What to know about buying for Twins
Aug 31, 2001 (Updated Sep 2, 2001)
Popular Products in Building SuppliesThe Bottom Line It's nice to have two of everything, but twins can share some items.
When I found out that I was pregnant last fall, I thought we were pretty much set as far as baby equipment since we had acquired pretty much all of the basics when our toddler was a baby.
Then when I was eight weeks along, my husband and I went for a routine ultrasound, and found out that we were unexpectedly expecting not one, but two bundles of joy. Once I recovered from my initial shock, I realized that we were back to basics as far as baby equipment.
I looked around in the baby stores and online, and was unable to find a list of necessities for twins. Now that my babies are almost 4 months old, I feel qualified to make some suggestions.
Here are the items that I have found to be essential for my twins.
Amount Needed: 1 to start, 2 later on
Many newborn twins are comfortable sharing a crib. After all, they were in close quarters before they were born, so two in a crib is an improvement. I tried this for a few days, but found that I needed to make sure the babies were on opposite ends, because they would both backstroke over to the middle and start hitting each other.
Amount needed: 1, 2 if multi-level house
We didn't have a bassinet when my oldest daughter was born, and didn't consider this to be an absolutely necessary item. Before the twins were born, but my cousin whose twins are 6 months older gave us a hand-me-down (actually he offered us two, but we have no room for a second bassinet in our apartment.) We kept our bassinet in the dining room and would put the babies in there during mealtimes. Had we accepted the second bassinet, it would have gone in the master bedroom so I could cut down on middle of the night trips between my bed and the twins' cribs.
Amount Needed: At least 1
At the moment, we have two portable play yards. One is a hand-me-down that isn't in the greatest condition. The other is new and has a changing table attachment. We take the two play yards with us when we travel to avoid hotel cribs. I am considering buying 2 more, one to keep at the home of each set of grandparents.
Safety Note: If you are going to buy a used play yard or accept a hand-me-down, it is CRUCIAL to make sure that it has not been recalled... babies have died in unsafe play yards.
Amount Needed: At least 2
Unless you live in New York City and either walk or take subways and buses everywhere (including home from the hospital after the babies are born) there is no way to get around having car seats. The infant carrier style car seats are convenient since sleeping babies can be removed from the car easily; however, many babies outgrow this type of seat quickly.
Amount Needed: 1
There are two basic styles of twin stroller--side by side and tandem. Side by side strollers allow the babies to interact with one another; however, some models don't fit well through doorways and store aisles. Tandem strollers can be heavy, but are narrower. There are currently two tandem strollers that can hold two infant carrier car seats--Graco's DuoGlider (holds Graco car seats only)and one model of Baby Trend's Caravan Lite. I have heard that Peg Perego will also have a tandem stroller with this capability in 2002.
Amount Needed: 1
There are many types of carriers available: slings, front-packs, backpacks, and twin carriers. I have heard of people carrying twin infants in crisscrossed slings, but have never actually seen anyone doing this. I have a MaxiMom carrier which can be positioned in many ways including as a front pack or backpack, but as my babies get heavier, I find myself putting one baby in a Baby Bjorn carrier and carrying the other on my hip.
Amount Needed: 1
Swings are a great place to put babies, particularly fussy babies who refuse to nap. Unless your babies will only sleep in the swing, they can take turns.
Amount Needed: 1,
A standard bouncy seat will usually do. I recommend buying one that vibrates and has a toy bar. There is a two or three seater bouncy chair made for twins or triplets available at www.morethan1.com, but in my opinion, for the same money, babies would enjoy being in separate bouncy seats and face each other rather than sit in a row.
Amount Needed: 2
For quick cleaning, look for high chairs with few ridges and grooves in the tray and seat pad. If space at the table is an issue, consider using booster seats instead.
There are two pregnancy and parenting books that I have found truly helpful. The first is Twins! Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year of Life by Connie L. Agnew, Alan H. Klein and Jill Alison Ganon, which discusses multiple pregnancies month by month as well as child development. The second is Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More by Karen Kerkhoff Gromada which has the best information I have found on breastfeeding twins.
I also recommend Twinnies by Eve Bunting. This children's book is written from the point of view of an older sister who is getting used to her twin baby sisters. This was enormously helpful for preparing my older daughter for the birth of our twins.
A Final Recommendation:
Since you will have duplicates of so many items, it is cheaper to buy multipurpose equipment. This includes swings that convert to high chairs, bouncy seats that become toddler rocking chairs, and cribs that convert to toddler daybeds.