A friend of mine recently found out she was pregnant with a little boy. She posted up on facebook the question every new parents is burning to ask and seek answers: what do we need?
As a parent of twins this was a loaded question since most folks anecdotally assume that you need “two of everything.” I did my best to break down our experience: what is worth it, not worth it and what we’d do all over again if we could. Whether the advice is taken what I do know is that as parents of twins efficiency becomes the key. Many tasks have to be completed in duplicate. So the question for us becomes, “What makes this task a little easier?” And as parents of 6 month of boy/girl twins you can imagine I have a lot to say.
Pre-advice: parents like myself give advice freely. Take it with a grain of salt. Ultimately you are the new parents and will learn your child and what works. There is no set way of doing things. There are few things you will do that are wrong, I am sure. Actually, there is a lot you will do wrong. And it’s fine. There is no manual. No book. You both will learn and laugh from your mistakes. But ultimately your instincts will always guide you, even when you feel they are failing or non-existent. I promise. Try to enjoy every moment – even the ones you want to pass. You will soon see that each of those moments matter and have great meaning. I swear. In fact, I promise.
- Getting organized before baby gets here is not worth it. You’ll soon realize everything isn’t where you actually want it. Resist finding “final” places, accept that you’ll want to reorganize once baby is here.
- Do not, I repeat, do not open, wash, fold and store everything folks give you. Do not. Again, you’ll regret opening the 5 Moby wraps if you wind up not using them, $50 each, and you can’t even exchange for full retail.
- Get stuff to become organized. Wicker baskets. Folding boxes (fabric ones that accent the room). Whatever. Have them ready. All sizes. This was a lifesaver for us living in a small space with twins.
- Tissues. For you. Not baby. You’re going to cry (if you’re like me) when nothing seems to work. It’s ok. You’ll be fine. The moment will pass. And even if baby is crying they will stop sometime soon. At least they are breathing. I know it may seem harsh, but as parents of twins meltdowns happen (sometimes more frequently than we want to admit – we don’t post those pictures to social media!). And sometimes they just need to cry it out. It sucks. And you feel helpless. But the moment will pass and all will be good, calm and filled with smiles and coos!
- Diapers. Everyone will have an opinion. Ultimately it’ll be what you want. We started with pamper’s swaddlers as that’s what our hospital used. Our twins lived there for 25 days so we wanted to keep things consistent with what they were used to. I suggest starting a stockpile. You wont likely need as many “newborn” size as you think. But definitely have a box or two of size one and twos. You’ll thank me when you don’t have to run out and get them when baby boy blows out a diaper for the 3rd time that day.
- Bottles. We’re huge fans of Dr Browns. All the way. The money is worth it. But some babies are picky when it comes to the nipple. So great advice that was given to us (but we failed to follow) was buy one or two different varieties to see which works best for baby. If you do the Dr Browns do their Options line all the way!! Don’t get as many small bottles as you think. You’ll be moving on to the larger bottles for much longer. Oh, and soap – we love babyganics dish soap. But then again, with twins we often place our bottles in the dishwasher (Dr Browns has an AWESOME dishwasher “accessory” that holds all the parts. SOOO worth it). And, that brings me to bottle sterilizer and warmer. Bottle warmer: NOT needed. Ever. Bottle sterilizer – if you have a dishwasher built within the last 6 -10 years it may have a steam feature. That’s your sterilizer. And, if you really want to sterilize your pieces often (which I highly recommend) Medala makes SUPER CONVENIENT microwaveable bags that you add a few ounces of water to. Three minutes later and poof! Sterilized pieces! Seriously they are amazing.
- Swing. MamaRoo. Rock n’ Play. Likely your baby will love movement of sorts. See if you can get one, not all, for your place. Our kids LOVE the mamaroo and use it frequently (don’t worry, they love their tummy time and back time). We find that the mamaroo is an ergonomic solution to the swing with it’s multiple patterns of movement. But alas, some babies are not fans.
- Sleepsacks: YES! We love our halo sleep sacks. They are easy and safe to use. Have a few on hand. 5 – 6 this way if baby spits up on one you got another. And one can be in the laundry and another in the diaper bag for traveling nap time. I swear you’ll thank me later for this one. Now, there are other swaddle solutions – they are all pretty good. Halo is just our preference. And, once baby is able to roll over no more swaddling – ok? And don’t do what we did which was wait to the last minute to break them of the swaddle habit. We’re suffering the consequences now, but nonetheless managing.
- Diapering – we are fans of Bordeaux’s Butt Paste. We’ve tried desitin, triple paste and sensicare. None of them worked as well as Butt Paste on our kids tushies. But again, each baby is different. So get a small sample size of each to find out which is best. Don’t invest until you know it’ll work. That brings me to aquafor – it’s FABULOUS for bad diaper rashes. Literally it’s amazing. Oh, and if baby dribbles a ton and gets a formula/milk rash on their neck wash with warm soapy water, dry completely and apply aquaphor. But seriously – only apply to dry skin.
- Diaper bags – find one that works. LOL Be sure it has a place for extra bottles and all the stuff you’ll want to carry with you. We love our “diaper dude” which is a knapsack style bag and we have a more traditional black bag, too. We use the diaper dude for extra clothing, toys, burp rags. And the other only for diapering and medical supplies. That’s just us – again. #twins.
- Medical shit you need: infant Tylenol (do not use until your pediatrician approves), pedialyte (hopefully you never use it), children’s bendryl, nail cutting solution and soffffft emery board for filing infant nails before they harden and grown a bit. Oh, and those bulb syringes from the hospital. Ask for a few to take home…they are seriously the best!
- Burp rags – seriously have 40 – 50. Have them in all rooms. Both of our kids have baby reflux. They spit. Everywhere. Anywhere. And knowing a burp cloth is stashed somewhere? #SpitUpSecurityBlanket You’ll thank me later. I promise. #BabiesSpit
- Bath Time – save your money and don’t get a tub. Get the blooming flower that goes in your sink. Save your back. Save your knees. Or, better yet, do what we do – taken them in the shower with us one at a time. They love the running water and as infants hated the bath so much!
- Bouncy chairs saves live. We have a cheap one that vibrates. Seriously though, they save lives.
- Play Gym for tummy time – any one really. They all do the same thing.
- Bobby Pillow – get extra covers and a liner for over the actual pillow. Again, #babiesspit. They are amazing for feeding when they are small (breastfeeding or bottle feeding) and will become an instrumental part of tummy time and supervised playtime. Seriously, though, have I said they’re awesome?
- Pacifiers – everyone will have a thought on them. We didn’t have a choice but to use them as they are instrumental in teaching a baby how to “suck” when they are born as prematurely as our twins. Not all pacis are created the same and not all babies take a paci. One thing I will say is that those clips and cute stuffed animals that come with some of them? I’d personally avoid them. The occupational therapist that worked with us in the NICU brought up some very valid points – they are choking and strangulation hazards, especially when we may have our heads turned the other way. I am not one that “freaks about everything,” but this one got to me. So it’s just a plain ole paci and nothing more in this household.
- Change table/pad. Definitely get a pad that is waterproof, has lips/edge to prevent rolling, and multiple covers. You are having a boy. Prepare yourself now to be baptized many times. Many. Times. And whatever you do – do not buy a peepee teepee for baby boys. They just shoot right off their penises when they pee. Dumbest invention ever. Clearly it was designed by a man that was never a father/parent.
- Stroller. Get one that fits your lifestyle. If you are going to walk a ton then get something like the citymini. They are great. Have infant car seat adapters for most major brands. And, they grow with your child.
- Car seats. We love our graco snugride 40. It fits babies as little as 4lbs (thank heaves as our baby girl was barely 4 lbs when she was released from the hospital!) and has great adapters for strollers. And, the click connect bases are SUPER EASY to install. Definitely have an extra base for other vehicles.
Above all baby needs love. More than half the crap available is gimmicky and designed to elicit the response of, “Oh my! How can I live without that?!” When in reality most of that stuff causes more wasted time. We stick to basics and what allows us to survive. To all those preparing to welcome a new baby into their household: buckle up! Life is about to get much more interesting and exciting!