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Preparing for Twins: What You Need (and What You Don’t Need Two Of)

Preparing for a baby is expensive. Preparing for twin babies? Twice as expensive – IF you buy two of everything. Fortunately, you don’t need to.

My twins, my “babies,” just turned five, so I’m getting a little rusty on the baby registry scene. But as an “elder” twin mommy, I have had several expectant mothers of multiples ask me, “Which baby items do I need TWO of?”

I can’t claim pregnancy brain, but I can claim “mommy brain”; so before my twins’ baby days get any farther behind me, let’s get this advice in writing!

Must Have

Breastfeeding TwinsTwin Nursing Pillow

Twin nursing pillows are bigger, thicker, and sturdier than a Boppy pillow in order to accommodate breastfeeding two at once. If you plan to breastfeed, this will be the number one must-have. (And don’t forget to take it to the hospital with you!)

Breast Pump

And speaking of breastfeeding, a good double breast pump will probably be a must-have, too. My personal preference would have been to strictly nurse and not have to mess with pumping; but since one of my twins took a couple months to learn to nurse, pumping and bottle feeding became a necessity for a while. It’s also good to have the pump so you can store up breastmilk for later – or even to help stimulate production when necessary. Milk supply (both fresh and frozen 🙂 ), is one thing a twin mommy really has to stay on top of.

Twins - Double StrollerDouble Stroller

A double stroller is, of course, a definite must-have because you won’t be able to go anywhere without one! We used Graco car seats, so we bought the Graco Quattro Tour Duo stroller, which has two forward-facing seats. The things I liked about it were the compatibility with the car seats, the taller handle bars (so I didn’t have to stoop to push), and the way the basket underneath drops down for easier loading/accessibility. I didn’t like it as much once the twins got a little older, however, because neither could the one in the back see out, nor could they see each other, which often made them discontent. Therefore, we ended up also buying a pretty basic side-by-side double stroller so they could both see out and see each other.

SwaddleMe Blankets

Twins - SwaddleMe BlanketsThese blankets by Kiddopotamus are wonderful because, unlike receiving blankets, they can’t be kicked loose. During the time Isabel and Elliana were sharing a crib, I found great peace of mind in knowing my babies’ blankets were wrapped securely around their bodies and not flying around the crib, landing on faces.

On Becoming Baby Wise Book

On Becoming Baby WiseI read Baby Wise prior to Isabel and Elliana’s birth in order to weigh the method and decide if it was something I wanted to implement. I did choose to follow the book’s advice on scheduling because I knew how important it was going to be to have my babies on the same feeding/sleeping schedules. I truly think my Baby Wise babies – even being twins – were my easiest, happiest, least fussy babies (I wasn’t “baby wise” [Ha!] for my first two). I would recommend giving it a critical read between now and Birth Day and considering whether it will work for you. It sure did for us!

Backpack-Style Diaper Bag

Your hands will be full – literally – so consider a diaper bag you can wear on your back (in a style/design your husband will wear, too, because I can almost guarantee you that when he’s along, he’ll be the one carrying a loaded infant seat in each hand and half the nursery on his back).

Must Have TWO

Cribs

…eventually. I kept Isabel and Elliana together in one crib for several months before separating them.

Twins - Sharing a Crib

High Chairs / Boosters

…eventually. High chairs can take up a lot of space, and you’ll have two. Consider something with a less bulky design. We went with the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver High Chair.

Twins - Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair

Potty Chairs

…eventually. When I was preparing to potty train Isabel and Elliana, I bought two potty chairs for the “off chance” they would need to go to the bathroom at the same time. Ha! I was shocked at how often they did go to the bathroom at the exact same time! And to this day, their toilet schedules are very similar. So, yes. Buy two.

Twins - Potty Chairs

Need Only ONE

Swing

Following the Baby Wise eat-wake-sleep (without “sleep crutches”) cycle, I never relied upon a swing for anything more than a little upright entertainment during wake time. And there was no reason they both had to be swinging at the same time. If one was in the swing, the other might be in the…

Bouncy Seat

Again, we didn’t use the bouncy seat as a sleep aid, only as a play place. So they took turns.

Exersaucer / Jumper

This is another place they don’t both need to be at the same time. If one twin played in the exersaucer or jumper at the last wake time, let the other spend some time in it at the next. They’ll like the variety, and you’ll like not having two of these things taking up space.

Floor Gym

Like the other bigger babygear, one is enough (and probably all you have room for, anyway!).

Twins - Babygear Collage

Pack ‘n’ Play

Unless you’ll be travelling a lot and having to take beds for your babies, one pack ‘n’ play should suffice. I kept mine set up in the living room of our two-story home while the twins were small enough to nap together in it. (The fewer trips up the stairs to the crib with a baby in each arm, the better.)

Now, over to you!…

Are you a twin mommy with advice to share? What baby items would you consider must-haves for twins? What things would you recommend not buying two of?

Expecting twins and needing further advice as you shop, register, and prepare? What specific questions can I help you with?

Let’s discuss in the comments below!

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18 Responses to Preparing for Twins: What You Need (and What You Don’t Need Two Of)

  1. Lyndi June 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    As a twin mom, I most needed additional perspectives. I joined the Des Moines Mothers of Multiples, followed Twiniversity, and contacted everyone I knew who had twins for tips and tricks. Everyone has an opinion and most have some kind of horror story, so take everything with a grain of salt. :-). Also, Miracle Blankets were the only swaddlers that my kids couldn’t get their arms out of. Using them doubled sleep times for them and for me.

  2. ann vondenstein July 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Two Boppy Pillows….I wasn’t able to breast feed so I used 2 boppy pillows as props to feed the babies their bottles. Life savers!

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires July 10, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      Ann,

      I had a Boppy Pillow propping method, too! During the time before the one learned to nurse and I was bottle-feeding two at once (possibly even more complicated than breastfeeding two at once!), I figured out a way to prop one beside me in the Boppy and the other on my lap. Isn’t it neat how we just learn and figure things out as we go?! 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

      Blessings,
      Angela

  3. Danielle Crafton September 15, 2014 at 4:11 am #

    I am a mother of a 9 month old and I am 17 weeks pregnant with twins. So I have a lot of baby things already and this b has really helped bc even if I have boys color of swings, jumpers, play mats doesn’t really matter for newborns but I will deffinely be breastfeeding, I breastfeed my baby until I got pregnant again and my supply slowly stopped between 5-6 months. I love the twin breastfeeding pillow that is a must. Thanks for all the advice! (:

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires September 16, 2014 at 3:14 am #

      Congratulations, Danielle! I became pregnant with my second (singleton) while I was still nursing my first, and my supply completely dropped off, too. That was probably my first sign of pregnancy.

      Best of luck with breastfeeding twins! It is definitely different than breastfeeding a singleton but totally do-able–especially with that twin nursing pillow in your arsenal. 😉

      Thanks for commenting!

      Blessings,
      Angela

  4. Jessica December 17, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    I’m am a mother of 2. A 3 yo and a 1 yo. AND I’m 18 weeks pregnant with twins. I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed. What do you think about the baby carriers for twins? I’ve definitely used mine for my singletons but do you think a twin one is necessary? Or more of a burden?

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires March 8, 2015 at 4:20 am #

      Hi, Jessica!

      Congratulations! I have never heard of carriers for twins! Is this something for wearing two babies at once? I used a baby carrier for one baby at a time on a couple occasions, but it never really worked well for me. I’m sorry I can’t offer much of an opinion on this, but maybe some other twin mommas will be able to weigh in!

      Thanks so much for the comment!
      Angela

  5. Lacy December 21, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    I am a mother of a 7 year old and now 7 month twins!! I found having the rock and plays for each baby was such a life saver. And they now make them that viberate so that would eliminate the need for a viberating seat also. And with the use of the rock and plays we didn’t need a big pack and play up in the livingroom. Also when getting a play mat if you look at the size, if it’s a bigger one both babies can play under it together!! I continue to pump for my twins as they spent their first 7 weeks in the NICU so they didn’t nurse until they came home. A huge tip is the hands free Medela pumping bra and the Medela free style double pump. You can pump while carrying for the babies. 🙂

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires March 8, 2015 at 4:23 am #

      Great suggestions, Lacy! I so wanted a hands-free pumping bra, but I never did get one. What a great invention! 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!
      Angela

  6. Tabitha December 27, 2014 at 3:10 am #

    Loved this. I’m a mom to a 2 year old little girl and 12 week old twin girls. I still had all of her stuff but never thought about the twin nursing pillow, I’ve been having a hard time trying to tandem feed.

  7. Andi March 8, 2015 at 4:06 am #

    Twin girls; currently 3.5 months.

    2: convertable crib sets (still sharing so the other one is being used as a guest bed set up as the Full Size model.

    2: Boppy pillows – breastfeeding didn’t work for me so we’ve been bottle feeding after about 2.5 months old. The boppies help my Mom and I as we have shorter legs than my husband and Dad and can’t sit with feet touching the floor and support the girls with our knees. Also – they come in handy now as a way to lay them on the floor with a little support rather than just laying flat all the time.

    1: Stroller but MUST be a double. We went with the Chicco model as it allows for two rear facing infant car seats so you can see your babies while walking with them. We also have a side-by-side jogging stroller – which has actually been used to help with simultaneous feedings on occasion when only 1 parent is aviailable to feed 2 screaming babies!

    Also would recommend the following;

    Schedules!!! Feeding and at least overnight sleeping as well as diaper changes. Especially in the beginning – if you don’t feed them at the same times – you will NEVER and I mean NEVER sleep! As it is – even feeding at the same time you will likely only get 1-2hrs of sleep between feedings in the beginning.

    MUST HAVE: Similac Strong Moms Baby Journal App! This app allows you to keep track of each child’s feeding (bottle or breast), diaper changes, sleeping patterns, etc. Eventually you will confuse yourself with which child did/didn’t do what – so this App has been a life saver to keep us track for feedings as well as helping to identify diaper issues (one of my girls was only pooping once a week for a while and we had to seek medical assistance for some serious digestion issues she was having). Without keeping track of everything – I don’t know that Ibwould have really understood why she was in so much pain for a few weeks.

    Invest in Bottles NOW! At this stage we feed the girls roughly 5-6 times a day – that’s 10-12 bottles a day. We use a blender to mix up large batches of formula and have bottles prepped/refrigerated every night for the fiollowing day. It saves so much time (which you are already short of) and makes feeding time a much speedier process when you can just grab a couple of already made bottles – drop them in hot water for 5 minutes and they are ready to eat by the time you’re done with pre-feeding diaper changes! Also – be prepared to run your dishwasher more now than you EVER have in your entire life!

    Along these lines – if your babies have to spend time in the NICU – ask the nurses/doctors what kind of formula they will be feeding your baby until your milk comes in at a steady rate. If you are going to end up having to use formula at home – the Similac Alimentum and Enfamil Nutramagin are the two most expensive formulas on the market! If you can get them used to a more “normal” formula blend while in the hospital it will save you big bucks after you are all home together!

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires March 8, 2015 at 4:29 am #

      Andi,

      Thanks so much for sharing your recommendations! I couldn’t agree more about the importance of keeping both a schedule and a log for twin babies! I kept my twins on the same schedule for EVERYTHING! Eating, sleeping, playing, bathing, diaper changes…. Schedules are a must for twins. And I kept a written log for at least the first year of my babies’ lives. (I’m pretty sure I still have them in a keepsake box, too!)

      Thanks again for commenting!

      Blessings to you and your sweet babies,
      Angela

  8. Andi March 8, 2015 at 4:12 am #

    Also highly recommend the Fisher Price Rock n Plays – huge life saver and babies sleep great in them. We have 2 of these and use them daily!! They also just recently came out with a model that rocks by itself and plays music/sounds – extra bonus!!!

  9. Gayla Ber March 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

    My twins are now 11 years old. We survived babyhood with ease. Although, I found a booster seat that reclined and took up way less space than the “space saver” highchairs. Of course, I found them AFTER we had already had the big high chairs set up. Oh well.
    I had two change tables – not a necessity, I know. But it made life so easy. One was a standard change table in their room, the other was a cute three drawer unit on the main floor. After my C-section, laying them down on the floor to change was not happening, and running up and down the stairs was not happening either. Today, the 3 drawer unit is in the basement and holds their videos and DVDs. The change table has been blessed to another family (a friend who had her first child as we were getting out of nighttime pull-ups). We had one play mat. Both girls used it at the same time. But I had 2 bouncy chairs. No swing. My mum had two swings at her place and the girls would often swing while we are dinner. Obviously, before they were old enough to join us at the table.
    We got two bath seats when they graduated to the big tub, but only one potty and a toilet seat ring.
    One bottle warmer (I wasn’t able to breastfeed), because it was rare that they’d eat at the same time, and if they did, the warmer didn’t take long.

    It seems that as they get older, you need two of things. Two bikes, two scooters, two sets of rollerblades, two helmets (duh). But only one set of skis. Only one skis.

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires March 9, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

      Gayla,

      It’s so great to hear from a twin mom who’s a little farther down the road! I couldn’t agree more about having arrangements for diaper changes on both levels of the house. With two babies to transport up and down stairs, I found any way possible to minimize those trips! That’s a big reason why I kept a pack ‘n’ play set up on the main level–fewer trips up to the crib–and it had the changing table attachment, so fewer trips up to the changing table, too!

      Thanks so much for weighing in. And you’re right–the buying of doubles definitely doesn’t stop after the baby stage!

      Blessings to you, Gayla!

      Angela

  10. Louisa March 24, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    Thanks for all the helpful advice. I have a 4 year old and am expecting twins in the fall. One thing I’m wondering about, two baby bathtubs or one? My husband thinks we need 2 and I figured they wouldn’t bathe together or at the exact same time until they were bigger. But I am going to try to get them on the same schedule! Thanks!

    • Angela Squires
      Angela Squires March 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, Louisa, and congrats on expecting twins! Regarding baby bathtubs, I personally would recommend just one. I always bathed my twins one at a time in the evening when my husband was home to help. I’d bathe one while he was getting the other ready, then we’d switch. Worked out well, and because we did them one right after the other, it didn’t interfere at all with their being on the same schedule.

      I hope that helps!

      Blessings to you, Louisa!
      Angela

  11. Morgan November 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing these tips! I’m currently 12 weeks along, expecting twins. These sweet babes will be our first kiddos. There are so many things to learn, and your blog has made this journey simpler. I can’t wait to read your other blog posts. Thanks again!

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