, and neither one is guaranteed or easy. (sorry! 🙁 ) I think if you can find people to help you pretty much all the time for the first couple weeks and then line up people who can “pop in” to help for weeks 3-6, you’ll probably be okay. You’ll mainly need help for those times when you NEED to lift your older baby… like getting him out of his crib, in and out of the carseat, etc. I know you’re in a new area, and that makes it harder. Have you found a church yet? Or maybe ask your pediatrician about some good groups in the area? Just throwing ideas out there. Regarding the crawling on your tummy… what I did, to maintain cuddly closeness, was put a pillow over my mid-section, then ask my husband to hand my older baby to me so I could rock him and snuggle. I think that helped meet some of those needs that he still had to be so near to me. Finally, it may be worth asking to consult with the anesthesiologist before your surgery. There are lots of different options for anesthesia beyond the standard-issue spinal and perhaps one of them would result in less headache pain after the fact? At the very least, make sure your doctor is aware and don’t feel bad taking medication to help you survive those early painful days. I hope that helps a little and best of luck to you! There really, truly IS much joy in having Irish Twins. 🙂

    • Veronica: I know this is several months after your comment was posted, but maybe you will see this or maybe it will help someone else who reads this.

      I remember watching a video about C-sections, where they explained about the spinal headache issue. If I remember correctly, it’s because of a “hole” left after they take the spinal catheter out. It can be resolved very simply if the dr takes a syringe and “patches the hole” with some of your blood. Immediately your headache should be gone.

      Again, this is all a vague memory of what I watched over a year ago – and I wasn’t having a C-Section so I didn’t brand it in my memory so well. But this is the jist of it, and I’m sure you could do some additional research based on what I described and find some solid answers.

  17. Oh, Veronica, your comment hits so close to home for me and I wish nothing more than that I lived wherever you do so that I could help! My second child was born via a massive, classical c-section when my first was not yet 11 months. I was on major restrictions that meant I couldn’t adequately care for him. What I ended up doing is right here: (Warning: It’s sad and still makes me cry.)
    I think you have two choices here, and neither one is guaranteed or easy. (sorry! 🙁 ) I think if you can find people to help you pretty much all the time for the first couple weeks and then line up people who can “pop in” to help for weeks 3-6, you’ll probably be okay. You’ll mainly need help for those times when you NEED to lift your older baby… like getting him out of his crib, in and out of the carseat, etc. I know you’re in a new area, and that makes it harder. Have you found a church yet? Or maybe ask your pediatrician about some good groups in the area? Just throwing ideas out there. Regarding the crawling on your tummy… what I did, to maintain cuddly closeness, was put a pillow over my mid-section, then ask my husband to hand my older baby to me so I could rock him and snuggle. I think that helped meet some of those needs that he still had to be so near to me. Finally, it may be worth asking to consult with the anesthesiologist before your surgery. There are lots of different options for anesthesia beyond the standard-issue spinal and perhaps one of them would result in less headache pain after the fact? At the very least, make sure your doctor is aware and don’t feel bad taking medication to help you survive those early painful days. I hope that helps a little and best of luck to you! There really, truly IS much joy in having Irish Twins. 🙂

    • Thank you, Jessie Leigh and Amy. I decided to draft a massive e-mail to all family and friends to visit the lovely Chez Veronica for free room and board excluding cuddling and lifting-an-11-month-old-fee throughout their enjoyable stay. Your kind words and support have motivated me to get creative. Thank you.

  18. Liz O'Connell says:

    I have two boys that are 14 months apart. They are such wonderful kids but so very different. They get along fine but the dynamic worries me (I must add that I am a worry wort when it comes to my kids) My oldest, who is almost 5, is kind of bossy and makes sure that it is very known to his brother that HE is the oldest. My youngest is 3 1/2 and knows that there isnt’t THAT big of a difference but cant quite understand why his brother is always smarter, faster, etc.. I worry that it is doing something to his confidence.. My youngest IS my more challenging one and my oldest has always been very good and advanced intellectually. I want to always encourage my youngest and build him up for the little things but it’s hard because he is so discouraged from always trying to compete with his brother.. I try not to, but I feel like I appear to put more effort into my youngest but I dont really have to with my oldest. I know it sounds like I am comparing them but I’m not..I know that they are very diffrerent people and my youngest has very advanced skills in other things but he doesnt notice it because he feels like he cant compete with his brother..The Irish twin thing is so frustrating because you want to treat them like they are at the same level because they almost are, but you cant because they are not. I really could use some advice if anyone has any thanx

    • Honestly, I don’t see the problem with comparing our children, as long as it’s done for a positive purpose. Children are unique, beautiful individuals. NONE of them are the same. I don’t have Irish Twin experience, but I would encourage you to play up each of their strengths and help your youngest find successes that don’t involve competition with his brother.

  19. I agree with what Amy has said. Also, I would try to remember that this is a season and things will very likely change… For example, when my younger Irish twin was a tiny infant, she was actually easier than her busy, on the go toddler Irish twin brother. Then, there was a point when he was able to so much independently, but she needed SO MUCH HELP. Now, they’re both on a more a level playing field (at 5 & 6), albeit with different talents and strengths. Hang in here and don’t worry or be too hard on yourself. There are many rewards to reap with Irish twins too. 🙂

  20. raising irish twins is not easy ,i got pregnant when my first born was 7 months old,it was hard to balance

    • Wowza. I can’t fathom bring pregnant right now, as my 7 month old nurses away…

    • I don’t think it was easy… but I was so surprised by all the unexpected blessings of having them so close, too! We’ve never experienced sibling rivalry and they play together SO well. 🙂

  21. I’m so glad that I found this post! I have 6 children. My first two pregnancies were with fraternal twin boys, and we wanted a girl, so we decided to ‘try’ again, and we got our little princess 🙂 I unexpectedly got pregnant when she was just around 6 months old. A year later, we got another little girl. They truly are Irish Twins. They are super close and though it was very hard to handle at first, we’ve made it 🙂 Oh, I should probably mention that they share the same birthday (June 4). And they were born exactly an hour apart- one at 9:09am the other at 10:09am. Crazy, and how ironic?!

    • How fun that your girls share the same birthday. What a special blessing!

    • Sharing a birthday AND being so close in age? What a special occasion that is! Mine do not share a birthday, but they DO share a birth year (both in 2005)… which raises a few eyebrows from time to time. 😉 So sweet that, in a way, you got your “twin” girlies after your twin boys. 🙂

  22. I love all these posts. I have a 5 month old and I’m 3 months pregnant. They don’t expect me to go full term either, so chances are they could be 8-9 months apart!! I am at the point that I don’t know how I’m going to do it! I’m really overwhelmed. I’m so sick and exhausted all the time. I feel sorry for my little one that I don’t have the energy to play. Does anyone know of any books that helped them? I am very concerned about scheduling and quality time. I am glad to know you are all so happy, and hope to be there soon!

  23. Oh, April, I don’t have any good book recommendations, to be honest… sorry. 🙁 I found a lot of comfort on the 2 Under 2 board at during that second pregnancy. What I CAN tell you is to not stress overly much about scheduling and quality time right now. Your little one mostly just needs time and love from you right now- not a bunch of planned out activities. Snuggling with you on the couch while you look at a board book together… cuddling on a recliner while you feed him or her… listening to soothing music together… these are all wonderful ways to spend quality time together without overtaxing your body which also needs to be a priority! Best of luck to you! 🙂

  24. Jilliann says:

    I had an emergency c-section for my last baby (Hudson). The dr told me no lifting for six weeks…I half laughed, half cried because I had a 9.5 month old (Harrison) at home that was still nursing full time and had not started to crawl yet. I used a walker to assist me and wore two baby slings…one in front and one on the back. I continued to tandem nurse until Harrison turned one. The first two years were really tough but God gave me the strength. The boys are such a blessing and truly best buddies. They look almost identical and often confuse people. We have actually had people argue with us that they are twins. It is fun. They are now 4. Our family is complete. We have 5 boys and 1 girl ages 18,17,16,8,4,4. I am very interested in hearing your opinions on keeping the boys together for kindergarten or letting the older one start a year ahead. Thanks Jilliann

    • Well, Jillian, I can only speak for our situation, but I’ll tell you what we did. My kids are a month further apart than yours- 10 1/2 months- but they still could have been in the same class, following state “cut-off” guidelines. We opted to stagger them by a year. The older one completed kindergarten last year; his younger sister will go this fall. There were a few reasons we went with this choice, but the most significant was the fact that the younger one was a very early preemie. She’s small for her age, so she “fits in” a little better with the younger group. Also, if we were to go by her due date, there’s no way she would have been allowed to go ahead in that grade. So, with that in mind, we elected to separate them. However, if your boys were both full-term (or close) and are similar sizes/abilities, it may be a blessing for them to stay together. I know I didn’t give a firm “answer”, but those are some things to think about. 🙂 Good luck and enjoy those precious little guys! 🙂

  25. My sons are one year and two days apart. My senod son was born on his due date. My husband is a firefighter and is gone overnights and days at a time. He has a second job which is even more demanding ar times. I have three step children who dont live with us. I was stunned when i found out i was pregnant again. My baby was three months old. I think of the two pregnancies as one. I need to lose 40 pounds. I love my boys so much but i think the enormity if ththis sudden change from none for 38 years to two is really hard on my anxiety level. I worry about everything. I also own a nanny placement agency and wk from home now. They both have reflux and food allergies..high need…i find when i dont worry about messes or work the day is better. Dont kill yourself trying to be perfect in every way. Figure out how to get out of the house snd get hrlp when you can.

    • You have a lot on your plate, Jennifer, and I think you offer excellent advice in that you have to let go of any aspirations to be “perfect” (no one is, anyway! ;)) and take help when you can find it. I do believe it gets easier as the years go on and I hope you find the same to be true!

  26. Jillienne says:

    Love this blog, this is the first “real” blog I’ve come across that has made me smile and made me feel normal! I’ve got true Irish Twins, 51 weeks apart, boy first girl second. I love them so close and as they are getting a tad bit older (boy is 33 month, girl is 21 month) I have to look back and exhale at how I made it this far! But, my question is- lately, the two have become best friends one minute, violent screaming and hitting matches over everything and anything the next! My nerves are getting tested like I’ve never known! Is this normal? Will it pass? What is the best way do diffuse them? I’ve tried ignoring the fights, didn’t really work. Getting involved only seems to teach them that that behavior “gets Mommy’s attention”. Any advice would greatly be appreaciated!

    • Hi Jilienne! My Irish twins are also boy, then girl, just under eleven months apart. I think the behavior you’re describing is just typical toddler behavior… you just happen to have 2 of them! The best way to diffuse it, in my opinion, is to recognize that a large amount of their play at this point will be “parallel play” rather than true interactive play. As a result, if there’s a coveted toy, they’re likely to argue over it. It might help to either have 2 of the most beloved items OR set a timer so each feels like it’s “fair” and they can expect to have a turn. I do believe it WILL get better. Mine are now 5 and 6 and, for a couple years now, I’ve been able to say, “Either play together or play apart, but I will not tolerate bickering.” Most of the time, they’re best buds and I wouldn’t change it for the world. 🙂

    • It will definitely get better. I have 2 boys, 10 1/2 months apart, who are 3 and 2 right now. They still fight and there are times where they are both in a time-out chair screaming their heads off at each other. But my 2 year old is getting closer to 3, and getting better at communicating. Both of them are gradually getting better at negotiating over toys instead of grabbing, etc. There was a time when they were both biters, and we have pictures of each of them with bite marks on their FACES. For a while I really felt that I could not walk out of the room even for a second or they would kill each other! I have tried a timer and that works sometimes. I also try to set them up with some kind of structured activity, like coloring, play-do, foamy crafts, etc, when I have something that I really need to get done. It also works to try to remember to give them positive attention when they are getting along, sharing, etc, but I know from experience that its not always easy to remember to do that consistently. I’ve also started telling them that they need to work out their own disagreements so that no one gets in trouble. They are starting to understand this, but I also know that they will inevitably start plotting against me…Good Luck!

  27. How do you get sleep while your still pregnant? My daughter will be 1 on Nov 11 and i am due with our son Nov 24 which ironicly was her due date last year. Things were okay until recently when she started waking during the night and staying up. My prrgnancy insomia dosent help my cause any when i finally can sleep she dosent. Im to the point of tears several times a night. My husband works nights and out of town at that so its all on me my mom helps but she dosent understand why my daughter wakes with me but will sleep with her. I really need help please someone any one help me?

    • Ugh. Been there. So miserable. My children have never been that close together, but one coping strategy that I use is to just let the baby sleep with me when I’m desperate for sleep. I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but like I said, desperate times call for desperate measures.

    • I can relate I have an 8 month old and I’m 6 months pregnant she just went through this awful phase of sleeping only 45 mins at a time all night long! She was crying I was crying and hubby was at work 🙁 finally just told myself that she needs her mommy and I know that this won’t last forever. I told myself that over and over and and would nap with her durring the day. just this last week she started sleeping 5 hour stretches again and I’m soooo relieved and a little more rested 🙂 even getting some house work done! Lol good luck!

  28. Thank you so much for your post. I have read alot of “thoughts” on irish twins and to be honest most of them sound like they were written by someone who honestly has no clue. I am a proud Mama to irish twins. Gem my perfect princess is 17 months and Ace (aka Mommy’s new man) is 5 months. It was interesting at first. Ace was 5 weeks early and we spent a week at the hospital with him. That was tough, dragging Gem back and forth everyday but she loved her brother for the moment she seen him. Mind you she was 15 days away from her first birthday but she learned how to say Bubu and would scream for him when it was time for Daddy and her to go home. How many moms can say they have pics of both of their kids on their oldest first birthday. Now that we are past the monitor (Ace had an apnea monitor) sleeping is easy, or atleast as easy as it gets. Now if I could just make out what he is saying without Gem to translate we would be golden.

  29. This post make me smile. My family has always referred to my sister and I as Irish twins; we’re exactly a year and 8 days apart, with me being the older one. My family has also jokingly said how tiring it was to raise Irish twins as opposed to traditional twins. Instead of everything in twos, every phase was twice as long. When I was done potty-training, my sister was just starting. When I got out of my tantruming phase, my sister was in full-swing. As soon as they got me sleeping through the night, they had to start my sister. I would add to your list just one thing, coming from the perspective of being an Irish twin:

    DO NOT TREAT THEM LIKE TWINS. This is probably easier with boy/girl Irish twins than same sex ones. By which I mean, don’t treat them exactly alike. Not only are they in different developmental stages, no two people have the same personality and same likes and dislikes. My family thought it was cute to dress my sister and I exactly alike or in coordinating colors, and to get us the same toys/bedding/shoes/backpacks but different colors. It’s cute, but we found it extremely annoying because it was alienating our differing personalities. Which were extremely different–we’re polar opposites. And don’t assume that there won’t be sibling rivalry. My sister and I hated each other from her birth until our teens, bickering day and night. Now at 21 and 20 respectively, we get along and are closer than most of our other siblings, but we’re still polar opposites and tend to snipe at each other.

    • Thank you so much for this! My two youngest are Irish twins aged 2 and 3 and are best of friends one minute and worst of enemies the next. I’m reading everywhere looking for answers, and yours is the first true Eureka moment for me. They’re normal! They’re not twins, they’re not the same person, and I shouldn’t expect perfect harmony. Thank you so much, I feel like a weight has been lifted. I feel like nothing but a referee most days and it’s exhausting, but I know this too shall pass. Thanks for the advice about clothes etc. I do dress them alike on occasion but mostly so I can keep track of them when they run in different directions. Anyway thank you so much for your perspective! I had changed my whole outlook!

  30. Thanks everyone for these posts. I was starting to i was all alone. My daughter is a very active seven months, and second baby is due sept 3rd. It will be my second c section but my dr seems unconcerned. Im taking a calcium supplement, and my daughter has already started to wean herself. I am breastfeeding and bottlefeeding right now. I do worry most about taking my oldest childs childhood away and appreciate the advuce about letting them.both be babies.
    I am 37 and worried about how difficult it will be to take care of both of them. I had a hard time w my first c section and would crawl around the floor sometimes. I will have to.enlist help.
    Is it usual for a second c section birth so close to first to result in.complications or early delivery?

    • Melinda says:

      I have had all four of my children via c-section, and truly, the first was the most difficult. After that experience, I felt I had a handle on how to take care of myself. Also, don’t be shy about asking for help.
      I, too, worried about whether I was “ruining” my oldest child’s infancy, but he could not have been more in love with his sister if he tried. He was still a baby, but also a big brother. Kids are so resilient, the best advice I ever got about raising two kids close in age was to just let them be themselves. Take time out of each day for some one on one with each kid and enjoy it to the fullest!
      Give them their time to grow up, and don’t compare them to each other. Best of luck Julie!

  31. Melinda says:

    I have to laugh as I read these posts, my two older children are 21 months apart (boy, then girl) and my daughter grew to be almost the same size as her brother quite rapidly. People are always asking to this day (he just turned 12, and she is 10) if they are twins! I find people’s perceptions of our family to be very entertaining. I also have two younger children who are just shy of two years apart, and as with the older two, they are very close in size and because the younger one is so big, I am always asked buy extremely RUDE people if something is wrong with her because she doesn’t speak as clearly at 3yrs old as her sister does at 5! I couldn’t have planned these kids if I tried, but they are amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for all the “perfect planning” in the world!

  32. DboneHolmes says:

    Oh my gosh, I am so happy with my babies. My first was born January 18th and my second, January 30th the following year. I was SO lucky that my second pregnancy was much easier, almost no morning sickness etc. The only problem that I ran into was late in the pregnancy, the baby inside me would start kicking just after my first born went to bed. They are both boys. My first born son just started walking, my second born son just started smiling and I am so happy. My first son was three months old when I decided that he needed a brother. I would have been just as happy having a little girl, but I just knew and I can’t even explain it. By the end of my second pregnancy I would cry if I saw my first born son playing alone. I am trying to enjoy every day with them, but the day they start playing together will undoubtedly be the best day of my life!

  33. How was it carrying a 7 monh old and pregnant? I currently have a 9 month old and I am also 35 weeks along and single Unfortunately. They’re both boys by the way 🙂 but I am always so tired and constantly going after my first little one. He seems to be hyper and iways getting into something. I think it’s hard carrying a baby in your stomach and having to bend and lift alot lol. Did you go through this?
    My other question is, did you ever feel like your first was going to feel as if you replaced them? I love spending time with my son and he does too. I feel as tho it will be a big change for him. Was it at all like that at first?

    • I feel sort of ill-equipped to answer your first question– my younger Irish twin was born very prematurely, so I honestly never even got at all big or particularly unwieldy. I only gained 4 pounds with that pregnancy and never wore maternity clothing. So… my biggest struggle wasn’t the bending and lifting, but rather the fatigue and morning sickness. I guess you just “get through it”, but there are definitely challenges.

      As far as feeling “replaced”, I can honestly say that my firstborn does not remember a time without his sister. He reacted mostly with curiosity when she first came home. Honestly, I think he found her kind of boring. But, as she got closer to a year old and he was closer to two, they started really, really enjoying one another. To this day (they’re 6 & 7 now), they’re really good buddies and love being together. I will tell you that *I* felt bad and I worried that others would expect him to “grow up” too fast… but my fears were unfounded.

  34. Ahhh..Thank you for this post. 🙂 My baby boy turned 5 months yesterday…and I am 6 weeks pregnant! I am so excited and scared at once. I haven’t told anyone yet- especially not work. I don’t know if I am ready for the commentary. The truth is, I couldn’t be more excited. I have waited for promotions for years, lived through countless layoffs and worked from dusk till dawn for a JOB…why would I not be prepared to do it for my children. I know that this will be rewarding and that they will be best of friends. I have already changed with my baby, a little. I can see myself hugging and kissing a lot more… enjoying our last few months together all alone. My little best friend. A little guilt- but I know in the long run, he will thank me. I am giving him a partner! I am so excited and hoping that this all goes smoothly. I have heard that I was supposed to wait 18 months because I am a c-section mommy. 🙁 I hope that I didn’t make a big mistake- but- “The lord doesn’t give us more than we can handle”…and I will forever be grateful.

    • I found out I was pregnant again when my twins were 4 months old! We were infertility patients, so even my doctor was shocked. I didn’t tell anyone either. I was going into a business meeting one day, and a male co-worker leaned over and whispered to me “you shouldn’t wear that dress, it makes you look pregnant”. I leaned over and whispered back “I AM pregnant!” I believe that was the end of the secret! But now my girls are 23, 23, and 22. Time flies.

  35. I am a mother of 3 with 1 on the way. My oldest(9) & middle(5) sons are 3 almost 4 years apart & my middle & youngest(6mos) sons are 5 years apart, but my EDD is exactly 1 year from my youngest! I will soon have 2 babies under the same roof & I am scared!!! I used to look at people in horror when they told me their kids were less than 24 months apart! I couldn’t believe they were out of the house or alive for that matter! Now that it is happening to me… I’m loosing my mind & trying to love on my youngest as much as possible because soon (too soon) he won’t be the neediest under my roof anymore! WHAT DO I DO???!!!! How do I prepare myself & my household for this??! Is it normal to feel like your spouse is separating himself from the situation or “blaming” you because he doesn’t feel ready for another child? Every time I go to talk to him I get so emotional all I can do is sob & I can’t talk… this is just craziness out of all my pregnancies, I have never been this emotional. I already love this baby so much I’m afraid it will be rejected by family & friends who are looking at this pregnancy as a burden/ mistake & I will be cutting ties with anyone I feel is giving any of my children the cold shoulder or make them feel less than! I just need some advice on how to prepare for #2 in less than 6 months from now! I’m afraid of making my same mistake I did the last pregnancy as well with the baby. I was afraid the 2 oldest would feel abandoned once I had the baby so I spent all my time with them & now they’re feeling the decrease in attention & lashing out & I don’t want that to happen with Jr, but I want to feel like he’s getting the love every baby needs before the newest edition gets here just incase I get overwhelmed… I feel like I have so many fears & questions! Is it normal???!

    • Hi Amanda! First of all, congratulations! Truly. I have found my Irish Twins to be such a blessing and, really, any time we are blessed with a new little like, it is a cause for celebration, in my opinion. 🙂

      I do believe that everything you are feeling is normal. To be honest, I burst into tears when I learned I was pregnant again so soon after my first– not because I didn’t want another baby, but because I was mourning my first baby’s “lost babyhood”. I feared everyone would expect him to “grow up too soon” and that he would be lost in the shuffle. In truth, he was not. Newborns are often content to be snuggled against mama leaving hands free to play with the older baby/ young toddler. My firstborn would actually interract and play more with others, meaning the older children in the family were more interested in him than his itty bitty sister. He still got a lot of attention.

      The most wonderful perk is that he doesn’t recall a time without her. So, honestly, there WAS no jealousy there. While preschoolers and even older toddlers will notice a “displacement”, babies really don’t so much. I think you’ll find that your older Irish twin will do just fine. 🙂

      As far as your husband, it’s possible he’s scared, overwhelmed, and just doesn’t know what to say. My husband was actually the one who talked ME off the ledge, but every situation is different. Not knowing either of you, I can only speculate on the dynamic. Many men get awkward and shut down when confronted with overly emotional confrontations so, even though I know you can’t always help it, maybe it would help him if you’d sometime approach him at a time you’re feeling calmer and give him very specific ideas of how he can help. Say something like, “I know this is a stressful and overwhelming time– I feel that, too. It would help me immensely if you could… (1) play outside with the older two so I can rest with baby, 2) take our youngest on a “Daddy and Me” special date so I feel that he’s getting that attention, 3) help me figure out the nursery logistics, etc.)” Whatever. Giving specific instructions and ACTIONS that they can take is helpful for some men. Again, I’m just taking a shot in the dark here, so just ignore me if that doesn’t sound helpful.

      Hang in there, mama! Like any age gap, there challenges but also so, so many advantages and joys in having Irish twins. Mine are now 6 & 7 and I still absolutely adore that closeness. Sending you hugs!

      • Thanks so much 🙂 Now that I think about it when my sister & I get together with the children there is much truth to what you said as far as the older kids paying more attention to the older, more active baby. My sister’s son is 10 months old & my older boys adore him & love crawling around on the floor with him & now that he is trying to walk they feel even more excited helping him balance while he ‘practices’, my 6 & 1/2 month old rolls but isn’t nearly as active as Ryu! So seeing them interact with Ryu helps give me a better idea on how it’s going to pan out when Baby gets here & Jr will be much more active & ‘interestingly fun’ when that time comes. I never really realized it until I read your reply… Thanks so much for opening my eyes 😉

  36. My daughter is three months old and we jus found out that we’re five weeks pregnant. I’m honestly devastated… I have so many worries about my daughter getting bumped out, going through another pregnancy right away and the stress it will do on my body, my sanity, my marriage.. I’m just freaking out. I just turned 22, and my husband and I live in a very secluded area of Texas. My daughter has been great, but I’ve been going nutty as it is, because my husband works 12-13 hour days and we live so far out in the country that it’s just me and my daughter all day, everyday. We have no neighbors and I haven’t been able to make any friends (too far) and all of my family lives out of state. It helps a lot to see positive stories, I kind of need that right now. They will be eleven months apart..

    • Not gonna lie to ya, Jenna. I’d likely freak out a bit (okay, a lot!) too. I’ve not had Irish Twins, so I know nothing except what I hear from others. You’ve got quite the adjustment ahead of you, and you’re gonna be TIRED, my friend. However, from what I understand, in a couple years those babies will be best friends and completely entertain each other, much to your well-deserved delight.

      Truly, take it a day at a time. Do your best to live in the moment, keep things simple, and SLEEP when your baby sleeps.

    • i just wrote what you will soon be going through. its awful. for me at least. my daughter 1st born was all i cared about, in hindsight i had ppd the day i found out i was pregnant again. same as you. constantly worrying that shes going to feel unloved, replaced, etc. i brought my son home on her 1st bday!!! its so draining. but get all the help u can and anything to stap em down, a carseat, strollers, do it. texas, lived there. weathers great take em to the park while baby2 is sleeping baby 1 can play. FORGET ABT BFEEDING! to taxing on your body, mind and whatever energy u have left. if u want you can call me. my emails, i can tell u tips ive learned through the way, trial and error. take care of yourself and get as MUCH time in with your daughter as you can! bc i feel likei missed out on her whole 1st year of life, between her well visits and my dr visits, then i was too big belly wise to rock her anymore when she was around 8 months old. im still so depressed but it does get a teeny bit easier. email me if u want to talk. thats even something you have to give up. the phone, computer, its like jail for me. im allowed a minute on the computer before they start fighting or one poops or theyre hungry. and when i call anyone theyre up my a** fighting for attention. i HATE to be so pessimistic but its the truth. everyone i see out with my giant double stroller is like “u have your hands full!” but then again, theyre both healthy, beautiful babies so i should feel blessed but its hard to find time to feel anything but stress! ps stress on the marriage? almost filed for divorce but were working through it. he didnt want to come home bc its so hectic. sleep? i havent had one night of uninterrupted sleep in over 3 yrs. God bless you jenna! contact me if u want \, hope i didnt scare ya!

    • OMG i am so sorry! positive stories!!!!! im just in a funk but it is AWESOME! just think youll get it over with and get yer body back. they fit in each others clothes (i buy unisex shoes and pjs) so u save money. they will be in school together, alwayd have a bff. i was so worried like you, abt my daughter and now she freaks if i leave my son w my mother in law (my ONLY help i have and she goes to florida half the year). just get out of the house as much as possible. malls, walmart, target, parks, just driving is fun for both and you can get em to sleep at the same time which is the best!! it is extremely hard when yer doing it alone. but it makes you so strong. literally, my arms are like a body builders. be specific with the help u need. that was my prob. i kept saying i need help, i need help. so for example, today i said to my MIL “im bringing filomena and lil joey and i are coming home to take a nap” explain to your hubby that dinner is impossible and i hope he likes pizza. my kids are now 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 they are the same age for a week at Christmas. like i said contact me. its 2am, my only free time.

  37. Jessica Tarpinian says:

    I had my daughter January 13th 2011 and my son December 4th 2011. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone unless you have A LOT of help. I absolutely HATE having them so close in age. I am by myself with them 90% of the time. Going grocery shopping is a nightmare. My older one sits in front and my sons carseat goes in the back of the buggy leaving me to stack groceries around him and on the bottom of the cart. There are so many things I can’t do with them. I can’t take them to the pool by myself because I would literally have to hold both of them the entire time. Even to go into the bank requires me to use the double stroller. My one year old will just run if she’s not strapped into something. I hold so much resentment towards the younger one. Even though I know it’s not his fault I feel like he took time away from me and my daughter. This has been the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I wish everyday that i woul have waited till she was at least 3 before getting pregnant again. I’m sure when they get older things will be easier. But right now it’s awful. I have meltdowns daily and I’m constantly stressed out. Two in diapers, two teething = not a good time.

    • im in the same boat….sounds like u have PPD have u seen a dr? helps a little. i am not only in the same boat but i think exactly like u. i hate it. i had so much resentment towards my son. meds worked…hes my angel now but i still get so mad and flip my lid. im all too familiar with the carseat in the cart with older one in front. mine are 1 n 2 now and they are pretty good in the store now. except if theyre tired. good luck, youre not alone!

    • Hi Jesicca Tarpinnian
      I am so sorry that you are having a hard time of it. I have two sons, born 8/10/10 and 8/1/11. They were both napping, so I decided to look up some information on how I can wean my oldest from his pacifier, but not the younger one. I think I have decided to wean them both within the next couple of months. I find it comforting to read other people’s stories because I too have felt like I am the only one. None of my friends have Irish twins either, but we still have play dates. Kids recognize other kids and it doesn’t matter too much if they are a couple of years older. I too am by myself with them 90% of the time. My husband works and goes to school. Honestly when he is home, he doesn’t really know the routine or what to do. Add to that the fact that I can not drive due to my disability. I spend a lot of time on the phone talking to my best friend who is a stay at home mom with six kids. She makes me feel better because her life is much more stressful than mine. Plus, she always has a helpful word or similar story to share. If my son does something crazy, like eating a piece of broken Christmas bulb (happened last week), I call her to hash out the problem. I also talk to another friend who doesn’t have any kids. She always points out what a blesing it is to have them. I frown and tell her that she should take them for a week and see how she feels. I don’t have any family here, so I have to depend on a few friends. I pay a friend to watch both boys for the whole day at her house every other Friday. This gives me a day I can look forward to getting some rest. I lay around and read a good book and basically do nothing. When they come back home, I go back into mommy mode. Before I started taking this day, I was truly crazy, and I felt like I wanted to run away because this is not what I signed up for. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have the money to pay for them to be watched, but we skimp somewhere else to make it happen. Mommy needs to be sane. On occasion, we have a friend come in and do some cleaning. The problem with having two children so young is that they are both needy. It’s nearly impossible to complete a task without interruption. A neutral third party can come in and actually be able to concentrate on a task. We are by no means wealthy, so this isn’t easy for us, but we find it to be a good investment. We find people who are willing to work for what we can afford to pay. We picked our church primarily based on their outstanding children’s program. I am very inspired to go to church now because I can drop them off and know they are having a good time while I am getting a break. Also, they are old enough now to play on their own in a safe area. I will sometimes put them in their room and close the door and check email or have lunch in peace and quiet. Yes, they are going to hit each other and take toys away from the other, but my theory is that they are close enough in age that they will not severely hurt the other. Some may consider this to be neglegent parenting, but my boys do it just fine. If I’m really concerned, I will let them play alone in two different areas. My boys tend to look for each other and want to be together though. Honestly, I am just getting to a point where I can be more relaxed and comfortable with this whole irish twins business. Feel free to email me if you want to talk further.

  38. I love your enthusiasm and suggestions but i just want to give up and thow the towel in. i have nobody to lend me a hand (family lives very far away) my husband works 365 24-7. My self esteem has dropped bc by the time i get them ready its so late in the afternoon i say “forget me!”, they fight constantly (boy n girl 11 months apart), i am being treated for ppd but i think the magic antidepressant is a pill that transports me away. bali? thailand? alone! i never get one break. my daughter (1st born) is amazing, bratty at times, but sleeps like a log and long, eats and tries new things, speaks better than some politicians and my son is the opposite. he is so demanding, so JEALOUS of her, tantrum thrower, crybaby, allergic to everything inc peanuts and dust! so i have to clean and vacuum 2xs a day! the laundry never ends and im aging by the second. i can see it in the mirror. i was caught dr. shopping. im on wellbutrin and the sidde effects are like what i imagine methamphetamines are like. cant sleep, eat, jittery. and i was prescibed xanax. i dont even like the way it makes me feel but to calm me down i had to take more than prescribed. so i had to see another dr and i was caught. ive tried switching the antidepressaNT but it made me worse. plus, the weight loss is fine with me. i have no mommy friends bc its either they have one baby or a baby and an older child. nothing like me! i feel so alone. help?

  39. PS avoid facebook!!!!! it makes u feel pressured into doing the “traditional” things like pumpkin picking, santa pics, pro pics, maternity pics….u dont have to do that!!! and dont listen to anyone but YOU. i even tell my husband if he would like to try it for a week then he can say something..i wanna punch ppl in the face when the say “oh you’re so lucky, you dont work”…

  40. KarlaCarr says:

    Why I didn’t read this when I had my babies?? Hahaha, it makes me feel sooo much better Im not the only one. Mine are 11 months apart. I had a baby girl and when she was 2 months old I became pregnant again. I just couldn’t believe it. I actually cried, I remember thinking “how on earth i’m going to do it??” Then I had this beautiful baby boy. Im not going to lie, it was hard. I was all the time in my place and afraid to go out. But when I first saw them playing and laughing it all was worth it. It is funny when one month a year they’re the same age. But I always celebrate their birthdays in a big party for the two of them. There is just a really special bond between them I cannot describe. If they get separated for whatever reason they miss each other tons. And I can only thank the Lord He gave me such a big lovely double gift. 🙂

  41. Irish Twins are those born in the same CALENDAR year or 12 months apart. Anything more than 12 months is not irish twins.
    The average gap between 1-2 child is 18 months for the norm.
    Honestly, it was not until the last 10-15 yrs that the gap between the 1st and 2nd child began to creep to 24-36 month span.
    Ones body after having a baby goes into a stage, and women who have not had children in the last 5-7 yrs will understand my next comment.
    Once a woman choses to not have more children and it makes no difference what the form of prevention be: her husband had a vasectomy, conventional birth control or by having a tubal ligation. The womans body can start experiencing more issues – as the body now is seeing it is past child bearing use.
    Sorry just had a long talk with dr about all this as my daughter is 7 and I just learned that actually having a tubal was a huge mistake – as the 5-7 yr after effects are happening!

  42. Thank you so much for creating this post! My daughter just turned 7 months today and I also found out I’m pregnant… Again! I am quite nervous and shocked about the news. I ask myself about every two minutes, how am I going to do it?! Your post defiantly made me feel more at ease!

  43. I really enjoyed reading this post and comments. We have Irish twin boys, born eleven months and one day apart (August 9, 2007 and July 10, 2008). Those first couple of years were pretty tough and we had tons of help from family. I totally agree with all of the tips in the post. The boys are now 5 and 6 and they are best buddies! I can’t imagine life any other way and I love knowing they will always have a best friend. We just had our third, a baby girl, who is 11 weeks old today. My husband is scheduled or the “big v” tomorrow! 🙂

  44. I really enjoyed reading your post thank you!! I have Irish twin girls 18 months and five months I love then dearly but IT’S REALLY HARD! I am having a really hard time getting my 5 month old on a routine bc her sister is always wAking her up and distracting her while nursing. I’m looking forward to them being playmates one day though 🙂

  45. I was 5 days away from my 21st birthday when my first daughter was born. I was so happy, she was born early but still healthy. She was 5lbs,5oz, born jan 21, 2003. Within the month to month and half of post pregnancy bleeding I found I was pregnant again, my first only being a month or 2 herself, I was shocked. But being only 11 mths apart from my brother gave me some insight. Except my brother and I fought all the time. By the time I was 8 or 9 I had 5 brothers, so begging the only girl and in the middle of all the boys was hard. Back to mine though, my put me into preterm silent labour just like my daughter except this time I had to stay at the hospital till he was born. I went in at 30 weeks, and finally had the dr induce me at 36 weeks and 4 days. My baby girl was getting closer to walking and I couldn’t miss it. I had already missed the last 6 weeks, she was now 8-9 months old. Horrible time to miss mind you. But on nov 12, 2003 my boy was born. He was 5lbs, 13oz. We went home and now I had what felt like 2 new babies, cuz my daughter seemed different than when I had her. She stayed with my now Exs parents. So now many years and tons of work later they are now 10 and well almost 10 (come nov). And they couldn’t be more different, my girl loves all things girls and singing, dancing, but still likes getting out and getting dirty. And driving her brother up the wall. And he loves sports and getting outside and playing and getting dirty. And of course fighting with his sister. What’s funny is once in a while they can play fine, then out of nowhere they are fighting, arguing, hitting, and it can be as all as who had the toy last. So you make it through those first hard years, just to get thrown into even harder ones. But now they are not as good together as before. What is next?

  46. Marla Adelman says:

    Amy, thanks for your blog. Technically, I don’t have Irish twins or Irish Triplets (3 children born within 3 years), but I’m close to it. My 3 daughters are 13-1/2 mo. apart and then 25-1/2 mo. apart, making my 3rd child 3 yrs. and 3 mo. older than my 1st. I just recently heard the term, “Irish Twins” and discovered this website. It’s been interesting to read about everyone’s experiences with kids so close in age as mine and hear about their worries, concerns and problems. My children are all grown up now (35, 37 and 38 years old) and all these years I felt so alone with my problems because the Internet didn’t exist way back and there was no forum to connect with others in a similar situation.

    I was happy to have 3 children (although not timely and all planned as such) since my husband and I both came from very small families and their closeness in age was a good thing at my age (30-33 yrs. old); however they were all planned as such or timely they way they were spaced. I am one of two children and I have a brother 4 years older, which now seems like light-years apart. I always wanted a sister, so I was thrilled when I had my first daughter and even more thrilled when my third daughter was born because then each of my daughters had not only one, but two sisters and could be friends for life. All 3 of my kids have always been very close and get along well (better than most siblings). They had a special bond with each other and it was nice they had built-in playmates, with no jealousy or competition, but there were times when they’d fight just like any kids do. My older two girls even went into the same profession.

    To all those mothers who feel overwhelmed, just do your best to meet this challenge. Take other people’s comments and advice with a grain of salt because most people don’t understand what you have to deal with and whatever works for them most likely won’t work for you. Most people don’t have a clue that having kids so close in age makes any difference at all. In the end, you know best what’s good for yourself and your family. For anyone dreading a 3rd child on the way, all I can tell you is that I found my 3rd to be an easier adjustment (except for the tons of laundry) than when I had my 2nd because by that time I had already learned how to juggle my schedule and divide myself up. You just wind up doing everything three times over and each phase lasts 3 times as long, but I assure you they outgrow all the difficult phases and life gets easier in time.

    I’ve never met anyone with 2 children so close in age as mine, and it has been rare for me to even meet anyone with 3 children, but their situations have always been so different that absolutely no one has been able to relate to my unique problems. I’ve always wondered if any studies or surveys have been done on having kids very close in age. It’s funny how you never hear discussions on TV (talk shows, etc.) about this subject. No one ever talks about the toll it takes on a woman’s body to have children real close in age, or the financial burdens with big expenses that come one right on top of another, such as for diapers, formula (a year of special soybean formula in my case for all 3 of my milk-allergic babies), nursery school, orthodontics, and then college. I had no break and no time to recover in between each child—not physically, mentally, or financially. To this day, I’m still wiped out from all the stress, partly due to jobs and unemployment (mine and my husband’s) and I suffer from a disability (fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome).

    My first baby was 5 mo. old when I became pregnant with my second, just as I was just getting accustomed to taking care of my first baby, so it was really hard. I had terrible morning sickness (morning, noon and night) with each pregnancy that required me to me on medication and I actually lost weight in the first few months. How I ever managed everything over the years I don’t know. The worst part was the sleep deprivation and no such thing as sleeping when the kids napped because they were always on different schedules. Unfortunately, my kids all stopped napping by the time they were 2 years old, so it took 4 years before I could sleep through the night myself without night-time feedings, diaper changes, and my oldest daughter getting up once during each night to come into our room for one reason or another. It was definitely difficult, especially because of the constant activity and exhaustion, but I’m sure I would have had other problems, perhaps more difficult if they were farther apart in age.

    One advantage of kids being close in age is that you can sometimes combine them in extra-curricular activities and that helps. My girls loved being together and it was hard to separate them. Play dates with other kids were often at our house because other mothers were reluctant to invite more than 1 friend over to play at their house. Any of my daughters’ friends played with all of my daughters when they were over. I could have a group of 5 or 6 kids in total in my house at times to supervise and feed after-school snacks if each wanted a friend over on the same day. I had to be alert and on the go constantly and never had a spare moment to myself for personal things of my own.

    Outside, people often stopped to compliment me on my 3 beautiful daughters and would as if they were triplets or if any of them were twins, and they remark that I really hand my hands full. My older two made up their own special words for certain things, like a private language, and they would make up little plays to act out together. They looked forward to hand-me-down clothes so they could wear their sister’s things, but I often had to buy 3 sets of clothes since my middle daughter was more petite and clothes didn’t always transfer down at the proper time of year. Instead of wanting their own bedrooms, my youngest would ask when she’d be old enough to share a bedroom like her older sisters, like it was a great privilege. They’d all sit on one bed for bedtime stories, so it was nice to combine things like that. I was lucky not to need two cribs when my 2nd was born because my first daughter was tall for her age and walking at 13-1/2 mo., so she managed well in a bed with a guard rail.

    Because of their closeness in age, my younger daughters were smarter at an early age since they would strive to keep up with their older sister and they also learned to share at an earlier age, so they got along well with other kids. Unfortunately, my youngest missed the grammar school deadline by 2 days and had to wait an extra year to begin, so that was a great disservice to her. It wasn’t until my oldest daughter was in college and she could drive that I had the help of an older child with a younger sibling, although the older two were good about helping my youngest she needed help with little things and my middle daughter particular was like a little mother to her. It was fun just watching my kids play.

    Going out alone with 3 little kids was impossible since I didn’t have enough hands to hold on to them. I’d have the youngest in a single stroller (couldn’t afford, nor could I left a bigger double one) and the older two hold on to each side, but it was still terrifying to walk through a parking lot. I couldn’t wait until my husband got home from work and envied him being able to have lunch alone in peace. I longed for the weekends—the only time I could get out alone to the grocery for any time on my own. I was lucky to be able to return to work when my kids were 5, 7 and 8, first just part-time before going full-time, and although that made my life hard too in some ways, it was nice to have any time away to do something of my own. Since my mother lived only 15 min. away, she came to stay with my children after school for 2 hrs. each day until I got home, so she was a lifesaver, but in previous years she never came over to just give me a break and let me get away out of the house on my own. She didn’t believe in having babysitters, nor in being one as a grandparent, and her attitude was that she raised her children and now it was time for me to raise mine…but she only had 2 children much farther apart in age and didn’t really know what my life was like full-time with 3 kids so close in age. My middle daughter (now 37) is expecting her first baby (our first grandchild) and wants another right away, so I’m determined to be there to help her as much as possible. My mother came over mostly to help go to doctor’s visits or if I had an emergency, plus she and my father would babysit once a year on our anniversary (and perhaps a second time) so we could go out, which was so rare. In later years, I had to quit my job to keep up with chauffeuring to and from schools and their part-time jobs well into their college years when they commuted locally. One year I had to drive 80 miles total per day because there was no decent bus service. I definitely had a very complicated situation and having 3 cars wasn’t even enough to go around. Somehow I managed and survived it all, and I still cherish every free moment to myself now, so don’t give up and keep charging ahead–there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  47. I love how people ask if ya planned for Irish twins. My daughter is almost 8months and I’m 25.5 weeks with my second. Single mom living at my parents. My daughters father has nothing to do with us and I have yet to tell the father of the second. We started dating when my daughter was two months old and slept together twice. The first time I made sure there was no way I could get pregnant again. And just my luck that just happened to be the day. I have no idea how to tell my parents since they are the biggest help I have with my daughter. I know I’m gonna be judge by everyone I come across and this was not my plan at all. I found out one week ago I was expecting and needless to say I had absolutely no idea. I don’t breast feed and I started the depo shot three weeks after supposed conception (negative pt) went in to get an iud and they did another one (negative) they had no idea till I had my ultrasound. Since my daughter was an emergency csection they just assumed I had a build up. Apparently it’s a baby lol

  48. Valarie says:

    I have 2 boys, 363 days apart. We found out we were pregnant with our second bundle when my first was 3 months old. I didn’t freak out. I didn’t know how to respond really. I had undiagnosed postpartum depression until my second baby was 7 months old. To say that the experience was overwhelming would be an understatement. I wish that I could ever be one of those moms who says they absolutely loved every moment of their ‘momdom’. My boys are just now 4 and 5. They have so much energy! Up by 6 or 7 every day, down by 9-11 every night – skidding into bed. I’m also ‘advanced maternal age’ and back-to-back pregnancies really took a toll on my body. I’m only now feeling like I’m anywhere near rested as compared to the complete exhaustion of the recent past. With that all said, to me, I sound like a baby. I’m a labor and delivery nurse and I see moms of up to 9 kids (no joke) who seem to just fly through motherhood while I double check that my birth control hasn’t skipped a beat for fear of another pregnancy! I think I was slightly traumatized and terrified of the possibility of PPD again. Nonetheless, my boys are so beautiful and I wouldn’t trade them or my choices for anything in the world! We are truly blessed with our little guys.

    For anyone wanting to have back-to-back babies, I caution you. It is imperative you have a strong social support network of family, friends, etc. Your sanity will need it. Be prepared to know a level of exhaustion so deep, your bones are tired. It will get better. While breastfeeding has the midwives tale of being an effective birth control choice (not for me fyi), there is a reason why breastfeeding can delay pregnancies. Naturally, we are supposed to be able to supply our currently feeding infant until he is more independent before another one comes along. If you don’t have a strong support system, it’s that much harder to find affordable day care.
    What’s the ‘worth it’ part? They play together, they become best friends and worst enemies. They can’t be with or without each other. As they grow, you get to watch 2 separate DNA experiments grow right before your very eyes. They entertain each other. They work together to figure things out. As the developmental gap closes, it’s easier to teach things on the same level. You’re that much closer to being done with diapers because the second one wants to hurry it up to be like the first one. Double the fun, double the love and double the cuddle time. It’s awesome!

  49. Thank you for writing this! I loved reading about your story. Our little girl is 7 months old and we found out a month ago that I am pregnant and baby #2 is due one month before #1 turns 1. I grew up running a daycare (at 16 i could handle 6 todflers without breaking a sweat) but always had mom, dad or a bro around to deal with all the older kids. Hubby had no babies around at all growing up. When I stop and think about what all is entailed with babies that age my head sort of spins, my husband can continue on blissfully unaware 🙂 we are so excited to have irish twins! Fun to read everyone’s comments and stories. I am reassured thst I can totally do this…one day at a time!

  50. i have actual twins and i also have 2 sets of kids one set is a year and 10 days apart and another set is a yr and 11 days apart. having actual twins are harder because there is no independence yet for either one of them. my older kids were always walking by the time the new baby came. we let the older one stay on the bottle and pacifer so they didn’t feel that the baby was taking that away from them. i actually prefer kids close in age as i have found they become best friends.

  51. I have both Irish and fraternal twins. My son is 12mo and 7 days older than my twin girls. And Yes “I bet your hands are full” feels like my name in public : ) He is such my little big man. He goes to soothe his “babies” patting them on the back or ruffling their hair. He shares all of his snacks which was a real problem as infants but now that they are approaching 1yr old. It works. Having grown up with 3yr differences(and younger twin sisters), I was amazed at the closeness and actually expected he would be somewhat resentful. He loves them dearly, and one sis follows his lead while the other sits back and laughs at it all. I couldn’t tell you which is easier or harder having hit with both things simultaneously. But it sure seems like having the developmental gap is more difficult than just taking care of the two on similar levels.
    I’m really glad you said to remember he’s still just a baby. Thank You.That is something I’m always questioning. I feel pressured to get him more independent. But then I turn around and think he’s still just a baby.
    A WIC consultant once shamed me because at 11months old he couldn’t use an open cup. Like adults use. Silly woman : )

  52. I found both the post and the comments very helpful. My daughter is nine months old and I’m eight months pregnant. I have to say I’m extremely anxious about having another baby in the house and I really wish I could find more information, tips, ect about coping with pregnancy when it comes to Irish twins!

  53. Kristen Jansen says:

    This has become one of the biggest challenges of my life thus far. My oldest is a year and 18 days older than his brother. He’s been walking since he was 8 months and is everywhere! The hardest part thus far is trying to explain to my oldest that he can’t climb on his brother, headbutt him while he’s nursing, and that its nice he wants to share his food and toys with his little brother, but he isn’t ready yet.


  1. […] More great info from my friend, JessieLeigh, because… she is a mama who knows her stuff! Having two babies within one year doesn’t mean you’ll need two of everything that true […]

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