One of the things we moms of twins are expert at is fitting 2 in room for 1, literally! This learning to “accommodate 2 in 1″ starts in the uterus and continues to apply at home as well. From making 2 babies in one womb, mixing 2 formula feeds in one go, to burping 2 babies at the same time, I feel like I have become a pro in multi-tasking now.
I didn’t actually start my pregnancy journey with this confidence though. Honestly, I was pretty nervous and freaked-out when I learned there were 2 buns baking in my oven at the same time. Bringing up multiples is very different from raising a singleton. I had to rely more on my research than first-hand experience from others as I was first in my close family and friend circle to be blessed with twins.
I spent a lot of my pregnancy researching every tool, device, or gadget available to make twin parenting easier. I frantically checked all the online stores, read every blog and article available on the internet, and read through a plethora of personal experiences shared by first time twin parents to prepare and equip myself beforehand. All that digging and delving did make me uptight and distressed to begin with, but as I started buying twin baby stuff, I got better clarity of what I needed and what I did not, what had to be bought in sets of 2, and what could be shared.
When preparing for twin parenting, the first thing that comes to mind is: Everything double; double the love, double the cries, double the mouths to feed, and double the bottoms to wipe. But just because you are expecting babies in a set of 2 doesn’t mean you need to own everything double too. Not only do doubles put a dent in your pocketbook, but it will also leave you in a major space crunch, which is the last thing you want when adding 2 new face to the family picture.
There are certain products you need separately for each baby, like feeding bottles, soothers/pacifiers (proved to be the most useful product for me…ahem I mean my kids!), car seat, etc. while the rest can be shared by both. This not only helps you save a few pennies but also makes it easier to handle and manage it (you’ll know what that exactly means once your buns are out of the oven).
I compiled a list of must have twin gear, essentially for twin parents, which helped me make my life easier (as easier as it can get with two kids!) and sharing here to help you sail rather smoothly. When I compiled this list, the deciding parameters were cost, floor space needed, convenience it brought to my (and my newborns’) life, and duration of usage.
Go ahead, add these in your baby registry list right now so your friends and family know the best gifts for twins to get your growing family.
1. Twin stroller
This one is a no-brainer and absolutely indispensable. This is going to be your companion for every stroll in parks, every trip to malls, and even when traveling for holidays; choose it wisely. While deciding on a stroller, don’t forget to check these basic prerequisites and make sure it ticks all boxes:
- It should be sturdy but lightweight. Remember, it has to be handled, maneuvered, opened, and folded back by one individual and not a task force.
- Make sure once collapsed and folded, it is small enough to fit in a corner under the stairs or behind the front door, and fits easily in your car trunk. I remember making this mistake. The first stroller we bought was not actually a stroller but a pram (As explained by Mr. Google*: their main difference is that prams are used to carry new born babies until they are able to sit up while strollers are used to carry toddlers or infants who are already able to sit up.*) It was strong and sturdy and extremely comfortable for my then infant girls but when closed and folded, it was still too bulky to store in any corner and also used to take up entire trunk space in our car. I ultimately had to get ride of it and get a new one which was rather lightweight and smaller in size.
- Choose one which has either detachable seats that doubles up as a car seat or go for a lightweight stroller frame on which you can attach your infant car seats as babies don’t like to be woken up while shifting from car seat to stroller (you won’t like that delicate process either, trust me).
- It must come with multiple hooks and pockets, big and small, to accommodate baby essentials like feeding bottles, pacifiers, their favorite toys, hand sanitizer, and the diaper bag (it would be a winner if it comes with coffee mug holder).
2. Twin car seats
A few things to check before bringing home car seats for twins are:
- Make sure they are easy to snap and lock on the base as well as on your stroller frame (if you wish to buy the stroller frame and not complete stroller). You will have to do that for 2 babies multiple times a day on certain days, hence clipping on and off the car base and stroller should be a smooth and safe process.
- As most of twins are lighter in weight and smaller, make sure the seat you pick has enough cushion to support and keep safe a smaller baby.
- It should be a perfect fit both for your car and stroller frame.
3. Twin nursing pillow
If you are breastfeeding twins, you will bless this product from the depth of your heart (and lower back as well!) There are a variety of cushions available for supporting breastfeeding for twins as well. Make sure you pick one that comes with:
- A rather firm cushion to support your new born infants. A firmer cushion also helps the newborns learn to breastfeed faster.
- Removable covers as this one is going to need a trip to the laundry many more times than you can imagine right now.
- Back support. Feeding your babies is a job you will find yourself occupied with the entire day so make sure you find for yourself a twin nursing pillow that comes with back support. Your post C-section back will thank you for that every time.
4. Diaper bag for twins
This is no doubt an essential for any new mom but don’t forget you need a bag which is functionally efficient enough to hold 2 babies’ worth of stuff in it. I felt so much in control with a well-organized diaper bag: ready to attend to any emergency situation that could possibly range from sudden projectile vomiting to a leaking “code-brown” diaper situation. Make sure you pick the one that meets the following requirements:
- It should come with lots of pockets and all sorts and sizes of pockets. Separate pockets to hold spare clothes and diapers (lots of diapers) for 2 babies, lotion, rash cream, diaper cream; separate insulated compartments for storing feeding bottles, water sipper; as well as your stuff like your wallet, car keys, phone, as well as an easy to use wipe dispensing opening, a leak-proof bag for soiled clothes, and a water-resistant foldable changing mat.
- A suitable bag should also be equipped with broad and soft straps to make it easier to carry. Baby bags carry loads of stuff and will definitely be heavy and you would not want to end up with frozen shoulder after every park visit.
- Make sure you pick the one that can be carried around as a backpack and not the one with a shoulder sling as a backpack design distributes the load evenly across both the shoulders and upper back while a shoulder sling keeps the load on one shoulder.
5. Electric breast pump
You’ll realize for first few months, your main role in your twins’ life is that of a 24 hour a day milk dispenser. Those little mouths can keep your milk jugs at work all day and you will have to rely comprehensively on pumping to give your mammary glands some rest from all the sucking. Make sure:
- You invest in a comfortable, portable and electric pump as manual ones might be cheaper but you will end up doing most of the job yourself which is arduous and time crunching. Time is anyways a currency you would be running low on and wasting any more on pumping would certainly be a no-no.
- It is fast and hands-free (there will be lots more for your hands to do) and also handy enough to carry around to the mall or workplace and dispense your magic potion sitting at your desk signing all those memos.
You might want to check out more tips on choosing a breast pump.
6. Twin baby swings
I used to call my babies’ bouncer seat their parking area, as they spent 80% of their day parked in their swings (the other 20% is spent on the changing table!).
- As the bouncy seats are slightly inclined, it becomes the best place to feed them, especially if your babies love to spit up immediately after being fed just like mine.
- It is so convenient to bottle-feed 2 babies at the same time in bouncy seats. Simply put them in, make sure they are strapped well and safe, and just feed them; no mess or fuss.
- Since babies are going to spend their feeding, playing and siesta time there, it is of highest importance that the seat should be soft and comfortable, safe, sturdy, and easy to carry anywhere.
7. Twin baby carrier
Once babies are a few months old and start to sit or balance, taking them around in a baby wrap will be easier than in bouncy seats, especially for shopping or coffee dates where your need your hands for other things. There are a variety of baby wraps available in market these days for twins as well but as I mentioned you will essentially need a wrap/carrier once babies are 5-6 months or more. Make sure:
- It is sturdy enough for 2 babies’ weight
- It comes with sufficient back support and broader straps with comfortable cushions for shoulders to evenly spread out the weight on the shoulders and back without hurting.
- Don’t forget to check the fabric quality, it should soft and comfortable for babies and also see if it is UV resistant as babies’ skin is far more sensitive to the sun than ours.
- You can also buy baby wraps for newborn infants, but make sure they are safe enough for smaller babies as I mentioned above, twins usually tend to be thinner, smaller, and more delicate to handle.
8. Twin bassinet or 2 cribs
Coming to furniture, investing in 1 twin bassinet or 2 baby cribs, one for each twin, would be a good option.
- If you are running low on floor space, a twin bassinet is the best option. You can put both your babies in the same bassinet, which will save space as a twin bassinet takes less space than 2 separate bassinets.
- As twin bassinets can rotate, you can attend to both babies without having to get out from the bed.
- Alternatively, if going for cribs, go for convertible ones as your babies’ needs are going to change every few years. Buying a convertible crib will help you save the hassle of buying new age-appropriate cribs/beds every few years.
- Also, as this is going to be a part of your home for a longer time, choosing a strong durable and robust one would be smart idea even if it costs a little more.
9. Two high chairs
Once babies outgrow the bouncy seats and can actually sit and try to feed themselves (which practically means making Picasso level art from mashed potatoes and porridge), it’s time to get them a high chair each.
- It helps to teach little ones the idea of meal time. After few attempts, my babies used to understand that when they’re on the high chair, it’s their fodder time. In fact, if they felt hungry between meal times, they would go to the high chair and tap on it which meant they were asking for snacks.
- Find a high chair that is strong and stable as babies tend to move a lot while eating.
- It should have small compartments to hold cups, bowls, plates, and enough room for small toys too.
Other twin baby stuff
You may also want to go through the list of other small stuff (other than diapers and formula of course) that helped me with my twins in their early years. These are not exactly must-haves, but can be bought on an as-needed basis: