Our identical twin boys turn three months tomorrow, and… what’s that? Yep, you heard me right! Identical. We went ahead and did Twin Zygosity testing to find out for sure- I was just dying to know. I’m still floored because although everyone else (except for Primrose) mixes them up constantly, I never have.
Honestly, you could blindfold me and hand me a baby and I could identify him in two seconds flat.
They look quite different to me. But Andy feels more justified now when he comes home, scoops up a baby, and asks, “So who do I have?” while he plants a kiss cheekside. :)
I know some of you are expecting twins, so I thought I’d take a minute to tell you about the gear that has been most helpful to us so far.
Calling these “essentials” is a bit of an exaggeration. But Andrew Pudewa tells me to come up with good strong titles, so I’m sticking to it. ;)
Also, in the interest of full disclosure, there are Amazon affiliate links within this post. When you use one of those links and make a purchase (of anything, in fact- not just the item I linked to), I get a little kickback from Amazon- play money that I get to spend however my little heart desires.
All that to say, I’d love it if you used them- Mama wants a new pair of Danskos. ;)
So… here we go! In no particular order…
(Some links are affiliate links.)
This first one isn’t twin specific- it’s just the best breastfeeding book on the market, period. I’ve spent nearly 4 years breastfeeding, all put together (and counting!), and I still refer to this book constantly. If you are planning to breastfeed, you need it.
I read a slew of books on multiples while pregnant, and this is probably the only one I would suggest purchasing.
Most books on multiples seem to be geared toward brand new parents.
They are probably immensely helpful to first-time parents who are expecting twins, but they have little to offer someone who wants the nitty gritty on how caring for twins is going to look different than caring for a singleton.
This one has come in handy more than once, though, and I’m glad I have it.
3. A nursing pillow (or two)
I have two, and I like them each for different purposes. I’ll give you the low-down on each so that you can decide for yourself which one will meet your needs best.
Honestly, I wouldn’t want to do without either of these, so if you can spring for it you might want to get both. Hear me out:
What I love about it: It makes tandem nursing easy- there is actually a bit of an indentation in the top of the pillow that makes it easy to adjust one baby without worrying that the other is going to roll right off.
Also, I can tandem nurse and have both hands free. This is important because in the wee hours of the night I like to listen to lectures on classical education while playing Angry Birds. (Come on, it’s not that weird.)
What I don’t love about it: The velcro. It gets hair and other unidentifiable objects stuck in it. That back support thing is helpful, but it really needs to be higher- I feel like I have to hunch over a bit while nursing.
It’s also hot. If nursing twins isn’t already sweaty business, this thing is covered in fleece and I often feel like I’m sitting in an oven while I’m using it. I may appreciate this more in the winter months, but in the summer it’s less appealing.
It’s a nursing pillow as well, but I like it best for other things:
What I don’t love about it: I find it a bit more awkward to tandem nurse on than the Brest Friend. Although the back support is fabulous and it’s definitely not the sweltering oven that the Brest Friend is, I can’t nurse hands-free with the Twin-Z.
I have to support the babies’ heads all throughout the feeding. Because of the back support, I choose this pillow if I’m going to sit on the floor to tandem nurse. Otherwise, I pretty much always choose the Brest Friend when it’s feeding time.
What I love about it: This pillow has been a lifesaver for the boys’ reflux. We are able to easily prop them after feedings, which is essential. They really like sitting in it, and I find myself putting them there rather than in the bouncy seat.
We also use it for tummy time- the little boost it gives makes tummy time much more interesting- they can see what’s going on around them instead of constantly jamming their poor faces into the floor.
You can see even more uses for the pillow (including bottle-feeding) at the website.
4. Swaddling Gear
My first four babies weren’t big into swaddling, but the twins have made a convert of me. They looooove a good swaddle, and still prefer to be swaddled whenever it’s time to sleep. My go-to swaddlers are Woombies. They look like straight jackets, but they. Are. Awesome.
I bought mine from the Woombies Clearance Bin, because it’s “Buy 1 Get 1 Same” there, and that’s exactly what a twin mom wants, right? Two that match?
I put my little guys into their Woombies every night at bedtime, and they have slept so much better at night ever since.
For daytime swaddling, I tend to use Hudson Baby Muslin blankets. They are so much easier to swaddle a baby in than receiving blankets are, and I love how light they are.
They stretch just enough to get a good swaddle going on, and the waffle texture makes them soft and cozy.
These will likely be my standard baby shower gift from here on out, for twin and singleton moms alike. Every new mama needs them.
I’m not going to recommend any brand of swing in particular, but you do need a swing. Actually, you need two.
I never had a swing for any of my first four babies- we lived in very small spaces for our first three, and then by the time we had Posy, I knew there would be enough arms to pass her around, and I preferred baby-wearing.
My dear friend with twins told me we’d need them this time around, but still we didn’t have any when we brought the twins home from the hospital.
Two weeks later I went begging that same friend to lend me hers (thanks Chris!). They get used every day.
This thing is the family workhorse- I use it every single time I leave the house.
I love that it’s not super-long like a regular twin stroller. I love that the car seats snap right in. It’s easy to get in and out of the car, rides smooth, and is easy to push.
It’s just a win all around- I’m so glad we bought it.
More essential than anything else on this list: a good man who struts with all the confidence in the world while pushing twins and slingin’ a breastfeeding pillow over his shoulder.
Even better: a man who can do it with a passel of children and a smile on his face. :)
I bought these for the obvious use of protecting the babies from sun and wind, but the real beauty of these bad boys? They keep strangers from getting all up in your babies’ business.
Have twins, and you become the Center of Attention wherever you go.
If it was just a little hands-off oohing and aahing it would be one thing, but things never end there.
I’m sure they mean well, those ladies at the supermarket checkout, but they have hands that have been rubbing dirty carts, shaking people’s hands, wiping runny noses, and touching who-knows-what-else.
Then, without asking, they reach those hands right into the baby’s carseat and touch the ONE THING EVERY BABY PUTS IN HIS MOUTH.
And then, while rubbing all those germs over your tiny baby’s soft hand, they sweetly coo and go on about how precious your babies are, but all you can think about is the Scarlet Fever they have infected your babies with by their mindless ogling.
The cure? Car seat canopies.
They work! People will still ask to see your babies, of course, but the key is that they have to ask. This way you pull back the canopy just enough for them to get a little peek (but not wide enough for them to reach in and distribute said Scarlet Fever).
You smile and enjoy all the compliments about sweet cheeks and bright blue eyes, and then velcro closed the canopy and go on your merry way.
It’s brilliant, really.
If you are pregnant with twins, know this: the first question you will get for the rest of your life is, “Are they identical or fraternal?”
People are curious, that’s all there is to it.
Honestly? You’ll be curious, and it’s not as cut and dry as you might think.
My twins had two sacs and two placentas and yet they are identical. How do we know? We forked up a hundred bucks and swabbed our boys’ cheeks.
It’s as simple as that, and it will quell your curiosity if you are like me and are just dying to know everything you can about your new little sweeties.