When I found out we were expecting twins I didn’t have a clue what I would need in regards to baby bits. Even though I’d given birth to Immy just 12 months before I found out we were expecting again, it all seemed like a distant memory and to be honest, a bit of a minefield.
Where would they sleep? How would I get anywhere with twin babies and a toddler? At that point Immy wasn’t even walking herself (thankfully she learnt 4 months before they arrived). How would I feed them? What size clothes do I need? Surely they will be born early…
The truth is, you kind of find your way, winging it and taking advice from other twin mums. So I thought I would write a short blog for any parents expecting twins, all about my personal thoughts on newborn twin must-haves.
The first thing that entered my head was where will they sleep? Immy slept in a Chicco Next2Me crib and I absolutely loved it as it was so convenient for the night time feeds, and seemed really spacious in comparison to its competitors. I started the twins off sleeping together in the Chicco Next2Me and it worked really well. They were in it for around 9 weeks before I separated them into two individual Next2Me cribs. They could have stayed together in one for a while longer, but I found that Tabby and Wilf didn’t enjoy sleeping next to each other and preferred their own space. I’ve heard a lot of twins find comfort in sleeping close to their sibling, but that wasn’t the case for mine.
We used a travel cot downstairs for them to sleep in during the day. I found the COSTWAY Baby Cot worked well for us, as you can raise the bed up for easy access to the twins, and it doesn’t take up as much space as two bassinets.
Something I found to be really helpful in the early days was having two swing chairs. We have the Mothercare Ingenuity swings and they have been lifesavers for keeping the twins safe from their rambunctious sister, for napping in and for keeping them contained while I do a few jobs around the house. Most things you can get away with having one of, but for swing chairs I found two a must. They still sit in them now sometimes, but I think their shelf life is almost over.
They now prefer to jump in their Munchkin Bounce and Play door bouncers. It’s so cute watching them bounce and chatter away to each other.
When it comes to buying them clothes for the first few months I would highly recommend baby grows with zips or poppers instead of outfits. Outfits are so adorable but the amount of times you have to change them after a poonami, the fidgety little buttons on clothes soon become your worst nightmare. Easy to do up baby grows and rompers are definitely the way forwards, and are a lot cheaper too.
When it comes to bath time I would highly recommend the Angelcare Soft Touch bath seats as you can bath them both at the same time. There are some great bucket seats out there too, and we had one of those for Immy, but I found the Angelcare ones felt safer when managing two babies at bath time.
A playmat was a great idea in the early days too as it kept the twins entertained. We had the Disney Mr Ray play mat which I loved as it had songs and a light show too.
An item that has been recommended to me a few times is a playpen to keep the twins safe whilst I get things done around the house. I personally haven’t bought one and only because we don’t have much room in our house for one. It would take up most of the living room so we would all have to sit in the playpen, but I can see how it would be really beneficial especially now the twins are at the stage where they are into everything.
When it came to feeding the twins I had no idea what I was going to do. Immy was exclusively breastfed until just after she was one, but I thought it wouldn’t be possible with twins. I found a really great Breastfeeding twins support group on Facebook that gave so much advice on breastfeeding twins and multiples so I thought I would give it a go. I ended up exclusively breastfeeding them for 6 and a half months, and now I am combination feeding them. I definitely think that being in lockdown for most of their early life helped me to continue to feed them myself, as we had nowhere to go. Now that the twins have a couple of bottles a day, I find the Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine a lifesaver as it makes the bottles up in no time. We use MAM bottles which have been great as they self sterilise which saves so much time.
A twin breastfeeding pillow is a great tool for twins whether you breastfeed them or not. I had the FYLO Twin nursing pillow and although I didn’t end up using it to feed them (I found stacking cushions up better for me), it was great to lie them in and to prop them up. If you bottle feed in the early days you can lie them in the pillow so that you can feed them both at once.
Another tip I found pivotal was to feed them at the same time. I don’t necessarily mean at exactly the same time, although if you can then even better. But at least one after the other, especially in the night. Those first few months can feel like a never ending cycle of feeding, burping, changing, and getting them back to sleep. I would wake whichever twin didn’t wake in the night to feed them at the same time, as I would have been up all night if I was to let them wake whenever they wanted to. They soon learnt to be in sync and in turn you get a bit more sleep.
Dummies were also recommended to me as something to keep one twin occupied whilst feeding the other, so that you don’t have a screaming baby on your hands. They worked for us for a week or so but Immy decided that it was far too fun to pop them in and out of the twins mouths, so they soon started to reject them.
When it comes to food and weaning, one piece of advice I have is to use one bowl and one spoon as it really saves on the washing up. This was a tip my health visitor gave me and it’s saved me so much time. I also didn’t prepare much homemade food in the early weaning days. I made amazing recipes from What Mummy Makes after those first few weeks, but to start with I used Ellas Kitchen fruit pouches. With Immy I made all of the fruit and vegetable purees from scratch but with the three of them I just didn’t find the time, and you know what, that’s fine! I did feel a bit guilty initially but then I thought these pouches are so good nowadays and have no added nastiness that I need to give myself a break and not feel bad about buying them. It is definitely more cost effective to make your own, don’t get me wrong. Trying not to beat yourself up is what I quickly learnt when I became a twin mum.
In regards to getting out and about, we have the Silver Cross Wave and the Britax Romer B-Agile double. We got the Silver Cross when Immy was a baby and decided to get a tandem as we had planned on having 2 children close together, so thought it would be perfect for Immy plus one. Little did we know we would get two more babies at once! We decided not to buy another chair for it as it worked out to be quite expensive, but it has been a lifesaver for quick trips out as you can attach the car seats to it, saving you getting 2 babies out of car seats and into a pushchair. It’s compatible with lots of different brands of car seat as it has adapters – we have the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus with ISOFIX.
The Britax has been amazing and is by far the twins favourite place to nap. It’s really comfy, folds down relatively small, and fits through most doors, which was an initial worry I had about a side by side pushchair.
A carrier or sling is also a great idea as I found that if one of them started to get upset when we were out and about I could pop them in the carrier and still have hands free to push the pram and have a hand free for Immy. We have the Ergobaby carrier.
One thing that I did worry about with having twins and a toddler was how we were going to fit them in the car. They are all still at the age where they need to be in car seats, and we have 2 dogs who come with us on days out and to visit family. There are a lot of cars out there, but we specifically wanted one that would fit 3 seats across the back seat. We ended up going for the Volvo XC90 and I absolutely love it!
Sticking to a schedule is one piece of advice that I was given and it has helped so much. The twins generally eat and sleep at the same time every day, and they are both in sync which means I’m not feeding and trying to get them to sleep at different times. We haven’t been so good at the whole nap situation recently as we have been out a bit more, so they are napping on the go; but it was something we were willing to let slide after months of being in different variations of lockdown.
My last piece of advice is to connect with other twin mums through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or online forums. I’m lucky enough to know quite a few twin mums from before any of us had twins, but it’s also been amazing to connect with twin mums on Instagram too. Having twins really is a whole different ball game to having a singleton, and finding support from mums and dads who have been through it too has been so valuable.
The twins are now 10 months old and things are easier in ways but more challenging in other ways, now they are on the move. I hope this has been useful to any twin parents to be. If anybody is reading this who has older twins, perhaps you can give me some advice or hacks for the later years in the comments section below.