What to Buy For Twins
Knowing what to buy for twins can be a very daunting task when faced with the vast assortment of baby products on the market. Some products are better suited for twins than others. Through my own experience as a twin mum twice over I have created this guide to help you decide.
Bottles, Teats and a Steriliser
If you decide to breast feed you will still need a supply of bottles for the just in case. You may find your baby needs a top up with formula, boiled water for wind or perhaps you may express some milk as well in order that Dad or someone else can take a turn feeding. It may be useful to buy a twin feeding cushion for positioning your twins on a double feed.
If you decide to bottle feed from the start then you are going to need a good supply of bottles and baby formula plus a good sterilising system and possibly a bottle warmer. If an average newborn baby feeds as per the “text book”, every 4 hours, you can assume you need to make 6 feeds per day. Multiply this by two and you have 12 feeds per day.
If your baby is premature you may want to try using some of the smaller bottles and teats available especially designed for premature babies.
A good Twin Buggy or Pram
This is probably the single most expensive item you will have to purchase for your twins. It is one that is worth spending as much as your budget will allow.
If you opt for a travel system you will not need to purchase the first stage baby car seats because they can be part of your buggy package. Otherwise, you will need two good quality car seats which do not come cheap.
Somewhere to Sleep
This is an area where you could save yourself some expense. It is not necessary to spend pounds on expensive wooden cots if you don’t have the money to spare. A second hand cot can be cleaned and painted as long as the paint is lead free. The important factor here is to buy a brand new mattress.
- Cots sold in the UK should conform to BSEN716, you need to check the standards for your respective country. Basically, the cot should be deep enough to be safe for your baby and the bars should measure less than 45-65mm apart.
- You need to check that second hand or borrowed cots have the same rules applied to them as with brand new cots.
- If painting a second-hand cot you need to ensure all the existing paint is stripped and re-paint with a lead-free paint. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities and other neurological problems.
- Ensure the cot mattress is brand new.
- Ensure the cot mattress fits snugly; there should be no gaps around the mattress where your baby’s limbs could get trapped.
Your twins will need somewhere to sleep both during the day and during the night. Visit the section on “Sleeping issues” to get more advice on how to decide what’s best for you.
Moses Baskets are a good solution for the first three months as they can be carried easily around the house. If you opt for a carry cot travel system buggy you will have the carry cots that can be used in the same fashion as the Moses Baskets. They are good for premature twins as it gives them a smaller space to sleep in helping them feel more secure.
If you decide to go straight for a cot or cot bed then you may need to think about having one downstairs for day time sleeping. It’s quite difficult to keep going up and downstairs carrying two babies at one time and becomes more dangerous as they get heavier. There will be times when one is awake and the other sleeping so having a cot downstairs would be a convenient and safe place to quickly put a baby down whilst you go and retrieve the other one from upstairs.
My Own Tip As a Mother of Twins twice over: I would recommend considering the option of Co-Sleeping with your twins at least for the first few months when twin feeding is relentless. There are a few bedside cot’s available that make this possible when your twins are newborn. One cot is big enough for two babies if you position them across the cot rather than longways.
A baby monitor is an excellent tool for listening out for your baby when they are in bed and you are away from them. There are many different kinds available; audio, video camera types, baby sensor mats that sit beneath the mattress. The technology for baby monitors has developed rapidly over the last few years and has become very sophisticated. How much of it is actually necessary is debatable. After all we have coped without them for years. However, come they do provide reassurance and peace of mind for parents and for parents of premature twins they can be even more beneficial.
The great thing about a baby monitor when you have twins is you can hear the one who is crying and get to them quickly before they stir the other one!
You can save yourself some money in this category.
A changing Table is great for saving your back but with twins you will be happier on the floor. Firstly, you may not have the space for the extra furniture in any event and secondly unless you fancy catching both babies before they roll or wriggle off you’ll always have one on the floor anyway.
Purchase two changing mats and get down on the floor. Alternatively, use your double bed whilst the babies occupy your room. You can easily put a towel down and their plastic changing mats.
You will however, need a large changing bag for trips out and a couple of storage boxes for keeping your nappies and other related changing equipment to hand for the double bum change.
Bathing Equipment and Toiletries
Safety is the biggest issue here. There are numerous baby baths available now and some excellent ergonomically designed baby bath supports and seats which allow for hands free bathing – very useful for twins. However, these items will be used for such a short period of time that you could purchase them second hand or borrow from a friend who no longer requires them. These are not items that wear out easily and of course you could always use your sink, bath or a washing up bowl!
Purchasing a couple of good changing mats is advisable. These do wear and tear and you may need to repurchase at some point. As for the obvious items such as towels, baby bath, baby shampoo and baby powder you can choose between the more expensive branded items or the supermarkets own brands. You may need to be more careful with choosing products if your twins suffer from eczema.
You can definitely save money when clothing your twins especially if you are fortunate enough to be given some “hand me downs”. Alternatively, you could purchase second hand bundles from one of the many auction sites on the internet. This is one of the expenses that can be as cheap or as expensive as your budget allows. In the beginning you will need plenty of the basic items. Newborn babies and particularly premature babies do not want to be dressed in anything other than practical, warm and comfortable clothing. Choose items that are easy to dress and remove. You will need a good stock of baby vests, baby sleep suits, cardigans, hats and mittens. It is extremely tempting to buy those irresistible baby outfits especially if you have little girls but seriously save your money for when they are a bit older.
These are a must as soon as your twins are crawling. You try following two crawling babies around in different directions all day just to keep them out of harms way! Whilst one is heading for the oven the other may be heading for the stairs! The use of safety gates will prevent plenty of accidents. How many you will need is dependent on your house and its set up.
There are many different kinds on the market now at various prices. You may find it useful to include a safety gate that you can travel with in your collection. You can purchase large gates for separating whole rooms which can also turn into a play den or fire guard. Although you may need a few of these it’s not necessary to buy brand new. Borrow them from friends or family who no longer need them, purchase second hand.
Weaning and Feeding Equipment
All of these items can be purchased at your local supermarket and once again your budget and logic can dictate if you purchase the more expensive branded items or the supermarkets own brand.
You will need two highchairs. Like most baby items there is such a variety available and you should consider your choices carefully before purchasing. Size and space and portability will be all important factors.
Activity Mat, Baby Gym, Bouncers, Rockers, Toys and Books
You will need somewhere for your babies to lie or sit safely and play.
There are some gorgeous Activity Mats, Cushions and Baby Gyms to choose from which are suitable from birth. If you purchase one of the larger types your twins will be able to share for quite some time. A couple of options so you can swap your twins around for entertainment purposes is a good idea. Some babies may be content to lie or sit for long lengths of time but you could find that one or both of your twins isn’t happy to sit in one spot for too long and you will be performing a juggling act. You can just as easily use your padded changing mats with a free standing plastic baby gym over the top for their amusement and exercise. Fisher price are usually good for this kind of thing.
Baby Bouncer Chairs and Rockers are a useful item and also suitable from birth. Not only do they provide a place for your baby to sit and play, you can bottle feed them at the same time whilst they are seated in these chairs and even start your weaning process if they aren’t quite ready to be sat in a highchair. You don’t have to purchase two of the really expensive kind that make noises and vibrate and whatever else, the simple ones are fine; comfort and easy to clean should be top of your specification.
The cradle type baby car seats can be utilised for short periods of time and if you have two of the free standing plastic gyms you can easily place them over the car seats for your babies to look at and reach out for. Once again a good place to perform a double bottle feed single handed.
Once your twins are a little older and if you have the space I would definitely recommend setting up a dedicated soft play area. You are going to spend much of your time on the floor with them. You can’t bring both twins up to your level all day for obvious reasons so make an area and get down on the floor with them. A small inflatable paddling pool filled with the coloured soft play balls are great for crawling twins.
This is the place where you can keep their smaller toys and books. Babies love books and you can get some beautifully coloured fabric ones to start out with, followed by the thick cardboard variety.
Activity centres where the baby sits in the middle supported by a fabric seat with their feet touching the base are a good buy. They are surrounded by toys to touch, press, and hit and generally have fun with. Once again, you don’t need two but two of these are much more fun as the twins can watch one another play. Purchasing different kinds means you can switch them around and provide variety.
One of the best products available is the Baby Bumbo Seat. The Bumbo looks like a potty but is made of flexible durable rubber like material. You can seat your baby in one of these from as early as 3 months – as soon as they can support their own head. Definitely buy two of these. You can move them around the house, take them to friends houses, my twins adored sitting in them because they were supported and upright ready to see the world. Babies can really feel involved when seated in these. They are easily cleaned, you can feed them in them, and you can buy a tray for them.
Most of the various products mentioned above can be purchased brand new or second hand so you will be sure to keep within your budget.
Non Essential Items
Items that fall within the Non Essential Category are really items such as Baby Swings, Door Bouncers, Baby Walkers and even the Baby Activity Centres as mentioned above. Should you wish to purchase such items it’s probably best to go and try before you buy! These are all places your twins may or may not like to spend time and you won’t know until they try. They are all high ticket items especially when you need to purchase two. Talk to others to see how they have got on with them. If anyone has one in use with their own child, test drive it when visiting.
Baby Swings can cost in the region of £100 each for a good one. Some parents report that their babies fall to sleep easily with the rocking motion. Others report the complete opposite and the swings proved to be a complete waste of money.
There is much talk of Baby Walkers being a dangerous commodity and even if you have the space for two it would likely be a lot like bumper cars for toddlers – not a good idea. There is research to suggest that using a Baby Walker can delay development. This is where the Baby Activity Centre is good because they sit in just like a Baby Walker but it is stationery.