When faced with the prospect of twin life, there is no getting away from the obvious; you will need two of some things but you definitely do not need to double up on everything. I’ve done some of the hard work for you (sorry, I can’t do the real hard stuff) with this no bull buy guide for newborn twins.
There is of course the expense to contend with because let’s face it having twins isn’t cheap, although equally, it doesn’t need to break the bank either. I am now a second hand, pre-loved convert. The other issue is of course the amount of room all this baby paraphernalia takes up, and that is a lot of space. So unless you live in a palatial mansion where you have so much space you don’t care, so you are going to need to be wary of unnecessary baby stuff!
With my first child, I went completely overboard. I was in a good job and there were two incomes coming in and frankly I didn’t know any better and spent probably hundreds if not thousands of dollars I could have avoided in his first year alone.
Things were very different when my twins came along; there was just my income, which evaporated rapidly as I had to quit work when 3 months pregnant and so things were tight. I had to be much more on the ball. Therefore, let me help you avoid the costly mistakes I made.
Your babies will like some things and not others they also will grow and change so quickly that those $120 newborn shoes you bought two sets of and thought you couldn’t live without or those matching outfits you insisted on because they’re so cute are a big waste of money as the chances of them all being clean again at the same time with newborns is pretty remote. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it’s true.
So what do you REALLY need?
1. Car seats (two)
Unless you are planning a home birth you are not going to be able to get home without them, any hospital or maternity care centre will insist you have your two precious bundles firmly secured in one of these bad boys before you can leave.
For my singleton I bought the $600 dollar top of the range capsule, which lay flat so baby could sleep in it. What a total waste of money!
It was so heavy I could hardly carry it even using both arms and believe me there is nothing trickier to manoeuvre than a heavy capsule with a sleeping baby in that you are trying to gently ‘click’ back into its base in the car.
I would recommend that you a buy a mid-range one and before you do check that it doesn’t weigh a tonne before you even put your baby in it, because chances are you are going to be carrying one of these bad boys in each hand with twins, and manage your nappy bag AND negotiate your car keys. Also, check that it clicks in and out easily enough that you can do it fast enough that you don’t have a panic attack that someone is going to run off with Twin 2 whilst clicking Twin 1 in the car.
2. Twin Feeding pillow.
Now most twin mums swear by these, you know the one where you have two slots one for each baby and the other type that’s big enough to be a tyre round your waist (well it goes where your waist used to be when you had one now let’s just call it your ‘middle’) and is firm enough to support you tandem breastfeeding.
Personally, although I breastfed and topped up with bottles, I never mastered the twin feeding pillows, I preferred a normal pillow and a couple of cushions. It was simply more comfortable to me as I could adjust each side depending on if both babies were feeding and in what position.
If you ever master tandem feeding well done Twin Mama. I tried it and hated it. I much preferred the bonding experience I felt from feeding each twin separately. I did try tandem but it was a comedy of errors from start to finish and let’s just say it’s a good job the sofa I was on was low to the ground. Note to all Twin Mama’s to be, babies can roll off anywhere I can assure you.
So if finances are tight I wouldn’t worry about splashing the cash on a special twin-feeding pillow.
3. Baby Bouncinettes.
Now these are a definite must have, and you will definitely need two of them.
These can make the difference between a just your average sleep deprived Mama of newborn twins, and the lunatic not even been able to go for a pee and or drink a slurp of a drink, let alone eat a warm morsel of feed for a week kind of Mama, who has since forgotten her own name.
I cannot tell you how much those bouncinettes helped me. The twins both loved them and could see what was going on around them and even nap in them (for short periods).
Also, they were perfect for when I was topping them up with a bottle as I could feed both at the same time. I could rock one with my foot whilst breastfeeding the other. The list goes on. They are not expensive and in fact I was lent one from a friend and bought the other from a mum that was selling a load of baby stuff she no longer needed.
4. Double Buggy
Get one! Get one! Get one!
There is such a wealth of information and options available to you that you could potentially go round in circles trying to decide which type and brand to purchase, that they may well be out of nappies and ready for the first day at school before you decide if you don’t just take the plunge.
I was one of those people that agonised over my decision. Do I get a side-by-side or a front and back? I like the side-by-side but will it be too cumbersome and too wide to get in and out of shops. The front and back looks good too, but will one child always feel left out if they’re in the back…
The agonies of picking the ‘right’ one are real for us Mama’s. In actual fact there is no ‘right’ one as such it’s just a matter of preference. Both options have their pros and cons. I decided to go for the side-by-side option and bought it new. I didn’t go for the additional $400 it would cost for the capsules and car clips etc. The buggy I chose had seats that reclined fully there was no need.
I loved my buggy, yes it took a bashing but having them side-by-side worked for me. It was just about light enough for me to get it in and out of the car without the need for employing a fork lift truck and was never too wide to get through a shop doorway.
5. Twin Nappy Bag
Yes and again yes. Get yourself a good nappy bag and if you get the right one you will only need one bag not two. You want to minimise the amount of stuff you are carrying and lugging, one bag or two could be the tipping point between a successful day out or a Mama nightmare cos you’re juggling too much.
I read all the reviews and saw many women asking the ‘Twin Mama to be’s’ question, “Help, which nappy bag should I buy for twins?
The best answer I can give you is go for the most practical one you can find. Yes, there are some beautiful trendy and even designer should your budget allow ones on the market. But who cares what it looks like when Twin 1 has pooed up his back in a café and you turn round and Twin 2 has vomited all over herself.
At that stage in the proceedings you’re not going to care one hoot whether your bag has cute owls or chic designer patterns on it then are you? Nope, all you’re going to be thinking of is OMG! Where are the wipes and which pocket holds the spare clothes?
I purchased one from my local department store that wasn’t ugly but definitely wasn’t trendy or pretty (it was plain black) but Holy Moly it had great compartments and pockets on either side for bottles. I used the main two compartments for clothes, another for nappies and wipes and the little one at the front could store my keys and mobile phone in, and otherwise I knew I’d lose them regularly. I still use mine now for day-care.
6. Breast Pumps.
Ok, so in my opinion these contraptions are evil and I hate them. There I have finally said it. I was just going to add “and finally got it off my chest” but then I thought it sounded like a cheesy pun so refrained. Oh heck, but I just told you anyway.
However, I’m trying to give a balanced list here so I’ll refrain from sharing my story about how I had managed to breastfeed my child and had put him down for a nap, only to realise I now had to pump, I had not slept properly in weeks, and desperately needed a shower but instead had dutifully sat there and pumped for half an hour. Then got up to put the precious Mama Milk in the fridge, only to knock it over with the breast pump and spill it all over the table. I sat on the floor and sobbed.
Oh dear and there I go, I’ve accidentally told you why I hate them.
My story aside; let’s just agree that I don’t think anyone other than perhaps a slightly strange person really loves pumping. It’s not comfortable at the best of times and so let’s just try and stay as neutral as possible and discuss the pros and cons of different types.
If you’re going to pump then get a good one. None of this manual action; you’ll never have any sort of Mama Life doing that. Invest in an electric one and as you have two breasts and two babies to feed I strongly recommend you get a double breast pump.
Oh and just make sure you don’t spill the Mama Milk. No one likes crying over spilt milk.
7. Breast Pads
If you’re feeding your baby yourself please know that you are going to leak. It’s called the letdown and it is such a weird feeling that no matter where you are – in the supermarket, the dentists, or on stage (yes that happened to me whilst performing) you are going to grab your boobs. Or at the very least make some sort of involuntary gasp or ‘uh-oh’ as you feel it happen.
You do get used to it but you need to be prepared for all leakage issues. I used the disposable ones you can get them from all pharmacies and I found them awful. They slipped around in my bra, they got wet and soggy. Then a friend told me about these reusable organic wool ones.
I invested in a pack and I was hooked. They were so comfortable and soft against my still sensitive nipples and they helped to draw the moisture away and certainly not disintegrate as I removed them.
They were a bit pricey but I calculated that if I only had to invest in two pairs (wash one and wear one, no I don’t have 4 boobs) then rather than buying a packet of disposables every 2 weeks or so it would actually be much more economical.
8. A Changing table with Drawers in
Lets just be honest and admit up front there is going to be a heck of a lot of nappy changing going on in the next couple of years of your life. I’d say that to a Mama of one newborn but you are joining the Twin Mama Club, which is the best ever but I can’t lie to you there is going to be a heck of a lot of changing dirty nappies ahead.
Therefore, it is essential that you get the best changing table you can have. One with drawers that you can put a store of nappies (diapers) and baby wipes as well as spill cloths and clean clothes. It’s not a luxury but a game changer in my book.
Sure you can change your babies on your bed on the floor or even the sofa but it is back breaking work and when you have to change on average 3000 nappies (diapers) in the first year of your twins life that’s a hell of a lot of time bent over cleaning bottoms.
9. Bulk buy Nappies (diapers)
These things cost a shed load if you buy the trendy brands. And that is all that they are, trendy. For my first child I didn’t even consider buying the supermarket brand and don’t think I even heard of bulk buying. But when I found out I was expecting twins and happened to be having dinner with a couple of girlfriends they were horrified that I had spent so much unnecessary dosh on nappies which lets face it is only good for a few hours at best then ends up in the trash.
After dinner that night I checked out some reviews on the inter-webby thing and ordered enough nappies to get me through the first 4 weeks. I didn’t buy more than that as I didn’t know what size they’d be and how long they’d stay in newborn teenie-weenie nappies. They arrived a few days later in two giant cardboard boxes of approximately 300 each box and I remember thinking “Oh no, I’ve bought way too many’. But no, it was about right, I’d clearly forgotten how many a baby goes through in his or her first few months.
Let me help you with the maths. On average 10 nappies per day per child. That’s times 30 days a month, times 2 babies, equals 600 nappies for the first month alone. This does start to decrease and by the time they’re 6 months plus, they may be down to between 6-8 nappies a day each but those numbers are still going to be pretty darned large.
Bulk buying is a no brainer. I now also buy the supermarket ones that are ridiculously cheap and I have found they work just as well as those trendy brands I mentioned earlier. They’re all going in the bin in a few hours.
10. Vibrating rocking chairs (with optional music)
I think I might have married my ones at some point if given the change when my babies were tiny. They were the only times I was able to sit at the dinner table with my toddler and draw with him or eat dinner.
My twins loved them so they were a great investment for me and I managed to sell them on to two different mums after my twins grew too big for them. Which did make up for some of the money I had wasted when their big brother was born. However, I would suggest just buying one first as they might never be used as was the case with my singleton, because they freaked the Be-Jesus out of him.
11. Baby wearing devices
These can also be a godsend. I had a baby carrier with my singleton and he loved it, and I could also ‘do stuff’ whilst wearing him. I’d like to say such as hoovering and pegging out the washing, but I don’t think I was that good with it.
I tried out several types and brands and the in the end found one that I could do up easily and take off with a being a contortionist and being scared I was going to drop the baby in the process. I loved my baby carrier. I was lent a baby wrap and a sling to try out and saw umpteen mums wearing their babies with style and panache in them but I was always terrified mine would fall out, mainly cos I was probably a bit rubbish at putting them on.
There are a couple of specific twin wearing ones on the market now and I did try the one which allows you to wear one baby on the front and the other on the back but to be honest I felt really worried and guilty about the baby on my back it didn’t work for me. Although lots of Twin Mama’s love them, so my advice would be to give it a go if you can, as hands free carrying rocks.
Now it’s at this point in the article I had better mention something that no one else may tell you, and that is that no matter what you choose for YOUR babies, no matter which way you decide to feed, sleep, carry or dress them, you will find that other people have different ideas and boy can they be vocal! Everyone from the little old lady in the street to the courier drivers and supermarket lurkers, and as for any Mummy and Baby groups well they are a wealth of ‘know-it-all’s’.
Basically EVERYONE you will meet will have an opinion about how you should be bringing up your twins. How you choose to respond to this often-tedious unsolicited advice is of course entirely up to you. I found the best and least stressful option for me was to smile politely, maybe add in a little nod and occasionally throw in a “ Oh thanks, I‘ll look into that” as I moved casually but swiftly away from said presenter of knowledge.
To conclude this is by no means a list of everything as obviously you will need clothes bedding, toys and painkillers for your head when they haven’t stopped crying for 3 hours and you’re so tired you could fall asleep washing up. But all I can say is that just remember Mamma you are awesome and your body has grown two beautiful babies.
Forget the cleaning and cooking and being a perfect Mama just make sure you have enough cuddle time with your precious babies because it is so true they do grow up quickly.
I shed a tear or two this week because I had bought my big boy (he’s just turned 7 but is so tall) size 8 everything for school starting in a few weeks and he tried them on and they fit. He turned to me and said “ Are you crying because I’m a size 8 – big boy size?’ and rolled his eyes. I sniffed and muttered “Its just a Mama thing. You’ll always be my baby’.
He cried ‘OH Mum! You’re so embarrassing!!” And rushed off to kick his ball outside.