“Congratulations, you’re having twins.” They’re words that may not only fill parents-to-be with happiness and surprise but also perhaps with a little trepidation. After all, lookalike babies can be difficult to tell apart – especially when they’re newborns. Fortunately, countless parents have already gone through the same struggle, and they came up with these 40 ingenious ways in which to tell their offspring apart.
It’s a misconception that identical twin babies share the same fingerprints. You see, although the prints from one child will closely resemble those of the other, there are slight differences thanks to the fetuses’ gestation in different parts of the womb. In a pinch, parents of lookalike twins can also use footprints to differentiate their babies, with the various lines and swirls helping determine who’s who.
39. Nail polish
Brushing a layer of nail polish onto one baby’s nails may be enough to differentiate them from their twin. And if you’re worried about them putting their hand or their foot in their mouth, one Reddit user may have a solution. They wrote, “Our grandmother used to mark one of us with nail polish on the bottom of our feet in the center of the sole, which most babies can’t put in their mouths.”
Putting different hats on identical-looking children gives a clear visual clue as to who’s who. Redditor Nick0fTime’s parents took that idea one step further, in fact, since he and his twin looked so much alike that even his mom couldn’t tell them apart. As a result, then, she gave her boys hats emblazoned with their respective names so that no-one would be confused.
37. Color-coded clothes
Another trusted way to tell twins apart is assigning each baby a color and dressing them only in that hue. Choose each child’s shade wisely, though, as one twin has noted that their wardrobe while young seems to have guided them toward their favorite color later in life.
36. Head shapes and sizes
There are some differences in twins that only a parent can discern. For instance, a mom or dad may be able to pick out their identical children by noting slight differences in their head sizes and shapes. On this occasion, though, when the babies wear hats, it’s no longer clear who’s who.
35. Temporary tattoos
We’re not talking a rub-on tattoo that washes off within a few days, though. Instead, some hospitals can apply some temporary ink between one baby’s toes as a handy identifier. According to Reddit user ruggar, “This doesn’t [hurt] any more than getting shots, and it creates certainty for the first year or so.”
Bald babies won’t give you the necessary material to make this tip work, obviously. However, once your kids grow hair, you can tell them apart by giving each unique haircuts. And the styles don’t have to be particularly outlandish, either – even slightly different ’dos will do.
Not quite ready to trim your kiddos’ locks? Well, some parents have used hair bows to tell their twins apart. That could be handy for both girl and boy twins, too. Indeed, one Reddit user has revealed that his identical twin brother wore a bow for some time so that his parents could identify who was who, even if some people did mistake his sibling for a girl.
32. Diaper pins
Once upon a time, diapering babies in cloth was the norm. During that time, one Reddit user’s grandparents relied on terries – and the safety pins that held them together – to tell their identical boys apart. How? Well, they simply gave each child a different colored pin. Voila!
Some identical twins will have noticeable differences if you look closely enough. Take birthmarks, for example; whether they’re obvious ones – like facial birthmarks – or hidden flecks they can reveal in a pinch, these markings can all be used to identify which child is which.
Socks are yet another accessory that parents use to tell their babies apart. Reddit user MichaelBurkeOOC has made a valid point, though – this trick might not work for more mobile babies who “just whip the socks off.”
While socks can slide off a child, though, earrings shouldn’t go anywhere. Even so, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests waiting until babies are two months old at the very least before piercing their ears, so parents will have to employ another method of telling their kids apart until then.
28. Hospital bracelets
When babies are born, hospitals typically slip bracelets with identifying information onto their wrists. And there’s no rule that those have to come off as soon as families get home. In fact, parents may choose to keep the bracelets on for a few weeks until they come up with another way to differentiate between their little ones.
Soft, fuzzy yarn makes a great identification tool. Redditor thefairfaye has said that they once used strands of yarn as anklets, with each child wearing their own color on a different foot to their sibling. That way, their parents “could feel through the swaddle who was who without having to unwrap them.”
26. A look at their eyes
For some parents, discerning which twin is which can be achieved by simply looking into their eyes. Indeed, if the babies have different eye colors or pupil patterns, you’re in luck. If that’s not the case, however, there still may be subtle differences in their eye shapes. One mom noted on Instagram that one of her identical daughters had wider eyes, for example, while the other girl’s were almond-shaped.
Putting a sticker on one twin quickly differentiates your duo. And Reddit user Markoshollo has said that his parents engaged in this method. “I am a twin, and my name is Mark,” he wrote. “So, whenever [my folks] bought something that was a medium, they would put the ‘M’ sticker on me.”
24. Designated baby holders
Some parents may be able to tell which baby is which because they always hold the same one. This is a great trick for moms and dads who dream of dressing their identical babies in matching outfits; they’ll still know who’s who because they always carry the same baby.
A piece of ribbon could also do the trick when it comes to telling twins apart. According to Reddit user otterbry, it’s the same method that dog breeders use to determine the identity of members of puppy litters. And, of course, parents can then remove the ribbons once their babies develop more discernible differences.
22. Belly buttons
The cutting of the umbilical cord may eventually help parents identify their set of twins, given how belly buttons are likely to heal differently on different babies. Redditor NBPTS has said, for example, that one of her twins had a navel that looked similar in appearance to “a curly Q,” while the other’s more closely resembled “a smiley face.”
21. Listening to their cries
There are easy-to-recognize differences between twins, and then there are the ones only a parent could know. One mom has even claimed that she can can hear one of her identical babies crying and recognize who is calling for her attention. Amazing!
Even something as subtle as a swirl of hair is enough of a distinction for some parents. “My friend had identical boys, with the only difference being their cowlicks,” wrote Reddit user IGottaSnake. “It was hilarious to see their own mom… needing to check of the back of their heads to figure out which was which.”
19. Assigned seating
Naturally, many parents choose to chronicle their children’s lives through pictures. And one mom has come up with a genius way to make sure that she always knows which of her identical twins is which in photos. To wit, the children sit in the same places in every snapshot – ingenious, right?
Markers can certainly be useful for distinguishing your offspring. One identical twin explained on the website Parenting Stack Exchange, “Our parents… just grabbed a nontoxic marker and drew a little star right on my brother’s hand and kept it that way for several months.”
17. Personalized attire
Clothes are an obvious identifier when it comes to twins. Rather than assigning each child their own specific color, though, it’s possible to do something even more straightforward: use garments stitched with the babies’ names or initials, so it’s easy to see who’s who.
Until those personalized onesies arrive in the mail, though, you can rely on good, old-fashioned name tags for your babies. The classic “Hello, my name is…” variety works just fine, although you may want to create your own more fun versions instead.
15. Written-on labels
Granted, this example comes from the sister of lookalike babies rather than the parents. Regardless, the kid had the right idea: she wrote her infant sibling’s name onto his arm so there was no confusion as to who he was.
14. Hair dye
For older twins, this could be a fun little treat – and a simple way for other people to tell them apart, too. Just a streak of dye will do the trick, although more adventurous twins may well request a full makeover.
Hopefully, we’ve made it quite clear that hair accessories are an easy way in which to differentiate twins. But what if there’s no hair to tie with a bow? Well, headbands of different colors or designs will give each child their own distinctive look.
12. Unique bibs
At feeding time, it’s especially important that you can tell your twins apart. After all, you don’t want to overfeed one and underfeed the other, do you? As a result, then, mismatched bibs may help you differentiate between your lookalike babies.
11. Personality differences
Remember that mom who can tell her twins apart by their cries? Well, as they get older, identical babies will develop further differing traits as their personalities emerge. And whether their children are shy, playful, calm or squirmy, moms and dads will therefore eventually be able to distinguish which one acts in which manner.
10. Hair color or amount of hair
Obviously, if twins have different hair colors, it’s simple to tell them apart – and the same goes for the amount of hair the children have, too. Reddit user maybebabyg has explained that their twins had varying volumes of hair, meaning they could stroke their babies’ heads and identify them without ever switching on a light.
9. A baby’s height or size
Some parents can get lucky and have one baby who’s noticeably bigger than their twin. As such, they can easily figure out who’s who by simply looking. Once the smaller baby starts catching up in weight and height, though, mom and dad naturally have to come up with a differing method of telling between their children.
Parents often look at their children with awe, whether the kids are born one at a time or in sets of multiples. However, those with identical babies really do have to scrutinize their offspring’s appearances in order to find their discerning features. And deciphering who’s who may come down to something as minor as the difference in the curvature of their children’s ears.
7. Baby blankets
Swaddling helps keep babies warm and safe while they sleep. The practice can also assist parents in telling which of their children is which – so long as they have unique linens for each infant. Reddit user WSV123 has suggested “giving [twins] different-colored blankets to identify them in baby photos.”
6. A single freckle
Redditor and identical twin MsCardeno’s mother “always said she just knew” which twin was which. Additionally, her mom had honed in on the most microscopic of details: MsCardeno had a freckle on her nose, while her twin didn’t.
5. Solids and prints
Redditor _prettyodd has recalled that, while growing up as an identical twin, her folks “dressed [her] in patterned clothes and [her] sister in plain.” Otherwise, she and her twin “were (and still are) completely identical.” Their unique wardrobes worked when nothing else would, then.
4. Unique scars
No one wants their baby getting hurt, of course. However, a bump or scrape may well turn into an identifying scar. Reddit user DTG_58 recalled that their aunt, who was a mom to identical twins, said their family’s “situation sorted itself out” when one of the children developed a scar on their chin.
It takes about three months for a baby to develop any sort of clear eye-related issue. As a consequence, then, parents won’t be able to rely on a set of glasses to differentiate one twin from another in their early stages. However, once glasses are on one or both twins, it may become considerably simpler to figure out who’s who.
2. Personal pacifiers
Rather than dressing their twins in the same colors all the time, parents can choose a smaller accessory to differentiate them. These twins may be rocking the same look from head to toe, but they do have different colored pacifiers.
1. Monogrammed soles
It’s one thing identifying babies who can’t crawl. Once children are moving, though, parents need a quick way to figure out who’s gone where – and monogrammed soles may be the key. “My parents put an ‘A’ on the bottom of my shoe and a ‘B’ under my brother’s [shoe] to tell us apart when we were crawling around,” Redditor drewhoff has explained.