First, our babies are 7 months old! Their cheeks get bigger every single day. It's the best. To any new mom who is about three weeks in to the motherhood gig and is thinking her life is officially over, it does get easier. In fact, it gets fun. I promise! (I didn't believe it either, so I don't blame you if you're shaking your head.)
OK, let's talk baby stuff. We have certain pieces of equipment that have proven themselves absolutely essential. These are the items we used (and are still using) all the time.
First of all, I love Amazon Prime. It has been a lifesaver. It can be hard to run errands, especially if you are a working mom who doesn't have a lot of time in her day between getting home from work and bedtime. The ability to order basically anything and everything and have it delivered to your doorstep within two days will lower your stress as a new mom.
My second "secret weapon" that isn't on this visual is my Moms on Call book. We used a lot of the recommendations in this book to institute a sleep schedule for the twins starting at 5 weeks (2 weeks adjusted). By three months they had a really great daily nap routine and were sleeping through the night, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. They aren't robots and they sometimes fuss in the middle of the night, but for the most part they are fantastic sleepers and I attribute that to this book, which gives sleeping tips and schedules to follow. I highly recommend if you want to get your baby or babies on a schedule. My experience is that a schedule is probably optional with a singleton, but I can't imagine not having one with twins. You really need them to nap and eat at the same time or you'll never have time to do anything else!
- First, our stroller, the Baby Jogger City Select Double Stroller. This stroller came highly recommended by other twin moms. It is not cheap, but it is our most-used piece of baby equipment. During my maternity leave, I took the twins on walks 3-6 times per day. It calmed all of us down. Now I still take walks everyday, but I also use this at the store, for daycare pickup, etc. It does get marked down to $500 on Amazon on a regular basis, so I recommend keeping an eye on the price and waiting for a good deal! Note: You will need car seat adapters if you plan to use this with your car seat. We had both this stroller w/ the Graco adapters, which my husband preferred using, and the Snap 'N Go, which I preferred when I was alone because it was lightweight. Both are good to have if you can manage it, but you can get by with just the Snap 'N Go when you're still lugging them around in the car seats.
- I highly recommend getting two baby carriers. We had the original Ergos, and we started using them on a daily basis at about 6 weeks with the infant inserts. Having them on our chest would calm them down when they were fussy while simultaneously freeing up our hands to get stuff done, like washing bottles or cleaning pump parts. Plus it's nice to have them snuggled up on you because with twins, you never feel like you get to hold each baby enough. I recommend getting two so each person can carry a baby. This is how we grocery shopped when they were really small, and it was nice to avoid bringing the stroller in the store.
- Here are my sleeping essentials for the newborn to 3 months phase. First, swaddling! I never could get the hang of swaddling, so I loved these velcro swaddles. We swaddled for naps and bedtime. From 0-8 weeks, they slept in the Rock N Plays. Then we moved them to their cribs.
- For both naps and bedtime, we would use the white noise machine on full blast. It seems really loud, but it does two things: It reminds them of the womb, which is apparently super loud, and it drowns out the sound of the other twin fussing if you have them in the same room. It triggers a Pavlovian response. Our kids know it is sleepytime whenever we turn that machine on. We'll be bringing it on all vacations!
- We got the twins used to the pacifiers right away. At first we used Soothies on a clip to their swaddle or car seat, and when they were about 4 months we moved to the Wubbanub pacifiers. Now they can grab them and put their own pacifier in, which is AMAZING. I was getting tired of being the pacifier fairy in the middle of the night!
- Let's talk feeding supplies.
- At first I was tandem breastfeeding, and this Twin Z pillow was incredibly helpful. Scott even used it at the hospital as his pillow after they were born. After a few weeks I started exclusively pumping and giving the babies bottles because I couldn't manage the tandem feeding by myself, but I still used this pillow for every feeding. I propped them inside each hole and held the bottles for them. Then we turned them on their tummies and propped them in each hole for tummy time. This pillow is a winner!
- Once the babies started outpacing my milk production, I started supplementing with formula. I thought about getting the Baby Brezza, but I knew I would hate cleaning it like I hated cleaning my Keurig. So instead, I bought two of these Dr. Brown's formula mixing pitchers. Every night, Scott mixes one pitcher of formula for each baby. (They get different types of formula because of Evan's sensitive tummy.) The next morning, I pour the day's bottles. We wash them daily in the dishwasher. It works perfectly for us.
- Time to stock your medicine cabinet!
- Get a humidifier. Babies get congested and fussy if you can't clear the congestion. The humidifier helps.
- You'll also want a Nose Frida to clear the congestion. It sounds disgusting, but it's not. There is a filter so you'll never inhale snot, I promise. The hardest part is wrangling your baby to sit still so you can do it! In my experience, those nose bulbs the hospital sends you home with are completely useless. Get a Frida; we use our multiple times per day.
- Evan had tummy problems until 2 months old, so we helped ease his gas pain with Mylicon and Gripe Water. We still use the Gripe Water for hiccups. I remember laughing because it seemed like everyone at our baby shower gave us gas drops, and it seemed like overkill. It wasn't! We went through these medicines so fast the first few months.
- Once the babies started teething, the Infant Tylenol became really important. It's also useful for low fevers after immunizations. It's definitely an essential item for us.
- Diaper rash is the worst. Poor Hope had some pretty bad rashes, and I tried all of the different diaper creams. They worked OK, but not great. For us, the best thing has been Aquafor. It cleared up her rash right away, and now I use a layer of it after every diaper change as a preventative measure. The best part for me is that I really hated the texture and smell of the white diaper creams, plus they were so hard to clean off when bathing the babies. They were really drying on my hands, too. The Aquafor is unscented and doesn't leave any residue on my hands. I'll never go back to the regular diaper creams!
- Another diaper rash weapon for sensitive bums is Water Wipes. They are super gentle and don't irritate sensitive skin. One time I used a regular baby wipe to clean Hope's face, and she immediately turned bright red where the wipe hit her skin. That's when we switched to these wipes, and we haven't had any reactions since.
- I didn't touch that much on toys here, since they aren't that essential. But I do really love this Baby Care Play Mat. It's soft, it's reversible, it's cute and it's easy to clean. If you have a designated space for babies to play on the ground, you need something like this. Bonus: I love the soft blue polka dot pattern, and it makes a great background for my monthly photos of the twins! It comes in a bunch of patterns and styles, so there is something for everyone.
- Lastly, we really like the Angelcare bath support. We actually give our babies a shower every night as part of our bedtime routine. We have a pull-down shower head in the guest bath, so we put this support seat in the bathtub and spray them with the shower nozzle. They have loved this method from day one. I love that the drain is always open and the water doesn't collect in the bathtub, so it's safer. This can be so comforting when you are trying to bathe one by yourself while the other is next to you in the bouncer. You can turn your head for a second to tend to the other one without worrying about any drowning risk.