Twin Essentials: What You Really Need to Know if You're Expecting Twins!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Twins – Experience from a Twin Mommy!

Thanks to the help of some of my twin mom friends we’ve brainstormed this list “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Twins”. It’s all of the advice and “what to buy tips” that we wish we had known before our precious babies arrived. We hope some of it will prove useful to you!

What You Need to Think About Before the Babies Arrive

Make Some Key Decisions

Agree what will happen if one or both of the babies needs to go to the NICU, i.e. will hubby go with the babies or stay with you.
Decide whether you want to try a vaginal delivery or have an elective caesarean, but if you go for the former read up on the latter so you know what to expect should you need to have a section.

[And just a personal note from me; I opted for a natural birth mainly because I’m terrified of hospitals and operations but after 24 hours in labour I ended up having a c-section, and to be honest it really wasn’t that bad after all!]

Write a birth plan and tuck it inside your hospital maternity book so that you don’t forget it. Include your decisions on whether you are happy for an assisted delivery or a blood transfusion, if you consent to vitamin K injections for the babies and whether you want to breastfeed.

Make Life Easier for Yourself

Hire a cleaner. Towards the end of your pregnancy you will be too big to do any cleaning, and when the babies arrive you just won’t have time for the first few months.

Do your shopping online. It saves time and money and you don’t have to heave your bump around a busy supermarket, or later on work out the logistics of getting two babies into a cart and keeping them happy while you shop.

Look for a starter voucher in the Bounty packs or Pregnancy magazines, which give you money off your first order. In the UK My Supermarket is the best way to shop online as you can see which items are cheapest/on special offer and which store to buy them from.

Stock Up On Sleep

Once you’re on maternity leave get as much rest and sleep as you can, as the weeks go by and you get bigger and bigger sleep will become harder (especially as you might need your hubby to help you turn over in bed!).

When those babies arrive sleep will become the thing you crave the most so stock up on it while you can!

Your Hospital Bag

Check what size bag your maternity unit will let you bring, because some will have restrictions based on space.

We had to pack a small “go bag” with essentials for delivery and then a larger bag with items for a hospital stay just in case we had one, the larger bag stayed in the car until we were moved to the ward.
Skip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station with Cushioned Changing Mat and Wipes Case, 3 Pockets, ChevronSkip Hop Baby Pronto Portable Changing Station with Cushioned Changing Mat and Wipes Case, 3 Pockets, Chevron

Pack a portable changing mat in your hospital bag because the hospital won’t provide one.

Throw in an alarm clock or remember your phone charger. If you do have to stay in hospital you will need to have an alarm to remind you of feed times during the day and possibly the night. If the hospital says no chargers take one anyway, the formal rules are usually usurped by informal ones set by the midwives!

Buy yourself a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste and put it in your hospital bag, you might need to go into hospital quickly and the last thing you will be thinking about is remembering to pack your toothbrush!

Check out the cost of a weekly parking ticket at the hospital and make sure you have enough change to buy one; a week’s ticket is often cheaper than a day and once you are admitted you don’t know how long it will take for the babies to arrive especially if you are being induced. Put the change in your go bag or in the car so it’s ready. And while you do that you might want to add some more coins to cover the cost of parking for scan appointments and random trips to the Day Assessment Unit in case you have any complications along the way.

Read Up On How To Be a Mommy (and Daddy!)

Read a few books to get a feel for what life will like when your babies are home; how to feed them, bathe them, get them to sleep etc.

Good books to try are Gina Ford’s Contented House with Twins and the Baby Whisperer.

But don’t expect your babies to follow the text books – just follow their lead and don’t worry too much if they’re differing from the ‘norm’ – you’ll find your own rhythm.

A Contented House with TwinsA Contented House with TwinsSecrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your BabySecrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby

&

Stock Up On Baby Freebies

You’ll be surprised at how many things companies will give you for free when you’re expecting one baby, let alone two.

Check out our list of baby freebies.

Think About How You Will Feed Your Babies

Decide whether you will breastfeed, express feed or formula feed your babies, and then be prepared to do something completely different.

If you plan to breastfeed then read up on how to get the babies to latch on, comfortable positions, what to eat etc. And then read all about formula and how to sterilise bottles and make up powdered milk.

It is possible to breastfeed twins, but sometimes you may not be able to make enough milk, or your babies may just prefer a bottle. You will always hear that breast is best, but sometimes it’s not best for you or your babies so don’t feel bullied if you need to, or want to do something different.

Check out:  Used baby items you should never buy, and why

[I was all set on exclusively breastfeeding but my babies had blood sugar issues and needed formula top ups in the hospital, then Master J lost a lot of weight and we needed to feed him up before we could go home so we did a mix of breast and formula for both babies.]

It is perfectly possible for a baby to breastfeed, formula feed and use a pacifier if you introduce them in the early days. Nipple confusion is an old wives tale!
Playtex BPA Free Premium Nurser Bottles with Drop In Liners 3 Count, 8 OuncePlaytex BPA Free Premium Nurser Bottles with Drop In Liners 3 Count, 8 Ounce

Decide which formula you will use and buy some ready-made bottles from the supermarket. If you arrive home from the hospital and the babies are hungry you need to be able to feed them straight away.

Also while you are finding your feet it is so much easier to just grab a bottle of ready-made formula rather than finding time to make up bottles of milk from powder.

[We were discharged at about 7pm and by the time we got home the babies were crying with hunger and needed a formula top up, luckily my mum had stocked up on ready-made formula that day!]

We tried lots of different bottles but eventually discovered these clever bottles which use a drop in liner so we didn’t have to mess about with sterilising.
Related read: Breastfeeding: What I wish my friends had told me

What to Buy When You’re Expecting Twins

Whatever you buy, look for ‘preloved’ items in charity shops (Thrift Stores), Facebook groups and local baby markets. Most second-hand clothes are as good as new because babies grow out of them so quickly.

Babygros and vests are perfect for the early days, they’re easy to put on and off and make it easy to change diapers. They’re also easier to wash and can be tumble-dried, and most importantly they don’t need ironing! Clothes may look cute but they’re a pain and make everything take longer.

If you are having a boy and a girl buy unisex vests and babygros, that way you only need to pack one colour in your changing bag for when you’re out and about. If you have one baby that goes through more clothes than the other you don’t need to worry about dressing your boy in pink if that’s all you have that is clean!

100% Cotton Baby Handkerchief 30pcs100% Cotton Baby Handkerchief 30pcs

Buy white muslin squares, and lots of them! You will get through about 50-60 basic white ones, look for them on Amazon or eBay, you don’t need the expensive sort from the big baby stores. You need white ones as you can then throw them in the wash and not have to worry about colours running. You’ll be surprised what you can use a muslin for, covering up while breastfeeding in public, protecting your clothes from spit up during/after a feed, cleaning up the baby, wiping snotty noses etc… They also make great comfort blankets; cut one into four with a pair of pinking shears and they’re the right size for snuggling with, and you can keep washing and rotating them so it’s not the end of the world if one goes missing.

Nora's Nursery Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers (7 Pack) with 7 Bamboo Inserts and 1 Wet BagNora’s Nursery Baby Cloth Pocket Diapers (7 Pack) with 7 Bamboo Inserts and 1 Wet Bag

Consider cloth diapers, they are perfectly manageable with twins and will save you a lot of money. And of course they’re so much cuter than disposables! You need to buy enough to do a daily wash (about 40, i.e. 20 to use in the day and 20 in the wash/drying) and once the babies are in bed just throw them in the washing machine.

Wet bags are a must for storing dirty diapers or wet clothes when you’re out and about.
If you decide to use dummies (pacifiers) then buy a couple of sleepy tot dummy bunnies from Amazon, when the babies are old enough to have comforters at night they are brilliant for avoiding stray dummy wake ups as the baby can find the bunny in their cot.

Invest in a “Koo-di Fridge to Go” large cool bag (or two). They keep milk fridge cold for 8 hours so are perfect for taking feeds out in the day and for taking up to bed at night.

A plastic 5-litre box and a packet of milton tablets equals a cold water steriliser. Just replace the water and the tablet every 24 hours.

When it comes to weaning time buy the basic white highchair from Ikea, it’s cheap and you can literally hose it down!

Baby Jogger 2016 City Mini Double Stroller - Black/GrayBaby Jogger 2016 City Mini Double Stroller – Black/Gray

The jury is split on strollers, if you have the budget then a Bugaboo Donkey Duo is a great investment, alternatively other twin moms (including me) love the Baby Jogger City Mini.

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Expecting twins? What you need to know, what to buy and what not to buy | tips from a twin mom

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