TWIN LIFE

TWINS, TWINS, TWINS (Where do we start?)

Megan Tansom | May 5, 2019

Yes, I am from Minnesota. No, I am not talking about the baseball team with this title. I have not written many blog posts yet but if you know anything about me or glance at my Instagram, you won’t be seeing a baseball diamond. At the center of it all (my Instagram and my life) are my two beautiful little monsters, Zoey and Everly. Our twins. I was extremely excited after our infertility battle and IVF to be having twins. I really didn’t know in that moment what that really meant but I will get to those stories another time. I am taking a little break from my infertility journal since I keep hearing about more and more twins coming into this world at the end of some infertility journeys (or just by chance!)

THIS post is just for anyone that may be expecting twins and wants to know “WHAT do I buy, WHAT do I do, WHERE do I start!?” This post will not have all the answers, but it is where I start with friends who come to me saying they are expecting twins (which I feel like has been a good amount lately!). Most products discussed we used with the girls and loved or it worked well for the two of them. There obviously are so many options of baby products and brands. These are just some things we used and there may be some better solutions out there since our twins were born 2.5 years ago! This is exactly what I have written to future twin moms that contact me:

Hi (insert twin momma’s name here – or other parent/caretaker but for this I am just assuming momma),

Twins are overwhelming but they are the greatest blessing! I can’t imagine my life with just one babe now – it may be easier….but much less fun 😉  

I apologize in advance for how long this is going to get….

First, join twin groups on Facebook. Minneapolis Mamas with Multiples for sure and then sometimes there are smaller groups around your area. It is nice to bounce ideas off of each other and sometimes you meet other twin moms to get together with too. This group of ladies is AMAZING. They are who I go to with any random questions and are some of the sweetest souls out there. {For those outside of Minnesota – I HOPE you can find some support from online twin mommas around your area. Find your group. Find your MoM tribe.} (MoM meaning Moms of Multiples). Yes, we twin MoMs have our own lingo too.

As for twin advice, the best advice I got from a fellow MoM was to read the book Babywise. (Now there is a 2019 interactive version where as well here). We got our twins on a schedule (it was out of pure survival for us) and they do awesome. {For those reading who didn’t do this, I get you don’t HAVE to – but for someone who is super Type A like me and likes her sleep, I HAD to.} The girls slept through the night with a dreamfeed (which you will learn is a feeding at like 10:00 or so to get them through until morning but you don’t necessarily wake them) at 11 weeks and without the dreamfeed (so like 11+ hours straight) at around 13-15 weeks. I really don’t remember the exact time. I guess you DO forget some things, thankfully. Our schedule was a lifesaver for me. {More on Baby Wise in another post}.

Right away we were focused on getting them to grow so we were feeding pretty much around the clock every 3 hours. The NICU, if your twins spend any time there, got us on a 3-hour schedule right away and then we just pushed them to sleep longer at night when we could and added in the Babywise principles. Basically, it is an eat/wake/sleep schedule and you make sure with twins to always wake the second twin when the first one wakes up or else you will be feeding them AT ALL TIMES! At least that was the case for us. Join “Baby Wise with Twins or More” on Facebook if you decide to do this. You don’t have to if it doesn’t seem right for you… but it is how I got anything done AND sleep.

This process will vary depending on if you breastfeed or bottle-feed. Also, if you single or tandem breastfeed. I kind of did a little bit of everything. You can choose what is best for you and figure out your groove. I breastfed one at a time right away and my girls also had supplemental bottles since I wasn’t producing enough… so I was feeding or pumping pretty much at all times. Then I learned to breastfeed both at the same time which was much quicker. It is challenging but doable. If you decide to do this, a picture of my setup is below. I had two Boppy Loungers (these are great!) set on each side of me on the couch and a “My Brest Friend” double pillow (also essential) around me. See pic below. I would put each twin on a lounger and hoist them onto the breastfeeding pillow. When the girls were born the “DockATot” wasn’t a thing quite yet, but I am sure this could be used in the same way (the boppys are just much cheaper… and you need two!).

Since they also got bottles, it was still a long process and eventually I decided to just bottle feed in the middle of the night. That turned into bottle feeding at all times and exclusively pumping. I didn’t make enough milk for both girls so they got a little more than half breast milk and half formula. Don’t fret too much on this (easier said than done!). Whatever you do or choose will be just fine! I used Nature’s One formula which is an all organic formula (there are a few different kinds) so I felt better that it didn’t have nasty stuff that I have read about in it – and they have a twin discount! After the babes are born you just have to fax in copies of their birth certificates and you get 20% off all the time. (It says toddler formula but my understanding is that is because they want to promote breastfeeding until age 1. It is suitable for infants. I have the nutritional facts somewhere if you want them). Other brands I am sure are just fine too (#fedisbest) but this just put my mind at ease. The girls seemed to do well with it. 

When bottle feeding (since I was by myself a lot), I put the girls each in a Rock N Play (which have since been recalled!) and propped their bottles up with blankets so they kind of fed themselves with my supervision (of course). {I know, I know… propping is not recommended- but hell I had two babies and it worked for us. We watched them and didn’t prop until they were a little bigger!} You could also put them on the boppy loungers and hold both bottles at the same time. I did this when they were smaller. It is possible – I promise! Some people get the “Table for Two” but I decided to save the money and this worked for us. So basically, I would say just get at least two contraptions you can PUT the kiddos in allowing you to be semi hands-free. One good alternative to the recalled semi-reclined version of the Rock N Play is the Tiny Love 3 in 1 Rocker Napper. It is similar, yet it can fully recline. There are many different types of rockers/bassinets that would work for this purpose. Note that Fisher-Price does have a Rock N Play Portable Bassinet that is NOT the same as the recalled version.

I had the Spectra S1 breast pump. This was the best. It is kind of bulky but it is rechargeable and has a handle. I would walk around and get stuff done while pumping.  Maybe that was uncomfortable for some of our guests, but hey, at least I covered up!! It was so great to not be plugged into a wall all the time! I also bought this pumping bra that works well with it. It would work with a Medela pump too. 

We really liked our 4 mom Infant tub. Not a twin thing…but loved it. Easy to bathe the babes in the sink with this. It looks like it isn’t available online right now but there are other tubs similar to this that measure the temperature of the water and fit in your sink or bathtub.

So obviously with pregnancy you are going to be gaining some weight. I surprisingly didn’t gain all that much with the twins (around 30 pounds maybe) but I was still large! I would use honest company belly balm in the morning after my shower because it wasn’t actually that greasy and then I was told by someone to use this Bio Oil so I would put that on my stomach at night before bed (bit more greasy so just rubbed it on and put my shirt over). I didn’t get any stretch marks – not sure if it was that routine or I have stretchy skin…but might as well try something! I have heard it is hereditary if you get marks or not, so ask your momma.

More twin specific – I really love our stroller. It is the City Select Double stroller. I think we got an older model so wasn’t as expensive as this version, but you can put both carseats on it with adapters right away and it is very easy to use. Then you get two actual seats with it as well which the twins can sit in when they don’t need the car seats. I like it because it can fit through doorways and in elevators and such easily. It is very durable and easy to use. If you just want to get by with a cheaper stroller when your twins are still in their carsearts (and then decide what type of stroller you want when they can sit), you can get the Joovy Roo or Baby Trend Snap N’ Go. Basically, they are frames you snap the carseats into that are super lightweight and easy. With any of these strollers, you may have to buy a converter kit for your car seats. I know some people who LOVE their BOB strollers, but I wasn’t sure my smaller SUV could handle it. We still use our City Select at 2-years-old. I just started looking into getting a lighter side-by-side as my toddlers now like to jump in and out by themselves. I am holding on to my City Select for now but have no doubt I can easily sell it on my twin Facebook group when I am ready.

We had the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip infant car seats. I liked Chicco because the bases are super easy to install and the car seats are a bit lighter than some other brands I tested. Make sure to check the WEIGHT of the carseats you choose as you will be carrying TWO! There are other Chicco KeyFit 30 colors and types too. The car seats each came with a base and then we registered for two more bases to have 2 in my car and 2 in my husband’s truck (or grandmas car!).

I got a hand-me-down Twin Z pillow. I put this on the floor in my living room with a blanket over it and lay the girls down on it daily to play and read to them and such. It is really nice to have them propped up a little and not have to hold them or put them in rockers all the time. You can also use it as a breastfeeding (or even bottle-feeding) pillow. Truthfully, I never even tried it but looking at the pictures on Amazon, now I wish I had!

Ryan and I were not big on rockers and such. Like I said, we had a couple Rock N’ Plays but we actually never turned them on. Since we tried to really follow Baby Wise, we didn’t want the girls to rely on them to soothe or fall asleep. We also had another small rocker that the girls sat in and loved. We just borrowed it from a friend (as in FREE). You will have two babies, so you basically just need places to PUT them. Once they got a bit bigger, we added an excersaucer and a hanging jumper to the living room. It just kept getting more and more crowded and colorful in our home!

We have 2 white Babyletto cribs in our nursery (see pic below). We loved the style of these cribs but also that they were a bit more smaller scale and not as expensive as some of the other cribs we were seeing. (If you live in Minnesota – Baby Grand has a TWIN DISCOUNT and we got these even cheaper there). They are regular size cribs but just without any added frills. We LOVE them to this day – hold up well and soon we will convert them to toddler beds. The girls slept in them from day one basically. We were going to have them in the pack ‘n play in our room but Zoey didn’t like it the first night so I put her in the crib and she was fine. I think they got used to their own cribs in the NICU. Also, with two it is more of a production to feed them so it is not like you will be pulling them easily into bed then falling back asleep. If you can do this, MORE POWER to you. My girls just didn’t eat super well or quick so I was fine going into another room and feeding them. Also if you don’t have a chair yet and can fit a bigger one, we got a rocker/recliner/swivel chair by Best Chairs and LOVE it! I could feed them there with the double breastfeeding pillow and now I fit comfortably with my two toddlers when we read stories.

We really enjoy our crib mattresses recommended by the salesperson at Baby Grand. They are on Amazon here, but again we used the TWIN DISCOUNT at Baby Grand (Geez, I am hoping this is still a thing there). As for other bedding, I would register for two sets of crib mattress protectors (waterproof) and at least 4 sheets as well. Now that my girls are potty training (or for those late night pees/blow-outs as infants), it is nice to be able to tear off and put on a new set. We just bought four of the same sheets we liked and I bought these mattress protectors (two come in a pack). They have held up well and we like them. There are SO MANY different kinds out there though but just make sure they are waterproof to protect your more expensive mattress.

We had only one pack ‘n play. We got the twin one which was nice for awhile with the bassinets on top but they didn’t fit in them long. Also, one of my girls moved around so much when she slept that we had to get an additional pack ‘n play. You can start with one maybe and see how your twins are but know you probably will have to buy another one at some point. We now take our two pack ‘n plays everywhere with us. The girls are a bit over 2 years old and still sleep well in them. The twin one is a bit bigger than the normal pack ‘n plays which actually is kind of annoying in some spaces. We also just bought some padded mattresses to make the girls’ beds more comfortable when we travel and it is smaller than the twin pack ‘n play but fit perfect in a normal size one. So basically… looking back, I would have just started with two normal size ones.

I LOVED my Infant Optics monitor when I first got it. You have buy the monitor/camera and then an extra camera if you want one on each crib/child.  It switches constantly between the two cameras. It is really nice. If you want to hang it up in the corner of their nursery, you could get away with one. We liked being able to see them a little more closely when they were babies so had a camera focused on each babe. Now since they are older, we just have the one camera hanging in their room and actually have the other one in a case that we easily bring places. It is nice not to have to take the one camera down from their room every time we travel.

There are some other brands that have similar features. This monitor is still the one we have today but I have replaced the monitor now twice. The first had battery issues after a year probably and the second just stopped working after 6 months. BUT – Infant Optics customer service is AMAZING! They emailed me right back both times and sent replacement monitors. The last I got had some upgrades, so I am hoping it fixed the issues we had the first couple times. SO far we have had no issues.

We were a SLEEP SACK family!! We loved the Halo sleep sacks and used them probably a bit too long even. The girls LOVED them and slept so well in them. We started with the swaddle wearable blanket version with Velcro to keep the swaddle closed and then when they were older moved to the ones that were basically a blanket with arm holes. My twins were born in November so we started with fleece ones and used those for a long time. We eventually got a couple of muslin sleepsacks when it was really warm outside and they didn’t need the fleece.

Just a few other things that come to mind that are not necessarily twin-related:

  • NoseFrida – so so so many boogers. Someone told me to get one for each twin… but yeah right. I just grabbed whatever was closest and used one on both girls 😉
  • Piyo Piyo nail scissors – easier than clippers!
  • SILICONE bibs! There are many different kinds but you can easily wipe and wash off when kiddos get a bit older and start eating solid foods.
  • Highchairs that are easy to wipe clean! We got ones with padding and totally regretted that – save yourself the trouble.
  • Carriers – We never used a wrap but I can see how people would love them. We had two hand-me-down carriers, one Baby Bjorn and one Ergobaby that worked well. We liked having two so Ryan and I could both hold a baby and walk around with them.
  • And of course LOTS of diapers and wipes… just so much poo… times two!!

I am going to stop there for now but could go on and on. CONGRATS MOMMA {and/or daddy/daddies/mommas}!!! This is going to be the BEST journey you have ever been on. I am so excited for you. Let me know if you have any questions at all.

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