Twins Week: Gear smackdown

My husband’s college roommate is the proud father of three children including a set of toddler twins. Since both he and his wife are tremendous spreadsheet-making product researchers, I knew I could count on them to give the no-nonsense best product recommendations! Thanks to Caleb and Michelle.

In general, when you’re overwhelmed with all the products there are to buy for multiples, know that you do not need multiples of every product. Yes, you do need two car seats, most people need two cribs, and you’ll eventually need two high chairs but pretty much everything else is optional. Although it can be nice to have, you don’t need 2 swings, 2 papasan chairs, or 2 exersaucers because your babies will take turns (ha! they know how to share until they become toddlers, right?) and if you’ve had children before your multiples, you know that not all children enjoy all products anyway.

I suggest you keep the receipt for certain items because it’s possible neither (or none for higher order multiples) will like to swing, You can always buy a second swing if both babies are in love with it and/or will only fall asleep there.

Our favorite must-have products:

  1. Bottle sling. If you’re going to bottle feed, we highly recommend the Bebe bottle sling. After experimenting with many ways to prop bottles, these bottle holders were the clear winner in our house.
  2. Strollers: Yes, you are going to want more than one of them! you can’t get very far or go for very long when you carry more than one baby, so strollers will be your best friend anytime you want to go anywhere. The best thing to do is go to a local store and actually walk around with the strollers to test them out and see your preference.
    • When the babies are tiny: you have 2 options here – tandem or side-by-side and this seems to be a personal preference decision. We used Graco’s Double Snap-n-Go because friends lent us one. Pro: you can get through ANY doorway! Con: a little hard to maneuver up and down any sort of a hilly area. The Graco Duorider is the side-by-side option where you can plop those infant carriers in and go. The advantage of this one is that it’s a regular stroller, too, so when your babies outgrow their infant carrier car seats, you can still use the same stroller.
    • Umbrella stroller: Maclaren and Combi are the best. We have a hand-me-down Combi and it does fine. We keep it folded up in the car so we’d always have it available whenever we might need it. One of the main differences between them is that the Maclaren has 2 handles and the Combi has one. you may need to hold one baby and steer the stroller with one hand so in this case the Combi could be the better option, though some haven’t had a problem maneuvering the Maclaren with one hand.
    • Other favorites: Once the babies outgrow the infant carrier, I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love their double BOB stroller. I recently heard someone rave about the City Mini Stroller which looks like it combines the awesomeness of the double BOB with the umbrella stroller advantages.
  3. Diaper changing stations (set up one per house story): not really a product recommendation as much as product advice. If you have a one-level house or apartment, then one changing table should be enough. If you have a 2-story house, you’ll want a changing station upstairs and one downstairs.It doesn’t have to be an actual changing table; I keep the changing pad on a shelf in the family room and I plop it on the floor when it’s time to change diapers. Next to that I have a munchkin diaper caddy with all the diaper changing essentials inside. There are times when one child wears a larger diaper size than the other, so i have written each child’s name on a side and I put a piece of cardboard in the middle to separate the diapers and make it easy to grab the right size.
  4. Bassinets: I like the ones with wheels and that are narrow enough to fit through doorways. Since we bottle fed our infants, it was super convenient to have the bassinets in the family room (where our babies napped during the day as well as slept at night) conveniently located next to the kitchen where we prepared their bottles.
  5. Labels: Must label everything. We find it to be a must-have with multiple children to have cup identifiers (also works on bottles, although we had some different techniques).We love the Inchbug labels. For $13 you get 4 personalized dishwasher-safe “orbit” labels to wrap around cups. Cons for the Inchbug product: They are not as stretchy and therefore more difficult to put around the cups or thermoses than the bracelets. Despite that, we don’t have a cup in use that isn’t labeled! [Editor note: we love Mabel’s Labels tagmates for labeling cups through clothes!]

Thanks to Caleb and Michelle for participating in Twins Week. I appreciate your extremely thorough product advice.