All pregnant ladies want to know: What are the must-haves for babies? When expecting twins, that question is a little more daunting, because two babies are more daunting and more complicated! I’ve put together a list of the things that we use and like. Hope it will be helpful to anyone else expecting, no matter how many. 🙂
My list got really long, so I broke it into three parts.
Part One: Things to help you, the parents
This is hands-down the most important element to surviving twins, in my limited and biased opinion. And by partner, I don’t necessarily mean a spouse or romantic partner, just a second person who cares about your babies and is there to be a completely equal caretaker for them. I’ve had plenty of issues and exhaustion and mental fatigue over the last four months, but if I hadn’t had a partner in baby-wrangling…I honestly don’t know how I would have survived. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be doing very well emotionally or even physically. It was a huge help to me as I healed from the c-section–to have a second person available to help with baby tasks or chores that I wasn’t physically able to do for that first month.
Two of us meant that we were able to stagger a feeding/sleeping schedule so we both got at least some rest. It meant that there were two people to feed two babies, and when we each did one solo feeding a day, it was much more tolerable knowing that there would be help for all the others. When both babies are crying and/or want to be held, one person can’t hold or console them both, so that extra set of hands is not optional. It means that both of us have been able to take a shower every day (except for when we forget to, occasionally), and fairly frequently we could take naps during the day (when we were both not working).
Also, we are–I am–lucky that my husband has the option to work from home. So when I’m home hanging out with babies and Andy’s upstairs working, it makes a big difference to know that just in case both babies start freaking out, he’s nearby if I end up needing some help. Clearly, I know this is unusual and plenty of partners are working outside the home and therefore unavailable during the day. In that case, it’s really my hope that those partners are doing as much as they can while they are home.
In general, having a support system is crucial. Having support inside your own house 24/7 is critical to making a difficult, tiring, confusing, bizarre time that much less difficult and tiring.
Take the most time off that you and your partner possibly can. Obviously this is a luxury and a privilege and not something that is a choice for most people. Due to family-friendly leave policies of my husband’s company, we had seven weeks of just us and babies. I count us very lucky. We hunkered down at home and had lots of quality time as a new family, as we got to know our babies and got to know ourselves as parents of said babies. It was incredible to not have to worry about anything non-baby-related for that time. We were so overwhelmed already and work was completely out of our mental radar.
A baby tracking app
We use Baby Connect (but there are plenty of others to choose from). It tracks diapers, bottles, nursing time, sleeping, height/weight, and more. Recently a baby group leader scoffed at baby tracker apps, especially for babies that weren’t brand new. She obviously never lived with twins! It’s really handy to look at the day’s bottle totals (to adjust amounts if needed), or to see when one baby last had a dirty diaper (or to see how many they’ve had in one day). The height/weight functions not only list what you enter, but show them on growth charts. This particular app allows sharing/syncing with other people/devices, which is handy.
I forget everything anyway, and with the craziness of two babies’ needs, it’s almost impossible to keep track of everything in my head! Basically, a baby tracker app makes it okay for you to have double baby brain.
And if you’re not into apps or technology or what have you, that’s cool. Make a notebook, or chart, or whatever works for you. Something to jot down what happens when so you don’t have to hold it in your head. Data is fun and your friend.
Hands-free pumping bra
If you are going to pump, you need this. Apparently some people don’t and they just sit there and hold the bottles as they pump. WOW that’s a terrible idea. I pumped like two or three times in the hospital and then asked to go to the hospital baby boutique to get a hands-free pumping bra. If I’d had any wherewithal, this would have been a good thing to buy before the babies arrived and bring to the hospital. The size at the end of your pregnancy should be about the same after milk comes in (after engorgement is over, I mean). I had this one and then got this one.
Also, get a couple nursing tops before your babies are born. I literally wear mine 24/7 except for the rare occasions I leave the house (and I didn’t do that for several weeks after they arrived!). The tanktops are better than just the nursing bra because it’s still an entire layer, so you stay warmer and it’s easier to stay dressed throughout the day. (“Dressed” being a relative term, of course.)
The Happiest Baby on the Block: This book felt like a study guide for having newborns. Read it, learn the 5 S’s, and feel a little more prepared for baby craziness.
Baby Shusher app: Because it’s hard to shush for more than a minute. It’s expensive as far as apps go, but it’s worth it. This is a great thing to have in your back pocket, so to speak. And literally too, since it’s on your phone! Haha!
Baby 411: The ultimate baby reference guide. I like the tone–it’s knowledgeable, witty, and not condescending at all. A great informative tome to have lying around. When I start fretting about something or other, I can just turn to that section in this book. It’s not comprehensive, of course, but it gives me a basic understanding of what I need to know and if I need to legitimately worry. This book is our first step before thinking about consulting the pediatrician.
The Wonder Weeks: I’m still not clear on the difference between growth spurts and ‘wonder weeks/developmental leaps’–maybe they’re the same thing. Either way, they aren’t covered in the regular baby stuff I’d read. This is another study guide for preparing for craziness. I feel much calmer being armed with this knowledge. The more you know!
Comfy couch, sweats and pajamas
You will probably be spending a lot of time on the former and in the latter. Our couch is a microsuede material that seems to spot clean very easily with a wet paper towel, thank goodness.
Netflix and a book/kindle
I think I mentioned in another post how much time you have to kill with new babies. During late-night feedings or pumping sessions, you need something to keep you awake. Find a good series on Netflix to watch the entirety of (Better Off Ted is hilarious. Dance Academy is a cheesy Aussie teen ballet drama. And there’s always 30 Rock.) Find some fun books to read. Though I’m a die-hard print book proponent, the Kindle really does feel easier, since I usually only have one hand available. Yes, take plenty of time to gaze lovingly at your baby(ies) during feedings, but I’m not ashamed to say that it gets boring to just sit there! Fluffy books and silly tv are good ways to keep feeling a little more human in those first few inhumane weeks.
Note: These are Amazon affiliate links. I only feature products that we have used and loved.