When I was pregnant I felt very overwhelmed with all the stuff I needed to buy for the twins’ arrival. I wished there was someone to guide me. So I’ve decided to put together this checklist in the hopes of helping other moms-to-be. It’s tailored for twins, but I’m fairly confident that parents of singletons will find some of it useful too. I should add that I’m a huge nerd and meticulously researched everything before deciding on what to buy. Remember that this is just my opinion but what you ultimately choose to buy is a very individual decision.
- Twin nursing pillow- The two most popular ones are My Breast Friend and Twin Z. I would have preferred the Twin Z as it seemed more versatile and offers good back support. However, I struggled to find it in Canada and ended up getting My Breast Friend. My main complaint would be that it doesn’t fit snugly and back support is non-existent for me. I learned to live with it though and all-in-all I’m happy with this pillow. Breastfeeding my twins wouldn’t be possible without it.
- Bottles- I decided to get the Dr. Brown’s Newborn Feeding Set because it had good reviews and was affordable. One of my twins was very gassy and these bottles helped with that. For those of you who will exclusively pump or formula-feed, you will definitely need more bottles. However, I would suggest only buying more when you’ve established which brand your baby likes. Many websites suggest buying 10-16 bottles per twin.
- Bottle brush
- 4-6 Burp cloths per twin
- Feeding bibs. I recommend these plastic BabyBjorn bibs as they catch falling food and can simply be rinsed afterwards. Another advantage is that you only need one per twin. However, if you can’t resist getting the traditional cloth bibs because they’re so cute (and who could blame you?), you’ll probably need about 4-8 per baby.
- Formula- I think it’s a good idea to buy formula even if you plan on exclusively breastfeeding because you never know what breastfeeding challenges you might face. I’ve also had situations where I’ve had to unexpectedly leave my twins with someone and didn’t have time to pump. We got Enfamil because the hospital gave us free samples and we were happy with it so just stuck with it.
- Breast pump- All my research pointed to the Spectra Dew 350 Double Electric Pump because it’s hospital grade, affordable ($120) compared to other similar pumps and it has excellent reviews. However, I couldn’t find it in Canada and ended up getting the Medela Pump In Style. It is pricey and I find it noisy, but I’m pretty happy with it overall.
- Milk storage bags
- Bottle sterilizer- we have the Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer.
- Nipple cream- I never used mine, but it’s good to have because you never know if breastfeeding will be kind to you. Lansinoh Lanolin appears to have the best reviews.
- 2 High chairs- We only bought these when my twins were four-months-old, but it doesn’t hurt to add it to your registry. We got two Safety 1st Recline and Grow Booster Seats because it’s a lot cheaper than the traditional high chairs and we had some sturdy wooden chairs lying around that we could fasten them to. They’re also portable.
- 2 Cribs- we got the Graco Sarah Convertible Crib simply because it was on sale. No matter what cribs you choose, make sure they comply with the most current guidelines.
- Nursing chair- I thought long and hard about this one. I wondered if a nursing chair would be big enough to fit a twin nursing pillow and how I’d balance the twins on it. I wondered where I’d put the twins while I settled into the chair and how I’d ease them onto the pillow by myself. In the end I decided to get a daybed and I love it. I can place the twins on either side of me then position them onto the pillow all by myself. I also sleep on it when the twins cry at night and I don’t want to wake my husband since he has to work in the morning.
- 2 Crib mattresses- We got the Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams mattress because it’s firm, waterproof, has excellent reviews and is affordable. We’re very pleased with it. It rivals some of the top mattresses but costs a fraction of the price at roughly $80 each.
- 2-4 Crib sheets
- 4-6 Swaddle blankets- I recommend Aden and Anais. They’re super soft and stretchy.
- Baby monitor- we have the Summer Infant Side by Side monitor.
- 1-2 Mobiles- You can either get a mobile for each crib or have the twins share one. Bear in mind that if you have two, it can get noisy when you wind both of them up at the same time.
- Closet dividers– These aren’t essential but they sure were useful for organising clothes according to size.
- Hangers- You’ll need lots!
- Diaper bag with change mat- I got the JJ Cole Backpack. I wanted a backpack because it’s easier to carry and I wanted a spacious bag. My husband hates carrying it because it’s so girly though!
- Double stroller- We got the Contours Options Elite Stroller. I love that you can change the seats around. It’s quite bulky and takes getting used to, but now I can set it up by myself in a matter of seconds. I don’t like the way the seats are held in with just a strap as it seems quite flimsy, but we just make sure to tighten it as much as possible. The company lists very specific car seats that it will accommodate, but the car seat adapter is quite generic and I’m sure almost any car seat would fit.
- Car seat adapter- Most double strollers only provide one car seat adapter (the cheapskates!) so you’ll need to buy another for the other twin.
- 2 Car seats- We got the Graco Snugride Classic Connect 30. Here’s a tip: If you’re in Canada, there are several places that offer car seat clinics to help you install your seats correctly, including the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
- Disposable diaper bags- These are a must for your diaper bag for when you’re out and have nowhere to dispose of your baby’s used diapers or you don’t want to stink up someone’s house when you throw it in their garbage. A trick I learned is to use dog poop bags from the dollar store. It’s so cheap and works great.
- Diapers- My husband and I swear by Pampers diapers. We have one petite twin and one chubby twin. Our petite one always had leaks when she wore Huggies diapers so we stick with Pampers now. I recommend Pampers Swaddlers as they have a wetness indicator. Don’t get too many diapers until you know which brand works for you. I briefly considered cloth diapers, but ain’t nobody got time for that if you’re a twin parent!
- Diaper pail and liners- We have the Diaper Genie Elite. Don’t assume you need to buy the Diaper Genie refills. There are other cheaper alternatives like the Nursery Fresh refills, which work just as well.
- 1 Change pad- We got the Summer Infant Contoured Change Pad as a gift. Many people suggested having a changing station on each floor of the house, but it’s really no big deal to walk upstairs when the twins need their diapers changed. And I can only change one twin at a time anyway, so one change pad has worked out fine for me.
- 2 Change pad covers- I ordered portable/ mini crib sheets by mistake instead of the regular sized ones. The funny thing is, they fit perfectly over the change pad and are cheaper than many change pad covers. I was glad they didn’t go to waste.
- 3-6 Change pad liners- Change pad liners will save you a lot of laundry. Luckily we don’t have too many accidents.
- Baby wipes- You will need a lot of these! I got Pampers baby wipes at my baby shower and now we just buy the refills.
- Change table/ dresser- We needed extra storage so opted to buy this Ikea dresser and just screwed in the change pad at the back.
- Diaper rash cream- We use Sudocrem.
Grooming and Healthcare
- 1 Nail clipper
- 1-2 thermometers- If you use a thermometer that goes under the arm, then one will suffice and you can just wipe it with an alcohol wipe afterwards. Anything else warrants getting each child their own for hygienic purposes, or get one that comes with probe covers. Stay away from the ones you get in these healthcare grooming kits. I got one for my baby shower and the thermometer is extremely slow, which is the last thing you want when you have a squirmy baby. I’ll be buying a new one
- 2 Nasal aspirators- We got the bulb syringes and they’re useless. The suction is weak and most of the time they just push those boogers further in! My friends all swear by Nosefrida “The Snotsucker.” I know it seems gross, but it is pretty effective for removing those boogers.
- Vitamin D drops and Tylenol- If you live in a colder climate like Canada, vitamin D drops are recommended. It’s also always good to have Tylenol on hand for fevers, especially after vaccinations.
- 4-6 Towels- I got a few hooded towels because they look so adorable, but they can be expensive. Regular towels will work just as well.
- 4-6 Wash cloths
- 1 Bath tub- You can only bath one twin at a time, so one bath tub is sufficient. We have the Summer Infant Right Height Bath Centre Tub.
- Baby lotion
- Pads- If you have a vaginal birth you will bleed a lot. Most of my friends used normal pads after giving birth, but with twins you can expect much heavier bleeding. Even the hospital pads weren’t enough for me. I ended up buying incontinence diapers (I’d never felt more sexy! ). Check to see what your hospital provides and you can always buy this after the birth to suit your flow.
- Breast pads- I thought I’d save money and buy reusable ones, but they kept shuffling around in my bra. I recommend disposable ones. I didn’t leak for long anyway.
- Nursing bras- I love these Motherhood Maternity bras. I bought a few in different colours.
- Postpartum belly band- Moms of a multiple gestation are at a higher risk of diastasis recti, and unfortunately this was true for me. I got this belly band from Monkeybrother. My diastasis recti has decreased in size but I’ve also been doing exercises, so I’m not sure if belly bands really work or not. It did help to conceal my saggy skin though, so I’d get it if only for that reason!
- 4-8 onsies per baby
- 2-4 pants per baby
- 1-2 cardigans per baby
- 4-8 sleepers per baby
- 2-4 playsuits per baby
- You may also need a winter coat, beanies, socks and mittens if your babies will be born in the colder months. Read up on cars seat safety. It’s not safe for your baby to wear a snowsuit in the car seat. It’s much safer to layer blankets over your baby. Another great tip: get a small mesh bag that you can put small items like socks and mittens into when you wash them so they don’t get lost.
- Teething toys- Everyone raves about Sophie the giraffe. My twins didn’t really take to it though.
- 6-12 Bibs- Babies drool a lot! These bandannas are awesome and look cute too.
- 1-2 Playmats- These are great for tummy time and for teaching hand-eye co-ordination. I got two of the Fisher-Price Kick and Play Piano Gyms.
- 1-2 Baby carriers or slings- One of my twins used to cry all the time, but this decreased significantly when I started wearing her. I got two Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Convertible Carriers. It’s quite comfortable and my baby is properly aligned in it. However, even though it says it can be used when the baby reaches 4 lbs, I found that my baby’s head would slump forward and I could only comfortably wear her when she had some head control. I wish I’d bought a wrap or sling instead so that I could have started wearing my baby sooner. There are also twin wraps and slings if you want to wear both babies at the same time. Alternatively, you can wear one carrier on your back and one in front (there are YouTube videos showing how to do this).
- 2-4 Pacifiers
Things I didn’t buy and still consider unnecessary
- Bottle drying rack- You can just use your regular drying rack
- Food processor- We just use our trusty blender and bought some storage containers.
- Crib skirt- This serves no functional purpose and in my opinion the cribs look fine without it.
- Baby laundry detergent- We use our regular laundry detergent (but no fabric softener) and simply make sure to use the “rinse twice” function on our washing machine.
- Bottle warmer- Quite honestly, it doesn’t take much to stick a bottle in a mug of hot water.
- Mattress protector- If you learn to correctly fasten a diaper and consistently change the diapers at each feeding, you should have hardly any accidents. In the event that there is a leakage, I find it easier to just change the crib sheet and give the waterproof mattress a quick wipe rather than having to wash a mattress protector too (you have enough laundry as it is!).
- Wipes warmer- My babies have never complained about having cold wipes on their bums. You can always quickly warm them between your hands if you feel they’re too cold.
- White noise machine- My twins did like white noise when they were newborns, but there are free apps you can download on your phone which are just as effective.
- Humidifier- This might come in handy in winter or when the babies get sick, but so far I haven’t felt the need to get one.
- Medicine dropper- Most infant medication comes with its own dropper.
Things I never got and regretted or got after the fact
- Swing/ Rock ‘n Play- This is a must if you’re a twin parent who will be caring for the babies on your own. It’s the worst feeling when both twins are crying but you can only rock one at a time.
- Nursing cover- I initially didn’t get one because I didn’t think it would be possible to nurse twins in public. I planned to just pump and feed them bottles whenever we went out. What I didn’t plan on was for my twins to suddenly develop a bottle aversion. I also had no idea that pumping would be so stressful. Then I discovered nursing rooms. (I was an ignorant first time mom and honestly didn’t know they existed!) I ended up buying a nursing cover and now I take my nursing pillow everywhere. Come to think of it, I’m so used to being topless all the time that I’ve lost all inhibition and don’t even use my nursing cover in nursing rooms. I only really use it if I’m feeding one twin at a restaurant or something where there are males around. Nursing while out and about is completely possible and even liberating!
- Crib bumpers- There’s so much controversy about the safety of bumpers that I avoided them for a long time. Then, at seven months, the twins kept hitting their heads and getting their legs trapped between the bars and I caved in. I regret not having bought them sooner! If you’re worried, you can buy the “breathable” ones or wait till they’re rolling to install them.
I hope this helped all you mamas-to-be. What would all you other twin parents recommend?
I’m a twin mommy who will make you feel better about your parenting skills. Sign up for e-mail updates at the bottom of this page if you want to follow my journey into insanity. You can also follow me on Facebook.