B&B were born nearly 2 years ago, and before I completely black those early days out of my mind, I wanted to share a few tips and our must haves that helped us survive year one with twins (verdict is still out on year two 😜).
I frequently get asked how in the world we did/do it with twins. I won’t sugar coat it, my Instagram photos might seem like we have it all together, but it is far from easy. BUT – I also think that having babies and figuring out parenting is just NOT easy! I honestly think if we’d had a singleton vs twins, it’d probably be just as difficult for us as new parents. Having two at once just required us to adjust and develop some different skills and techniques than we would have with one.
We had 2 Halo bassinets to use for the twins while they shared a room with us (we got lucky and got one handed down by a friend and scored a deal on the other from Craigslist). I was expecting to put them in their own from the get-go, but when we were in the hospital, they actually shared a bassinet (which was the cutest!) so we continued that for probably the first 6 weeks until they started to shift a bit in their sleep and got too close for comfort. For the first four months, we would have them nap in swings or rock n plays, which did take up a ton of room, but they were life savers and helped us differentiate day time vs night time routine. We moved them to their cribs around 3 months (at night, for naps at 4 months), mostly because Brylie wiggled A LOT in her bassinet which made me nervous she was going to outgrow it (which looking back wasn’t too likely), and they were only waking up once or twice a night at this point. Their room was just down the hall from us, so while it still felt weird not having them right next to us, we could hear every little sound anyways. We were biiiig believers in the swaddles (the Miracle Blanket swaddles were the only ones they couldn’t break free from!) which we later transitioned to the Magic Merlin sleep suit and then to sleep sacks. I was super nervous about this transition and it was much easier than I anticipated. A few other favorites and must haves were the Shusher, the sound machine (we still use this every day), and black out shades. As for a monitor, we bought the Infant Optics with a second camera and mounted them on the ceiling so we have a view of each crib. And how can I forget! Babywise was a method that worked very well for us, so I highly recommend. We kept the twins on the same schedule, so if one woke up to eat, we’d wake the other. Eventually their schedules synced which helped us maintain some sanity since we could somewhat predict timing of feeds and naps and and it ensured I wasn’t nursing all the time.
I was super fortunate to be able to breast feed the twins, so I can’t speak to formula recommendations, but I can share some of my favorite products and tips for breast feeding mamas and what we used when introducing solids!
I had a lactation nurse come help me during my hospital stay and it was a lifesaver. She helped me with positioning and got me hooked up with a medical grade breast pump so that I could help jump start my milk supply (maybe even too much – I ended up being an over supplier and dealt with a nasty bout of mastitis because if it -ouch!). Tip – if your insurance doesn’t provide you with this, you can often rent at a relatively good price from a lactation center. I used the My Best Friend twin pillow to tandem nurse, and for the first 8 weeks, I had my husband around to help me position them each time it was time to feed. After that, I would typically be on the couch or bed and place them next to me on either side and then position one after the other on the nursing pillow. We used boppys to tandem bottle feed (one hand for each baby/bottle) on the ground until they could hold their own. They were super fickle about bottles and wouldn’t take anything but tommy tipee. We started solids around 5 months and would switch off between the fisher price sit me up chairs and their high chairs (oxo tots). We never got a fancy baby food maker, but I picked up this hand-held guy for about $7 at target and found it super easy to mash up bananas, steamed vegetables, even cooked chicken!
So many options on this one. I had really hoped for an UPPAbaby stroller, but the seats had different weight limits and I wasn’t sure if our babies would end up bigger (their dad was a big baby/toddler) and eventually outgrow them, so we went with the City Select double stroller and the UPPAbaby car seats. It is much more affordable and they actually now have a lux version that has a lot of the bells and whistles the UPPAbaby gives you at a lower cost. One tip in the car seat department is to test these out in your car! We had such a hard time finding 2 infant seats that fit rear facing behind my tall husband (Troy is 6’5”) and a lot would also not fit directly next to each other. We ended up on the UPPAbaby Mesa which are narrower and fit in the middle and behind the passenger side. We have an Explorer and this was NOT something I was expecting to struggle with. When we were out and about we loved our Baby Bjorns and typically each of us would wear a baby! They were especially life savers during some of those early months when witching hour was at its peak.
We followed the “eat, play, sleep” cycle (per BabyWise) and slowly started to add to the toy department as B&B got older. The swings in our living room were quickly replaced by giant bounce contraptions, which are not visually pleasing, but oh my did they love them! We also spent as many of those early days outside having picnics at the park or taking walks to get out of the house. Not sure how I would have done it with winter babies! B&B could have fit on one activity center, but it was nice to have two to change things up a bit. Last tip in the play department- play mats! We have hardwood floors and our rugs aren’t too cushy, so we needed to pad things up a bit. The larger mat is from Amazon and has worked out well, but does take up a bit of room. We recently got this Toki Mat (which is eco-friendly and so cute) that we use under their teepee, but I wish I had it earlier so it made the must have list.
No products to suggest on this topic, and I really should have put this first, but accept all the help people offer you! It feels weird, I know, but remember that a lot of people find joy in helping others and wouldn’t offer if they didn’t mean it. You’re going to be tired, your brain will feel like mush somedays, and you aren’t always going to want to deal with the laundry or dinner prep. One good advice I read was to tell people specifically what they could do to help if they offered. Give them specific tasks, have them walk your dog, take out your trash bins, or pick you up takeout. My step mom organized a meal train (such a genius site!) which was a great way for friends to sign up to bring us meals and make sure they didn’t overlap. Also, my mother in law gifted us with a deep freezer and cooked and froze us a bunch of meals which was SO helpful. It takes a village and don’t forget that. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our family, friends, neighbors and amazing nanny when I went back to work.
Being a twin mama is such a special blessing, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (and believe me, you will get lots of comments). Happy to elaborate on any of the above – just let me know! You’ve got this!