Preparing for Twins: a Checklist
When you are preparig for the arrival of your twin babies, you will inevitably get to the point where you get overwhelmed with all the things you need. Or think you need. And if you are not a millionaire, you might get some light bouts of panic when you thing about what all these purchases will do to your bank account. At least that is what happened to me when I was pregnant with our twins.
But what do you really need? Do you have to buy everything double? Does it make sense to buy second hand? Which items should be bought new? Which things will make your life as twin parents easier? Which are dispensable? Here is what I learned and what I would do different if I would have to prepare for twins again!
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Clothing for twin babies
When buying clothes for your twins you have to decide if you want to dress them in matching clothes or not. You probably will get some matching outfits as presents, regardless of the gender of your babies. I liked to dress my babies up in matching clothes once in a while (although I have a boy and a girl), but found it not very practical in everyday life. When one of the babies gets food all over himself you have to change both of them! So I had some matching outfits for special occasions, but usually I don't dress them alike.
There is a second pair of twins in the preschool class of our twins, identical boys, it is almost impossible to tell them apart. They are always dressed alike and now, at four years, they get really angry when people ask them for their name. So dressing your twins differently might help them to develop their own identity. But if you feel like dressing them in matching outfits when they are babies it won't do them any harm either!
It is easy to save money on clothes. Buying second hand has several advantages: It is ecological, you can be sure that pestizides and other chemicals have been washed out already, and since babies are outgrowing their clothes at lightening speed, you'll be able to find practically new clothes for little money. You might be even able to afford fancy brands, that otherwise would be way too expensive. Go hunting for baby clothes at local church fairs, garage sales or at Ebay – you'll have tons to chose from!
How much do you need? Babies always manage to get milk all over themselves or their diapers leak. And if you don't want to be washing constantly you'll need a certain number of outfits for the babies – but don't overdo it either. The babies grow at lightening speed during the first months and you will need bigger clothes fast.
Here is a list for your orientation;
8 – 10 onesies
8 – 10 sweatshirts
8 romper suits
8 pair of socks
2 – 4 little hats
2 jackets (depending on the season)
2 pair of gloves (in winter)
If you have a registry you might not only ask for the smallest size, as I said before, you'll need bigger sizes in no time.
Which babycare items should you prepare for your twins?
a place to change the baby (can be a changing table, but you can also adapt a dresser)
diapers, lots of them, if you plan to use disposable diapers, buy in bulk, if you want to use cloth diapers, you need around 30 of them for each, plus the covers
if you use cloth diapers you'll want a special bag or container to store used cloth diapers until they are washed. There are different options available
if you use disposable diapers a normal garbage bin with a tight closing lid will do (just empty it frequently...) or you might want to get a diaper pail, which will reduce ordor.
Wipes (again, buy bulk, you will need lots)
a rash cream
baby nail scissors
a digital thermometer to check your twins temperature
Giving your twins a bath
Do you need two bathtubs or two bath seats for your twins? Definitely not! You won't be able to give a bath to both of your babies at the same time anyway so you'll be fine with just one. I actually didn't buy a baby tub at all, I wanted to get one of these baby bucket things, but when I saw the price I changed my mind. I got a big red container, one of those you can use in the garden to carry plants when you are weeding. It was great as a bathtub, I didn't even need a bath seat. When they were two years old it doubled as a swimming pool and now we use it in the garden. I paid about 15 dollars for it, if I remember right.
You can get whatever you feel best about, of course, a baby bath tub, a special newborn tub, but you'll definitely only need one of them. You can get baby bath tubs for a few dollars second hand either online or at a garage sale.
When the babies are really small, you can bathe them in the sink without a problem, later on you can use the bath tub with a bath seat, this way you don't need a baby bath tub at all.
We live in a warm climate, but I still got a little portable electrical heater for the bathroom. My twins were small babies when they were born and couldn't maintain their body temperature very well. So I wanted the bathroom to be really warm when I gave them their bath.
What do you need for bathing time?
1 baby bath tub
baby lotion or oil
4 wash clothes
4 hooded baby towels
a thermometer to check the temperature of the water
1 electrical heater
Bedding for twins
We had a basinette at the attic from our older daughter and I was thinking about buying a second one – but I decided against it. Depending on its size, your babies can sleep in a basinette until they are six to nine months old. That is not very long. I used the one I had, in the beginning the twins even fitted in together – but just for about six weeks. We had it in the living room and it was perfect for their day-naps.
The first few months of their life my twins slept together in the crib we still had from our older daughter. They loved sleeping together, but when they were about three months old they started to Rdisturb each other. So we bought a second crib. I put in a lot of padding, because I didn't want my babies to feel lost, and took it out as they were wetting bigger.
Our twins slept in their cribs until they turned three, than we bought them normal sized beds.
So, if you feel like it and have the money to spare, you can buy basinettes, but they are definitely not mandatory. Our twins did just fine with their cribs.
I did had slumber sacks for them and really liked them. There is no way the babies can get cold and you can pick them up easily with the slumber sack.
Don't forget to buy sheets and waterproof mattress liners for the cribs! Here is the list for bedding items:
2 crib matresses (if they don't come with the crib)
2 pillows (can be bought later)
6 crib sheets
4 waterproof mattress liners
6 swaddle wraps (if you plan on swaddling)
There are lots of additional items you can buy for the room of your twins, like coordinated bedding, baby monitors (your pediatrician will tell you if your babies need them), musical mobiles, night lights... But remember: your babies don't need all these things!
Feeding the twins
Even if you plan on breastfeeding your twins exclusively for the first few months, I strongly recommend you get some bottlefeeding gear just in case. I had breastfed my older daughter and planed to do the same with the twins. But then things got difficult: I was fighting a mastitis and the babies were always hungry... I was breastfeeding, fighting with a milk pump and complementing with formula – and I was really glad I had bottles and everything else handy, because right after giving birth to twins you don't feel like going shopping, believe me!
I got a steam sterilizer as a present, and although I first thought, oh no, another thing that takes space in my kitchen, I soon got to love it! Sterilizing is much faster with a sterilizer and a lot less hard on the rubber nipples. It was a real time saver!
So here's the list:
a nursing pillow
nursing pads (reusable or disposable)
a milk pump
storage bags for milk
6 - 8 baby bottles with nipples (at least)
2 bottles for tea
formula (ask your midwife or your doctor for recommendations)
bottle cleaning brush
15 burb clothes
Leaving the house with your twins
Leaving the house with twins is an adventure, especially when they are very little and you didn't have much time yet to streamline processes... It is actually a good idea to have a routine when ypu go for a walk or for a trip to the mall. Otherwise a simple walk around the block can end up being a nerve wrecking experience, before you even left the house.
Prepare everything you need (diaper bag, bottles, your purse...). Then change the babies and get them dressed, put them into the stroller or the baby seats. As a last step put on your coat, otherwise you will need a shower by the time you are ready to leave the house...
Being able to leave the house is vital for stay at home twin moms or dads. Taking care of two babies at a time is very demanding and it is easy to lose social contacts. Try to find local baby groups and take your kids there. They will have a good time and you get the opportunity to talk to other adults!
You will need a good twin stroller. The stroller is not the item you should save money on – a twin stroller has to hold the weight of two children and needs to be sturdy and of good quality. I bought five twin strollers in the course of three years and it would have been a lot cheaper to get a good one in the first place. There is a variety of twin strollers on the marked, before deciding on a stroller, it is a good idea to analyze your needs and circumstances. Do you live in a big city or the country? Will you do a lot of trips with the car? Would you like a stroller that doubles as a jogger? Check out our twin stroller FAQ to get a better idea which stroller suits you best. Make sure to get a roomy diaper bag (self explanatory, I guess).
For trips with the car you need car seats for your twins. I bought mine second hand on Ebay, but when the twins were about two years old they got really ugly, because the covers were down to bare threads due to the necessity of frequent cleaning... New ones might hold out better.
It is a good idea to get three in one type baby seats, this way you won't have to buy new ones when your twins grow. Get sunshades for the windows as well, they are inexpensive and you won't have to fiddle with burp cloths jammed into the car windows.
Other useful baby stuff for twins
There are other items that aren't absolutely mandatory but can make your life as twins parents a lot easier.
I had bouncers for both of my twins and they were an absolute life saver! While I carried around my older daughter most of the day, that obviously wasn't possible with the twins. They loved being in the bouncers, because they could see me while I was cleaning and cooking, and I used it as well when I bottle fed them. Bouncers are easy to carry around, so I took them with me to the bathroom and had one of the twins in the bouncer, while I was giving a bath to the other one. You just have to be careful not to leave them too much time in the bouncers, because it is hard on their little spines.
I also had a baby phone, if your twins were born very small, you might want to get baby monitors as well. Ask your pediatrician if he thinks they are necessary. You might even be able to rent them.
I didn't have a baby scale, but my babies were both good eaters, so I wasn't really concerned about their weight. I had them weight once a week at a pharmacy or at our local clinic when they were really small and later on just when they had an appointment with the pediatrician. But again, if your babies are really tiny, it might be a good idea to get one, at least for the first few months. You might be able to rent one or buy it second hand.
If you live in cold or humid climate, get a dryer! You will have tons of laundry, and it can really drive you crazy if it doesn't get dry. A dryer an really be a time saver, because you don't have to hang the millions of tiny little jumpers and sweatshirts and socks to dry, and you will have a lot less of ironing to do.