I distinctly remember the moment we found out we were having twins. Hardly surprising really, I mean it’s not something you forget.
The ultrasound tech must’ve only had the wand on my stomach for two seconds before she whipped it away and said “just at a glance, you’re having twins,” casual AF. No big deal to her, but a really huge deal to us.
My head immediately exploded and when the pieces of my brain found their way back together, my first thoughts were of the practicalities. I was lying there with my belly all jellied up, a stranger looking at my insides on a screen, and all I could think about was how we didn’t have enough of anything.
We’d need two carseats, another cot, highchair, bouncinette and portacot. How would we fit all three kids, their carseats and a double pram in the car? (Spoiler alert, we couldn’t – had to get a minivan which is really cool, everyone is very jealous of my really cool car)
The stressing about logistics continues to this day, but now that I’m a few years deep in this twin business, I thought I might share some of the products I rate for Twin-Life. These are definitely not essentials, just some of the things I found great for getting through each day in one piece. I figure it’s interesting to see what other families have found useful, and obviously the vast majority of this stuff isn’t twin specific so if you haven’t been blessed/cursed with doubles, then what follows could still be relevant to you too.
Also, just for the record, this is not sponsored in any way – all of the things listed below were purchased by us or given to us by family and friends.
You don’t need a fancy bouncer when it comes to twins, just somewhere to put them down where they can see the world a bit. I mean, hell, the floor is probably fine too but you will feel like a slightly better parent if you put them in a bouncinette. These old school bouncers aren’t expensive to buy new, but they’re all over trademe for a song and chances are friends and family have one or two kicking around that they’re not using.
We backed ours with a sheepskin or blanket, rolled at the bottom to create a sort of bumper for the babies’ bums. Also, if you read the little label it tells you to use a safety pin to tighten the harness – who knew?! Not me until my second and third child were about six months old.
Unimom Breast Pump
Sorry, no pics in the archives of me pumping milk funnily enough, so the stock photo will have to do.
Dude, breastfeeding with twins is a highly complex operation. It’s a jumble of little limbs and floppy heads, and then one baby will finish first and you’re like “how am I gonna burp you when I’ve still got this one hanging off me?” and honestly it’s just a nightmare. A beautiful nightmare, but a nightmare nonetheless.
The kicker is that you need a lot of milk. Two babies – one of them being Jude who is the hungriest child in history – so yeah, you need a lot of milk. So most twin mummas find they have to spend a thousand hours getting the feed done, and then another thousand hours expressing afterwards. I used a Medela electric pump at the hospital and it was great, but for home we bought a Unimom Forte double electric pump and it was easily as good but a lot cheaper. This little pink robot was my number one best mate/worst enemy in those early months.
Motorola Video Monitor
You know when you sneak into your baby’s room to check if they’re asleep, and they’re totally not asleep and the second they smell the door open they sit bolt upright and are like “yo! It’s you! That must mean it’s time to get up and paaaaarty!” – you know that? Well that was Vic. We had a breathing monitor for Vic because we were terrified he’d pass away in the night, but with the twins we considered risk versus reward and opted for a video monitor instead. That way we could see if they had nodded off without having to execute stealth reconnaissance missions.
We chose this particular model because you can pan and tilt the camera from the parent unit, which is particularly handy when you’re trying to spy on two cots at the same time. You can also link up two separate cameras if you have kids in different rooms you want to monitor on the one screen. It’s a pricey piece of gear but we waited for a sale at Farmers and saved a fair bit. This model will be a few years old, so I’m sure there are even fancier versions of the same thing now.
Sleep Store Cots
We had a really lovely solid Grotime cot for LV because he was our first baby and at that point we hadn’t learnt you don’t need a fancy cot – any old cage will do. We wanted matching cots for the twins and couldn’t justify another expensive cot so we sold our existing one and bought two very basic affordable cots from The Sleep Store. We liked the simple design and they totally served their purpose.
You don’t really comprehend the scale of mess a tiny human can make until you try shoving mushy food in its mouth several times a day. It should be easy. It should just involve the inserting of a spoon with mush on it into a mouth and that be that. But somehow, those little smiling assassins manage to make a mess completely disproportionate to their size.
To top it all off, the internet is on your case about baby-led weaning so often you’ve got chunks of food for them to biff around as well.
We didn’t use any sort of floor protection when LV was a baby, because he was weirdly adept at keeping everything in his mouth and even started spoon feeding himself from a very young age. The twins, however, are more your bulk standard little balls of filth and a friend put us onto these very simple messy mats, which were extremely handy for meal times.
Before there was Netflix there were Jolly Jumpers. Such a great way to babysit your children when you just need to sit down for ten minutes with a cuppa or prep dinner or cry in the corner. Also, Jolly Jumpers with twins? Next level hilarity and cuteness.
Dry Ups nappies
The sheer madness of the number of nappies you go through with twins is second only to the sheer madness of carrying two humans in your belly. LV was still in nappies when the babies arrived and we had been using Babylove up to that point. Having three in nappies meant we couldn’t afford the luxury of such soft and wondrous nappies, so we switched to some super cheapies for during the day and reserved the fancy Babyloves for overnight.
All twin parents know about Dry Ups. We buy them in bulk from Baby Online, and when you get them on special they work out around 19c a nappy. Hot tip from hundreds of parents in my online multiples groups – apparently the Australian ones are the best but they never go on special. The next best are the European ones with the US ones being the least favoured. I have only ever used the European ones so can’t personally back any of that up.
Much like cots, second time around we realised you don’t need anything fancy when to comes to high chairs. We were given one of these IKEA Antilop high chairs second hand and then bought another. They’re reasonably priced and easy to clean, end of. Mocka do a very similar style but if you’re after the IKEA one you’ll find them available from various local importers.
Portable High Chairs
Speaking of high chairs, these portable numbers were great for visiting restaurants (hahah, as if you go to restaurants with twin babies) or friends and family. Being the owner of a kid who’s smearing puree on someone else’s couch is no fun so if you’re trying to control two kids on location with food involved, they best be strapped in.
I can’t even find this model online anymore, and to be fair these particular ones weren’t amazing, but the concept of these things is great. I much prefer them to the lobster grip style because trying to hang two babies off a table is a questionable idea to begin with, and not everyone (probably not anyone) you visit is gonna be cool with you clamping shit onto their lovely dining table.
Tri-ang AT Cycle
Honestly the best money I’ve ever spent has been on these classic Tri-ang ride ons. All three of my kids ride them constantly, including the five year old. One of their favourite things to do is play the songs from Cars and Cars 2 and race each other around the house on these plastic bikes. I don’t love hearing Rascal Flats telling me life is a highway or Sheryl Crow telling me to get real gone every morning, but I do love the kids being occupied while I try to wake up.
This is one of those products I wish I’d known about with my first. I don’t know how we acquired it, but I suspect it was via my mother who is forever picking up handy whatsits and thingos from hospice shops. I’ve since seen them in baby shops so they’re readily available. This Boon Grass is so bloody great for drying bottles and little baby bits and bobs on. It comes in a bigger ‘Lawn’ version and smaller ‘Patch’ version too. We still use ours on the daily even though we don’t have all those fiddly baby things to worry about – it’s handy for small snack containers, drink bottles and straws blah blah.
Girlfriend, you better believe that when I found out I was having twins I was gonna set myself up with a bloody flash stroller. We borrowed a stroller for LV and used it a lot, so unlike many other baby products (nappy bag for example) I felt like we’d get our money’s worth.
In my mind, being able to buy the stroller of my dreams was a reward for the quite frankly harrowing experience of carrying twins. We bought the Bugaboo Donkey Twin while Joel was in the US which worked out substantially cheaper. The manoeuvrability on these suckers is second-to-none, and that’s really important when you’re pushing around 30kg of toddler. It’s a sizeable beast, there’s no doubt about it, but that’s reflective of Twin-Life, because that too is a sizeable beast.
Okay I’m gonna stop there. Obviously there’s the minivan with remote control sliding doors, the gro-clocks, the baby gates, the lorazepam – but we’ll be here all day if I carry on. Feel free to add to the list if you have any essentials worth mentioning. Also, if you’ve found your way here because you’re pregnant with twins and want to be prepared – don’t worry you don’t need all this stuff to get by, but do make sure you’re nice to your family and friends because they’ll be of much greater use to you than anything I’ve listed above, trust me.
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