There’s a lot to think about when you’re expecting twins. Here are a few tips from personal experience…
Join The Twins Trust
The Twins Trust (formerly TAMBA) provides a tonne of help and support for those expecting multiples and then for after the babies are born. We attended one of their courses before our twins arrived and it was invaluable. The £2.25 a month membership also gets you a monthly magazine and discounts at leading retailers such as Clarks, MAM, Start-rite and JoJo Maman Bebe. I’ve saved loads over the years
Stock up on basic clothes
Buy lots of vests aka bodysuits and basic sleep suits. I’m not saying don’t have anything for ‘best’ (I loved having beautiful, pretty sleep suits) but with twins there’s obviously double the chance of an outfit needing to be changed due to an explosive poo or massive possetting session. It pays to have plenty of easy-opening, non-fiddly garments on hand. Sainsbury’s stock plenty of affordable short-sleeved bodysuits
Invest in a roomy changing bag
It doesn’t have to be a mega expensive one, just one that has enough space for double the amount of baby stuff. It needs to have a few sections/pockets for separating feeding and changing paraphernalia, and for storing changes of clothes. However, I’d recommend not going for something with too many hidey holes otherwise you just spend your entire time searching for things (like I do in my handbag). A rucksack is a good alternative. Boots currently has a huge selection of changing bags starting at £14.99.
You don’t have to double up on everything when you have twins, but if you live in a property with two floors I can’t recommend enough having two changing tables. It saves you having to cart two babies up and down the stairs every time one of them needs changing. Check out sites such as Preloved UK or Gumtree to get good deals
Newborns have an average of 6-10 nappy changes a day, so there’s the potential for needing 20 nappies a day with twins. BumDeal is a great nappy price comparison website. It is updated very regularly with all the latest deals. When mine were older I bought Mega packs from Boots with 86 nappies in. They were pretty good on price and I got my Advantage points. Boots has a deal on right now: Nappies 🙂
Baby bath seat
I invested in two baby bath supports. They just stick (very securely) with suckers into the normal bath. They were brilliant. It meant that I could have both, fully supported, in the bath at the same time. It also meant that I didn’t have to find a home for a big baby bath. This exact version can often be found on Preloved.
Just the one cot
I had my twins in Moses baskets to begin with and then when they outgrew those they shared a cot bed. They obviously got too big to share in the end, but it helped to spread the cost.
This goes for anyone expecting, but even more so with twins: buy second hand to save money. Mum2Mum markets, NCT Nearly New Sales and the likes of Gumtree and Preloved UK can be treasure troves. There are also lots of great local selling sites for childrens’ things on Facebook. Similarly sell stuff when you’re done with it. I do this a lot. Read more about this here
You have to be realistic and a lot more flexible with twins as opposed to a singleton. Having felt that for baby number one I did things to the best of my abilities, I struggled a little when I was no longer able to do everything ‘perfectly’ with three. It’s not the end of the world if they have to wait a few minutes for a feed, you don’t have to rush over as soon as there’s a whimper, they can have a sleep en route to somewhere so that you can leave when you need to, there will be times when both babies are crying at the same time and you can only comfort one. That’s ok. You can attend to the other in a few minutes, they won’t hate you forever. In fact I think it’s actually quite good if they don’t get your attention straight away all of the time and that they too have to adapt a little
If you’re breastfeeding I’d recommend tandem feeding (if you can). It was so much quicker to breastfeed the girls together. It wasn’t practical when out and about (no amount of muslins make tandem breastfeeding discreet), but whenever I could I did. I used the ‘rugby ball hold.’ Katherine Rosman has a very detailed guide about lots of breast feeding positions and methods. I found a breast feeding pillow (as in the above pic) very helpful, but you could just use cushions.
Try on a bottle asap (if you’re breastfeeding)
This is a very personal choice but from my experience, I’d recommend trying them on a bottle within a few days of being born. Health Visitors recommend waiting six weeks before trying a breastfed baby on a bottle to avoid confusion. However, I tried all three of mine a few days in on a bottle and there was no problem. Many of my friends that waited six weeks couldn’t get their babies to take a bottle. Having the option of a bottle really provides some flexibility as someone else can help out from time-to-time (and shock, horror, you might be able to go out). My husband bottle fed them my expressed milk for one night feed every night, a few weeks in, which really helped. Quite a few months later we switched the one bottle feed of the day to formula. Read: Breastfeeding a bottle fed baby
Invest in a good breast pump
If you plan to express, get a good pump. I had a hand pump for my first baby and soon changed to electric as it was really making my wrists ache and was very laborious and time-consuming. The electric pump was much better at extracting milk fast and efficiently. With twins, I upgraded to a double pump. If I had to do it again for a single baby I’d also get a double pump (certainly not essential for a single baby though). I personally found Medela to be better than Avent. I’d also recommend investing in a breast feeding bustier so that you can pump ‘hands free’!
When one baby wakes for a feed, wake the other
Despite the fact that I was tandem feeding wherever possible, it took me 10 weeks of a ridiculous number of nighttime feeds to figure this one out: when one baby wakes up and starts crying for a feed, wake the other one up and feed them at the same time
Research the buggy/pram/travel system
These things really don’t come cheap, so it really is worth doing the research. Think about the size of your front door. Would a side-by-side fit through easily? Are you going to be walking nearly all of the time or are you frequently going to need to fold/dismantle the thing to sling in the back of the car? Would it fit comfortably in the boot? Are you going to be mainly pounding the pavements of the urban jungle or will you be going ‘off road’ quite a bit? All of these things need to be considered and will ultimately influence what you buy.
I had the iCandy Peach Blossom and absolutely loved it. It was hugely expensive but had the seats and the carry cots (which I sold when outgrown), was really versatile, easy to push, didn’t look like a monster and completely fit in with all of my requirements. It was also compatible with the car seats making life that bit easier. The system lasted them ages and I was still able to sell it for a good price when I was done.
Oh, and you might want to prepare yourself… 16 Things You’re Likely to Hear When You Have Twins.