If you are expecting twins and are anything like me, you would’ve realised that all the information out there on a “what do I need to have for twins” is very vague. Some general information but really nothing specific to having more than one. And needless to say, having more than one child at a time is very different. Do I just buy two of everything? What should I spurge on? What shouldn’t I bother with? What am I going to experience differently having twins?
I thought I would compile this list for the parents-to-be of twins after nearly completing my first year with my twinnies!
THINGS YOU NEED
Whether you chose to breastfeed of bottle feed your babies, you need to have one of these. Did you get that? NEED! To reduce time feeding (and so you can actually get out of a chair/off the floor) I really recommend tandem feeding. Initially it is not easy and you will find yourself feeding the babies separately and then after a while you might start the feed together but finishing them off individually. However, as you get used to feeding them, increase the time spent feeding them together until both babies feed at once.
Breastfeeding – The “My Brest Friend” twin breastfeeding pillow is the perfect height for the babies to lay at your breasts (saving your back) and supports both babies in feeding position (saving your arms from holding them in a cradling position.) There are lots of different techniques to feed your babies together. You will figure out what works for you. Here are some different positions:
Me doing the “Football hold” and I did not make that up. That is really the name for it!
Bottle Feeding – The twin bottle feeding “double cuddle” pillow is the other option. It holds the babies in the pillow perfectly so you only have to hold the bottle. You can prop it up on a bean bag, chair etc so it is the right height so you can sit on a chair and feed. It is one of the best inventions since sliced bread. In fact, it is better than sliced bread – really!
The “Double Cuddle” Feeding Pillow… I think the photo speaks for itself
Twin Prams – I had my twins when my Son, Malachy, was 1 so was never looking for a twin pram as I had 3 little bums to seat. However, I have been told by squillions of twin parents that a pram where you can easily transfer them when they are little from pram to car is essential. That way you aren’t having to play with clips and wake them when they are sleeping. The Baby Jogger City Select Stroller has adaptable baby carriers for your car. It also fits in doors easily, has several different seating combinations, is light and easy to manoeuvre if you need to do long amounts of walking, folds super easy, has good storage and the seats can recline. Tick, tick, tick!
3 and 4 Seater Prams – There are plenty of prams out there for just seating 2 children. However, if you are having twins and already have a small child or 2 then, 3-seater and 4-seater prams are extremely difficult to find. I personally don’t drive so I have to walk everywhere with my kids. That meant I had to find a pram that not only seated my 3 kids but also, fit in shops/trains etc, was light and manoeuvrable and stored everything I need for 3 kids (as I couldn’t just run to the car!) I didn’t want a 2 seater with an attachable seat/skateboard (as many prams have) as I wanted all my kids to be able to go to sleep at anytime and it had to be comfortable due to the amount of time my kids spent in the pram.
I eventually found the Triple/Quad ABC Adventure Buggy Pram! And I am love it. Here are some points I have found great about it:
- It was a side-by-side with one on top (and it is able to have 2 on top!) It looks big but is only as wide as the average side-by-side 2 seater pram and fits in most doors. I tried the only other 3 seater pram around which had all seats in a row but it was virtually impossible to steer.
- It is able to have any combination of your kids in which seat and you don’t have to worry about weight distribution. I can put my toddler down the bottom with an infant next to him and an infant on top. Usually I have my toddler on top as he is usually awake so we chat but I tend to have the child that is awake or the misbehaving child on top, ha!
- It is lightweight especially considering it seats so many. I can push it all day and even up steep train station ramps with ease.
- It is easy to steer as the front wheels can swivel and all 4 wheels are large unlike most prams that have 2 small wheels at the front.
- It has storage galore.Not only does it have a large underneath storage area but it has heaps of smaller storage areas for dummies, bottles, toys etc for you to easily access. There are pockets on the back of all the chairs and on both sides. I don’t need to take a handbag!
- It has 5 clip restraint. For extra security and can not be wiggled out of.
- It is compatible with bassinet
- It comes with all the extras. It has window flaps on all the seats so you don’t have to stop and walk around to the front of the pram to see what they are doing. It comes with fly nets and rain covers that all conveniently zip and clip to the pram so you don’t have to fuss pulling them over and trying to make them fit. You can purchase cup holders to fit. I bought one for me and one for my toddler!
The only thing I did find annoying was how bulky it was to put in the car. You nearly always have to take off the front wheels but if you have a SUV it will definitely fit. It is definitely the best options of all the 3 and 4-seater prams.
About the only clear cut thing you will see when you google “what should I buy if I am having twins?” is “2 x Swings”. And google is deadset on the money with this one. Unless you are employing a full time nanny, chef, cleaner etc and have a few months of your life set aside to hold at least one, if not two babies… you need a swing. And preferably a battery operated or plug into the wall type that will swing those babies all day with only a press of a button. If you keep your eye out, they appear for not much cost at markets but if you are keen on one that is brand new your best option is eBay. We were able to buy 2 swings plus shipping from the US to Australia for the price of buying 1 swing in the shops here in Melbourne. Once you have your twins and realise the miracles these swings can work, you can email me a thank you 😉
Lots of people will tell you you can sleep your newborn twins in the same cot. They do have some unexplained connection and DO sleep better when they are together in the same room. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take much time before your twins will be wiggling around and annoying one another and you have to separate them into different cots. I think every twin parent has to learn this for their self but you do not want to learn this lesson when you are yet to buy the second cot! SIDs guidelines also suggest sleeping them apart. I recommend buying 2 cots and placing them side-by-side. This way it is almost like a double bed but with a barrier down the middle. I find my girls need to be able to see each other and will sleep better if they can. In fact, they will wake up, see the other baby is still asleep and go back to sleep. It is amazing. I even find them with their arms through the bars holding hands! Some twin mums like to have a similar layout where they are side-by-side but have a bigger gap down the middle so the parent can sit in the middle and comfort both at the same time.
Do not bother with a bathtub. You will break your back leaning over and it is so much fuss filling it, lifting it, emptying it. Babies are small. Put them in the sink. I know it sounds crazy but when they are big enough they can go in the normal bath tub. You can buy them individual seats for the bath as they get older to bath them together.
This is what double sinks where invented for isn’t it?
These are the best idea ever! I bought some after my eldest child went off to daycare and we were falling victim to “vanishing dummies.” Not only did they always come back but there was much less dummy swapping as it was clear which was his.
I recommend personalised dummies for your twins because they don’t get confused with other babies’ at catch ups. If one twin is sick you know which dummy belongs to who. And also, when the twins are around your friends and your friend is starting to offend you getting their names wrong after the 32nd time you have corrected them, all they have to do is read their dummy!
They come in pretty much every shape, size, colour and material.
I also recommend a plastic dummy chain. That way they can keep putting their own dummy in their mouth and not taking their sister/brother’s. Chains made from ribbon or something alike get dirty very quickly and you will find yourself washing them often.
If you are having twins and do not like dummies… good luck!
It is needless to say that you will have limited for time with twins and your brain will be trying to think of many things at once. You will also find that you will have this need to make sure each twin is individual and documenting each of their time growing up as unique. I seriously recommend getting two boxes/suitcases etc that you can throw stuff into as they happen. From their wristbands from the hospital saying “twin 1” and “twin 2” bang, throw them in. Their first booties, throw them in. Their hand prints, throw them in. That way, as things happen you don’t have to think about it and can be accurate about their special items.
Your keepsake box doesn’t have to be expensive. We used 2 shoeboxes with their names on them for the first year but for their first birthday we decided to get them an upgrade and bought these suitcases.
A few items in one of our twin’s keepsake box. We even have her umbilical cord clip! (I heard you just say “eww” then, haha)
UNESSENTIAL ITEMS BUT STILL RECOMMENDED
Camera – consider upgrading your camera or getting a good camera. Obviously having twins can be expensive but I bought an amazing camera before my twins were born and believe it is one of the best things I could’ve done. You have 2 babies growing up at the same time so in a way you have half the time to take photos! So make them good ones. And if you are someone that wold pay for professional photos, you will get your money back on your camera very fast!
Spreadsheet of feeds- I recommend a spread sheet to write down when feeds are, panadol was given etc. Not only is it a lot to remember when you’re feeding 2 babies but you might have help and need to be on the same page as the person helping you. Don’t let your twins get on a different schedule. If one rouses for a feed, get the other up. We had 2 sheets, 1 for each baby. 7 columns for the days of the week and then 10 rows under each. I wrote in the time and mLs the fed in each box (or small, medium, large feed if you are breastfeeding.) Doing this just assists you to see what patterns your babies making and help your busy brain.
Bottles – If you decide on bottle feeding just remember that it is 2 bottles every 3-4 hours so for 24 hours that is 12-16 bottles you will have to wash a day. Surely you don’t want to be standing over the sink all day?
Pumps- Consider buying (if you are going to breast feed for a long time) or renting a breast pump from a hospital. They can be expensive ($35 a week to rent – I know! Crazy!) but if you are having help you want to be able to have time to yourself rather than trying to pump from a handheld pump with less power. Plus, if you have a hospital grade pump you will be able to pump both breasts at the same time. Yes, like a dairy cow. Lucky you!
Video Baby Monitor – We ended up getting 2 because it worked out cheaper that way but you can get 1 screen with 2 cameras or 1 screen with 1 camera on both babies. It helps you establish which baby is awake. We bought 2 x $130 from Costco.
Cloth Nappies– Put them under their head when sleeping. That way you don’t have to be changing so many sheets all the time when they vomit etc.
Saftey Gates – For most, a playpen is just not going to be big enough but you can section off rooms with baby gates.
Cheap Double-Stroller – The pram is great but for those occasions when you need to get in and out of the car quickly a double stroller is fantastic to fold down quickly and throw in the car. You can buy them for under $100 nowadays.
Swaddles and blankets with zips – I’m sure I have said it 100 times now but if you haven’t already understood, you will be doing double of everything. So you need to take some short cuts to minimise your time doing the daily tasks. Woomie swaddles and Pure Baby sleeping bags are what I used/use. Initially my girls like to be swaddled very tight with an elasticised wrap but as soon as I could, I got them into zip ups. It saves the fussing and you having to constantly keep going in to tuck them in or wrap them back up. It also makes it easy for people that may help you to put them to bed the way the babies like it.
Twins- Malachy and our cat swaddled in Woombies!
Things you DO need 2 of: Nappies, wipes, car seats, bibs, highchairs (do not over spend on these. They sell them at Ikea and target for hardly anything. It just needs to be easy to wipe down!)
Things you DON’T need 2 of: toys (for the first year and then the fights start!), playmats (more convenient to buy 2 though!), clothes (unless boy/girl), bathtub, change table, shampoos, lotions, thermometer, first aid kit, jolly jumper (they are best to take turns)
And my final note is: Twins can be expensive. None of these items needs to be new. Shop around on eBay, gumtree, baby markets and op shops to get good prices. Even ask people in the shop if they will lower the price if you buy 2!