preparing twins

Double the Stuff What You Really Need to Prepare for Twins

We gave detailed information about what you should pay attention while preparing for twins. Let’s overcome the problems in this period together.

Walk the aisles of your local baby superstore and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the task (and cost!) of stocking a nursery – even when you’re expecting only one baby. When twins are on the way, the thought of buying two of everything can be doubly daunting. True, you’ll need more gear with two, but not as much as you might expect.

What gadgets and baby items do you really need? What can you forego? In the paragraphs ahead, early childhood experts and parents of twins offer advice on what to buy, what to borrow and what to do without. They also share their secrets about which items are absolute essentials for making life easier with twins.

You should see our other articles and categories to learn the things you wonder.

Two of Everything

You don’t need two of everything, says Elizabeth Lyons, a mother of twins in Plainfield, Ill., and author of Ready or Not … Here We Come! The REAL Experts’ Cannot-Live-Without Guide to the First Year with Twins. “The only things you will definitely need two of are car seats, cribs (ultimately, at least), high chairs and bouncy seats,” says Lyons. “You will also need a double stroller. As for the other pieces of equipment, whether you will end up needing two of each will depend on how much both your babies enjoy and request each apparatus (and how much space you have to store them!).”

Fortunately, there are several things you won’t need to double-up on. Clothes and toys fall into this category. Also, many parents of twins say two swings, play gyms, stationary entertainers and play yards aren’t necessary, but they’re nice to have if you get a second one as a gift or can borrow one from a friend.

“As a general rule, twins require about one and a half times the clothing that a singleton would,” says Rebecca Moskwinski, mother of twins, editor of Twins to Quints: The Complete Manual for Parents of Multiple Birth Children.

Not every outfit for twins needs to be a duplicate. It’s the same with toys, says Justin Powell, a father of twins in New York City. Whenever his sons received two identical toys as gifts, he immediately returned one and replaced it with a different toy. It gave the boys more variety and a chance to learn about sharing early on.

What about your ideas? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

Essential Ones

Sure, twins may require extra gear, but you’ll find there are a few gadgets you absolutely won’t be able to live without. Here are some favorites and how they helped other parents of twins keep their sanity that first year:

  • Carrier – “This is how I manage both boys by myself on trips to the grocery store … one rides in his car seat, and the other one rides in the carrier, which actually leaves room for the groceries,” says Shelly Frank, a mother of twins in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Backpack Diaper Bag – “It’s hands-free, won’t bang against your hip and/or awkwardly hang from (and then fall off) your shoulder as you push your Cadillac-size stroller,” says Lyons.
  • Nursing Pillow/Bottle Props – “You may not think to purchase either of these, but nearly all of us end up with one to make breastfeeding or bottle-feeding more comfortable,” says Lyons. “As the babies get larger, the pillows can help them sit up … or support the babies as they lie on their stomachs, which helps them gain neck strength.”
  • Bouncy Seats – “We actually had four – two upstairs and two in the family room,” says Ora Barnes, a mother of twins, who avoided toting two seats up a flight of stairs every time she wanted to take a shower or fold laundry.
  • Diaper Pail That Seals Diapers – “Twins generate a lot of poop, so you need one of these,” says Powell. “A traditional diaper pail will stink too badly too quickly.” Also, check our another article about choosing diaper for your baby : The Diapering Dilemma Cloth vs Disposable
  • Double Convertible Stroller – “You have to have the kind with the click-in infant car seats,” says Frank. “It makes life so easy when you don’t have to transfer two babies from car seat to stroller all the time.”

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Secondary Requirements

It may come as a surprise that some of your baby gear won’t ever make it beyond that first-time trial, and some won’t even come out of the box. These are a few things other parents found they didn’t really need:

  • Changing Table – “You’re changing the babies so many times that you really need the convenience of changing them wherever you are,” says Sonya Willis, a mother of twins in Pittsburgh, Penn. “Instead of a table, set up changing stations (waterproof pad, wipes and container of fresh diapers) all around the house.”
  • Infant Bath Tub – “These are convenient, but bathing can easily be done in the sink,” says Moskwinski.
  • Breast Pump – “I really thought I would need this, but after breastfeeding two babies, there really isn’t anything left to pump,” says Frank. “It already seems like all I do is feed the boys. Who wants to sit around for another 30 minutes pumping?”

To learn about breastfeeding twins : Breastfeeding Twins – Educating Yourself

What Can Wait

Keep in mind that you won’t need every piece of gear the first week after returning home from the hospital. The babies won’t use a high chair until they can sit up by themselves, usually around 6 months. And two newborns can share one crib until they reach about 3 months.

So it is possible to pace your spending when stocking your nursery. Get creative about trimming costs, too. Borrow from friends when you can, ask stores about multiple discounts and check for used gear at yard sales – especially those given by parents of multiples clubs, suggests Moskwinski.

Our articles are prepared to give advice. Always consult your doctor first for any problems and exact information.

The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons and to protect privacy.