In our first ultrasound, the nurse nonchalantly said, “there are two babies in there!” Holy cow. My excitement and elation eventually drifted into a mild panic as I turned to Ryan and said, “Oh my god, we’re going to need so many things. Where do we even start?”
We were wading into uncharted territory here, folks. Both Ryan and I worked with other twin parents (basically when you have twins, you become a member of this new parent gang that you never knew existed), but their kids were at least in elementary school, if not older. Millions of new baby products had been released just during just that short time span, not to mention all of the upgraded versions of things our parents used (“That’s so cool, we didn’t have that when you were a baby!” kind of became the party line here for a while).
Luckily, Ryan’s cousin, Kelly, had identical twin boys who were about a year old. Ah perfect, recent enough that the products were all still relevant (and available). Some parts of my pregnancy are a blur, but I’m pretty confident I texted her some version of, “SOS! HELP! SEND EVERYTHING YOU USED WHEN THE BOYS WERE INFANTS ASAP. OMG WHAT DO I NEED?!”
Armed with our new info from Kelly, Google, and the scanner gun from Buy Buy Baby, we set out on our next adventure: our baby registry. Creating any registry with Ryan can be an adventure because sometimes he wanders and adds a few random items to our list. To his credit, they end up being some of things we use most.
Baby registries are a lot like life–it’s not one-size-fits-all. What works for some, doesn’t work for everyone.
So here’s my first piece of advice: Don’t assume both babies will enjoy something just because it’s popular (you know what they say about assuming… if you don’t, ask my dad). If you order two of something only unpack ONE, and hold onto that box. Make sure one or both babies like it before you go rogue setting up both and casually tossing the boxes in the trash.
We registered for, and graciously received, two swings. Ryan set up both in our living room; it was a no brainer. What baby doesn’t like the calming motion of a swing? Ours. Jack and Nick spent a total of 5 minutes in their swings, and they screamed the entire time. So, my friends, do as I say, not as I do.
I can say the same for baby carriers, too. We bought two Baby Bjorn carriers, as well as the cool Twin Weego, and the boys hated both of them. Eh, ya win some, ya lose some, I guess.
Here are the items that we DID use during our first few days, weeks, months at home.
Double Time Feeding Schedule Book: There are a ton of apps to track feedings, but sometimes it’s better to go old school, folks. We documented every feeding, diaper change, dosage of vitamins and medicine, and sometimes even naps in this book. Since it wasn’t an app, everyone had access to it, and could see who ate how much when.
Baby Brezza Formula Mixer: This was one of Ryan’s purchases and it was a game changer. We could make both bottles at once and didn’t have to worry about whether the powder was mixed enough. Here’s a tip a friend shared with me: don’t sterilize the mixer…it will come out of the microwave melted and your husband will probably question your brain capacity, and inform you that you could have started a fire (it’s me, I’m the friend).
Large Play Mat: I’m not exaggerating when I say this became our living room carpet for a substantial amount of time; it just made sense. Who doesn’t like a little extra padding when they’re laying down? Cleaning up all the new baby messes (ya know…spit ups, explosive diapers, rogue peeing) is a breeze, and the bright colors are stimulating for babies, too.
Twin Z Pillow: Ok, full disclosure, we didn’t use this. We used two newborn loungers–literally all the time (as I was looking through pics to include in this post, there were few when they weren’t in them). They were lifesavers during feedings if I was flying solo because I could sit in between them and hold each bottle (they were also perfect for photo ops). When I started this post though, I discovered there is a massive recall on newborn loungers. Yikes (should I be questioning our parenting skills already?). The Twin Z pillow serves the same purpose and is not recalled. So, forget I even mentioned the loungers, and get the Twin Z instead.
Munchkin Bottle Sterilizer Bag: My mom said she boiled my bottles to sterilize them. But, it’s 2021 so you don’t have to do that, and you definitely don’t have time for that with a new baby, let alone twins. These babies conveniently fit two sets of bottles and all their accessories (and if you’re using Dr. Brown’s, that’s quite a few parts). There are checkboxes at the bottom so you don’t have to worry about the shelf life either (maybe just remind your husband to check them off when he uses it).
Halo Glide Bassinet: There are several versions of this bassinet, but we chose this one because we could easily slide them under each side of our bed, and they weren’t too bulky.
With night feedings, here’s what worked for us: we took care of the baby sleeping in the bassinet on our respective side of the bed. Some nights all four of us rendezvoused in the living room at 2am, other nights we felt like ships passing in the night (it was only about a 30 min difference, but it felt like hours at the time). We also alternated babies each night so we had a chance to bond with both of them (and relieve the other parent if one baby was particularly fussy the night before).
Hatch Sound Machine: I have a confession…I only bought this because a celebrity I follow on Instagram raved about it. But it’s such a good one! I mean, it’s basically a two-for-one because it can also be used as a night light (just saved you from buying something else, so you’re welcome), and you can control the lights and sounds directly from your phone. My friends with older kids also use this to help teach their kids to wake up at an appropriate time in the morning, not the crack of dawn.
Philips Avent Soothie Snuggle Pacifier Holder: At first both boys took pacifiers and we were driving ourselves crazy trying to remember which one was which. The thought of them potentially dragging around little germ-magnet animals with a pacifier attached, and NOT being able to wash them grossed me out. These are detachable AND machine washable. Plus, they were super easy to keep track of because the boys each had their own animal, AND they could hold them too!
Fisher-Price Baby Bouncer: Ah, these saved us so many times. The vibration, bright colors, and mini mobile made the “witching hour” almost bearable some days! They also served as a holding chair before/after baths too. Plus, they’re relatively cheap, which is a bonus when you have to buy two. Remember, just try one first (we learned our lesson with this, and we made two trips to Target within 3 hours to purchase both).
Table for Two: As a twin parent, you need this! Sadly, the time in the Twin Z pillow will eventually come to an end, and that’s when you start using the Table for Two. Brand new, they’re expensive, but you can find them in various twins groups on Facebook for significantly less (and everything is machine washable too!). Literally the best purchase from Facebook I’ve ever made.
While we’re on the subject of Facebook, join twins groups in your area. You can find a ton of gently used items, ask for advice, commiserate with other twin parents (remember, we’re like our own exclusive club), and learn about local kid-friendly events.
If you’re anything like me and have minor (ok, I have major) anxiety regarding whether or not your kids will sleep through the night, join this group too. You can find any and all information regarding sleep habits, training, regressions, wake windows, tips, and tricks; it’s like the golden ticket for all things related to sleeping twins.
I’m pretty sure my mom and sister laughed at me when I told them I had posted the boys’ schedule in this group looking (more like begging) for advice because Jack wasn’t sleeping, but the admins (who are all unpaid volunteers, what gems!) suggested a small tweak with the wake window…and it worked!
I hate to break it to you…you could purchase all of those items mentioned above, sleep train the hell out of your twins, and still wind up with super fussy babies who just can’t be pleased for a bit. And that’s ok. After all, there’s a reason why you have two arms (and maybe some wine or chocolate in the cabinet), right?
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