- Family and Parenting
Top 10 Essentials for Raising Twins During the First Year
Surviving Your Twins' First Year...and Loving It!
Are you a soon-to-be mom of twins? Did you just find out you are expecting two little bundles of joy and are now trying to search everywhere for information on how to prepare for your babies? Well look no further, you have come to the right place.
As a first time mom of one year old twins, I know first- hand just how exciting and sometimes challenging it is being a new mom in itself, let alone raising multiple children. Believe me when I tell you, it is definitely going to be an experience you will never forget, and one that you should cherish and enjoy to the fullest extent possible.
The key to happily surviving the first year with your twins is simple: ORGANIZATION. You need to be PREPARED. As many of us moms of twins know, we face several new challenges the instant our two precious little ones are born quite simply because we are outnumbered from the very start. It always seems as though we never have enough hands to get things done , we definitely can't be in two places at once, and we have to do double the amount of baby duty but don't get double the amount of time. Although the odds may seem as though they are stacked against us, raising twins without losing your sanity is not an impossible feat.
There are certain essentials all mothers of twins should have to help keep mom and babies organized and set in a routine during the first year. Listed below are the top ten essential items all mothers of twins should have in order to successfully and gracefully survive their babies' first year.
10. My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe Nursing Pillow
Basically the name of this nursing pillow says it all. For those of you moms who are going to breast feed your twins - props to you! I really respect all mothers who decide to breast feed their babies, but being a mom of twins and still wanting to breast feed really takes such respect to another level. I mean let's face it...it's A LOT of work!
I personally chose not breastfeed my twins but I was able to still make great use out of the My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe Nursing Pillow during the first few months after my twins were born. I would have one baby on each side of me, and I would feed both of them at the same time with a bottle in each of my hands. Since it is larger than the standard My Brest Friend pillow, it fit my tiny twin babies on the pillow comfortably during the first few months that I used it, and I was able to get that same close, bonding experience during feeding time just as a mother who breast feeds her child does.
I would highly recommend this nursing pillow not only to mothers of twins that are going to breast feed, but also to those mothers who are like myself and decide to bottle feed their babies instead. Either way, this pillow truly is any mother of twins "brest" friend!
My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe Nursing Pillow
9. Bottle Sterilizer
One of the very first things you will realize after becoming a mom of twins is that you are going to need a lot of bottles to make it through the day. Either that or you are constantly going to be sterilizing the same few bottles all day long. Now this can sound like such a hassle if you opt for the latter - but some things are not always what they seem.
At first I thought I would have absolutely no part in sterilizing bottles multiple times in a day. I had heard several horror stories from my mother about sterilizing bottles in hot boiling water back in the day, and how it would take forever and was such a long, tedious process, so I absolutely cringed at the thought of having to do the same. I figured I would sterilize about once a day and that was it - and I was hoping I could do so using my dishwasher.
I had decided to use the Playtex Drop-Ins System for my twins in the beginning so all I would really have to sterilize were the nipples. Well my plans changed quickly after I found that the Playtex Drop-In System was not going to work for my twins, so my attitude towards sterilizing bottles had to change as well.
Thankfully I came across a microwave bottle sterilizer that took only four minutes to sterilize all bottle parts and let me just tell you - I absolutely love it! In fact, I like it so much that I still use it daily to sterilize my twins' bottles (who will be turning one in a few weeks)! Crazy I know! I highly recommend The First Years Microwave Sterilizer. It fits a decent amount of bottle parts in its container (I have sterilized up to 6 bottles at a time with all of its parts), and lets me know that all parts were successfully sterilized by its color changing lid (when everything is sterilized the sterilization symbol on the lid will change from blue to white). I sterilize my twins' bottles two times a day (morning and night) and wouldn't have it any other way! I'm addicted! And let me just also add, that using a microwave sterilizer gets the job done much faster than any dishwasher could.
As a side note, I know that many mothers only sterilize their baby's bottles for the first few months of infancy, but I have had absolutely no qualms about doing it for this long. In fact, my twins throughout their first year have not really been sick with any type of illness except for a minor cold/congestion (knock on wood that it stays this way). Can I attribute this to me sterilizing my twins' bottles for this extensive period of time...possibly? I just figure sterilizing takes such minimal time and effort - why stop?
8. Boppy Pillows
Boppy pillows may not be the obvious necessity for a mom of twins, but it is definitely one of our best kept secrets. Up until both of my babies learned how to hold their own bottles during feedings, the Boppy pillow was my extra helper. It was literally the extra set of helping hands I needed during my twins' feedings.
If you ask me, one of the most difficult tasks a mom of twins is faced with is having to feed two hungry babies at the same exact time, especially when that mom is all alone. I can't tell you how many times I would hope that one of my babies would just sleep a little longer, or be able to wait a few more minutes so I could finish feeding my other baby first. But things don't always happen as you wish. More often than not, my babies always seemed to want to eat at the same time.
Now you might be saying to yourself, "Wow, that's great! She had them on the same feeding schedule!" And yes, there are many positives to having your twins on the same schedule. Since they usually eat and nap at around the same time, it is as if you are only managing the schedule of one baby. There is just one problem with that train of thought - you have two babies that you have to feed not one! Since I was a stay at home mom at the time, I was alone for many of my twins' feedings throughout the day with no additional help and it would stress me out quite a bit. I had two crying, hungry babies and I was only one mommy doing the best I could.
Thankfully, one of my co-workers who recently had twins recommended the Boppy pillow, and explained how useful it had become to him and his wife during his babies' feedings. Boy was he right! The Boppy pillow is honestly a blessing in disguise! It is more than just some baby pillow - it is truly an extra set of helping hands/arms.
Since I had two Boppy pillows and two babies, I would put each baby in a Boppy pillow, positioning them slightly upright. I would then use both of my free hands to feed each baby their bottle. I was now able to talk to my twins and bond with each individual baby while feeding them both at the same time. It was as if the Boppy pillows were the extra arms I needed to hold my babies while I fed them their bottle. The best part was I didn't have to make one hungry baby wait and cry incessantly while I finished feeding the other baby. Now both babies were able to eat at the same time and I was finally able to enjoy their feedings, not dread them.
Boppy Pillow Recommendations!
7. Activity Gym
To put it quite simply, the activity gym was both my twins' best friend up until the time they started to crawl. Before my twins learned how to crawl, the most they could do was turn over from front to back and vice versa. Since they couldn't really go anywhere yet, I needed to find something that could occupy and entertain my twins during their "tummy time" on the floor.
The activity gym was my saving grace. It made floor time/tummy time fun and exciting for my newborn babies. I loved putting my babies in the activity gym because it is where I saw so many first smiles and heard so many first laughs. It is a definite must have for moms of twins.
I highly recommend the Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym. This was the activity gym I used and it kept my twins entertained with all of its rainforest animals, bright flashing lights, and catchy music/songs. Just beware - you will have these Rainforest Melodies stuck in your head all day long and you will often find yourself singing them aloud! Oh well...as long as your babies are happy that's all that really matters!
Activity Gym Recommendations
6. Play Yard
When your twins become mobile, and you start running around like a crazy person after them, you know it is definitely time for this next essential - the play yard. Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting your twins in a standard pack 'n play, I still do myself.
But let's face it - when our babies learn how to crawl, and they get really good at it, they want to be on the go all of the time and confining them to minimal spaces will only make them more irritable and anxious because they want to be able to move around more freely. Hey now, to be fair, they want to show off all of their new skills!
Now I am all for letting my twins explore my home, roaming around the floors of my entire downstairs, getting lots of exercise, and I often tell myself I will let them do so until they tire themselves out and/or run out of energy. There is only one slight problem with my thinking...know what it is? My twins NEVER seem to run out of energy! They could crawl around the floors all day and night it seems without busting out a yawn. Me on the other hand, after about fifteen minutes of chasing after my little ones, making sure they aren't getting into any trouble, I am exhausted!
So here's the dilemma...my twins are still raring to go, crawling around anywhere and everywhere having a blast with one another and I feel like I am going to pass out at any moment! My solution you ask? The North States Superyard Play Yard! Much bigger than the standard pack n' play it allows my twins to move around more freely with a great amount of extra room. They can crawl all around inside of the Superyard Play Yard, play with all of their toys as well as with one another, and the best part about it is I can enjoy watching them all from the comfort of my couch.
Now this is not to say that I haven't jumped inside the Superyard Play Yard with them to join in on some of their fun because I have done so quite often, but the point is I no longer have to run around after them like a chicken without a head. They can move all around in the Superyard Play Yard just as they please and I don't have to be worrying every two seconds about their safety. It puts my mind at ease and their arms and legs to work so everyone wins!
FYI - I purchased two of the North States Superyard Play Yards (they all interconnect) to give my twins even more room so they could move around freely. It does take up practically all of the space in my living room but it makes my babies happy so it is all worth it in the end.
Play Yard Recommendations
Another great investment for moms of twins is entertainers/exersaucers. I recommend having two different exersaucers on hand just because it keeps your twins more engaged and entertained when they have a variety of toys to play with. If one twin is becoming tired and/or bored being in one of the entertainers, you can always just switch them to the other one to try to spark some new interest. Usually anything new and/or different keeps babies occupied for a good few minutes, if not longer. Plus, it is essential to have two entertainers on hand because more often than not you will probably being putting both babies in them at the same time.
I highly recommend the Even Flo Triple Excersaucer and the Fisher-Price Little Superstar Step N' Play Piano. These are the two entertainers/exersaucers my twins currently have and they absolutely love them. The Even Flo Triple Exersaucer can be used right from infancy as a play mat, and as they grow older (up until about the walking stage) they can use it as an exersaucer. Even after your babies learn how to walk the Even Flo Triple Exersaucer can still be put to great use as an activity table up until 24 months of age! Talk about getting a lot of bang for your buck! It is truly an all-in-one activity center that grows with your child - amazing!
The Step N' Play Piano is another great option. It provides so much excitement and enjoyment for babies because they get to make lots of music and noise by banging their hands and stomping their feet on the piano keys. Your babies will also be able to walk from side to side, and turn all the way around in this entertainer since the seat is able to spin 360 degrees as well as slide back and forth.
Both entertainers play lots of great songs and have fun little toys attached to each of their units that babies love to play with. Believe me when I say your twins will never get bored playing in these exersaucers! Truly a great buy!
Swings are another absolute must have for twins and their parents. Having a swing can be beneficial for any parent whether they have one newborn or multiple simply because they can be used for several different purposes. Swings are great for entertaining babies (they love to play with all of the little toy attachments on the swing), they are also very useful for putting babies to sleep -especially when babies are irritable or cranky it is an effective way to get most babies into a relaxed state and it often soothes them to sleep.
Swings are also just handy to have around when you need to go run an errand such as emptying the dishwasher or putting in a load of laundry, and need a safe place to put your child for the time being. But unlike those parents who have only one newborn to look after, parents of twins are faced with the task of tending to two babies at the same time so having a swing on hand helps deal with some of the challenges that go along with such a huge responsibility.
I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you, but you are not always go to have two happy babies all of the time. One baby may be happy, the other may be tired, cranky, hungry, teething, etc. and/or vice versa. It is going to be the times like these that make you realize how important having a swing actually is.
Swings enable you to tend to both of your babies' needs which can be sometimes difficult for a parent of twins to do, especially when caring for your twins alone. For example, if you are feeding one baby, you can put your other baby that is cranky/tired in the swing to try and help soothe him/her to sleep.
From the day my twins got home from the hospital they have loved going in their swings, and still use the swings from time to time at almost a year old. It is completely up to you to decide whether you want to purchase one swing for your twins to share, or if you want each of them to have their own. If you do decide to purchase two swings, I recommend that you purchase two different ones to provide variety for your twins so if one twin gets bored of one swing you can always switch them around!
Always leave yourself and your twins' lots of options! I personally have two different swings in my home for my babies just because I found that they enjoy them so much that I often put them each in a swing at the same time.
I highly recommend the following swings:
3. Large Diaper Bag
I'm sure by now you have heard many sayings like twins are "double the joy," "double the blessing," "double the trouble," etc. - all very true. But with twins also comes double the diapers, double the wipes, double the clothes, double the pacifiers, double the toys - basically double everything! Hence you need double the room.
When you are a mom of twins and you are on the go, it often can feel like you are packing your babies' entire nursery in your diaper bag and that is because you need to pack a lot of stuff! It is important that you have one large, spacious diaper bag that can fit all of your twins' necessities and one that is easily portable. After all, you don't want to have to carry around an excessive amount of bags because you need your free hands to tend to your two babies!
I have found these diaper bags to be very spacious and roomy for all of my on-the-go baby essentials, minimizing the amount of bags that I need to bring with me and carry around. Also, for all you twin dads out there, don't feel left out of the action - here are also some great daddy diaper bags that can be put to good use!
Great Diaper Bag Recommendations!
2. Pack 'N Play Playard with Twin Bassinet
The Twin Pack 'N Play w/ Double Bassinet is probably one of the best gifts I received at my baby shower just because it has been used so much throughout my twins' first year. For about the first four months after my twins were born, I solely used this playard as my babies' bassinets.
Once they started sleeping in their cribs I used it as a pack 'n play and I absolutely love it! It is such a life saver! It is made extremely well, very spacious (larger than the average pack 'n play) and comfortable for both my babies to play in at the same time. Anytime I need a few minutes of "mommy time" I know I can put my twins in the pack 'n play with no worries. An absolute necessity for twins and their parents!
Pack 'N Play Playard with Twin Bassinet
1. Double Snap N Go Stroller
An absolute must have for any parent of twins! Anytime you need to go out with your twins, whether it is to the doctor's office, grocery store, or a trip to the mall, you will find the Double Snap N Go stroller to come in very handy.
This stroller is hassle-free for mommy, daddy, and babies - basically all parties involved. You don't even have to remove your twins from their car seat, you just simply snap the car seat into the stroller and you are ready to go. It is light weight, very spacious underneath for holding big bulky items such as diaper/bottle bags, and is very easy to fold up (you can close it with literally one hand).
It is especially necessary to have a stroller like the Double Snap N Go since many places only seat one baby comfortably and safely in a shopping cart . If you are a parent of twins you probably don't want to be wheeling around multiple carts so this Double Snap N Go Stroller enables you to do all that you need to the most efficient way possible.
Double Snap N Go Stroller Recommendations
Let's Wrap It Up!
In summation, these ten items I feel were truly key in helping me to effectively raise my twins during their first year. After having personally used each of these items at some point during my twins' first year, I highly recommend these essentials to every expectant mother of twins. Having these products on hand definitely made life with twins a lot less stressful and much more enjoyable for my family so I am hoping it will do the same for yours. Remember, twins truly are double the joy and blessing and don't have to be double the stress, so savor every moment you can with them! Happy twinning!
If you have any questions or comments on twin product recommendations, please write them in the guestbook! Thanks for reading!