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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Barren Advice: Thirteen

This is the thirteenth installment of Barren Advice. You can ask questions that are fertility or non-fertility related. Baby stuff is mentioned in this post.

Barren Advice is posted each Tuesday. If you have your own question for Barren Advice, click here to learn how to submit. Please weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section and indicate which question you're addressing if there are multiple questions in the post.

Dear Mel:

We are starting to think about furniture and other gear for the twins and I was wondering if you have any sage advice for me? I think we are convinced they should each have their own crib and we are thinking of putting them in the same room, although we do have room to give them each their own room if we decide to. Is there anything you wish you had done differently or that you found worked great (with nurseries, baby gear, etc.)?

--Denise from
Freezer Buns

Let me start by saying that less is more. Having fewer things in your house to navigate, utilize, and store later will make you happier in the long run. The goal of the baby industry is to get you to buy a lot of stuff. Your goal should be to ignore them until you need to listen.

My other piece of advice is to buy along the way. Don't commit to big ticket items until you need them and only then after you've tried them out. Take your baby/babies to the store and try the item there or go over to a friend's house before you plunk down $40 for a swing or bouncey seat. Remember that each child is different and one may love the swing while another hates it. Therefore, hold off on buying two of any non-essential item.

NOMOTC is the umbrella organization of local twins clubs. Make sure you get involved with your local branch for at least the first year simply for the sales they hold each fall and spring. While you'll want to purchase some items new, the sales are a great place to pick up gently-used items for low prices. I purchased our car seats new; I purchased the snap-and-go frame through a sale for a quarter of the price. This is a huge point since you use so many of these items for a short period of time.

If you're buying as you go, you only need a few items to kick off life with twins. Everything else can be purchased during a Target or food store run as needed. In fact, it can make guests feel helpful to be sent on an errand. Hospitals often give you some items to help you start life with your baby/babies too.

  • Place to sleep and essential bedding (plus a super-sheet or the like): I don't want to say crib because I know many who started out using pack-n-plays or co-sleepers
  • Two car seats
  • A few night gowns, onesies, swaddling blankets, and wash cloths.
  • One or two bottles if you're planning on bottle feeding (hold off on buying many until you see which nipple your child likes)
  • A pack of diapers
  • A bottle of dreft
Nice to Have:
  • Snap-and-go frame or a carriage
  • Play mat
  • Baby carrier (bjorn, ergo, or the Maximom which is specifically for multiples)
  • Bouncey seats--lots of them. We had many throughout the house because they're a safe place to put down a child.
  • Baby tub
  • Glider or rocking chair
  • Diaper bag (though we used just a regular backpack most of the time)
  • Mobile
  • Monitor (depending on the size of your home)
  • Boppy or breastfeeding pillow if you plan to breastfeed
Do Not Buy Until You Know You Need It:
  • Breast pumps (they're non-returnable, you don't know how breastfeeding will go, and hospital grade pumps are a better use of your money until you establish a supply)
  • Swing
  • Highchairs (you won't need them for a bit and take some time to think out whether you'd like a free standing chair or a booster that snaps onto a regular kitchen chair)
  • Lots of toys
  • A lot of clothing (especially because you won't know your child's size at each season)
  • A lot of diapers (same reason)
  • Exersaucers and that ilk
  • Gates (unless you have pets)
  • Gadgets (wipe holders, bottle warmers, and the like)
It's hard to hold off when you're registering, but gift cards (or a lot of store credit) is more helpful down the road so you can purchase things as needed rather than having a lot of clutter. Some things will also fit your lifestyle though they're not important to someone else. For instance, you may want a backpack carrier, though we rarely ended up using the two we owned. On the other hand, I was a bouncey seat fanatic and other people found them useless.

No really, the beauty of a blog advice column is that you get to weigh in with your two cents too. Let the questioner know if you support the advice, add to the response, or dispute it completely. I would love people to add to the lists above because I'm probably forgetting some important items.

Leave a comment in the reaction box below--only keep in mind that conflicting advice is embraced and rudeness is not. Want to ask your own question? Click here to see what you need to send in order to be included in a future Tuesday's installment of Barren Advice


Jen said...

I've heard that the corner cribs are handy with twins.

Cathy said...

Burp cloths! We use cloth diapers - we have 4 dozen, and it's just not enough. Get 5 dozen. Seriously. We used to have to do laundry EVERY day because we'd run out of those suckers. And uh .. make sure your washer is in good working order, because having it die 3 days after the babies come home is just not fun.

I recommend buying different patterned car seats. We didn't, and it complicates things. Twins aren't always the same size, and a good fit - that you don't always have to readjust - is important! And the double snap-n-go is SO good to have, so pick carseats that work with it.

Carey said...

Snap'n'Go stroller frames are awesome. We love ours... it's so much easier than a standard stroller. Plus, later on, you can take the baby into the store and try on different strollers to see which one fits the baby best. Burp cloths are a must. If you are doing bottles, buy enough so you don't have to wash every day. Bouncy seats are great for after feeding too - many babies don't do well laying flat after eating. I love sleep gowns... snaps are such a pain in the middle of the night!! I would tend to wait on a baby carrier, unless you go with something like the Moby Wrap. A wrap holds the baby more naturally I think and you can wear it several different ways.

Amy said...

I'm in a funny place today and this post made me cry. WTF? I saved your advice in a word know, just in case, someday.

Kathy V said...

I do not personally have twins but my aunt does. Like Mel said the moms of multiples in your area can be a lifesaver. My aunt stocked up on gently used clothes. While she had two girls she never dressed them the same but always bought the same outfit in multiples so that she only had to change half the outfit if something happened. She said the other mom's in her group also would share things back and forth too. Hope that helps.

Ellen K. said...

Also check Craig's List for Double Snap & Go strollers - I got mine for $50 from another twin mom.

Jess said...

So I've only got ghetto twins not real twins, but they ARE both babies, so here's my pieces of advice...

I MYSELF woudln't spend the $$ on more than the snap n go. After that I'd get two foldable umbrella strollers with 5 pt harnesses and full reclines (because they're smaller, cheaper, and more in if I want to use a connector to put them side by side I can, but if I have help and want to let Travis push one baby, I can also do that, which really...when am I gonna be nuts enough to regularly take them both alone?? And if I were spending the $$ on a double, I'd get a compact one like Combi makes). I'm sorry I bought the Graco travel system at all. It was $$ and not that useful. For the times when baby is asleep and it saved waking him or her, there were 60 other times when I could have had a smaller stroller. Or now, I use the wagon if I'm alone. And Ethan is just 7 months.

My MAIN piece of advice, though, is about diaper bags. You need a LOT of stuff for two babies. But that means BIG diaper bags. If you go out, it's a problem space wise with the huge bags and the seats and the babies and then the adults or kids with you. SO....What we do it take a small diaper bag (we have a BabySack from BRU that we like) with a couple diapers each,wipes, snacks, drinks, etc....and then pack the normal big bag with the extras...diapers, outfits, wipes, etc etc etc. That way we only have to take in the little bag and can just replenish.

Oh, and get the Superyard play pen thing. We use it ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Because there comes a point when there's mobility before there's SAFETY in being left alone, and really, with two babies, it's impossible not to sometimes leave one alone for changes, etc. That thing is a lifesaver. It's sort of small on its own, so I bought two and linked them together, but you can also jsut get extensions.

We used the graco carseats, and now are moving them to the graco comfortsport convertibles. They're good price, good seat. Compact, but big enough for a kid. With 2 seats per car, you want to get the best deal!!

Echloe said...

I'm usually one for buying stuff I don't really need. So I'll be sure to give babies r us gift cards to all the women I know who are pregnant so they can buy what they need instead of random stuff off their registry.


xavier2001 said...

Good advice!

I also second the burp cloths and bibs!! And lots of sleepers b/c you will go through at least 2 or 3 per baby per day!!

And invest in a swing that swings in 2 directions, mine only went one way and it was the way that my daughter HATED.

Leendaluu said...

As for the breast pump, I was able to rent a high end Medela (sp) through my local La Leche league and I only had to buy the plastic parts

My twins are six, we have lots of space and they STILL don't want their own rooms so, woohoo, I have a study!

Denise said...

Thanks for posting Lolli! Lots of good advice from you and everyone who commented.