Twin must haves – the first year
Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Cue the band - we survived the first year! Arguably the most challenging year of my life with balancing two premature newborns and a toddler, but we did it with a lot of help from friends and family, and some gadgets along the way.
Baby gear has come a long way even in the two years between my pregnancies. I was lost and confused trying to figure out what we needed, what we wanted, and what we could skip. Also, did we need two of everything? Let’s be honest, baby gear is not cheap, and multiples-related gear is a whole different level of expensive. So, let’s get into it.
Here’s the Bailey Family’s twin must haves.
On the Go
A really good stroller
Here’s where you spend the big bucks. You have two options of styles, a side-by-side and a tandem. My personal preference is the side-by-side. Yes, you’ll look like a tank rolling through the farmers market, but seeing both babies at the same time is worth it. My favourites are the Bugaboo Donkey Twin (this is the one we have) and the StrollAir Twin Way. Getting a good stroller will make the difference once your babies are in the toddler stage and you’re pushing 50+ lbs.
TIP – Look on Facebook Marketplace for a used stroller. There are some excellent options online at half the price as buying new. The higher end strollers tend to last for many years, far beyond how one family would use it. Also, once you're done having babies the resale value on these higher end strollers is really good (if you take care of them)!
Obviously you’ll need two bucket seats and two convertible car seats, but which ones? You’ll likely be in one of two camps – keep them in the bucket as long as possible or get them into the convertible car seats as soon as they’re sitting independently. Both have pros and cons. Pro for keeping them in the bucket seat is that it’s infinitely easier to load them and go. A con is, you could be carrying 50-60 lbs at once. A pro for switching them to a convertible seat before you hit the max weight & height limits is that you won’t be carrying so much weight at once. You can use a carrier (more on that later) to keep them contained and your hands free. It all comes down to preference and some infant car seats are lighter than others, so keep that in mind when making your choice. We were on team convertible car seat early. Our girls were large and it was much easier for me to load them into the car one at a time, or use my carrier.
One thing for you to consider is if you plan on having any more children (or if you already have children). You should choose one of the slimmer models that can fit 3 across, like a Diono or Clek. We have 3 Diono’s in the back of my car and a Greco Extend-2-Fit in Tom’s car.
a. TIP – Some car seat companies offer discounts for multiples. All you have to do is message them and ask. Diono responded within hours with a discount code for us when we purchased the twins convertible car seats.
Car seat adaptors for your stroller
The car seat adaptors that allow you to put your car seat directly onto your stroller are a must have. This will make your life so much easier when getting around with two babies.
*Nice to have*
There are so many options for carriers, so much of this is personal preference. There’s no hard and fast rule that says you must have a carrier either. But if you’re looking for a twin-specific carrier here’s what I recommend. The WeeGo for when they’re little. I wish we could have used this longer because I loved having them together right in front of me. It was like being pregnant all over again minus the heartburn and nausea. We didn’t get out much at first, but when we did, the WeeGo was my go-to. The TwinGo is another favourite for when they’re bigger. Unlike single carriers, having a baby on the back and one on the front is surprisingly comfortable since you’re balanced. And bonus points for feeling like a total bad ass while wearing them too. I like the TwinGo because it can separate into two separate carriers, so if you’re out with your partner or a friend, you can each have a baby.
TIP – if structured carriers aren’t your thing but are still interested in baby wearing, check YouTube for tutorials on how to wrap multiples in a Moby wrap or woven wrap.
Backpack Diaper Bag
Get a backpack. I can't stress this enough. Get a backpack. You will not have extra hands to carry a diaper bag. Nothing fancy is required. You can find something that will do the trick on Amazon or you can go all out and get something like the Fawn Design or Petunia Picklebottom. Whatever is going to make you happy. We just went for a plain black diaper bag from Amazon.
A great baby monitor
For your own peace of mind, get a baby monitor! These puppies have come a long way in the past few years and the technology is incredible! We had a brand new VTech monitor when Nora was born in 2017 that came with two cameras, so we used it with the twins. We started using the Lollipop Baby Camera and the difference is night and day. Having two premature babies is stressful, so knowing I have an extra set of eyes on my babies at all times is priceless. I was able to mount it on the opposite wall as their cribs and catch both babies with one camera. However, if you wanted that classic top down view, you could easily get two cameras because the app allows you to have a dual-view to view two cameras at once. It was so easy and so simple to install. There's no monthly fee for the video feeds and you can snap super cute pictures of your babies sleeping without sneaking in and risking waking them. #momhack!
*Nice to Have*
You need a safe space for your babies to sleep. There are many options but we chose the Halo Twin Bassinest for our girls. It was exactly what our family needed, keeping the babies close to each other, but separate for safety and our peace of mind. There are plenty of other options, like a twin pack n’ play, cribs (together or separate), or bed sharing. I highly recommend you read up on safe sleep practices and make a decision that is best for your family.
TIP – You can find bassinets on Facebook Marketplace or your local multiple momma’s Facebook group. Babies are only in it for so long and good ones are built to last for years, if not decades.
Eventually you’ll want to move your babies to their own room and they’ll need their own crib. We chose the Ikea Gulliver cribs in white. We liked that they were open slats on all sides so the girls could see each other and the rest of the room at the same time.
*Nice to have*
This one is a nice to have, but strongly recommend. Sleep, or lack thereof, is one of the most difficult parts of raising multiples. Sleep depravation is used as a torture tactic for a reason. Investing in a sleep training program is vital, in my opinion. Everything became so much better once the babies were sleeping through the night. We used the TakingCaraBabies first 5 months program and the girls were sleeping independently through the night by 4 months old. Worth every single penny!
Swaddles and Sleepsacs
These are a huge hit in our home. We used the Summer Infant swaddles, Ollie baby swaddles, and the Halo swaddles. It’s good to have a few in rotation, especially if your babies have reflux like ours did. We exclusively use Halo sleepsacs in our home for no reason other than they last. They’ve been handed down from Nora and I always snap them up when I see them second hand. We’ll be using sleep sacs until they’re old enough to understand how to use a blanket.
Sound Machines are amazing! They help drown out noise in the house to help keep your babies sleeping soundly. These days there’s all kinds of fancy gadgets, but we just used the cheapest sound machine we could find. We have two, one in Nora’s room and one in the twins room.
Lounger for living space
It could be anything from a Dock-a-tot, a swing or a bouncy chair. You have to have a safe place to put babies down when you need your hands free. We used a MamaRoo rocker sometimes, but by far the thing we grabbed the most was our Dock-a-tots. I could put one baby down safely while holding another. We used them for feeding, daytime napping (supervised), and for lounging. They created a soft buffer between the twins and the toddler tornado to keep them safe too.
I'm talking heavy duty black out blinds. Do the hand test - if the lights are off, the blinds are shut and you can still see your hand, it's not dark enough. We got these ones from Amazon for both the twins and Nora's room and I can't recommend them enough. They're great for travelling since they're just suction cups attached to the glass.
*Nice to Have*
Pumping is absolutely not necessary, however if you want to I recommend a double electric pump with a hands-free pumping bra. I got my bra off Amazon. If you are nursing and are not ready to do the tandem nursing yet, I highly recommend getting a Haakka pump. It’s simple little suction device that collects all the milk that lets go. It’s also nice to use if you need to increase your supply without using an electric pump. I still hear the whomp-whomp sounds of my pump in my dreams.
*Must have if bottle feeding*
Fed is best, right? Nursing two babies is HARD! And not everyone can do it or wants to do it. There’s no trophy at the end of this! Try a few different bottles to see what your babies like and cross your fingers that they like the same ones! We used the Playtex bottles with drop in sleeves. We also used them for Nora so we already had them on hand. We just needed to pick up a couple extra.
TIP – Have two days worth of bottles on hand. That way you can have a set in the dishwasher and a set in use.
*Nice to Have if formula feeding*
If you’re going the formula or breastmilk/formula mix route, I highly recommend a Baby Brezza. This smart little device produces a perfectly mixed body temperature bottle in 15 seconds. A total lifesaver for those middle of the night feeds. Also, absolutely perfect for grandparents or babysitters. You can leave and know your babies are getting exactly the right amount of formula.
TIP – you have to clean this bad boy religiously. The cleaning schedule is included. Make sure you stick to it.
There are two options that are the super stars here – the TwinZ pillow or the My BreastFriend twin pillow. It totally depends on how you plan to feed your babies. If you’re tandem nursing exclusively, go for the My BreastFriend. Otherwise, the TwinZ is the way to go. We have used our TwinZ as a bottle feeding pillow, breastfeeding pillow, lounger, and a holding spot for one or both babies. It is very versatile!
TIP - Find one second hand and make sure you have at least two covers.
You don't have to go fancy. The $20 Ikea ones work great and they're stackable! You will absolutely need two of them. Twin jealousy is real, especially when it comes to food!
Along the same lines as a baby lounger, a playmat is a great safe place to put a baby or two down during playtime. Any playmat works, but there’s one in particular that is good for twins. The Lovevery Play Gym is larger than the usual playmats so it’s perfect for two babies to explore. The downside is that it’s not foldable, so you’ll have to have a permanent spot for it in your living space.
TIP – Have one in each of your living spaces. We had one in our Master and in our living room. Having activities in our master was an easy way to keep babies occupied while cleaning, doing laundry, making the bed, etc. The ones that fold up are easy enough to stash behind a dresser and out of the way.
We loved our excersaucer. It’s a great central place to put baby once they have good trunk and neck control so they can experience the world sitting up and out of your arms. We had the Skip Hop Excersaucer and it was great. Nora had a Disney Finding Nemo one that was equally as awesome. The Skip Hop one was more neutral colours which matched well with the Lovevery Play Gym.
TIP – You don’t need two of these. One baby can play on the mat and the other in the excersaucer and then switch them so they both get the experience. It stretches a 15 minute play time to 30 minutes.
*Nice to have*
So I loved the Jolly Jumper when my oldest was little. She was in it every single day while I got ready, went to the bathroom, did the laundry, etc. However, this time around we didn’t use it as much. I had one that went in the doorway and one on a stand and it felt really overwhelming to get them both harnessed in at the same time. Maybe it was just me, but we only used our jolly jumpers a handful of times. If you’re going between the excersaucer and the jolly jumper, go for an exersaucer.
Burp Cloths/Muslin blankets
You're going to go through A LOT of these every day. We had close to 30 on rotation with daily washings. You'll use them as bottle props, burp cloths, swaddle blankets... they will be the most versatile item you'll get. The Lulujo brand was my favourite. They were oversized, had fun prints, super soft and washed up nicely.
It's so gross, but you'll thank me later.
These are so handy to have around. You may have to label bottles, clothes, jackets, snot suckers, lotions, bum cream... the sky is the limit. And if your babies go to Daycare, everything will have to be labeled. These little indestructible and adorable stickers are dishwasher safe, washing machine safe, and toddler safe.
*Use code KELLYBAILEY for 10% off everything except sale, masks and stamps*
Baby Tracker app
It doesn't have to be the Baby Tracker, but you will need some kind of system to keep track of who ate what, who woke when, and who last had a poop. You can also track doctors appointments, weight checks, and sleep.
And perhaps the most *Must Have* item at all - a rock solid relationship and support system. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that brings out the worst in someone than a hormonal roller coaster, recovering from a surgical birth (*most* twins are born via c-section), sleep deprivation, NICU time, trying to breastfeed, and trying to keep two newborns alive all at the same time. You WILL have choice words with your partner, mostly out of exhaustion and fear. This is normal. Be quick to forgive yourself and forgive your partner. You need to know that this will pass and that your relationship is strong. In the same breath, you will need help. You need to rely on your support system to carry the load while you focus on the babies. Yes you are super mom, but you cannot do everything. Arrange for someone to do your laundry, hire a house cleaner, ask your friends and family to bring you dinner. You will not have the capacity to worry about these things for at least the first three months, if not longer.
Momma, you've got this. The newborn stage is just that, a stage. You WILL sleep again. You will find your balance again. One day at a time. You've got this!