at the end of next month, we celebrate the 1 year mark with our beautiful baby girls, madalena and beatrice! the last 10 and a half months, while more exhausting than any others i’ve experienced, have been absolutely undoubtedly the best months of my life. i remember this time last year, feeling so pregnant and so anxious to meet them. they would kick and punch and wiggle inside my tummy all day and night and i knew we were in for a treat as they already were such active feisty little people. but they keep proving to be wonderful babies each day, with such curious and joyful personalities, with much patience for me as i try to juggle them both, and with smiles and giggles that make me melt all the day long – which helps the nights of little sleep seem like not that big of a deal (although really, i guess that depends on what hour of the day you’re asking).
i have been working on compiling my “twin baby list” for you for some time now and share with you what products we have found most beneficial, and what you can skip. it’s important to note that some “baby essentials” lists are longer than mine and some are shorter. i’m sure there are plenty of things out there not on my list that could be helpful to you. and i know there are things on my list that you will be just fine without or that you can find other less expensive or free solutions for – because at the end of the day, your baby really just needs you and your love and patience. for me though, i was a bit overwhelmed during my pregnancy about what we really did need two of and what would be helpful (and not helpful!), especially living in new york city and not having much space let alone a nursery room. so i am hoping this list can help anyone who is expecting, not just those with twins, to know what things out there are the most helpful.
but i did gear it towards my experience with both baby girls this past year, since twin life is what we’re in the thick of. thank you for your patience as it took some time to put together. and please do share with anyone you know that might be expecting and can find this helpful in anyway!
since we aren’t quite to the 1 year mark, i broke this down in the first 6 months of products and gear, and will share a part 2 focusing on everything for 6-12 months after they are 1.
0-6 months, what you really need for twins!
this will depend on what you are able to do or what you choose. my recommendations come from my experience with breastfeeding both babies exclusively since day 1. i did not introduce any solid foods until a few weeks before their 6 month birthday. i have a big blog post right here that focuses entirely on breastfeeding for both singletons and twins, if you’d like to check it out.
if you are focusing on the breast with two, i cannot recommend this twin nursing pillow enough. i was skeptical and figured i could just prop up pillows around me but realized during the first few days of getting to know them that they are so fragil and teeny tiny that i needed something more reliable to minimize the risks of anyone rolling or sliding or getting hurt. this nursing pillow saved me! especially since i tried to keep them on the same feeding schedule those first six months. and it’s so fancy cause it has a pocket ;) so i could keep a couple of chocolates in there for a middle of the night pick me up or my tiny headphones if i wanted easy access to them in the dark of the night. when we went to mexico in august, i actually packed my nursing pillow. :) worth it. this is great for just one baby too!
as for bottles- i knew i wanted to teach the girls how to take a bottle on occasion so i could sneak away for a few hours of work/run errands/play/sleep/staring at a blank wall and not be holding anything, but i also knew it’s a big time commitment to pump milk for two. i got the medela freestyle breast pump which allows me to pump handsfree from both breasts at the same time. (make sure you get a bra like this one that allows you to pump handsfree and comfortably.) this was a big game changer. i don’t pump every day, i only pump on occasion and just store it in these medela breast milk storage bags in the back of my freezer so i have it on hand if needed.
in addition to the medela bottles, we have used these life factory glass bottles since samson was a baby and love them.
because we live in a city where we walk and take the subway everywhere, we rely heavily on our stroller for several hours every day. it must get at least a thousand miles of use each year! we use our stroller as one might use their car in other areas of the world, which is why a reliable, sturdy, comfortable and easy to handle stroller is everything for me. we have been a bugaboo family since eleanor was a baby, but before the baby girls arrived, i bought a different brand double stroller since it was a few inches narrower and could fit through in our narrow building elevator door and narrow pre-war apartment door. but long story short, i learned my lesson the expensive way and ended up purchasing another bugaboo donkey stroller a few months after the girls arrived. it’s a personal preference for everyone, and everyone uses their stroller differently, so i don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of it, but i can’t rave about the donkey double stroller enough over here. it is worth the investment if you are going to use and abuse it every day in a city setting. it might not be the best fit if you are using a car more and transporting it to just say, the park, since the donkey does not break all the way down in a single fold (3 parts, actually) so it really depends on how your day to day looks and how you use a stroller. and there are plenty of other double strollers that cost less and still do a good job. but for us, the comfortable stroller seats really help our kids to nap on the go (important over here since we have older kids and often aren’t able to go back and forth to the apartment for nap-time, and there are always things to do out around the city even without the older kids). i like knowing how reliable it is, that both my babies are up high near me and can look at me and also i can flip the seats and they can look out. i like knowing that i won’t be getting a freaking flat tire every month with it and that i can maneuver it up and down city curbs easily. it feels like our home base throughout the day when we’re out and about all day long. we have traveled abroad with it, too. and it just works everywhere.
by the way, for travel, i do not recommend the travel case for the donkey double stroller unless you are checking the stroller straight away before security (it’s just very big and heavy and bulky to transport through an airport). we like to use our stroller all the way to the gate so we can rely on it in the airport, in which case, we use these stroller bags at gate check.
bugaboo also makes incredible shade covering canopies as well as reliable sleeping muffs for the winter months. i appreciate the thoughtful details they put into their design because i have experienced sun canopies on another stroller that were so flimsy they never stayed in place on their own, and fell off almost every other block. i kept being like, this isn’t a big deal i can keep fixing this as we walk but it got to the point where the sun was constantly in my babies eyes and on them and like, just not doing the one job i desperately needed it to do, which it was also supposedly made to do. anyway! stroller rant over.
another stroller option to check out is the baby jogger city mini double, especially if you own a car, since this can fold down with just one quick pull, or if you the looking for a better price point. i’ve never used it but have friends who love it and rave about it frequently.
we do not own a car but we did purchase two of these carseats (we first got one when eleanor was a baby back in washington, d.c. when we had a car) because they have great safety features, they last from small baby to large toddler or small child stage, and they make sleeping a breeze while on the road. we sometimes rent car seats when we rent cars but a lot of them just aren’t as comfortable for infants or toddlers which means the kids end up not sleeping and also oftentimes the rental company doesn’t have enough carseats. so we decided it was worth the investment and also we have a bit of back-of-the-closet-storage-space over here. :)
SLEEP, AND OTHER CHAIRS, BOUNCERS, AND THINGS…
ok, so i have a big blog post right here all about sleep at our house, which you should probably read if you want more info on how we are doing it. the short of it is i never even bought cribs for the baby girls because i realized by my third baby that i actually was never putting my babies in them, just felt like i was supposed to have one, but never used it because i favored co-sleeping.
i swear by swaddling my babies while they sleep during their first few months. i love some of the beautiful prints available on swaddling blankets. this pretty swaddle blanket i own two of and used nonstop. anthropologie has some beautiful swaddling blankets often online like this one and also this one, too.
for the baby girls, we used the halo twin bassinet for the first 6 weeks or so which was great since you can place it slightly over the bed and i could turn it a full 360 degrees (we called it our lazy susan bassinet) as well as not have to bend over at all to pull a baby out to feed since the side walls could unlock and just bend down as you pressed on them. this was a really nice situation during my c-section recovery as i could get to my babies from my own bed and not feel much pain in the process. we didn’t really use it though after the first 6 weeks. so i have to admit it isn’t a major need. BUT, i do believe it was incredibly helpful during my recovery process from my surgery so i do have to give it that and i don’t think there is a better option if you are feeding on demand and also recovering from a c-section.
something we have used since day one though with the baby girls that i wasn’t aware of before with my older kids is the docatot! we have loved these and are using the larger next size up for sleep each night on my bedroom mattress which we put on the floor. i like that i can pull one docatot into another room at nap time if we are home and i don’t want to risk one waking the other, too.
when it comes to other baby chairs or big items, i was really hesitant to go that route, because i never bought or used them with my older kids and i felt like maybe i didn’t really need them. BUT, so many of you mama’s of multiples recommended this baby bjorn bouncer before madalena and beatrice arrived and told me how much it saved you since two babies can feel like a lot sometimes. ;) i listened and i am so glad i did. we used this chair nonstop during the first 6 months. the baby girls love it, we love it. THANK YOU to all who recommended it.
something else i thought we could get by without but had loved with my other three babies is the bumbo seat. i held off getting these as long as i could with M and B but in the end, i caved and i’m glad i did. they are awesome and help during that stage of the baby wanting to sit up straight but not totally able to on their own! my babies want to be beside their big brothers and sister in the playroom hanging out and they would happily sit in their bumbo chairs next to their older siblings and feel included for long stretches of time.
DIAPERS, CREAMS, BATH PRODUCTS…
beyond the diapers and wipes situation (which with two babies, means you need those stock piled and then stock piled extra! also PSA – best wipes ever are these seventh generation wipes, hands down!), if there is ever any hint of diaper rash coming on, i believe in this butt paste and also this baby powder is great for lots of things. tried and true, these two things we also keep stock piled.
we have really tried our best to look at labels and ingredients in our kiddos products over the past few years as we’ve tried to educate ourselves more and more about it all and this shampoo and body wash for babies is one of the best we have found. the scents are also amazing and we have been really pleased with it.
that said, i also keep a bleach pen on hand at every sink in our apartment for easy access to take care of any massive spit up or blow out situations on the baby clothing because it works so well. i credit my handy bleach pen to how i’ve been able to hand down clothing pieces from eleanor 8 years ago through my boys and now to my baby girls! sure does help prevent a lot of staining if the piece is salvable at all!
BEST CLOTHING –
i have come to the realization that while baby clothing is SO CUTE when it’s all tiny and little, the best thing you can do for yourself (and them) when you have more than one baby to get dressed or change frequently, is find the practical stuff with zippers (no crotch buttons!) or just do the straight up organic white onesies route. we also discovered baby sleep gowns with the baby girls that really made the nighttime changing in the early months so much easier for us all. wait until the 6 month stage to buy the cuter clothing that requires more time to put on and take off. they are swaddled in blankets sleeping most of those early months anyway!
for summer months, we have found these shade hats to be the best because of they stay on with a tie and they cover the back of the neck as well.
for winter months when you are outside in freezing temperatures, we love and trust the down bunting by patagonia to keep the babies warm, which the girls really lived in this last winter, as well as the cozy fleece bunting option for cooler days where full coats aren’t quite needed. these are items you can plan on lasting and handing down.
TOYS AND TEETHING THINGS –
i have one baby that takes a pacifier and one that doesnt. these pacificer clips have been helping us keep track and not lose all our pacis! we also own this wooden and silicone teething toy which matches the paci clip and both my girls have loved.
we have also found this elephant teether to be awesome and my girls love crinkle paper and around the 6 month stage, they begin to really soak up this mozart cube and this baby einstein music toy (truly the best toys ever).
ok! if you got to this point in the post, thank you for staying with me! this was a long one. i hope you might find it helpful in some way. two babies at once is no joke, and every single day something throws me for a loop, but i am grateful to be their mama, as well as a mama to my older three babies. every day is an absolute gift with these five wild incredible and joyous spirits, and i believe to my very core, they teach me more every day than i do them.
please feel free to share in the comments anything else you might have found especially helpful product wise during the first 6 months with two babies!