by Bridgette R. Odom
Your ultrasound shows twins, congratulations! Once you pick your jaw off the floor or step off that cloud, you begin planning for two. Your well-planned baby gear list has doubled...or has it?
Deciding what you need for twins can be tricky. Is it that you really need two of everything, or just enough of all the right things?
Must Have's for Both Babies
We asked our moms of twins and multiples to highlight their "must have" pieces of twins equipment. Hands down, each baby is required to have their own car seat. Other items seemed to depend on the babies' temperaments and parents' lifestyle. Not all baby products are created equal. Some products are absolute lifesavers; others are nothing more than expensive frills.
Pregnancy.org moms prefer carriers over convertible car seats. Multiples are usually small, so they don't fit in the larger "convertible" seats as well. What's more, it's almost impossible to carry two babies at once, while fussing with seat straps. The super-convenient carriers keep the kids in one place, door-to-door!
Plenty of Diapers
That's one thing you don't want to run out of. Start with a lot of newborn diapers and a couple of packages of preemie diapers just in case your babies are smaller.
These handy thin cotton wraps can swaddle a baby or serve as a burp cloth or wash cloth. They're versatile, washable, and indispensable, so get a bunch!
Bouncy seats serve as an extra set of hands -- for feeding, playing and even sleeping. Our Pregnancy.org moms suggested having seats in strategic locations during the early months.
Saucer Entertainers and Swings
These items provide great baby distraction when you need to cook or do any task requiring arms. Consider buying these items used and "pay it forward" by reselling, donating, or "freecycling" it.
Cribs and Bassinets
Some families find that their twins share a crib contentedly for several months. Others discover that while the babies might enjoy the coziness of sharing a space, they tend to visit and play instead of sleeping.
Needing Just One
According to our Pregnancy.org's moms of twins, these are the types of items you need "just one" of in your inventory.
If you're breastfeeding, one can be very helpful! Talk to your lactation consultant about breastfeeding multiples and be sure you let her know you'd like lots of help in the hospital.
Even if you have helpers, probably only one baby will need changed at a time.
They're not big enough to accommodate two babies even if your two hands could manage both slippery babies at once. Later when the babes can sit easily, they'll be ready to share the big tub -- double the splashes, double the fun.
Baby Care Items
A single set of nail clippers, lotions and thermometers will get you through babyhood. Second thought, you might need several sets of nail clippers; they seem to disappear into the black hole of tiny, but essential stuff.
A Pack 'n' Play
Our mothers of multiples find a play yard helpful but you don't need two of them. Some form of play allows you to quickly put one baby down some place safe while you take care of something for the other.
A double stroller that accommodates carriers will serve you for many months, making walks and trips to (wide-aisled!) stores possible. Our twin moms suggested a single stroller and a pack or sling as an alternative.
Our moms recommend a backpack bag or one with a long shoulder strap that you can wear across your body. Their arms were too of babies to hold a bag.
Less in the Early Months
Twins' anti-sharing attitudes don't develop immediately. For the first few months, much more stuff can be communal property.
Twins can share clothing and do so willingly these early months. Stock up on "onesies." Later on, each may lay claim to certain items. A caveat: many parents of identical twins designate a color for each baby.
Are they sharing a crib? One mobile entertains both. Start small and add toys that target each baby's interests. Jill, a Pregnancy.org member and mom to five-year-old boy/girl twins says, "I never bought two of the same toy. I'd bring one home and if it was popular with both babies, I'd look for another similar item that we could switch between the twins."
Do I Really Need It?
Our tried and tested "just leave it at the store" list includes DVD's for baby, crib bedding sets, fancy diaper disposal systems, hooded bath towels, bottle warmers and diaper warmers.
Some moms love these items, but the majority felt they should have just walked on by.
- Separate frills from necessities: Find a friend who's navigated through the baby store jungle recently. Which products earned the "worth every penny" stamp and which ones could a baby definitely live without?
- Stall on shopping: If you start shopping too early at the baby stores, you're more likely to spend more. Plus with the influence of pregnancy brain times two, you might lose track of items you've got stashed away and purchase them again accidently.
- Research carefully: If you're new to buying for two, read up on all the bits and pieces. Knowing the products ahead of time makes you less vulnerable to pushy or overly attentive sales clerks.
- Think outside the baby store: There are lots of alternatives to the baby store. Some parents purchase items from a co-op while other parents might shop at their local consignment shop. These alternatives can stretch your budget. [Editor's note: Double-check that everything you buy used or borrowed is in good working order and hasn't been recalled.]
- Showers of Gifts: Chances are you'll receive an unexpected amount of gifts. A well-planned baby registry can help your family and friends cross off your "must-have" list.
Moms of multiples, we'd love to hear what works best for you and your babies. Do you have a favorite seat? Was your activity mat in constant use or did it just take up space in a closet?
Copyright © Pregnancy.org.