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  • Writer's pictureTeagan Franz

What Every Parent of Twins Needs for the First Year

Updated: Feb 9, 2019

We officially survived 365 days of parenthood, with twins! I know as first time parents, we were SO overwhelmed with what we needed, what everyone thought we needed, and what all the blogs and lists recommended we have! Well, I completely get it! Every child is different, and each journey is unique, I would love to give you a list of all the things we deemed a MUST-HAVE, a LUXURY, and overkill.

First things first. We had boy/girl twins. So of course, we got blue and pink, and his and hers of EVERYTHING. This was a little overkill. We have a small house with even smaller storage and oh man... We haven't been able to safely navigate through our house with the lights off since we had our baby showers around 30 weeks pregnant. Yikes. Even more so, babies develop and grow so fast, I love finding good deals to buy used items. Some items are better new, but a lot of these items are short term use and totally fine getting them second hand (you'll save a lot of money).

Newborn size outfits are great for twins because chances are, you'll probably be wearing newborn or preemie clothes (I would save your money on preemie outfits until they come - you probably won't need many) for at least a couple weeks. It's a luxury, but also so adorable. Depending on how often you want to do your laundry, I'd say it's safe to have 5-6 outfits per child, and maybe a 5 pack of white onesies (or Bodysuits as Carter's calls them). As they get older, I can safely say you really don't need more than 10-15 outfits per kid in each size, you'll want to get them washed often from the spit up and other bodily functions babies do. We had drawers full and I'm still finding brand new 0-3/3-6/6-9 month clothes with tags on it that we never got to wear (and that I forgot we had).

Sleep Sacs! We got 4 of these from the hospital and we got another 6 from my aunt... This was definitely overkill. 2 per kid is plenty. If you have to switch these halfway through the night, obviously you're going to want to wash them pretty quickly anyways. These can be used multiple nights in a row, especially if they only sleep in them with a onesie underneath.

Rock N' Plays! This is high on my list of MUST HAVE items! I recommend one for each baby. We used them to help us keep sane and get some naps in with our son while we were in the Special Care Nursery (referred to as SCN for the rest of this blog), waiting for our little girl to get strong enough to come home. They fold up to make packing easy (way easier than pack n plays - which we cover down the list). This makes it faster (and lighter) to pack into a car trunk if you don't have the budget or didn't have the time to get a bigger vehicle. We used ours for about 6 months (our son started sitting up around then and only wanted to sleep on his belly, so the second one wasn't really necessary after 6 months). Our daughter still used this for a little bit longer, but was kind of over it by then.

Twin Z Nursing Pillow (or a My Brest friend Nursing Pillow) if you plan on nursing. I will let you in on a little secret, it is 100% possible to give your TWINS breast milk exclusively (whether pumped or by breast). We made it one full year. I had a c-section and it took about five days for my milk to come in pumping as close to every three hours as I could. It's a TON of work pumping, but it's probably in the top five greatest achievements I have ever accomplished. Tandem feeding seems super hard in the beginning, but having help from nurses and lactation consultants helped us successfully tandem feed. It's way easier having both babies trying to latch and eat simultaneously than listening to the screaming in my mind. If you're not sure about nursing, I would recommend the Twin Z over the Brest Friend, as it is more useful for propping babies on their backs or tummy time.

Separate sleep arrangements. For the first 4 months we used two Arms Reach Co-Sleepers next to our bed in our tiny room. A separate bed for each baby would be a must-have in my opinion. I know our beautiful babies spent all that time together side-by-side developing into the cute little babies they are today. But I would be devastated if one of my babies rolled accidentally and suffocated the other baby in their sleep because they couldn't move. Our wonderful nurses told us all about the dangers of having the twins sleep together and it made so much sense! We always put our kids to bed in separate sleep areas. What if the velcro of a sleep sack got loose and covered the other baby's face?! Yikes! We also have two cribs for them. We mostly used them to hold all the extra stuff we couldn't find a place for in the beginning. Definitely so great once they got older and it's nice to have their own safe space as they learn to roll, start to sit and eventually pull themself up to stand.

Fisher Price Sit Me Ups - if you don't know what these are, take a look! These are great for little babies who can't sit up by themselves and don't necessarily like tummy time. It gets them sitting at an angle upwards while still mostly supporting those head muscles. I would say around one or two months, these are a great option for your kids. I would say these are great to have one for each baby. If anything, we would usually bring one with us to travel and kept one at home. We would rotate who is in the sit me up, and who is the swing (which is coming up next)! I will give you an advanced warning. As much as we loved this (and it's easy washing ability), this was probably the number one reason for poop explosions up the back of our babies. This is your warning! Babies in sitting chairs make it so poop goes up instead of down, it's gross. Prepare yourself. 

Two swings is plenty. We went a little overboard with swings. We had the kind that went front-to-back, side-to-side and we had two 4Moms Mamaroos. So, if I'm being honest, we really loved the Mamaroos. And we did have two of those. I can comfortably recommend two of these if you don't get another type of swing. It's nice for the kids to nap in while you wash dishes or do laundry or even for when you nap too. We had plenty of those days. They have noise making functions and swings {four} different ways. I got one from a friend and bought another one second hand. We only used them for about 5 months before they were more interested in being on the floor and rolling around.

Pack N Plays with the bassinet add on feature. We had two pack n plays right away and so in our living room, we set up a pack n play with the bassinet to help with day time naps in between all the swings and feedings. If you don't have the room, this is a luxury until the kids outgrow the co-sleepers/bassinets and are old enough to sleep in cribs. These are our current favorite item for sleepovers and naps at grandma and grandpa's house. I actually wish my in-laws had their own set, but we mostly use them there, and they live close enough where it's not too much a hassle to get them if we leave them there and happen to need them for something else. This is a must have item for older babies/toddlers and a luxury item for young/new infants. 

Breast Pump and bottles. Stock up in the hospital. All the hospitals we have visited this past year have free bottles you can use while pumping there (and to take home when you first deliver your baby). STOCK UP. Take the packages they give you and ask for more. These are great. They also have two sizes (4 oz. and 8 oz.) and you have to specifically ask for the 8 oz bottles (and they didn't have lids), so you want both sizes of bottles to get lids for everything. They only use them one time at the hospital for sanity and safety issues, so take the caps and some of those bottles for home use! It's an easy way to get caps for those bigger bottles. I also recommend breast milk bags at this point. It honestly doesn't matter which brand you prefer. We loved the Up and Up Target brand. We also used the Lansinoh, Medela, and Parent's Choice brands without issues. Also, if you plan on exclusively pumping, I would recommend getting a few extra pumps to keep set up at all times. I pumped exclusively for the first five weeks because our twins were born five weeks early and had a hard time latching in the beginning. It was much faster for us if I pumped, my husband bottle fed, and then we both burped them and repeated this every 2-3 hours. We could also measure their intake to make sure they were getting enough milk throughout the day. I only had one pump at home in the beginning, and one pump that I was using at the hospital. Once we had both babies home, it was WAY harder always going to the same spot to pump, or moving the pump to wherever I was going to pump. I kept one pump in our bedroom and one in our living room. I also had a travel backpack pump I used whenever we went places. My husband's grandpa went into the hospital shortly after we were all released from the SCN, so this pump was incredibly handy for keeping all my parts together and pumping when we were visiting for long stretches. It was also very handy for pumping at work when I had to go back. Honestly, three pumps was a luxury. One or even two would be plenty. If you wanted to be comfortable and can afford the extra pumps, do it. You probably won't regret it if you pump a lot.

Only buy a 1-2 brands of bottles until you know what your kids like. We bought about six kinds and honestly, the only kinds we used are the first bottles we opened. We love the Phillips Avent bottles with the Anti-Colic nipples and the Dr. Brown's bottles. These were the only kinds we ever needed. I would say you could probably even get away with one set of bottles in total, maybe 2 for each kid. If you wash before you use them, or wash right after you use them, it makes it way easier to stay on top (or at least semi on top) of bottle dishes. Full disclosure: we used the Avent natural flow nipples at first, but as we increased in nipple size, we found they tended to leak if we didn't hold them a specific way. We converted to the anti-colic with no regrets, and we haven't looked back since. 

Prepared Meals/Freezer Meals. This is a wonderful gift for visitors coming to see the babies after they're born and totally a MUST HAVE in my opinion. Nothing beats turning on the oven and heating up dinner (or lunch) without having to worry about making it. Best gift ever. Or, if you're heavy into nesting and have the freezer space, knock yourself out and meal prep those frozen meals yourself!

A changing table is a great luxury. People have been getting along without them for many years, but I absolutely love having a set area to change poopy diapers with a changing pad to contain everything if we have an explosion. We have one set up on the dresser in our kids' room and we have a changing table set up in our living room, as we spend 90% of our awake time there. Pair this with a Diaper Genie and this would be a MUST for twins. Especially since you have twice the amount of poopy diapers to change.

Table for Two would probably be a little overkill if you're breastfeeding. If you're bottle feeding, I think this would be a MUST HAVE. I know other MoMs (Mothers of Multiples) who have been fortunate enough to get donor milk or formula to bottle feed their darling babies. They love their Table for Two in order to feed and keep their babies upright. If you purchase this, you can probably forgo the Sit Me Up. We personally didn't get one, and honestly, I don't think we would have had any more room in our house for it when our kids were small.

Baby Bouncers are definitely overkill. If you have other swings or get a Table for Two or have other places to safely set your baby, this is way too much. We got a matching one with our swing and I think since we had it, we tried to use it. It was used two, maybe three times. Just not really worth the money. If I'm being honest, now that I'm thinking about it, I think we actually had two and we didn't even use the other one. It sat in the kids' closet until we moved them into their bedroom and I sold it, because it was taking up valuable space. 

Twin Carriers are definitely an item to WAIT on. They have Weego carriers and other twin carriers like the Moby wraps that can hold two kids. Personally, I think we wore the Moby wrap 10 times, all while bringing our little guy to the cafeteria with us, while his sister was still in the SCN. We probably used it twice once both twins were home. While these are great in theory. Be careful about the max weight limit though, I think most say 35 pounds. It is very difficult to safely place two babies in these carriers by yourself (in my opinion), and if you're not by yourself, you can probably just hand someone a baby to help. Single carriers are much safer (again, in my opinion) and can hold the babies until they are heavier in weight, because you don't have to worry about two weights combined being under the limit. I know many people who swear by wraps, so I'm not saying you can't get one or shouldn't, I'm just letting you know what worked (and didn't work) for us.

Baby Walkers - especially if you have a boy/girl duo, pick a neutral color or just get one. We registered for two and we don't use both at the same time, nor do we like to have both set up at the same time. This is the same for the kind that you place the baby in to help them walk, and the kind they push to walk with. If you have kids like we do, they won't be using them at the same time anyways, so it's way easier to just store and use one. This is easily an overkill item to have multiple of.

High Chairs. Two is the way to go. Feeding is so much easier at the same time and each in their own chair. We don't have identical ones, but I don't mind the "mismatch" of different chairs.

A double stroller. This is definitely a must have for the first year before thinking about separate strollers for those days when you might be able to explore the world with only one twin (is this even a thing?). We got some great car seats from my mother-in-law, who also bought the Snap-n-Go stroller that pairs with them. If you don't have a big vehicle to haul such a large contraption, they make a universal double stroller to set car seats in, that is way smaller and easier to travel with. We of course, have both. Now that our kids are in convertible car seats, we can depart with the small stroller, but it was great for trips before we got a caravan. It would fit in between the car seats in the back seat of our car, so we could use the trunk to fill up with other items (like groceries and diaper bags).

A backpack diaper bag is great for twins. We have a simple one from Wal-Mart, but it has been good to us. We also have a back-up diaper bag and a backpack filled with toys and some additional spare clothes. I swear, we bring so much stuff with us to visit anywhere, we should just invest in a hockey sized bag and we might get all our stuff in there (and in one trip).

Floor playmats. I would recommend just one. But, I'll be honest. We borrowed one from a friend, and bought another one second hand, and each kid had a floor mat, which they played with, for hours, for weeks. Once they started rolling consistently though, again, all those play things went out the window and into storage.

Jumpers. We got one Baby Einstein jumper from our baby shower, and it was awesome. We ended up getting a second one for upstairs, for when I would work in my office, but it really wasn't necessary. Since our son was so mobile and didn't like to be placed in stationary toys (even though he could jump in it), we really didn't need two of them. Now, I understand that not every set of twins will hate being immobile, so it could be worthwhile to have two of these, but honestly, if you got everything else, I can guarantee you can keep your kids occupied with just rotating them with other toys and activities.

Last but not least, we bought two Summer Infant Pop n' Play Portable Playards to keep the dogs off of the kids while on the floor, and eventually we separated them into their own playards with their playmats to roll freely, without rolling onto each other or into our kitchen. We did this for about a month, and I'm still debating if I'm going to sell one of them now. My son decided to start crawling way sooner than my daughter and so he HATED (and still hates) being contained to small spaces. Currently we have our entire living room gated off for them to play in and he still gets mad he doesn't get to be in the kitchen or climb the stairs.

Now, obviously this list doesn't include the basic essentials of all newborns (car seats, blankets, sheets, diapers, wipes, butt cream, tylenol, etc), but is more twin specific to multiple items. You will definitely go through twice the diapers, wipes and butt cream. All those little baby toys really don't need to be gender specific, nor do you need a pink and a blue one. Your kids will probably fight over the exact same toy regardless if you have one or twenty. I realize I might have gone a little overboard with my list, but I really hope this helps!

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Here's just the quick highlights of the past year!

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