Randi is a registered nurse living in suburban Philadelphia who works in emergency medicine and has experience with medical/surgical nursing and pediatrics. She and husband Steve welcomed their twins, Gavin and Gabriella, over eight months ago. Learning about their experiences raising twins should be a great help to anyone facing the parenting of multiples or even JUST ONE at a time!
If one more person walks into my house and says “wow, two of everything!” I may just throw a highchair (or two). Ok, so I’m not that far gone, but sometimes it seems as though having twins may be more about the stuff, double the stuff, than about the babies themselves. This also somewhat applies to families with children very close in age.
My husband and I love having two babies (he may not always agree), but it has some special nuances that a singleton does not bring. Their special relationship is one of those things. I can spend hours just watching them laugh at each other. But there really is a lot of STUFF that is necessary with two babies. Heck, there’s a lot of stuff that’s necessary with one baby. But just because there are double the children doesn’t mean there has to be two of everything.
Flying quickly over the important things- there must be two car seats, unless you only plan on one baby ever leaving the house; two high chairs; two bouncy seats; and definitely two cribs. My two children in one crib would be an all night wrestling match. Since the moment they learned to move their limbs there has been kicking and pushing, biting on fingers and pulling on hair- only Gabi pulling Gavin’s hair because my sweet little girl is bald. They don’t do it to hurt, just to explore. Believe it or not there are few injuries with all of this activity- but I’m getting side tracked.
One stroller, while technically a double stroller, is also necessary. When it comes to toys, do not double up. Two toys will make two babies happy for a few minutes, but it will not teach sharing. Plus, after they have thrown that toy aside, you need more toys. If you have two different toys then you can pull the old switch-a-roo and they are entertained for a few more minutes.
If you are a breast feeding twin mom like I am, I would recommend one Boppy pillow for every floor of your house. If you live in a ranch then you just saved yourself a bit of money. We only use one spoon and one parent at mealtimes. Just sit between the two babies and alternate. It gives them time to chew, spit, and rub food in their eyes.
Only one baby swing is necessary. Gavin and Gabi loved the swing, but they were also content elsewhere. Swings take up a lot of space, so unless you’ve got space to spare (if you do then I need to store some of my things at your house), twin A will do fine in a vibrating bouncy seat until it’s time to switch with twin B.
Clothes. Baby clothes are addictive, but we need to take a few breaths and stay focused, because they are also expensive. If you have a boy and a girl, then feel free to share anything that looks gender neutral instead of buying two. Two of any one gender means you need to buy enough clothes to last you until next laundry day- whatever that is for you. I know some parents want to put their twins in matching clothes every day, which is cute for a few months, but what a waste of attire. Besides, each twin has his own personality, why not his own outfit.
Gavin and Gabi sleep in the same room. Sometimes they wake each other, but rarely. I find the more noise you get your baby accustomed to, the better they sleep. We have a video monitor. One monitor, two cameras. It’s nice to see who’s singing in the dark and who’s still snoozing. A single audio monitor would also be just fine unless you put your children in separate rooms.
We also share bottles, cups, and pacifiers. While you do need enough of these things for two at a time, there’s no reason to worry about swapping or Gavin finishing Gabi’s bottle. There’s no chance in this universe that one baby is going to get a cold and the other is not. Don’t even bother trying and save yourself the heartburn because Tums cost money too. Speaking of medications, we also share the Tylenol and Mylicon droppers. What’s the difference? They suck on each other’s fingers. There’s nothing dirtier than a toddler’s fingers!
One last thing I have realized, and that is a mother of twins needs two exersaucers. Once your baby is too big/old/daredevilish to be restrained in a bouncy seat (yep, they’re pretty easy to climb out of for a 9 month old) it’s time to get something new that will keep your babies right where you left them before you went to move the laundry. Exersaucers, play tables, or whatever you call them are great because they encourage motor skills, visual skills, hand/eye coordination, and they strengthen the legs for walking. They’re even great after your baby can walk, because junior will be right where you left him. Now do you have the strength to get a kicking almost-toddler into it when they want to roam free? That’s another question altogether.
So while there are many things you will need to double up on, there are also things you can do without. Just remember, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you think you need two but only have one, just give that item over to your favorite child and make an appointment for a shrink while the other one screams.
We'd love to hear about your experiences with multiples. Please share below.
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