Saturday, June 29, 2013

Got Twins? Help a Sista Out


So I thought I'd be ok. Figure out what I needed 2 of, figure out what can be shared, read through recommendations, and then I would be all set. Except with twins, it's not all easy-peasy-logical like that. Things don't fit all nice and neat into categories and some things cross over with twins that don't for parents of singletons. Plus, information specific to twins is a tad on the sparse side; unless you don't have a job, social life, or hobbies. All of which I do have  (yes - I am very aware a lot of that will change come this fall).

Price is an issue. We don't need the most expensive items, nor could we afford it. We don't get the luxury of handing things down to the next sibling. My ideas of a slightly fancy crib with all the ooh-la-la etchings of high-end, wood furniture has gone out the window with the new requirement of 2 simultaneous cribs.

That's not to say I want everything cheap and of suspect quality. Having had a child 21 years ago (oh-my-god just writing that), I am keenly aware that sometimes you have to spend money to save money. And then there are times where cheaper sometimes = less safe, not a description you want with your baby products.

Then there are space issues. Car trunk space issues. Bedroom space issues. Sitting on the couch but there isn't room for 2 things on the floor by the coffee table space issues. Arm space issues. The list goes on and on.

So what's a girl to do?

Instinctively, I reached for the book Baby Bargains (8th edition) a few months back when I was at a large consignment sale. This was at the beginning of the pregnancy and may have even been before we knew we had twins. The book was chocked full of good information, but I realized that it was an older edition and that several safety things had changed since it's 2009 publication. That lead me to purchase the kindle version of the latest edition. (DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, purchase the kindle edition. Hopefully I will remember to post the long list why later.) Suffice to say, that I realized that it, as well as other resources, was lacking in areas that would be important to parents of twins.

What sort of things? I'm glad you asked!!! (I'll even happier if someone has some answers!) Here are some examples from my over-active imagination:

  • Infant carrier car seats. Part of the consideration of these things is weight. While a 30lb carrier (not including baby weight) might be ok to manage going up the stairs to my front door, 2 of these things would not be. Do I just go for the convertible car seats that accommodate infants? The biggest complaint of these (for infants) is that baby wakes up when you remove them (since you can't take the entire thing out each time), but honestly I don't think I'll be able to carry two of the infant car seats every time I leave my car sans hubby. As much as I'd like to see my jiggly arms tone up, I suspect this may not be the best plan. 
  • On that note: what about strollers? Do I go for the strollers that fit the infant car seats or has my previous concern just eliminate them? Side-by-side strollers or front back? Front back facing or non-facing. Which is going to fit better in our car trunks? I know one of us will eventually have to upgrade to a bigger vehicle (please let it be hubby, please let it be hubby), but considering my car was bought in 2010 and hubby's was bought last year - that ain't happening soon. (All those pesky IVF/Surro expenses and son's college expenses.)
  • What about carriers? I grabbed some groovy sling/wrap/boho-whatever-you-call-them at a consignment sale, but I'm guessing that after a few months we will need something a bit sturdier that won't kill my back. I'm only 5'3 and 115lbs. (Ok fine - 123 lbs, but I will get back to my pre-IVF weight soon. Whatever.) What carriers work well when carrying two??? Or do you need one for front and one for back? In that case, what one is safe on your back?
  • Bouncers. Do I need to worry about the elevated head sleep thing for twins? I hear it's common. I've already fallen in love with this ghastly, overpriced Babybjorn Babysitter bouncer that I'm fairly certain we HAVE TO HAVE. Have found a possible used connection for one, but I have no idea how well these things handle up over time. If need be, this will probably be my splurge item. I'm obsessed with them. 

If you are a parent of twins - what were your MUST HAVE items? How many sheets is a good number to have? (Just popped in my head.) How did you address the issues above? What am I forgetting?

HELP A SISTA OUT. I'm beginning to bug out. OK FINE. Bug out more than normal. OK FINE. I never really was normal. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? 
P.S. Please help. 


  1. I have no advice, but wanted to wish you good luck!! xo

  2. As the daddy of 6 month old twins, i'll try to help a sista and fellow Atlantan out!
    - Car Seats. I got 2 convertible car seats and they worked out fine. I didn't want to have to purchase new car seats when they got too big for the old ones. I tried to economize on things like this. If I could by just one of something without having to replace it down the line, I did. I haven't really had any issue with them waking up when we take them out. I mean they do sometimes but it's not a big deal.
    - Strollers. I admit, we splurged on this. I like walking and do plenty of it with the babies so it was important to me not to have a crap stroller. Make sure you check the wheels of whatever you buy - crappy wheels can be a real pain if they get messed up 3 months down the line. I got a front/back as I thought it would easier to maneuver in tight spaces - like stores etc. It is but it's also a little more difficult to turn but we're guys and don't have a real problem with this. I got the City Select Baby Jogger.
    - Carriers. I'm not a huge fan of these but we have Baby Bjorn carriers that they have almost grown out of - or weigh too much for my back. I doubt you will be able to carry 2 at once. My partner sometimes wears one and I the other but now I prefer the stroller if we go out.
    -Bouncers. I looked for stuff like this on Craigs list and found great deals. Mine ended up liking the baby swings better.

    Also, my other splurge item were the cribs. I bought the convertible cribs for both along with the attachments that let you turn them into regular beds. I figured down the road if we can use them as regular beds we would be saving $ by not having to buy an entire new bedroom suite. I have 3 sets of sheets for each crib but you could get away with 2. Sometimes you can find them on sale at Ross or Marshalls in the baby section. One thing I'm glad I bought - and got dirt cheap on Craigs list - was a diaper changing table. You don't realize how many diapers you'll go through! One other thing - Clothes... people told me and it kinda went in one ear and out the other... but don't go nuts buying the newborn clothes. I wish I would've listened. I'd go in baby stores and see all these fabulous outfits and I couldn't help myself. Turns out the only thing they wore for the first few months was onesies. All the little dresses and outfits were useless and ended up almost never being worn. I hate getting rid of these clothes because they new, expensive and adorable and were NEVER worn. Just a few simple onesies will definitely suffice for the newborn stage.

    Sorry I wrote a book. Hope this helps. Now I have to get back to making baby food!

    1. OMG - What a huge help you are! This helps sooooooo much. THANK you THANK you THANK you. (P.S. I LOVE when people write books!)

      Are you in Atlanta now or still in FL?

    2. Ryan and Ruben, if you are in FL, where do you reside? We live in WPB.

    3. I live in FL now but the family is still in Atlanta. Rock and Ledge - we live West Pal also!! We haven't met any other dads up here - mostly down in Ft. laud. or Miami. We are in Flamingo Park - by City Place. Where do you live? Drop me an e-mail:

    4. Please contact me if you have any questions - I'd be glad to help! Best of luck to you!!!

    5. Thank you so much!!!
      I grew up in south FL and loved WPB!!! Live in Decatur now. Let me know if you guys are ever up this way.

  3. Hello. I agree that infant carseats are too unwieldy if you have to go up steps to get to your home. If you are skipping the infant carseats, may I suggest the Combi double stroller? It is under $200, folds pretty compact and light, and the seats recline to flat if the babies are sleeping. The seat bottom even folds up to attach to the handlebar to approximate infant baby buggies where the twins can lie down flat. We got the most mileage out of the two single versions for our now 6 year old twins, and bought the double version for our expected second set (yes, crazy) when we saw that it is now available.

  4. I have some other thoughts on twin shopping and twin raising in general posted on my blog if you are interested. Sorry for the self promotion.

    1. Self blog promotion in this case is greatly encouraged!!! I'm sure I'm not the only one that needs help. :-)

  5. I don't have twins, or infact kids at all (yet); but a close friend just went through buying a new double pram. She said something that now seems pretty obvious, side by side prams have trouble fitting through door ways. I can't imagine the hassle that could cause!
    Hope you find the answers to all tour questions.

    1. Thanks! We found 1 luxury one that fits through doors (BOB), but it's pretty pricey. Just saw a couple using it and stopped them to ask a bunch of questions. LOL.

    2. I loved my bob in NYC with an infant and a toddler but its a pain to fold and put in the car.
      ( we dont fold them often in NYC )

  6. NYC is home to small places and twins and triplets. Before I became infertile my first 2 children were close together and many friends had multiples. So ill pass along a few tips as a mom and thing s I've heard about about twins.

    First infant car seats are a must with a snap and go frame. I got my money's worth of sleeping out of the car seat alone to make them a necessity - I used them for a full year with both babies and they slept thousands of hours in those seats- babies are often more comfortable sleeping elevated. I can't tell you how many times I've strolled a newborn in the snap in go to sleep in the middle of the night just not get 2-3 hours of sleep ( never felt comfortable with a sleeping baby in the swing as a newborn while I slept) but it is heaven wheeling the snap and go right beside my bed. By the time time the babies are 6months you'll be able to carry 2 car seats no problem with a diaper bag on one arm and keys in your hand . ( I quickly learned to carry a sleeping toddler and a car seat and a diaper bag with out waking up either - NYC taxis don't wait for anything)

    I'd buy one nice bouncy, one fisher price cradle swing and one floor mat to entertain them with. ( again you can use the infant car seats all around the house. ( generally used mine in the kitchen ).

    I am a minimalist by nature and this is what I found helpful

    Buy new born clothing in mostly white or unisex colors - swap between what is clean.
    Buy all white under shirts and socks ( by 20 pairs of the same newborn socks - you'll have a match when you loose them)
    Buy pink and blue hats and 2-3 gender outfits
    I loved white gowns for night time - quick with diaper changes.
    Buy 8 oz bottles - skip the small sizes
    If you can afford it buy ready to feed formula bottles for the first month - nothing to wash and sterilize ( esp helpful with twins at night)
    Use cloth diaper as burp clothes and bibs - 2 dozen with twins.
    Bibs are a pain with new borns but helpful when teething ( but necessary if you have a spitter - so grab a few)
    Use regular towels - infants are not needed.
    But white hand gloves in stead of wash clothes - babies are slippery - or just use your fingers.
    Downloads free infant music and a sleep machine for while noise and heart beat ( don't buy the silly bear)
    Ikea makes nice , cheap, safe cribs - I would not use a used one. Most have been recalled bc of dropped side rails.
    2 infant mobiles ( best 20 min break!)
    1-2 boppy pillows - great for,feeding twins and you will quickly teach them to hold there bottles)
    Infants bath tub or bath sling
    1 pack and play with bassinet and changing station - esp if you have 2 levels.

    I agree about not buying too many newborn clothes but twins are usually small so I'd buy 10 newborn unisex outfits ( I'd buy all white , yellow or printed pastel ) and 4 night gown. That will last you 3-4 day without washing and they will wear them 2 months if your lucky.

    That's all I can thin of right now -
    Best of luck - sounds very exciting.

    1. Baby Trend and Joovy make double snap and go frames of you decide to do infant carpets after all

  7. I'm going to cheat - get this and read cover to cover: Juggling Twins: The Best Tips, Tricks, and Strategies from Pregnancy to the Toddler Years (Paperback)
    Meghan Regan-Loomis. Not only does it go into what to get, it talks about how to cope - and do fun (?) stuff like feed two at once.

    Bouncy chair thingies - my favourite is still the Fisher Price baby to toddler chair as you can use it from birth to around 20kgs (so four or so years old). Sheets - have extra of the fitted variety and contemplate having multiple and always use a good mattress protector. Onesies - used them just about exclusively for the first year. Pram / pusher - something you can fold with one arm.

    Best tip I can give you though is to print out a schedule so you know when you last feed bubs (and which one), plus nappy changes etc. Happy to email you ours if you'd like.

    [and you think they're costing you a lot now - wait until you have to start buying three of the same thing as one bubs ends up with two (ie one in each hand) and the other has none)]

    1. That would be so great if you could mail me yours -thanks!

      My hubby already has that book. I'm just (in)patiently waiting for him to finish it. LOL.

  8. Welcome to the world of twins! Ours our 4 months old and growing like weeds!!! We also have a 13 year old and an 11 year old so it was sort of starting over for us too ;-) Although I will have to say the twins are much easier to handle than the 13 year old (who thinks he is going on 20).

    We couldn't go crazy on the baby stuff too! Between the cost of surrogacy and then feeding a teenager we are on a budget. We got our cribs from All Modern online. They are clean and simple and modern and inexpensive (which was what I was going for in the nursery). It is a small room that is made even smaller by two cribs. I splurged on the rocker because lets face it - I'm not getting any younger and neither is my back. I put closet organizers in and that cut down the need for bureaus - I have a small one that we use as a changing table but it stores diapers and burp clothes and will one day go away when the babies get older. The closet organizer was a lifesaver because everything fits in and is organized for a quick grab when I need to get to it.

    I splurged on the stroller and asked for it as a gift. We got the Bugaboo twin and I love it but it is a pain in the hinny to open and close and tight going through doors. We bought a used MacLaren on Craigslist and the little buggers love it. It folds up flat and weighs almost nothing. We also got high chairs on Craigslist (matching ones from different sellers). They look brand new! My husband has become a Craigslist gold shopper! Baby Bjorn's for both of us (which I totally recommend).

    We got the infant car seats from a friend - I probably would not have got them if I was buying them myself - I would have just gotten an convertible car seat. Although I have to say that the joy of having them both fall asleep together and stay that way when I bring them into the house is magical!! Plus it is nice to have them for when we go to visit people they don't have to sleep in the stroller or on someone's floor. Which ever you get keep in mind they have to be rear facing for two years now - when my kids were little it was one year and I had no clue it had changed until recently.

    We got swings from a friend and I totally recommend getting them. I feed both at the same time and they eat in those swings. Now I can prop bottles up and let them self feed while I eat or do dishes or fold clothes or make dinner (you get the idea). The swings are low to the ground and were from target. Henry loves the vibration and it puts him to sleep when he gets fussy.

    I totally agree with the person above who said to get the larger bottle instead of the smaller ones. We started off with Tommy Tippy but the nipples where to big for them. We switched to the Born Free and I ended up getting a lot of little bottles which we are about to trash. They don't hold enough formula for the boys. For the first month the ready made bottle are the best! Only wash the nipple and the hold the perfect amount.

    1. Part two ------>

      Do you have a Wegman's where you are? They have the best price on formula (at least from where we are). They beat out and even Toys R Us. They babies can't do the powdered stuff so we have to buy the Premium Ready Made formula. I also joined the Similac Club and get coupons out the wazoo! $5 dollar rebates every few weeks. We sent in the paperwork for the Similac Multiples Club and got a two cartons with 8 bottles of ready made formula in each - for free!! Toys R Us has a club called the VIB - it is a card that you load with $ and you buy formula, diapers, wipes, baby food and they give you 10% back on purchases which they load onto the card. Sorry I'm not pushing any retailer but these are the fun things I have found out so I thought I would share. It is actually becoming quite fun to see how much I can save with all my little "deals" - I was never a saver before (my husband is actually loving this side of me ;-)

      Also like Tigerlillycat suggested - a written schedule of when you feed - the first few weeks are quite a blur and everything starts to get fuzzy with no sleep it helps to know when one fed and how much they had. The doctor will also quiz you on that so be ready. Mine made fun of my math skills - but thats okay I made fun of his memory since he kept calling one twin Austin when his name is Angus!!

      Good Luck!!

      Sorry for the two parter but my post was apparently two long for one post ; )

  9. I'm taking in any and all suggestions from you and everyone else!


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