In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Baby Equipment for Twins

So you found out you're having twins!  Congrats to you!  After the initial shock wears off, you may find yourself wondering what kind of baby equipment you need to buy... and what you'll need TWO of!!!

For starters, you don't need everything there is to buy in the baby department....but if you have the space in your home, I found that having different stations to move your babies to, helps keep them entertained.....which translates into you being able to get something done!

I think space is key when determining what to buy for your babies.  If you are on limited space, you may want to pick and choose what you really need.  We are blessed to have a lot of space for a growing family, so I had just about two of everything!

Secondly, you may be saying to yourself that you don't want your home to look like the kids have taken over.  Ha! I laugh at that thought now, because I was one of those moms!  We've managed to keep our downstairs adult-friendly, but our entire upstairs was turned into a baby zone from the moment we came home from our baby shower!  For the most part, I have always kept the equipment nice and organized when it isn't being used.....

.... this is very beneficial for my own sanity, but most of the time our house looks like this..... two babies and all of their "stuff" exploded all over our home!

Lastly, if you are trying to decide what to get because of cost, keep in mind that what you don't get from your baby showers, you can find used from garage sales, resale shops or consignment sales. I'm amazed at how much baby gear we have, and how little I spent for all of it!

So let's get started.  Baby gear 101 here we come! I can only share with you my experience.  Everyone's babies are different, but this is a post about what I discovered about baby gear for twins. I'll share what baby gear I much use I got out of it.....and how long we used it!

Boppy (0-2 months)
Yes, I used my boppies a lot in the beginning! I had two regular boppies. One was passed down to me from a family member, and one was a gift from my registry.   I often used them both at the same time, so I would recommend having two.  I probably used them the most the first two months.  When I would nurse one baby on my bed, I'd feed the other baby their bottle in the boppy.  I also used my pregnancy pillow a lot for the first month!  While it's not technically baby gear, my boys loved being snuggled up in it together, as it was the perfect size for two babies!

Boppy Lounger (3-4 months)
No, you don't need two boppies and two boppy loungers.  I had heard great things about the boppy loungers, so when I saw two matching ones at a consignment sale for $10, I picked them up.  I only used them, because I had them. I used them the most during months 3 and 4.  Turns out, they really weren't a necessity, and if I had to choose the original boppy over the boppy lounger, I would choose the original.

Nursing Pillow 
No, I rarely used a nursing pillow for nursing.  Technically, the boppy is a nursing pillow....but I used it more for the babies to be propped up in, than I did for nursing the babies.  I was gifted a Mombo. It was the kind that vibrates, so I used it more as an alternative boppy for the boys than I did a nursing pillow.  It took the boys a while to be able to be propped up in the Mombo, but it was a nice change for them every once in awhile to rotate to the vibrating Mombo. My Breast Friend is a very popular nursing pillow, although I have never owned one.  Some moms swear the twin version makes breastfeeding twins easy.   

Bassinet (newborn - four months)
Yes and no.  Yes, if you don't plan on co-sleeping but want your babies close to you at night. No, to needing two bassinets if you can find something like what we used.  I found a twin pack n' play that was also a twin bassinet for $60 from Once Upon a Child.  We LOVED it, because it didn't take up too much space! We kept it in our room, and the boys slept in it until we moved them to cribs when they were four months old.

Bouncy Seat (newborn - six months)
Yes, these were my most used pieces of young infant equipment.  I say you definitely want one for each baby.  My boys didn't really like any equipment until they were three months old, but when they did start using these chairs, they were great for lulling babies to sleep without the attachment, and great for fine motor skills with the attachment.  When my boys started reaching out for things, they really started liking their bouncy seats. I could get the boys to sit about 20-30 minutes at a time in the bouncy seats, which was enough time for me to get something done!  I seriously used these for as long as they would fit into them, so I could get my shower every morning! They were easy to carry into the bathroom, and they kept the boys entertained!

Swing and/or Rocker (newborn - 6 months)
Surprisingly, no.  For me personally, my boys did not like swings or rockers at all.  They did not like the movement.  I couldn't believe it!  I always heard a sympathetic "aaww"  when I told people that my boys hated their swings, haha!  It's as if they knew how awesome swings were for them, and they knew I was missing out!  Maybe it was the kind of swing that I bought.  I bought two portable swings with gift cards from our baby showers.  I wanted to save space, so I didn't buy the big swings that take up a lot of room.  I'm not going to say you shouldn't invest in a swing.  I'm just saying we didn't really need them.

Activity Gym/Play Mat (newborn - 8 months)
Yes, I had two and would often use them at the same time.  My boys loved their activity gyms. They loved to watch the mobile and listen to the music. We got several months of use out of the mats.  Both of our play mats were from my baby registry.  I'd say you could probably get by with just one if you needed to.  Two babies can fit under one mat when they are small.  The gyms fold up and don't take up much space, so if you're not worried about space, two play mats is convenient to have.

Bumbo Seat and Tray (3-5 months)
No, my boys did not like their bumbos.  They lasted maybe five minutes in them each time before crying to get out of them.  Both of our bumbos were passed down to us from family, but I could have lived without them, only because my boys didn't like them.  I had planned on using them for spoon feedings and play time, but that didn't quite work out for us.  When the boys were starting to sit up and were still wobbly, I would just surround them with pillows so they wouldn't hurt themselves when they fell.

Exersaucer (5-10 months)
Yes, and I say you will want two of them!  God bless the day my boys were finally big enough for exersaucers, sometime around 5 months.  I found both of mine at garage sales for $15 and $20.  Some will say to just do one exersaucer and one jumperoo for twins. The problem with that is that the exersaucer was more for quiet activity and the jumperoo was for burning off energy.  I liked to keep the boys quiet in the exersaucer if I was trying to get something done.  These were also great to keep right outside my bathroom door during my morning shower, once they outgrew their bouncy seats.

Jumperoo (6-10 months)
Yes, I only had one, because of space.  Ethan LOVED it!!!!  He would jump forever in that thing!  Aaron like it too, but Ethan was my little ball of energy....and still is! Because I only had one jumperoo, I had a door jumper too.  The boys preferred the jumperoo to the door jumper, just because of all of the noise and toys on the jumperoo.  The nice thing about the door jumper was that it was a big space saver.

No, I never had them. I don't think you need them if you use push toys,  and in recent years a lot people are questioning their safety and whether they actually help with development. 

Push Toys (10 months and up)
Yes, you will want two!  They are great for helping babies walk.  Both my boys started walking around 11 months.  Even now that my boys are great walkers, they will have running races with their push toys! One push toy was passed down to us from a family member, and I found the other one at consignment sale for less than $10.

Riding Toys
No, these really aren't a necessity, although we have four or five of them in our living room, ha! All were garage sale finds from grandparents, and I'd be lying if I said the boys didn't play with them.  They do have fun with them, even though they don't really ride them yet.  If you are looking to save space, don't worry about them.  If you have plenty of room in your home, they make fun entertainment.

Learning Table (6 months and up)
Yes, but  you probably don't have to have two.  They can learn to share one.  We have two, and that is certainly convenient.  Having two prevents fighting. One learning table was passed down to us from a family member, and the other one I found at a consignment sale for less than $10. Learning tables are great to keep babies entertained before and after they start standing.  The legs come off for when they can't pull themselves up, and then attach for when they can stand. 

Double Stroller
Ok, so let's talk strollers!  I can not say enough good things about the snap and go double stroller frame! This is a compact light-weight frame that can only be used with infant carriers.  I found ours on Craigslist for $50. Even though it can only be used the first year, for me it was well worth the investment.  I would put it on a "must have" list if you have twins.  I love how compact it was and how much storage there was!  Best stroller ever!  I hated when the boys outgrew it!  It made traveling with twins easy...or as easy as can be expected.  I still use it as a cart for when I shop the seasonal consignment sales. When we moved the boys into convertible car seats when they were 11 months old, we started using our Graco Duo Glider that I found on Craigslist for $30. In my research this is the most compact tandem double stroller and is one of the most popular double strollers out there.  I chose a tandem stroller over a side by side stroller, because I would be using mine for shopping trips and wanted something that could get through tight aisles. The tandem stroller stays in my car. Call me crazy, but I would also like a side by side jogging stroller to keep in the garage for our daily walks. I also bought two light weight strollers fro $10 a piece at a consignment sale.  We plan on using these on vacations, as these are easy to fly with and a regular double stroller takes up all of our vehicle trunk space.  We're also considering buying stroller connectors for them, so one person can push them if needed. 

Baby Slings/Carriers (3-8 months)
Yes, you will want some sort of baby carrier for taking the babies out when the terrain isn't stroller friendly, like the pumpkin patch or the apple orchard.  You do not need both kinds of carriers, such as moby wraps and baby bjorns, but I would recommend two carriers of some kind, one baby per adult.  We were given two baby bjorns, so that's worked out well for us.  I liked them because the boys could be facing in when they were smaller, but facing out once they got bigger.  We used ours a lot on our summer weekends at home when we were trying to get our weekend chores done.  Many many times I'd be cooking and cleaning, hands-free with one baby in my carrier, while Daddy had the other baby in his carrier watering the plants or putting away laundry.

No, you don't have to have a wagon, but it is on my wish list, now that I have toddlers.  I want a collapsible one with a canopy for summer beach trips.  It would also be good for the zoo and other warm weather activities.  I'm keeping my eye out for a used one, preferably under $50!

Pack n' Play
Yes and no. Once we turned the twin bassinet into a pack n' play, I really didn't use it too much.  It was too small for my boys to play in with out them hurting each other.  They always wanted to move around too much, and there just wasn't enough room for the both of them. For awhile I did use the pack n' play in my room to split the boys up at nap time, basically making my life easier:) Now I use it more for timeouts.  I didn't want them associating their crib with timeout, and the pack n' play helps keep them contained.

Baby Play Yard
YES!  I really think this was a great investment! I have used this thing in so many ways! I bought the eight panel play yard with a door from Craigslist for $50.  When the boys first started getting mobile, there was enough room in the play yard to contain them.  As they started needing more freedom, the play yard was an excellent way to block them out of things they shouldn't get into, as I could contort the panels into several different directions. I currently have it set up in my bedroom, so I can put them in the play yard with toys and a movie while I get a ten minute shower every morning!  It collapses into a small space and can be carried anywhere in the house.  It would also be good in the back yard for summer cookouts.

Foam Floor Mat
Yes, only if you don't have carpet.  We don't have any carpet in our home, so these foam mats were great when the boys started crawling.  I found the one pictured for $3 at a consignment sale, which is crazy-cheap!  I found another one for our loft at Goodwill for $5.

High Chair
Yes or No.  You are going to want something with a tray to feed your twins table food, whether that is a space saver highchair that can be attached to a dining room chair or a regular highchair. I was really specific with what I wanted when it came to highchairs.  I registered for two that would match my house decor and received both for our baby shower.  I really like our highchairs for both looks and function. We keep our high chairs upstairs, as that is where we pretty much live as a family and where I feed the boys breakfast and lunch on my own.  I recently found two booster seats at a consignment sale for $10 each, and we keep those down stairs at the kitchen table for family dinners. 

Baby Bath (0-6 months)
No, you can bathe you babies in the sink, but having one of these baby tubs made bath time convenient by sitting it on the counter and bathing with ease.  I just wish ours had a sling in it.  I got all excited when I found ours at a consignment sale for $3, but I wasn't thinking about a sling at the time.

Bath Rings (6-11 months)
Maybe,  There will a be a time period when babies are too big for the baby tub, but too small to sit up in the bath tub.  For us that was 6-11 months.  I've seen some people put their babies in laundry baskets during this time period, but we used the bath rings.  One was given to us, and one was found at a children's resale store. They are hard to find, because in recent years many have been recalled.  They are not safe unless you are not right there with your babies.  They can tip easily, even though they have suction cups on the bottom.  If you are going to use them, be smart and safe.  They were a must have for me to bathe my twins at the same time.

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