Are you concerned that you might mix up your newborn twins? Now, you can be at ease by using the four strategies we outlined below to differentiate and tell your identical newborn twins apart.
4 Ways to Differentiate Your Newborn Identical Twins
1. Bracelets to Tell Twins Apart
Bling out your babes! Bracelets on one or both twins is a very popular method among parents of identicals for telling their babies apart.
For starters, you can leave their hospital bracelets on for a while. With names printed on, there will be no mistaking who is who.
When those have had it, save them for the baby book and give your baby jewelry collection an upgrade. A pretty anklet or bracelet is ok, just beware choking hazards such as beads or chains that can be easily broken.
Your best bet is something soft and impossible to pull off like tightly knotted crochet or string bracelets. What good was summer camp if you didn’t learn to make string bracelets for your future identical twins?!
Another option is a bangle with a hidden safety clasp, you can even order ones with their names inscribed. Hint, hint Grandma: Personalized bracelets make lovely gifts for parents expecting identical twins.
For a temporary solution, you can use paper bracelets, such as the ones you get in a 21+ line at concerts and sporting events.
2. Painting a Toenail
If your twins are identical down to the very head-shoulders-knees-and-toenail, try assigning a color of nail polish to each baby and painting a toenail. This is probably the most common approach used by twin parents to tell their newborns apart.
You could paint the toenail of just one baby, but if it comes off you are up a creek without a paddle!
Assigned colors for each one puts an extra layer of security between you and a real-life version of Guess Who.
There is no need to worry about exposing your babies to noxious fumes when there are safer nail polish options like 7true and Piggy Paint.
With the slogan “Natural as Mud,” Piggy Paint is both non-toxic and odorless. Similarly, 7true polishes boast clean beauty product status, and are even aligned with five different women’s charities.
3. Color-coding Clothes or Haircuts
You may know that “K” has a birthmark on his back that “P” does not, but it can be helpful to have a way to tell your twins apart at a glance…that is to say, without stripping off the onesies. Try assigning a color or style of clothes to each twin.
Maybe you put “K” in green shirts, while “P” always wears blue, or polka dots or dinosaurs…whatever works! A bonus to the color-coding system is identifying your twins in baby pictures when subtle physical attributes are impossible to assess.
So while you may be able to tell your twins apart, generally assigning a color or style of clothing to each can still be helpful while they are babies (especially to friends, family, teachers, etc.).
When they are a bit older and have enough hair, you can give each a different haircut, even if it is just a slight difference (one twin mom recommends a different shape hairline in the back).
As your twins get older their own personalities and style preferences will form and you needn’t stick to the code, lest they feel obligated to walk down the aisle adorned in bright red or dinosaurs.
4. Physical Differences
This way may seem the most obvious, but even with identical twins, there are often small physical differences that set one twin apart from their brother or sister.
To name a few, face shape, dimples, hair whorls, and birthmarks can be unique to newborn twins.
As they get older, unique freckles, scars, and teeth may help you tell who is who.
Some moms can even tell by seemingly imperceptible aspects, such as their cries or their smiles. Before you know it, you will find some indicator for each twin. But look out, this doesn’t mean they won’t try to trick you!
Which Body Part is the Best Way to Tell Twins Apart?
Bet you’ll never guess…the best body part for telling twins apart is the belly button! Belly buttons are like fingerprints in that they are influenced by external factors, not just DNA.
In the case of belly buttons, differences in appearance arise from differential cutting and healing of the umbilical cord.
Assuming you aren’t going to scan your babies’ fingerprints to tell them apart (there actually COULD be “an app for that.” Far out, man…), just take a peek at their tummy.
You might even take a picture of each once the umbilical cord falls off and heals for later reference.
Can You Tell Identical Twins apart by DNA?
Technically speaking, yes, there CAN be differences in DNA between identical twins.
There are differences in epigenetic factors or chemical markers accumulated over time that control gene expression. This is a nature vs. nurture type phenomenon.
There can also be variations in gene copy numbers. Practically speaking though, no, you cannot tell identical twins apart by DNA with a standard laboratory test. Identical twins have 99.99% similarity in a DNA sequence.
In other words, there isn’t a simple DNA test available for the sake of telling your twins apart, but they can get caught if they try to pull off a heist! Note: pulling all the pots and pans out of the cupboard doesn’t count. But guess what Sherlock?
There is a simpler, more old-fashioned way that you can tell your twins apart, forensically speaking. Fingerprints!
That’s right, even for identical twins, fingerprints are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike! This goes for footprints as well, which are fortunately collected at the time of birth.
What to Do if you Mix Up Your Twins
If you are expecting identical twins, then take a deep breath and relaxxxx. It is common to fear mixing up your twins, but not very likely that you will.
Use some or all of the aforementioned techniques and you shouldn’t have a problem with mixing ‘em up.
Even after just a few months of life, your twins will start to develop traits that distinguish them from their baby BFF.
Still not reassured? When you deliver those carbon copies, the hospital will take footprints. Remember what we said about footprints?
Absolute worst case scenario, you can have their feet inspected to determine which little piggy goes to the A and which little piggy goes to the B.