A Shopping Guide for Twins (or more) Part 1: Play Time, Rest Time, and Feeding

You’d think shopping for twins would be just like shopping for one baby, only you’d get two of everything right? Everything with twins is more complicated, and shopping for them is not an exception. There is a lot more to consider, including space and the possibility that your multiples may arrive early!

So here is Part 1 of a guide for all you expectant MOMS (mothers of multiples). This is practical “been-there-done-that” advice. More than a list of things you “must have”, I’d rather give you some things to think about as you’re shopping. . .or telling others what to buy. Having twins is different than having one baby and what works for one, can be incredibly impractical for two.

So let’s consider what you’ll need while you’re at home with your babies. The primary thing to think about when you are at home with twins is that you will need safe places to put both babies down at the same time. This is one case where it doesn’t work to have just one bassinet, or bouncy seat. However, creating safe places doesn’t mean you have to buy two of everything. Go through each room that you are likely to spend significant parts of your day in: the living room, kitchen/dining area, bedroom. Do you have two places to put down two babies? If not, what extra pieces of furniture will fit in those rooms?

Play Yards
It is unlikely that you will want a play yard unless you have a lot of space. Think for a minute about the function of a play yard. . .it is to have a safe place to put a baby down where he can‘t move very far. If you put both babies in the play yard together, it is no longer a safe place as they grab each other, bonk each other on the head, poke each other in the eyes. . .you get the picture. Having two play yards to separate them takes up a lot of space and many twins are very social much more than singletons. Separating them to play may not be what they think is fun.

Excersaucers, play centers and baby gyms
These were a huge hit in our house and we got two. BUT I would wait to buy them until the babies are old enough and large enough to use them, especially if space is an issue. They do not need to be exactly the same either. My babies enjoyed “rotating” through the different toys.

Swings
Definitely get one, but wait to get two. I hate to destroy any illusions you have of babies peacefully sleeping at the same time–it does happen but not very often in the first few months. Also, some babies just don’t like swings. Before you spend $100 plus dollars make sure both babies like the swing before you get another. If, by the way, they do like the swing, having two swings can buy you some much needed ‘alone’ time. If you have very limited space, two of these is the one “must have” item (as long as they both like it of course.)

Bouncy Seats
Bouncy seats are great because unlike a swing, play yard or excersaucer, they are very portable and are usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Bouncy seats are also useful when you’re feeding: you can feed one baby and bounce or rock the bouncy seat with your foot.

Feeding
If you are bottle feeding, get lots of bottles. Why? Because it is easiest to do all the washing at once, all the measuring at once, and all the feeding at once. It is not convenient to have to sterilize bottles or wash them while you are alone with your babies. Feeding twins is all about management and in this case preparation is key. Do your work when you have help with the twins and when you don’t, just concentrate on the babies–you will not likely be able to do much else.

If you are breastfeeding, get a pillow that’s designed for nursing twins as opposed to two boppies or something similar. Positioning two babies is hard to do and you’ll need firm support.

As your babies get older you will likely need two high chairs but let me warn you that feeding two babies in their own high chairs is, at the very least, an adventure. We found it much easier at first, to feed them in their stroller, or feed them on the floor. We eventually got restaurant style high chairs that could pull up to the table so that we can all eat together as a family and feed the babies at the same time.

Nursery
This all depends on space. You do not need two cribs to start out. You can easily put both babies in one crib for at least the first few months. But let me suggest that sleeping is the biggest difficulty with having twins. Most mothers of twinfants that I know (myself included), say that they sleep anywhere and anytime that they possibly can. You may need to try a variety of things before you find something that works for you. For us, co-sleeping with the twins in a co-sleeper next to our bed, as well as sleeping on the living room couch while twins spent part of the night in the swings, and a variety of other creative arrangements is what bought us the most sleeping time.

So when you’re buying for your babies for staying home, think in terms of saving space and in terms of having a comfortable place for you and the babies to rest in every room of your house that you’re likely to need to spend some time in. For other baby gear see the next three parts in this series.

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