Having twins doesn’t mean expectant parents have to register for two of everything. When I registered for my baby shower, I had a difficult time finding a guide to registering for twins. The checklists provided by the baby stores weren’t specific for twins. I talked to other twin moms and read twin message boards for guidance. And now with 13 months of experience with my twin girls, I have compiled 10 tips for registering for twins.
1. The absolute must-have items to be purchased in doubles are car seats, high chairs and bouncy chairs. Car seats speak for themselves since you can’t leave the hospital without two car seats. Keep in mind that you will need two stages of car seats in just the first year of life: infant car seats and second stage convertible car seats. It makes sense to register for both the infant and convertible car seats; however, you will only need the infant seats at first. It’s of course important to read safety ratings on car seats and also to make sure you can comfortably fit both seats in your car. Also keep in mind that different brands and models of car seats can hold different sized babies. Twins are often born small so you may want to make sure your infant car seats are safe for tiny babies (some hold as small as a four pound infant). As for high chairs and bouncy chairs, it’s practical to have two of each since you will only be able to hold one baby at a time (although you will be surprised by how many times you end up holding both babies at the same time!) and will need chairs to hold the other baby. Bouncy chairs are great at feeding time during the first few months. If you nurse your twins, you can seat one baby in the bouncy chair while you nurse the other baby. If you bottle feed, you can feed both babies while they sit in the chairs. Highchairs, especially ones that recline, are also very helpful when feeding twins, and the highchairs will be a lifesaver by the time your babies can hold their own bottles and eat solids. As a bonus, you will be able to comfortably place your older twins in the highchairs while they watch a Baby Einstein DVD while you clean, make bottles, etc.
2. A stroller like the Baby Trend Snap N Go Double Infant Car Seat Carrier Stroller is an absolute must-have as it will allow you to place your infant car seats on the frame without moving your babies. When you have older twins that can no longer sit in infant car seats, you will also want to have a light, side-by-side stroller like the Baby Jogger City Mini Double. A side-by-side is great for neighbourhood walks, parks, zoos, etc., but can be cumbersome in shopping malls or grocery stores. An alternative to having both a snap style stroller and a side-by-side stroller, is a mix and match type stroller like the Baby Jogger City Select Double or the Bugaboo Donkey. These kinds of strollers will take you from the initial car seat carrier stage through to the infant stage as they allow you to mix and match car seats, bassinets and infant seats. It’s a good idea to go to the baby store and test drive all the strollers in order to determine your preference. With twins, you should definitely make sure that whatever stroller(s) you register for are light and easy to fold/unfold.
3. With big baby items like the swing, saucer, jumper and play pen, start with one and then consider adding a second item, if necessary. You never can guarantee that one baby, let alone both babies, will enjoy something like the swing so it doesn’t make sense to register for two high ticket items beforehand. These kind of items are also good to buy second hand on Kijiji or from your local multiples group.
4. Whether or not your twins will sleep in separate cribs is a matter of preference. At some point, however, they will need two beds. If you buy two convertible cribs, they will take you from infancy to the toddler years and beyond. You will likely want your twins to sleep in your room for the first few months so consider registering for two cradles or co-sleepers if you can’t fit a crib or two in your bedroom.
5. Don’t go crazy registering for clothes and toys. People will stray from your registry in order to buy cute clothes and toys for your twins. I mean, who can resist? Since ultrasounds are often inaccurate in predicting baby weights, it will be good to have varying sizes of clothes (from premie to newborn to 0-3 months) before your babies arrive.
6. Don’t register for a breast pump. Nursing is different when it comes to twins. A store bought breast pump may not be sufficient to pump enough milk for two babies. Instead, I recommend that you rent a hospital grade breast pump from the hospital. You can arrange this with the hospital’s breastfeeding clinic after you deliver. Speaking of the breastfeeding clinic, these can be very helpful in the first few days and weeks of nursing. Another alternative, however, is to arrange for a private lactation consultant to come to your home. By coming to your home, you won’t have to worry about transporting newborn twins to and from the clinic. Lactation consultants often travel with portable scales so you will be able to weigh your twins in your home and track how much weight they are gaining. Plus, lactation consultants are often nurses and can offer great tips about newborns. Many insurance companies even cover the cost of breast pump rentals and lactation consulting provided you have a script from your doctor. Even if you intend to exclusively breastfeed, it’s a good idea to have formula and bottles at home just in case breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned. Most formula companies offer multiples discounts and will send you cases of formula for free. Before giving birth, register for these programs and then you will have formula in the event you need it.
7. Since you can never have too many diapers, you can also register for gift cards to use towards diapers, wipes and other basic supplies. Again, it’s prudent to have a few different sizes of diapers on hand. Don’t bother registering for a wipes warmer since they dry out the wipes. Try hooking up a low grade hairdryer on you change table instead; your little ones won’t cry during diaper changes with warm air blowing on their exposed skin.
8. Swaddling is a lifesaver when it comes to newborns. Two great options are soft, muslin swaddle blankets like the ones made by Aden + Anais or stretchable sleep bags like the Woombie. The Woombie is great for busy twin parents because you won’t have to fuss with tying a swaddle, and the zipper is fast but you still get the same swaddling effect for your babies.
9. You will only need one change table for the nursery, but it’s also good to register for more than one diaper caddy so you can have multiple diaper change stations in your home. Having more than one change station means you won’t have to go up and down the stairs a million times a day.
10. While it’s good to register at a large baby chain that offers a wide selection and online shopping, you may also consider a second registry at a specialty baby store where you can register for specialty items.