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Twin 'essentials'

1836 Views 25 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  Tigerchild
I'm currently 29 weeks pregnant with twins and have a few questions. For you mommies who already have your twins, what things have you found to be your best "investments"? What kind of diaper bag do you have? Do you have an Arm's Reach Co-sleeper? A breast pump? Slings? What things have you found to be most helpful? And why?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much.


Expecting Mono/Di twins
DD born May 2004
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My favorite things:

1. EZ-2-Nurse twin nursing pillow
2. a double stroller (mine is an inexpensive type)
3. a sling (or two)
4. hospital grade rental pump
5. Dr. Brown's stage 1 nursers with newborn nipples (never used bottles with my older sons, but I use them a lot more with my twins)
6. Medela Harmony manual pump (for those times and places you can't easily bring a large electric pump to)

I've also liked:

1-2 bouncer seats with toy bars
1-2 exersaucers (I really like having two of these--my favorite is the one that can fold down to store under our daybed, thus reducing the amount of floor space the baby gear takes up).
a baby swing
I think I may need a second high chair in a few months, but I may be able to get by with a booster chair with straps

I haven't needed:

two cribs (one has worked fine for us); if we need to use a second eventually, I'll probably use my Pack-n-Play for the second

One of the best pieces of advice I heard was to buy only one of most things. If someone loans you a second, accept. If you buy a second new one, keep it in the box; you may not need it and want to return it. I've been really glad for the used "second items" a couple of friends have given me, but I probably wouldn't have bought those second items. Your house can get quite overrun with baby gear if you're not careful.
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There are so many more options for moms now days, when I had my twins it seemed like they had NOTHING compared to now!

I would recommend either the co-sleeper or the graco pack-n-play w/ the twin bassinet insert. I think this is just a wonderful idea!! I kept a PNP in our living room and a bassinet in our room for our last but the PNP in your bedroom would be nice too.

Definatly get either the Papasian chair or a vibrating bouncy chair. Some babies love them, some babies hate them, you got a 50/50 chance that one if not both will love it! LOL It helps when you're flying solo and feeding one in your arms and one at your side.

Breast pumps are awesome! I rented a hosp. grade one w/ the twins and had a Medela double electric with my last 2. A life saver for me everytime! I strictly pumped for 6wks with my twins before I went back to school.

Slings! I would try and get a wrap like a Didy or a Storch and do some wraps with one or both of them! Depending on their schedule you may be able to actually get something done besides laundry and feeding/changings!

Baskets- either wicker, fabric or plastic. These are great for filling w/ supplies (diapers, wipes, creams, binkies, clippers, burp cloth, etc.) and leaving them in your common areas around your house so you're not hunting for things with 2 crying babies.

Good luck!! Twins are truly a blessing and I'm so thankful for the experiences I've had because of them! Congratulations!!
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The most important things you can have as a mother of twins are time and sanity (you'll find both in short supply). To that end, do everything you can NOW to simplify your life! I cancelled most magazine subscriptions and the Book of the Month Club. I signed up practically every bill as an automatic payment, so I didn't spend a lot of time writing checks every month.

Every time someone (friend, relative, nieghbor) said "If there's ever anything I can do to help out, let me know", I wrote down their name and phone number.

After the babies were born, a friend made a sign for the front door which said "No Visitors Allowed - but Helpers are welcome any time!" When people came to visit, I asked them to throw a load of clothes in the wash, make me a sandwich, run an errand, hold a baby so I could take a shower. People were more than happy to do these things, and it sure made our lives easier! Never deny someone the opportunity to do you a good turn.

Adjust your priorites. Decide right now that there are some things that will slide after the babies are born, and that's OK.

As for "stuff":

Bouncy seats are a must!

I used a Land's End diaper bag - it was big enough for a lot of stuff, but plain blue, so DH didn't mind lugging it around. Today I think I would look for a backpack style.

We never used a changing table - we almost always changed diapers on the floor.

We didn't buy high chairs - we used booster seats (which have the added advantage of being portable enough to take to Grandma's).

Good luck, and enjoy the ride!
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Ditto deadhead's comments about simplifying and rounding up a willing band of helpers!
I'm sure everyone here will give you different ideas for 'essentials' so hopefully you will get a general idea of what might suit you. I also agree that you will only 'need' one of each largish item, especially if you intend to wear one (or both) babies often.
My list of essentials:
(- Hospital-grade rental pump & Medela PIS w/every adaptor known to mankind)--completely unnecessary if you get off to a good start w/BF
- Cradle swing...indispensable!!!!
- Original-size co-sleeper or side-carred crib
- Activity/play mat for earlier days, Exersaucer for bigger babies
- Nice assortment of baby carriers/slings (pouch, wrap or RS for the early days, MT or Ergo for bigger babies)
- Stroller--I tend to use a single more often than not and wear one baby, unless I have all three kids with me, then our BOB double (and I still wear one)
- Chariot Cougar 2 bike/ski trailer--our life/sanity saver!
- 2 Booster seats w/trays (we use the Eddie Bauer wood ones)

I have two diaper bags--one that 'travels' (biggish microfiber teardrop shaped one from BRU) and one that lives in the car (Skip Hop)
Can't think of much else...
Best wishes for a continued healthy pregnancy!
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I would say my travel swings could not live with out them the first few months. Also we never had a changing table we just used a towel on the floor so much eaiser for me and everyone else. I also had diaper changing stations in every room I spent lots of time in. My sil also had one set up in her room for when we would give baths in her bathroom sink too.
Yes get a hospital grade pump they can be a lifesaver. Also if you are having a hospital birth take some depends with you they work great for the pp bleading that we all experience and work better then the mesh panties and pads they give you there.
I am LOVING this thread. I've never been much of a gadget mommy in the past (or maybe that's just me reframing history now that all my kids are over age 5, now that I think about it). However, I'm thinking this is going to be a whole different ballgame.

Money has been tight, so I was going to wait until after my baby shower to see what we still need to get. There's so many essentials (cloth diapers, baby clothes, nursing pads, nursing pillows, etc) that we needed, I just thought that just in case my shower guests were more excited about getting the fun stuff (cute outfits) that we'd see what gadgets we could afford after getting the essentials. HOWEVER, like a sneaky cheater I've been checking out my online registry every now and then
: and it looks like we're going to be living large. Add to that the fact that my stepmom is a yard sale fanatic and I think we now have enough clothing to dress each baby in a different outfit 4 times a day for the first six months. Anyway, we're probably going to be able to get a few gadget goodies I hadn't anticipated being able to get!

So, this thread is definitely giving me a shopping list for after my shower!
: I'm getting so excited!
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Early day essentials:

* EZ2nurse double nursing pillow
* Food, food, and more food. Fresh fruit, lots of drink, cheese cut up in cubes -- easy and healthy and delicious food. I was *so* hungry those first weeks (months?) and wished I had told people they needed to bring me food before they could hold a baby.

Later days:
* A great stroller
* One of the "things" like swing, bouncy chair, etc., until you know if they like it.
Lots of receiving blankets! Our twins can't sleep unless they are tightly swaddled. We never experienced this with our older dds, so I wonder if it has something to do with their tight quarters in the womb.

I love my Moby Wrap. Luckily, both babies love it too. I usually wear one at a time so that I can carry the other one. When dh is home, he wears one in his Bjorn. I also have a hotsling, but right now I need the security of a wrap until they have better head control.

We have a co-sleeper, but the babies have yet to sleep in it. They just share our bed. I'm sure we'll use it eventually.

Medela PIS or other high-quality pump. Mine was indispensible during the first six weeks. DD was a sleepy nurser and DS was slow to gain, so I had to pump after each feeding and syringe-feed both babies. Now they are nursing like champs and the pump is packed away.

I have the EZ pillow, but usually it's just easier for me to nurse them together with a sofa cushion or a boppy. I feel so constrained when that big honkin' pillow is belted on me. Plus, I've never liked the football hold, and it seems that's the only hold I can do when I use that pillow.

We have two swings and two bouncers, but I think we really only need one of each. My babes are 11 weeks old now and prefer tummy time to the swing anyway, so I can park them on a blanket on the floor when I need to occupy them for a few minutes.

Not sure if you will use binkys, but they make our babies happy, so we use them. We have HABA wooden pacifier chains that we attach to their outfits. They are so cute, and it is nice to know where their binkys are at all times and we don't get them messed up.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!
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I loved my double snap 'n go. It was literally my lifeline in the early easy to get up and go! Well, as easy as possible with twins.

Nursing I found I improvised with a bunch of pillows of different sizes. With other stuff, I wouldn't get two right away--we had one swing, and one baby loved it, NEEDED it, actually--and the other was "meh." So one swing was fine. When I found something that both liked to use (Infant-to-Toddler rocker), I went and picked up another one. So many things (bouncy seats, bumbo) they just didn't like & I never used.

Slinging two never worked for us d/t the apnea monitors. I did like my Moby Wrap in the early days.
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I agree with all the PP that you should not go and get 2 of everything. Here's my list of essentials, my boys are 5 months old this week!

1 Convertible Swing (they both love it)

1 or 2 Kick and play bouncy/vibrating seat (you can bounce it with your foot to calm the baby that is not feeding while maintaining eye contact with the fussy man). I also have the baby papasan, but it doesn't bounce and it is very wide. I don't recommend that one.

Ring Sling or pouch (adjustable so DH can wear one while you nurse and still help around the house). Check out Kangaroo Korner adjustable pouches. DH liked his until the boys were bigger than 10lbs. Then he needed a 2 shoulder carrier.

a woven (not stretchy) wrap carrier. I like the Gypsy Mama Cotton Gauze. It is light and doesn't add all of the bulk that a Storch or Didy does. It is easy to pop a baby in and out of a front cross, and switch to hands free nursing without taking the wrap off.

a Mei-Tai so you can put baby number 2 on your back at the same time. Also works as a good Daddy carrier.

Land's End Diaper back pack. It holds enough cloth diapers and other stuff for an all day affair with twins and a 4 year old.

Plenty of diapers and wipes!!!! If using cloth, get at least 3 dozen and at least 8 covers. Yes you will use them, and still do diapers every day! My record is 12 diapers in one hour!!! That was at 2 months old. I did 3 loads of diapers that day. If using disposables, have multiple boxes of wipes on hand. I have 3 changing areas in my house, and I am always running out of wipes somewhere.

FOOD FOOD FOOD!!!! Stock the fridge and freezer. Request meals for the first 2 or 3 months from church, mom's groups, friends and family. If you get 3 meals a week and eat all the leftovers for lunches you will save a TON of money on ordering out. Also get your groceries delivered. I admit I live 1 block from the grocery store, but for 6 bucks they delivered them, and even brought them right into the kitchen for me. This also saved money on ordering out.

My second string of "good to haves" are:

A double umbrella stroller. I got the MaClaren Twin Techno for a shower gift, and I love it. It is easy to push and I can fit through doorways no problem. It does not take car seats, but I just carried those when I wasn't wearing the babies.

2 exersaucers. Only one of the twins likes it so far, but one is from my older DD and the other is on loan, so I can usually go to the bathroom without a complaint.

An extra bouncy chair and/or travel swing to live at Nana's house.

A playmat large enough for both babies to lay on. I like the Baby Einstein mat.

Good luck! I hope this helps.
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My twins never liked sleeping together so I used 2 pack-n-plays. I got everything that I could used. IT saved a ton of money. Anytime I was offered anything I took it because if I didn;t use it I could give it to someone else. I haven't really had to buy my twins clothes! Other than that:

slings, wraps, or MT's The slings were great until they got bigger and the others are great because when they are bigger the weight gets distributed more evenly. I use all 3.

At least 1 each of the following: swing, bouncy seat, excersaucer and play gym.

Other than that, everyone has mentioned most of the rest. even if you don't use the bottles and pump, it would be a good idea to have them just in case. I ended up having to bottle feed for 3 months before my twins latched on. After that we didn't use any of it very much but I thank God I had those things when I needed them!! After all, an occasional bottle so mommy can get some rest is a good thing too!

ETA Oh, and I would recommend a freezer if you don't have one. You can make extra meals now and stock it with them and other frozen goodies for those days when no one offered to bring dinner by. we got one a few weeks before they were born and it was a God send!
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Haven't read all the replies, but here's my "must have" list:

- a freezer full of frozen meals (2 of my friends filled my freezer as a shower gift, it was AWESOME! In the morning I'd pull one out so it could thaw, when dh got home he could throw it in the oven for me)

- A good double nursing pillow

- for early on, a good stretchy wrap (moby wrap is cheaper, the hot mama wrap from mom-and-me-creations or bali baby stretch from will last longer), later, 2 good woven wraps.

- a pair of slingset pouches &/or 2 good unpadded ring slings ( or are shoulder styles I like at reasonable prices)

- instead of crib(s) or the Arms Reach (well, we borrowed one, but the babies hated it), my dad built a cosleeper frame for a regular twin mattress. We STILL have it in our room. It's sturdy enough that any of us can sleep there, and gave us much needed room for cosleeping. It cost very little, we figured we could use the twin mattress later on a kids' bed, and if cosleeping didn't work we could always buy the crib(s) if we needed them (we didn't, we transferred the girls to mattresses on teh floor of their room when they nightweaned at 19 mo & that's where they still are at almost age 4. I've suggested putting their mattresses on frames but they like to jump on their beds so this feels safer to me).

Everything else strikes me as depending a LOT on your lifestyle &, more importantly, the babies' personalities.

We used our double snap-n-go a TON because our babies fell asleep instantly in the car, so the sng allowed me to transfer sleeping babies from car to wherever. I found the infant carseats too heavy to carry 2 of them anything more than house to car. I also took lots of walks w/ the sng that first summer. It was great because I could see the babies & they could see me (unlike most strollers) & since they were already used to falling asleep in their carseats they generally went right to sleep.

We borrowed or got as gifts most of the "entertainment" type gear. The things that would have been worth the money for us were the doorway jumpers (from the very beginning my girls were happiest being held in a "standing" position, since I couldn't hold 2 floppy babies like that, even before they could jump, I'd use it for short periods so that both babies could be "standing") & our portable swings (they spent most of their time in the master bathroom so I could get a shower (combination of the motion & the sound of the shower generally put babies right to sleep) but we could also throw them in the car if we were visiting friends or whatever & thought the girls might sleep. Everything else, was worth borrowing, but wouldn't have been worht buying (as we're going into yardsale season check yardsales for things like swings & bouncers. Or ask on freecycle).

My babies refused bottles starting at 3 mo, so I was very glad I hadn't spent the money on an electric breast pump.
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For us:

* 2 Amby Baby Hammock beds (these were absolutely great)
* At least 2 good pouches for me & 1 for dh (we'd get them to sleep in the pouch then slip the pouch off over our head & lay the baby down (still in the pouch) in the Amby bed - if dh wasn't home then I'd need another pouch for myself since he & I wear different sized pouches.
* Good stroller (we had a double snap n go in the beginning and it was very handy but I absolutely love our Mountain Buggy Urban Double that we use now)
* Diaper bag - we have and love the Skip Hop Duo Double
* Exersaucers have been handy (we have 2)
* Swaddling blankets (we used the Miracle Blanket and it really, really helped them sleep)
* Those sleep positioner things

We bought 2 of the Baby Papasan swings and they only worked so-so for my twins (we sold them after maybe 4 months of use). We had a bouncy chair from our older dd but never even broke it out to use. Other carriers have been nice but the pouches (KKACP) have been indispensible. Nursing pillows didn't work all that well for me (just depends on the mom and the baby/babies). That's all I can think of right now for the early days!
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Originally Posted by 2+twins View Post
For us:

* Swaddling blankets (we used the Miracle Blanket and it really, really helped them sleep)
Oh yeah, forgot about those! Sam was swaddled for 5 months, Eli for 6! We used Swaddle-Me's fron BRU.
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I second (third?) the swaddling blankets! My boys were swaddled til about 6 months, and I had to get very creative with regular blankets to keep them in!

I cannot overemphasize the need for spit up cloths. We used them for everything. I probably had 60. Just cheapies that my mom made from fabric remnants, but they were so handy!

We had 2 swings and 2 bounceys. We gave up the swings at around 6 months because they were just too darn huge for our apartment, but they were great in the beginning. The bouncey seats were great. We had a fish tank and the kids would sit there with me and stare at all the fish and point. It was so cute.

We were in a tiny apartment so we did not use high chairs but I did use those boosters that attach to the chair. Very handy as you can take them everywhere.

I had a double frame stroller which I used a lot in the beginning. After that I had a duo-glider. Pretty good stroller, not too expensive. We also still have a double jogger -- I got it used on eBay. They're nice for literally walking or jogging, not so much for any errands.

The best advice I ever got was, if you're having a bad day, take your kids to the mall and just sit there in the food court and everyone will approach you and tell you how cute the kids are and what a great mom you are, etc etc. I did that a few times when my boys were really small (I was a single mom, so I had a lot of rough days! I met my dh when they were 3mos). It helped immensely.

Also, you'll learn to function on very little sleep. It's amazing.
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Yeah, I actually swaddled them until they got out of them all the time at around 9 months! I *really* didn't want to give that up b/c it helped so much!
A large recliner rocking chair (lazy boy). You can nurse/rock and sleep in one chair!!

Changing tables on each floor of your house. Lots of people don't use them, but I have a bad back, and changing kids on the floor or bed KILL me. Also, it is nice to have a baby out of another babies reach when dealing with messes!!

Our kids all hated bouncy seats but loved swings, so yes, just get one of each to start. Save all the boxes and receipts!!

DO NOT get a tub. Just use those little foam or net things that sit in your regular tub or give them showers (much easier on your back, and Dad gets a special time with them). Or use the kitchen sink.

High chairs - get the cheap plastic molded ones. The fancy ones are nice for holding an infant while you cook, but the crevices are a nightmare for cleaning!!

My boys loved jumpers by about 4 months old (and bouncy seats and playmats).

Extra freezer!! We now have 2 extra freezers!! (I like to to mega cooking or freezer meals). You may not need it when they are little and napping regularly, but by the time they are down to one nap a day, and getting colds, it may save you thousands in take-out!

I liked the velcro swaddlers. Even dh could put the on right.

We liked the mini pak n play. It is light and narrow, so we could pull it into the living room during the day, and pull it next to our bed at night. we used it for the first year.

White noise machine/cd/fan. Our kids slept MUCH better with some noise.

Lots of light reading. You can learn to nurse and read.(yes, I can nurse 2 and read in my lazy boy!!) I found it better than TV and much easier to stop and start, no matter where I was stuck.

Support. Get active in LLL, MOMS, and any other groups to find friends and help. You can't really do it with newborns to haul with you.
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The three things I could not have lived without....

Two swings.

A GOOD stroller (put in a lot of time picking out the right one!! I liked my side-by-side MUCH better then my front/back one).

Two boobs.

I know the last one doesn't count but they should.

Oh, one more. Diapers! Wait! Another thing...those little outfits that have the elastic at the bottom so you just pull them up and down. No snaps, etc. I call them "baby in a bag".
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I forgot, a DUSTBUSTER!!

You can clean up messes with 1 hand or later do spot cleaning so the cracker crums don't get out of hand.
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