I can’t believe that nearly 2-1/2 years ago I welcomed two tiny humans into my life! Sir R and Miss B entered the world tiny but healthy back in October of 2012. I know that when I found out I was expecting twins, I spent hours obsessing over our registry. Like, at least 100 Google searches for sample registries and product reviews. And don’t get me started on all of the Amazon reviews that I read. I was out of control!
I had no idea what supplies and gear I needed when having one baby, let alone two! And then, the dreaded question: do I buy one or two?
So if you (or someone you know) is expecting twins, Congrats! After successfully (I think!) navigating twin mommyhood through the infant phase, I thought I would share some of the things I wish I had known before I brought home two teeny-tiny humans.
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Newborns sleep… allot. No one told me that newborns sleep so much!
I am of the mindset that you CANNOT POSSIBLY SPOIL A NEWBORN. It’s just not physically possible. I was fortunate to have lots of round-the-clock family help for the first few weeks, so the twins got tons of snuggle and skin-to-skin time. But at some point, you are going to want to eat, or go to the bathroom, or (gasp!) shower. But where do you put these little bundles?
Enter the swing! We had two Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Cradle ‘n Swings set up permanently in our living room.
Here’s why I’m partial to this particular brand of swing:
- The cradle seat is a perfect shape for making baby feel cozy.
- The seat reclines. This is really helpful when baby is swaddled, so they don’t slide down. We also propped up their legs with a folded swaddle blanket.
- The seat rotates, so baby can swing front-to-back or side-to-side.
- Various settings for speed, music, nature sounds as well as a mirror in the center of the mobile. I don’t know why, but I was really worried about the twins getting bored. Can newborns even get bored?
- Seat cover is removable and washable. Just wait for your first “blow-out” diaper, and you will understand why this is important.
- Removable tray comes in handy as baby gets older. Use it for toys or snacks.
- The legs fold up, making transportation and storage easy.
Fisher-Price has a whole line of Cradle ‘n Swing models, and they all have these same options, just in different styles. Here are a couple:
- My Little Sweetie – perfect if you’re having girls and want the all-pink option.
- Moonlight Meadow – for the parents that want all of their baby gear to blend in with their modern home decor. I don’t blame you. Baby gear can seriously change your home decor.
NOTE: I know some people are worried that their baby will get so used to the rocking motion, that they won’t transition to a crib. We had that problem with Miss. B, but it really wasn’t that bad. Sir R was a champion sleeper from the beginning, and transitioned to a crib like a champ. We also made it a point to not have the swing turned on all of the time. It was just a nice place to set a baby during nap time.
Bassinets and Co-Sleepers
While the twins napped in their swings or in the pack and play on the main level during the day, at night they were upstairs with me. I set up a bassinet right by our bed, to make nighttime feedings and diaper changes easier.
We received a large Moses Basket and stand second hand from a family member, and the twins fit in in perfectly side-by-side. This is definitely something I would do differently. I had a c-section, so standing up in the middle of the night to reach into the bassinet and pick up baby was a total pain – no pun intended.
If I had it to do over, I would go with a co-sleeper. I know that co-sleeping can be a hot-button topic, but I’m talking about a bassinet with a side that drops down, so you can just reach over to baby. I’ve heard really good things about the Arm’s Reach brand, especially from twin mommies.
Swaddles and Blankets
Swaddling is an art. I’m serious. It’s a skill that few have truly mastered. If you are going to go with a traditional swaddle, make things easier on yourself and buy the right swaddle blanket. How do you know? Two words: Cotton Muslin – the perfect blend of stretch and breath-ability. adan + anais has, in my opinion, cornered the market. These blankets are perfect for use in swaddling, draping over car seats, as a lightweight blanket, or burp cloth. I always kept an extra one in my diaper bag, just in case.
The classic swaddle is nice, especially for naps during the day. However, at night you are going to need to up your swaddle game. Newborns are tiny, but they are strong! Sir R could bust out of the most expertly crafted swaddle at an alarming rate. We needed something stronger to keep that little guy all bundled up. Summer brand makes adjustable infant wraps – complete with newborn-proof Velcro!
I know this may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially when I tell you to buy at least 9, maybe 12. But hear me out here. Nighttime feedings and diaper changes were a total fog. I could successfully feed, change, and swaddle two babies without fully waking up. By using infant wraps, I could swaddle a baby in a fraction of the time and without having to exercise so much brain power that I would risk fully waking up.
Why buy so many? Diapers leak. Babies spit up. Laundry piles up and running a load of laundry is suddenly way more difficult than it used to be. I’m not one for stocking up on a ton of baby gear, but when it comes to clean sheets and baby wraps, the more, the merrier!
If you reach a point where you don’t want to swaddle, and leave their arms free, SleepSacks are a great option. Yes, those little footie pajamas are super adorable, but the SleepSack is ten times easier to put on and take off. I was also partial to the sleeveless options. In winter, I would just let baby wear a long-sleeved onesie under the SleepSack.
When the twins were first born, I was pretty anti-video monitor. I’m not really sure why, but I just didn’t understand why I needed to watch my baby sleep by using an app on my phone. I mean seriously. That’s what sneaking into their room during the night is for! Anyone with me? Even now, I sometimes sneak into the twins’ room to just watch them, smell their baby-scented hair, feel their little tummies rise and fall as they breathe. I really hope I’m not alone here…
Anyway, we started out with a classic audio-only monitor. If you are going to go this route, buy two receivers. Just do it. We kept one upstairs and one downstairs.
The audio-only monitor has been great. However, I have recently changed my stance on video monitors. If your twins will be sharing a room as they reach toddler-hood, you are going to want a video monitor. Having a twin sibling means having a partner in crime and playmate at night when you are supposed to be sleeping. Also, having twins statistically doubles your chance of having a toddler who enjoys playing with his/her poop. Yes, this is a thing.
A few months back, I put the twins down for bed. Like many nights, there was some babbling. Typically, if no one sounds upset, I let it go. They eventually fall asleep. However, this night was different. After about 30 minutes, the twins weren’t quieting down. I opened the door to discover my son sitting on the edge of his bed, hands and crib covered in poop. He just looked up at me with sweet puppy-dog eyes and said, “Ewww.” That was the last straw. I bought a video monitor.
I expected a good video monitor to be really expensive, but Tasha at Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body wrote a great review of Foscam video monitor that sells for about $60. That’s only $20 more than what we paid for our original monitor. This Foscam model seems a bit technical, but I was able to figure out installation without much hassle. It is so worth it!
Breast vs. Bottle. I’m not even going to touch this one. Whatever you choose, it’s totally fine. I promise. I really wanted to exclusively breastfeed, but that just wasn’t in the cards. From the beginning, we supplemented with formula. Pretty soon, Sir R took a bottle exclusively, while Miss B both nursed and took a bottle.
Many bottle manufacturers sell “starter sets.” I know this seems like a good idea, but don’t do it! Why? We tried a couple of different brands before settling on Tommee Tippee for Sir R and Playtex for Miss B. All of these bottles come with different nipples, and you never know which one your baby will respond to best. Miss B had terrible reflux, and one of the first recommendations was to try a different type of bottle.
I would recommend buying a couple bottles of one or maybe two brands. The hospital will send you home with a few bottles anyway, so don’t waste a whole lot of time or money on bottles. You will have plenty of time to figure out which one works best for your baby.
Oh, and don’t forget a bottle brush and drying rack! Get ready to clean a whole lotta bottles!
Since I mostly breastfed (and pumped), and only supplemented with formula, I can’t really speak to this. I know there are machines that mix formula for you, and if I were doing formula exclusively, this would be the way to go. I’m not one for extra gadgets, but twins go through twice as many bottles. Since you’re not supposed to shake bottles to mix formula (air bubbles and gas), this seems like a great shortcut.
I know it’s tempting to buy burp cloths. These items will be cute right up until you use them for the first time. They they get stained with spit-up and formula, quickly undoing and cuteness. Keep it simple, and save some money in this department.
I bought a package of prefold cloth diapers, and they made the best burp cloths. I know this seems ridiculous. Why would I use a diaper to wipe my baby’s face? I really do think it’s the best, and cheapest option. If you want them to be a bit cuter, you can stitch on some fabric to one side. There is a great tutorial from Petit Lemon Blog.
Baby Food Maker – Skip It
Just skip this one. I know this seems like a great idea, especially for your registry. We see those little food processor and reusable containers, along with recipes galore on pinterest, and we have grand visions of all organic homemade baby food for our little ones. This is not reality!
Twins go through twice as much food, so those little containers really don’t work. I just used regular old Tupperware. Or, and that special baby food processor will get use for less than a year before your babies transition to solid food. I used my immersion blender, which is easier and safer when working with hot food. No special equipment required!
A Note on Nursing Pillows
They do make twin nursing pillows. I never used one. I rarely nursed both babies at the same time. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I used a classic Boppy pillow. Even when nursing one baby, I would still have to put a regular pillow under the Boppy to prop it up.
If you’re looking to save a few bucks, this would be an item to skip. I just don’t understand what all of the fuss is about. I can rig a setup that is ten time more comfortable while sitting on the couch with a couple of pillows and a fuzzy blanket. Oh, and wait until you figure out how to nurse while lying on your side. Game. Changer.
If you plan on using cloth diapers, good for you! I have already made peace with the fact that I have done irreparable harm to the environment by using disposable diapers. And we have used a ton of diapers.
Instead of a traditional baby shower, we had a co-ed “Diaper Party.” We basically just had a pool party and invited friends and family, and told everyone to bring a box of diapers. We ended up with at least 4-6 months worth of diapers. It was ridiculous.
A diaper party is a great way to get started, but eventually you will be buying lots and lots of diapers. This is where Amazon becomes your new best friend.
Imagine this: It’s mid-January, temps hovering right around zero. You need to buy diapers… and wipes… and more formula… and…. you get it. So you bundle the twins up and get everyone in the car. Off to the store! The problem: babies are in their bucket car seats. You can either (a) put both bucket car seats in one cart and pile things around them, or (b) use the stroller, throw a few items in the basket under the stroller, and carry the rest while steering a double stroller, or (c) order all of this stuff on Amazon and have it shipped to your house for free with Prime shipping. Can you guess what I chose?
Amazon even offers a subscription service, which offers a discount. Speaking of discounts, skip expensive brands. I’ve been on the Luvs bandwagon pretty much since day one.
Changing Table – Skip It
I know you’re thinking, “She has completely lost her mind. What am I supposed to do without a changing table?”
I know you see pictures of nurseries, and they all have a crib, rocking chair, and changing table. We had a changing table, and NEVER used it. Why? The twins’ room was upstairs, and we spent most of our day on the main level. If I had to go upstairs for each diaper change, well… I suppose I would have lost the baby weight faster!
We changed diapers on the couch, on the coffee table, on the floor. There were also plenty of diaper changes in my bed during the night. I would recommend setting up “changing stations” in the most used rooms of your house (read this article). Just put a stack of diapers, some wipes, and a portable changing pad in a basket. Too easy!
If you must have a designated changing area, consider a pack and play. Some models come with a changing table attachment. You are going to need to buy a pack and play eventually for naps or play, and this way it can double as a changing table too.
Wipes Warmer – Skip It
Skip the wipes warmer. I mean seriously. Is this an issue? My twins never put up a fuss over room-temperature wipes. If you are really concerned about cold wipes, you can just hold a wipe between your hands for a few seconds.
Wipes, Cream, Powder, Oh My!
In all of your excitement over diapers, don’t forget wipes! We used the Target “Up & Up” brand, pretty much from day one. You can buy a diaper box-sized case of wipes, and you will definitely use them.
Ok, powder is out now, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, so you can skip that. Apparently, baby powder is so controversial, that Babble published an article on it. Leave it to new parents (myself included) to over-think absolutely everything!
Diaper Rash Cream. I am a self-proclaimed expert on this subject. Miss B has had a few run ins with the dreaded diaper rash, and I have tried every cream on the shelf. I would say that they are all pretty much the same with one exception: Butt Paste. Yes, that is its name. Butt Paste is by far and away thicker, and more effective, than any other brand I’ve tried. When Miss B had a diaper rash that needed a prescription cream, our doctor told us to apply the prescription cream first, and then apply a layer of Butt Paste. This stuff is just that good.
The Dreaded Diaper Pail
Newborns go through a TON of diapers. We used a diaper pail but I think I would do it differently next time. Since most of our diaper changes too place on the main level during the day, the kitchen trash was well within reach.
I know there is the concern about the kitchen trash getting too smelly, but I have a solution for that. I got rid of the diaper pail about a year-and-a-half ago. I just couldn’t take the smell (yes, diaper pails get smelly too!). I discovered disposable diaper bags.
If you have ever had a dog, you may recognize these. They are just like the little poop bags that dog owners use. Have anyone even pointed out the startling similarities between a baby and a puppy? I’m just saying…
Anyway, a regular old trash can + disposable diaper bags for the smelly ones = No need to buy a diaper pail!
Buy a Cute Notebook
Ok, I know this sounds ridiculous, but you are going to need to keep a eating/pooping journal. It helps if it’s a cute notebook, in my opinion.
“Why do I need to keep a detailed record or every time my baby eats or poops?” you may ask. Here’s why:
You will be sleep-deprived. You will have other people changing diapers/doing bottles. What happens if baby is upset, and you can’t remember the last time said baby pooped? What happens when you go for a check up and the doctor asks how many ounces or how often baby is eating?
I just used a little notebook, and made columns for diapers (wet or poopy), as well as feedings (ounces or minutes/breast). No more asking yourself, “Has my baby pooped today?”
Ok, so we’ve covered three of the biggies: Sleeping, Eating, and Pooping.
Check out Part 2 of my top picks in: Playing, Bathing, Clothing, and Outings… as well as a FREE Printable Registry Checklist!
Incredible article, seriously incredible!! This needs to get posted in some baby magazines and handed out in OB/GYN offices for ‘parents to be’ to use:)
Nicely done. Very nicely done.