(My) Must-Have Items for TwinfantsRebecca Woolf
Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked on several occasions what items are must-haves for the multiples mom-to-be. It took me a few weeks to round up my ABSOLUTE musts but here goes. Annnnnnnd GO:
Babytrend is the only one who makes a double “Snap n’ Go” and it’s awesome. The price is right, it’s super practical (lots of space under the seats, can fit through doorways) and it’s the only stroller we’re using right now. Our plan is to rock it for as long as the girls fit into their infant carseats, which brings me to:
As a super generous gift my Nana bought us the (above) carseat(s) for the twins and they’re amazing. By far the nicest infant seats I’ve seen. They’re actually PHYSICALLY attractive as well as being well designed and safe for babies 5lbs and up. (Reverie was exactly 5lbs when she was released from the NICU and she was able to safely come home in this seat.)
Contoured Changing Pad (Portable) (various prices)
I’ve been sleeping in the living room for the past five+ weeks since the babies came home from the hospital so every night, I set up shop in the dining room, prepare bottles, arrange the changing pad on the table, surround it with diapers, changes of clothes et al and get ready for my night of napping on the couch between feedings. (This way I don’t wake Hal and he can get a full night of sleep and work on a full brain.) I do realize the portable changing pad is kind of the only changing pad that exists so this is pretty much just a reminder to take full advantage of its portableness. No need for a changing table when you have a bed and/or furniture to plop a portable pad. Just make sure it’s of the contoured variety.
We heart Boppy Pillows. They’re ideal for mothers both nursing and not. (I nursed/pumped for the first six weeks and am now feeding solely with formula. More on that soon.) Boppy pillows are SO TOTALLY helpful for those with cluster-feeding twins. I know some twin mothers tandem nurse which is AMAZING. I, however, am not, so when both babies wake hungry at once and I’m alone I prop them both in the Boppy, bottle in each hand and rock. Without the Boppy, I don’t know how this would work. And having two is ideal for when friends and family, and/or nannies lend a hand. The girls also enjoy being propped in their Boppys on the couch while I work.
Baby Bjorn Bouncy Seat, $132
Without the Bjorn Bouncers I don’t know that I would ever have a hands-free moment. Swings are great, too (I don’t have a particular swing to recommend. They’re all basically the same?) but the Bjorn bouncers are extremely portable, super easy to clean and in use pretty much all day long. When we eat? Babies sit in their bouncers. When the kids are all home and I can’t carry babies on my person? Bouncer central. They’re actually seldom in their crib, even to nap. (They prefer napping in the Bouncer and I don’t blame them. It looks CRAZY comfortable in there, all canvas-y and awesome. Investing in TWO bouncy seats is a must and the Bjorns are by far my favorite. (They’re also fab for soothing fussy baby #1 while feeding hungry baby #2 . I can feed one baby and bounce the other with the tap of my feet and feel very accomplished indeed.)
Because I was pumping breast milk and supplementing with formula since day one, and my babies were in the NICU for two weeks, they bottle fed more than they nursed. (If your babies are in the NICU they will be fed with bottles in the beginning so the nurses can monitor their food intake.) Because of this, they preferred the Dr. Browns bottles to all of the other bottles we purchased. And because of the slow flow of the hospital nipples, even the standard infant nipple was too fast a flow for the girls. Most stores don’t carry the preemie nipples so you’ll have to order (or register for) them online.
Rented Breast Pump (see your hospital for deets)
With Fable a hand-pump sufficed but I needed a hospital-grade breast-pump this time around. Because my babies weren’t with me their first two weeks of life I pumped around the clock both in and out of the hospital and delivered breast milk to the NICU twice a day after I was released and my babies were not. Even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, if your babies are admitted to the NICU I highly recommend pumping where/what you can. It was the only way I felt connected to them when we couldn’t be together. In fact, waking up every three hours to pump was strangely gratifying those first two weeks they were in the hospital. That being said, because I didn’t know how long I’d be pumping, investing in a pump was unwise. By renting a pump from the hospital I knew that for as long as I’d be pumping I’d have a reliable device. We kept the pump for six weeks and returned it last weekend.
I have a Baby Bjorn carrier, too, which I love, but my Ergo is my go-to. It’s super easy to pack in my diaper bag, throw in my car and with the infant insert I was able to carry my babies as tiny infants. (Reverie is still using the infant insert. Boheme is not.) I have several carriers and the Ergo is the easiest to use and most comfortable. Highly recommended.
Soothie pacifier $3 each
Buy a thousand of these. They’re the best. The hospital turned me on to them and now they’re my BFF. Some parents don’t believe in pacifiers which is fine. But I’ll tell you what: Archer took a pacifier and Fable refused one from the get and Archer was able to sleep through the night at six weeks. (It took Fable over a year! Oy.) Bo and Rev both sleep with pacis and it makes a HUGE difference in my opinion. To all soon-to-be-mother of twins, I say embrace the pacifier. We need all the help we can get, yo.
Aden & Anais Swaddling Blankets $35
I bought two packs of these (eight swaddlers in total) and highly recommend them as a must-have. They double as nursing covers, stroller shades but most importantly are the BEST swaddling blankets on the market. I’m obsessed with them and carry two in my diaper bag and one for each baby (in their carseats/stroller) at all times.
Blooming Bath $40
The makers of Blooming Bath recently sent me (two) Blooming Baths to give a try (ed: you only need one as your babies will not be bathed together) and I fell in love. We bought the babies a standard plastic bathing tub and while Reverie was totally down for it, Boheme HATED it. She loved the Blooming Bath however as did Reverie. It’s a brilliant product created by dads and would make a perfect shower registry gift. BONUS: They’re also super fun in photo-shoots.
Coffee is going to be your very best friend for a while. You might want to invest in some high quality grounds and/or move next door to a coffee shop. Not joking. Getting out with the babies and walking even a few feet can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Every time I leave the house with both babies I give myself 789172891 high-fives. Anyway, coffee. Stock the hell up, friends.
HELP via friends, family and/or hired nannyhelper:
(my mom + Boppy + Aden & Anais swaddle blankets + Dr. Browns)
I realize that full-time help is not a luxury most of us have, that I have been INCREDIBLY lucky to have my mother here. Still, many of us have friends and/or family that have and will continue to offer to help. TAKE THEM UP ON THEIR OFFER FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY. My mom has been staying with us since the babies were born almost eight weeks ago. She’ll be here another week or two before returning home to San Diego leaving us to fend for ourselves as a family of six. And by “fend for ourselves” I mean fend with a full-time nanny. As a working parent I don’t have a choice in the matter but I highly recommend exploring your options regardless. If you can’t afford to hire someone, ask a friend, family member to come stay with you the first few weeks… If you have a baby registry? Registering for “help hours” is a great way to ask for help without feeling pushy. In conclusion: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. More than all of the above, having some extra help around the house is the biggest must of twin must-haves.
Any twin moms out there want to add to the list? Did I miss something? Please comment away with your recommendations! And to those expecting multiples, please feel free to post any/all questions in the comments. I was incredibly lucky to have so many awesome readers offer me advice and twinsight when I was pregnant and I’d like to return the favor. Godspeed, mamas!