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Twin Essentials for the First 12 Months

Sorting through the noise to pick out a stroller, car seats and other gear for twins is overwhelming.  And if you need something after they arrive, there’s not a lot of time for researching products, let alone visiting stores (unless you call ahead and pay so you can pick up items curbside – do ask for this service if you have two infants in the car!).

So to save you the time and nearly impossible perusing trip, here’s Blue Pineapple’s

Top 10 List For the First Year with Twins

These are my favorites, those most-used and most appreciated items from the first 12 months with our boys, including the stroller and car seat system for twins that actually fits through doorways and into patient rooms at the doctor’s office.

But first, SLEEP!  An easy sleep station for your babies in your bedroom, on another floor of your home or for traveling and our favorite sleep sacks and soothies.

1. Graco Twin Playard with Bassinets

We loved this double bassinet for the early months when the twins slept in our room. It’s also great, because you can transport just one pack ‘n play for a trip to visit friends or relatives for the day or for an overnight.  Later, this converts to a lower height and can be used like regular pack ‘n plays when your little ones get bigger.

Pricing – this double bassinet costs less than many single bassinets, so this is one twin item that won’t cost you double!

Another big bonus – your babies can sleep in your room in separate sleeping spots and you don’t have to assemble and disassemble cribs in your room to later be moved to the nursery.  ASSEMBLED CRIBS DO NOT FIT THROUGH DOORWAYS!

Tip: This playard is slightly larger than standard pack ‘n plays, so you will need specific sheets to go with it.

2. Halo Sleep Sacks

 

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Our babies started using these at the hospital and they were hooked.  We did not have them at home on the first night – big mistake! After an emergency store run the next day, life was good again.  

They come in cooler cotton weight and fleece weight.  We used both types in the various seasons from birth through about six months old (they also come in multiple sizes).  There’re options to swaddle with arms out or arms in.  We followed our doctor’s (and American Academy of Pediatrics’) recommendation to swaddle with arms out.

3. Avent Soothies

If you are okay with pacifiers (you have twins – everyone needs sleep – pacifiers are a good thing), these are the ones used in most hospitals and in the cribs at NICUs.

Our kids loved these pacifiers.  And we used them at night.

The ever popular WubbaNubs are great during the day while you are watching your kids, but they are not safe for unattended infants or in the crib (especially with preemies), so even if you want to use those during the day, order a pack of Avent Soothies for naps and bedtime.  Also, these are the same soothies attached to WubbaNubs so your babies will easily adjust to the switch.

4. Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play

Rock ‘n plays are a favorite among twin and singleton parents alike. I have loaned out one or both of these on numerous occasions.  They are perfect for the newborn stage, double feeding, and toting to a friend or relative’s home.  They easily collapse and can be transported, easily fitting on top of the massive pile of gear that you pile in your trunk while traveling with twins (even if just for the day or one night)!  We used them to help with bath time set up and one at a time bathing.  See twin bathing tips here.

5. Stroller and Car Seat Combination: Baby Jogger City Select Stroller with Second Seat & Britax B-Safe Elite Infant Car Seats

Ok, so my husband claims that this stroller/car seat combo cost more than his first car, but it was totally worth it! Your stroller is your connection to the outside world as a twin mom.  It’ll be your primary mode of transportation so it is as important as a car.

This travel system is exactly what you need for twins.  The city select with second seat stroller fits through all doorways that a single stroller can fit through and the infant car seats click right in with simple adapters (you’ll need two sets). Infant seats face you and next stage stroller seats face outward (and can be moved to face each other).

We’ve been at doctor’s appointments and our stroller fit inside the room and side by side double strollers did not make it through the doorways – a difficult situation to be in (especially if you are the only adult).

I’ve put some serious miles on these wheels while listening to my favorite audio books and podcasts.  I also routinely solo grocery shop with this travel system.  Between the bottom section of the stroller and a few reusable shopping bags that I carry, I can get a decent amount of shopping in without having to manage two infant seats in the cart.  See my post on grocery shopping with twins.


The Britax car seats have infant inserts that can be removed as your babies grow and they have these very handy side cut-outs for prepping the car seat buckles before loading the kiddos.

Tip for Coordinating Strollers & Car Seats: Several other car seat brands also coordinate with this stroller.  If you choose to go that route you should check to see which type of adapters go with that car seat. They are all different and some adapters can stay attached to the stroller when you fold it for easy packing up, while others need to be removed/installed each time you fold and unfold the stroller.  The combination included here does stay attached for easy folding and unfolding.

Tip for Infant Car Seats: Depending on your drop off and pick up arrangements and mode of transportation, you may want additional infant car seat bases.  We had them in two cars and then always kept the actual seats with the babies.

6. Boppy Infant Lounger

Love, love, love these loungers. They were so nice for hanging out with two babies.  I could feed one and sit next to the other and keep track of the pacifier.  You can use them for dual bottle feeding by lining the pillows up and sitting on the floor with your little ones.  I also used them for posing the little nuggets for those adorable month by month and holiday milestone pictures.

Only question – why don’t they make these for adults?

7. Boppy Changing Pad Liners

These waterproof, machine-washable liners are simply placed on top of the changing pad cover. If there are any messes, the liner can be quickly replaced, eliminating the need to purchase additional covers or to change the full cover in between diapering rounds.  These were especially helpful during the first few weeks with baby boys and we still use them today.

8. Jumparoo!

This jumparoo is awesome! This is something we didn’t think about at registry time since you don’t need it immediately.  If your twins haven’t arrived yet – add this to the registry today!

We started to use this during that in-between-stage when our babies could sit up and roll over but hadn’t starting crawling yet and we continued to use it for several months into the crawling and cruising stage.

It is sturdy, the height adjusts and it doesn’t have wheels (this is VERY good thing). We had two jumparoos, which was great for getting some active play and was especially helpful while preparing dinner, taking a pee break or generally doing anything that’s easier to do without holding two babies.

We tried two different models and this one was the best jumparoo and is worth the extra money.  We were able to use this one longer due to its sturdiness, compared to the other brand that our babies could start to tip over as they got bigger and stronger.  Even if you only want to purchase one, it’s great for taking turns so that your son can play while his sister is being fed.

9. Baby Carriers: Moby Wrap & Baby Bjorn 

I tried and borrowed several carriers. The ones we (me and my hubby) got the most use from were the Baby Bjorn carriers and Moby Wrap.

I did actually use the Moby Wrap to carry both babies around the house and one at a time if someone was having a particularly fussy day.  It’s great for a little hands free soothing time.

We used the Bjorns ALL THE TIME.  Evening walks around the neighborhood – we both had a baby in carrier and the dog on the leash – we did draw a little attention walking around town like this!  The babies attended the 4th of July Parade and “hiked” several miles in these carriers.  They work inward and forward facing as your babies grow and the fit is easily adjusted.

It’s very easy to load and unload the Bjorns by yourself.  To go outside on the porch swing I would often load up one baby in the Bjorn and carry the other.  Or for a quick walk to a neighbor’s you can load up one baby in the Bjorn and put the other in a light umbrella stroller.

Tip: Most twin moms I know didn’t end up using the double carriers too often.

10. Hands Free Pumping Bra

This bra makes pumping soooo much better.  I was clueless about pumping and didn’t have this with me at the hospital.  This is definitely something to buy ahead of time and back in your hospital bag.  You can eat lunch, check your phone, hold a baby and even participate in conference calls while you pump.

Tips: Order a size up.  Also, I did call a friend and check the sound level of my pump from my desk and mobile phones before participating in work calls while pumping.   With a little maneuvering I was able to position the pump and the phone so that my coworkers couldn’t hear it.

Roundup

I asked other twin moms and dads for their favorites too.  Here are some other favorites that didn’t make the Top 10 List but are still essential…too many bottle recos to mention, beer and wine (yes, these were both repeat answers), Honda Odysseys and Toyota Siennas, boobs, twin z pillow, steam bags and night nurses.

Whichever items you choose, I hope you found this information helpful.

If you are still feeling overwhelmed about all of the twin gear and conflicting reviews – that’s normal!  My advice is to spend the time on the stroller and car seat combination and to make sure you have sleeping arrangements ready in your bedroom (even if you order this twin bassinet from your hospital room like I did).  For everything else, you can easily swap out the brand or prime it as you go.

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