A guide to shopping for twins
Multiples’ expert, Shannon O’Reilly-Fearn shares her invaluable tips on preparing for twins.
As you venture into the wonderful world of twin parenthood you are now in the depths of buying for two! It doesn’t matter whether you’re expecting your twins or if they’ve recently arrived, buying for them will likely either fill you with happiness – the endless style options and colour combinations – or just plain and simple stress. Either way, you need to focus on what’s important – and that’s not the “you-need-two-of-everything” advice that’s likely to be imparted by non-parents of multiples. You need to consider quality vs. quantity; investments vs. frivolous buys. Use the tips below as your master guide – and then apply your own parenting flavor: you’ll have more confidence to spend as you wish!
This is the MOST IMPORTANT piece of all parenting product purchases. I can’t stress enough the need to take your time and consider this purchase or you will end up with 3, 4 or even 5 strollers before you find ‘the one’. And by ‘the one’, I mean the stroller that you love – the lifeboat to help you escape the house. It’s virtually your everything… for at least 3 years. First step: measure your doorways and the trunk of your car, then refine your options according to their dimensions. If it doesn’t fit, let it go. There are many wonderful twin options like the Bumbleride Indie Twin and Bugaboo Donkey Twin for side-by-side style.
Once you have chosen your stroller (and, yes, you read that correctly, we chose our stroller first), the next purchase should be your car seats. Selecting car seats should be based on compatibility with that stroller. Having car seats that fit directly onto the chassis will create an easy-to-get-out-and-about travel system for twins. You can’t go wrong with Cybex Aton Q and Maxi-Cosi as both are renowned brands that fit on most twin strollers with the correct adaptors. Later on, at around 18 months, you can look at the convertible carseats. Clek are one of the slimmest on the market, which, in most cars, will allow you three across the back or a middle seat free (for smaller passengers). It’ll also allow you to dream about baby no.3 without the dreaded need for a mini-van!
Now that you can get out of the house, let’s talk about when the babies are blissfuly sleeping. Revised recently, the AAP guidelines now recommend that parents have infants in their bedroom with them for a minimum 6 months. So, we are talking about two sleeping arrangements you need to decide on: the short-term and long-term solution. Bassinets plus accompanying stands, such as these Moba baskets, are an easy and fuss-free solution. Because they take up less space whilst being portable, having two of these (one baby per bassinet please) means your bedroom won’t look like a baby store. Then have two cribs in the nursery ready for the transition. When choosing your style of crib think longevity; these will transition to the twins’ toddler beds so assess what will grow with the babies and how they’ll work aesthetically with a restyled bedroom in the future.
Make sure you have at least two sets of sheets and one mattress protector for each of your bassinets and crib mattresses. Spills from mouth and bottom unfortunately are inevitable! Be prepared and embrace them. Whether you chose traditional swaddling for your babies – e.g. Little Unicorn – or use a sleep sack – e.g. Woombie or from Halo – remember babies grow fast! Look for weather-appropriate fabric and pop them on your registry as gifts. These are in the top 5 most-popular registry gifts for twin parents!
Twins feed a lot in the first year. Sometimes you will feel as though they haven’t stopped eating All. Day. Long. Regardless of your breastfeeding plan, we always recommend Mommy takes at least one shift off the breast to allow your partner to do one bottle feed. Quality, technology-driven bottles make for an easier feeding session. Babies with reflux and/or colic need bottles that reduce unwanted air-intake and bottles such as Comotomo or Mimijumi do this, they are designed to mimic the breast and are made of are 100% safe materials. Prefer a glass bottle? Consider Natursutten or Life Factory, although note also that these can become heavy for little hands to hold when they reach this maturity stage. Start with purchasing approximately 4 bottles per infant and wait until the babies tell you if they love them. Despite my best advice there’s still going to be an element of trial and error unfortunately!
When feeding, you can’t have enough burp cloths and bibs. When you introduce solids, bucket bibs such as those from Make my Day catch the spills and look too cute to resist. Which brings us to highchairs – something a lot of parents don’t even think about until further down the line – but which can in fact be amazingly useful for infant Twins. The Mima for instance can be used initially as a newborn lounger then when you are ready, at 6 months+, a highchair. Two of these in your living/dining area give you somewhere safe to place the babies whilst simultaneously looking fabulous!
The key to playtime for twins is having options. What you don’t want is to have two of the same item, as it’s more optimal to be able to change it up. Putting one baby in a swing whilst one is on the play mat will allow you to assess each baby’s preference. Once you’ve determined, then you can jump back onto thetot.com and buy that second Nuna leaf. A winning combination I’ve found is an activity arch such as the Finn and Emma play gym placed over the Nook Lilypad Playmat.
Newborns are believed to only see black and white for the first few months so the Wee Gallery art cards are a great attention grabber for babies – whilst you’ll adore their reactions to the shapes. As the babies get older, Green Toys have simple puzzles with numerous pieces that the babies can play with side-by-side. If you buy single toys it’s a guaranteed argument waiting to happen… #twinparenthood.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with quantity; do your research as to what will fit in with your current lifestyle. If you have a house that is minimalist, you can select items for the Twins in the same vain. If you have a house that is filled with the latest technology then you will love seeing all the advancements in baby gear. Just take the time to look at what the materials and components are of your selected gear because at the end of the day, happy and healthy babies makes for a happy family.