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  • Writer's pictureLiss McKenzie

Newborn Twin Essentials

Updated: Aug 25, 2022


First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on your twins!! Twin motherhood is equally exhausting, amazing and challenging. Double the love, double the work, double the STUFF (in a lot of cases).


When I found out I was expecting identical twins I was met with a flurry of emotions. Mostly anxiety around the possible risks and complications of a twin pregnancy, coupled with the fear of splitting my time and attention between two sweet souls (three, actually, since I had a toddler at home already).


As a first time parent, it's easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about everything you need to care for a little one. Add twins to the equation, and things really start to add up. What do you need right away? What do you need two of? What is essential, and what can wait?


I was grateful to have had the experience of caring for a newborn already under my belt, and with that, I had already acquired many of the newborn essentials (thankfully I kept almost everything). I had also done a lot of trial and error to determine which products I thought were most useful, and which I could get away without. BUT, twins was a whole new ballgame. And adding almost 4 years to that, meant so many new and improved products to choose from!


I am a researcher. I love to read all the reviews, scan all the options and gather advice from others. I am also a planner, which meant I had a running list of everything I needed and wanted, starting at only 8 weeks pregnant! The most helpful advice I found, was hearing from other twin moms about what worked for them. So, all that being said, here is my newborn twin essentials list, with a breakdown of what I felt was important to have two of, what can probably wait, and some of my favorite brands and products. Click here to download a printable copy of the itemized list.


*Please note, some of the links below (amazon.com) contain affiliate codes which means I will receive a small commission from items you purchase. There is absolutely no obligation to do so, but should you like to support me and my family, I would be so grateful. I am ONLY sharing those products that I truly believe will benefit you and your family, based on my experience and research. Feel free to email me or message on Instagram for any questions or clarification.


**For my Canadian friends, you can find all these (or most similar) linked products on my Amazon.ca storefront here!




Twin Essentials Checklist (3)
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NEWBORN TWIN ESSENTIALS (with links)


FEEDING

Whether you plan to nurse, pump or formula feed, there are a few essential products you will want to have ready for when your babies arrive. Others you can wait to get once you are home and settled, and a few more you can wait for a bit longer.


1. Twin nursing pillow(s). Now you certainly don't need to get two of these

(you could probably even manage with bed pillows), but I loved both the TwinZ pillow and the My Brest Friend Pillow for different reasons. I also had a couple single breastfeeding pillows kicking around from my first son, which honestly were helpful as well.


The TwinZ pillow is excellent for lounging, bottle feeding, nursing and later on its great for tummy time, sitting practice and cuddles. My 1 year old twins still love this pillow and so does my older son and our dog! It can also be used as a pregnancy pillow so I would definitely recommend getting this early on.

My Brest Friend Pillow has a firmer design which I found most helpful when I was tandem nursing my twins when they were really tiny. It is the pillow that my Lactation Consultant recommended I use, and it really was the best option when I started out breastfeeding the twins. If you have the space and means to get a second pillow, and hope to nurse your twins, I would recommend getting one as well. If you were going to only pick one, I personally would go with the TwinZ as it has so many other uses.


If you want more information on how I breastfed my twins, you can check out my instagram or tiktok pages where I share videos and tips.


2. Slow flow bottles and nipples. Where I delivered, the hospital provided me with bottles to use during our stay, so I didn't have to pack those with me. I did have a few bottles from our first son at home, so I had those sanitized and ready to go.


Any slow flow bottles and nipples will be great, but we used Dr. Browns anti-colic bottles and preemie and ultra preemie nipples. These were recommended by my Lactation consultant and the pediatrician at the hospital. I believe it is because they most resemble the breast and nipple shape, which makes transitioning between bottle and breast easier for the baby(ies). I would say it doesn't hurt to have a few of these at home and ready to go so you don't have to stress about leaving the house once you get home from the hospital. However, I wouldn't get a huge supply off the top just in case your babies don't take to bottle feeding right away (or at all).


I would say that with twins, bottle feeding is likely going to happen at some point, even if you are pumping breastmilk and not using formula. In the beginning it takes so long to feed, burp, change and settle two babies. You and your partner are going to want to be able to work together or take turns feeding to maximize sleep. Even if you start out bottle feeding, for whatever reason (if that's your choice, or if your twins are in the NICU, or are premature and unable to latch properly), that doesn't mean you aren't able to switch to exclusively nursing down the line. Remember, however you choose to feed your babies is the RIGHT choice for your babies! I personally found it so helpful to be able to do both bottle feeding and nursing so that I could get a break. If you'd like to learn more about how I transitioned from bottle feeding to nursing my twins at 6 weeks postpartum, click here.


3. Bottle Sterilizer(s) I think if you wanted to save space and money, you could definitely get away with only one type of sterilizer (or even a good old dishwasher or pot on the stove!). But, my husband and I decided we were going to invest in whatever we could to relieve some time and effort early on with the twins, so we purchased both the Baby Brezza Bottle Sterilizer/dryer, and a microwave sterilizer.


The Baby Brezza was so helpful when we were exclusively bottle feeding for the first 6 weeks, as it sterilized and dried 8 bottles plus attachments in 45 minutes. We would run this at least once or twice per day so we always had fresh, dry bottles ready for a feed. It is a large piece of equipment, but for us, it was worth it. We only just passed this along to another twin family, a year later.


The Phillips Advent microwave sterilizer was great for soothers, nipples, 4 oz bottles (although it could only do two at a time), pump parts and other small items. I loved how quickly it would sterilize and it was great as a wash basin on trips as well. Speaking of trips, Medela has sanitizer bags that are great for travel!


We also had a couple boon grass drying racks that we used for storage of our bottles and parts and anything that we sanitized in the microwave. But the best tip I wish I had known about earlier in my feeding journey was this salad spinner hack for quick drying pump parts - click here to watch!



4. Wash basin, fragrance-free bottle soap and bottle brush. I loved having a separate wash basin for cleaning any baby feeding supplies, teethers, soothers etc. That way you could contain anything that needed to be cleaned separate from other dishes, and keep your sinks clear for everything else. I wish we would have brought these to the hospital as I was pumping and cleaning parts every 2-3 hours and there was not ideal space or supplies for this in my hospital room.


5. Double Electric pump and pumping bra.

There are so many pumps you can choose from. I originally used the hospital provided pump which was Medela brand. It seemed to work well and I had heard good reviews from friends, which is why I invested in the Freestyle Flex and pumping bustier. This way I could have my hands free to eat, wash dishes, feed babies etc. I've heard from other twin moms that they liked wearable pumps that fit into your bra and don't have any hoses or wires, Personally, I was worried that they wouldnt be as good at expressing milk (especially in the beginning when every drop counts), which is why I went with Medela. Sometimes you can expense your pump with insurance, or you can rent a few different pumps before deciding what you like best. I bought mine on Amazon, and I had a great experience working with Medela when I was having a bit of trouble with it (warrantied for 1 year).


6. Milk Storage bags - I had no brand preference for these, but if you plan to freeze your milk, having the storage bags are great for taking up less space in your freezer.


7. Double bottle warmer. I would say this isn't a necessarily essential, but having a double bottle warmer saved us a vital time and a lot of tears from hungry babies who didn't like their milk cold. The brand we used, could heat two bottles at once in 3-4 minutes. Alternatively, you could purchase two separate warmers, or do it the old fashioned way and dunk the bottles into hot water.


8. Sunflower Lecithin & Lanolin Cream. Nursing can be really tough on your breasts and nipples. Clogged ducts and cracking nipples are probably some of the worst effects of pumping and breastfeeding. My lactation consultant recommended Sunflower Lecithin for clogged ducts and I didn't have any issues after I started taking it daily. Lanolin is widely used to treat sore nipples, but you can also use breastmilk itself - just express a few drops and let air dry on the nipples after a feed.




9. Receiving Blankets. I honestly think I had about 50 of these little blankets. We used them to cover everything! Much easier to throw a load of those in at the end of the day then to remove your nursing pillow covers, play mats, bouncy chair seats, carpets etc. I also rolled them into bolsters to wedge behind the babies backs to keep them in position when feeding. They were also great for propping up their heads into a better position for nursing and bottle feeding. I would look second hand for these if you can! More is more with twins! Don't forget to check second hand shops. local buy and sell groups and twin organizations for cheaper options on these and any of the other products I share!


SLEEP

In my opinion, the number one most important thing for your newborns and yourself early on is to maximize sleep. There are so many conflicting opinions and views on newborn sleep, however I do feel that most experts agree on a few key items - firm crib/basinet, dark room, swaddles, white noise, and appropriate dress.


1. Crib/basinet - personally, I felt that having two traditional basinets was not really necessary. There is conflicting advice on whether it is beneficial to sleep your twins in the same sleep space or not, and that is completely up to you and your partner to decide on. But, what I did, and felt was a good use of time and space, was invested in two pack n plays with full-sized raised basinets.


What's great about the pack n plays vrs traditional basinets, is that they will be multi-purpose as they are great for travel and grow with the child, providing a safe sleep space from age newborn - 2+ years. They also store easily, are quick to set-up/take-down and act as a portable play yard.



Twins napping on the TwinZ pillow inside the pack n play

While we did sleep the twins together in one pack n play in our master bedroom for the first few weeks (when they were swaddled and didn't move around), I had a second pack n play set-up in our main floor for daytime naps and lounging. This made things so much easier in those early days when I was recovering and not able to do the stairs easily. I also appreciated having them off the floor with my 3 year old and dog running around. *Pro-tip, the TwinZ pillow fits perfectly inside the pack n play and makes a great lounging space (never leave your babies sleeping in this unattended).


2. Crib sheets and mattress protectors - one thing I learned since having my first child was the importance of mattress protectors, and the hack of layering a protector and sheet over a second protector and sheet. This way if your baby has a leaky diaper or spit up in the middle of the night, you do not need to worry about remaking the bed - simply pull up one layer and lay the baby back down on the fresh sheet and protector below. Make sure not to use padded protectors or loose fitted sheets that could make your mattress less firm and therefore less safe for sleep.


3. Sound Machine - Personally I liked using a sound machine from day one at night time. White noise is a good way to block some of the grunts and groans from the newborns (they are noisier than you think!), and also creates a positive sleep association for the babes. Once we moved the twins into their own room (shared), we put them each in their own crib on separate sides of the room with a sound machine between them. Having the sound machine between the cribs helps them not wake each other up (even though in the early days I always woke them within a few minutes of each other to keep them on the same schedule). You can learn more about the routine we used for our twins here.

I love my Dream Egg sound machine which also has a diming light for middle of the night feeds and wakings. There are different ambient sounds to choose from and it is light weight and portable, which is great for travel. We found one sound machine has been enough to keep our twins from waking one another and muffling sound from outside their room.






4. Baby Monitor - If you plan to sleep your twins in the same room as you for awhile, you may not find that you will need a monitor right away. With my first, we didn't use a monitor for six months, as we had him in our bedroom with us and I was always just outside the room while he was napping. But, with the twins, we moved them into their own room only a few weeks after they were born. I think its important you do what works best for your family and what you are most comfortable with.


There are so many monitors to choose from, and some that even come with two cameras, made specifically for twins. Personally, I found the NestCam to be a great monitor for us. I like that the app can be accessed from anywhere, so I can check in on the babies if I am away from home. We also have several cameras linked to the app, so I can view my older son's room as well.



We also have a sound only monitor that we use when we travel or for times when we don't need to use the video/data. These are easy to plug in and move around your home, great for camping as well as they can also run off re-chargeable batteries. This would be a cheap alternative to have on hand until you decide which video monitor you want to go with.






5. Blackout shades - One of the key components of an optimal sleep environment is a dark room. While you can certainly purchase permanent black out curtains or blinds (o even use tinfoil and or garbage bags!), I have found the Sleepout Shades are a great portable alternative that are quick to install and easy to bring with you for travel. They fold nice and compact, and fit in all standard window frames. You can use the link above and my code DOUBLERAINBOWS for 10% off.

Bear being silly in his slumber pod after naptime at grandmas

We also have two Slumber Pods which are blackout canopies that fit over a pack n play or crib. These are ideal for times when you share a room with your baby as they wont be able to see you come and go. The material is breathable and there is a pocket for a monitor and/or fan. They are very compact and easy to assemble. You can use the link above and my code MYDOUBLERAINBOWS20 for $20 off!







6. Velcro Swaddles and Double Zipper Onesies - This is the number one time saver for twin parents!! Do not waste time with snaps/buttons or folding swaddles. When you have two babies to dress and change, the little conveniences definitely add up. Double zipper onesies are so much easier for diaper changes, and are widely available. No matter how cute that snap or button outfit is, I guarantee on your fourth diaper change of the morning, you will be ready to toss it away! Same goes for swaddles. Those babies are little Houdini's and can wiggle out of the traditional swaddles in no time. These velcro swaddles keep them feeling nice and snug without any fiddling with swaddling techniques.


A few other sleep products that we found helpful - Pacifiers (you may have to try a few types to find one your babies love, it will be worth the trial and error, trust me!), Beanies/Hats (keeping those babies warm is much easier with a little hat), Cool Mist Humidifier (wet cool air is so great for their little lungs, especially if they get congested).



GEAR & SUPPLIES

It may overwhelm you to think about all the gear that comes with two babies, and unfortunately there are a few necessities that you will need early on (like car seats!). I've done my best to include only a few of my favorite items that might find helpful those first couple months!


1. Bucket Car Seats - there are so many brands of car seats that you can choose from for your twins. I would highly suggest working with a car seat technician who can guide you to a seat that will work best for your vehicle and lifestyle. You can also visit stores that have several styles to look at, compare and test in your vehicle. Because we had our older son also in a car seat, we opted for the Graco SnugRide SnugLock as it fits three across, is lightweight and easy to install. Regardless of the seats you choose, be sure to read the manual carefully and install the seats well in advance of your due date!



2. Double Stroller with car seat attachments - again, there are so many options for strollers. I used the City Select Baby Jogger double stroller with my first son and continued to use it with the twins. What I like about it is the easy click in seats (in my opinion this is the most important feature - be sure to check that the stroller is compatible with your infant bucket seats), the large undercarriage storage, the different configurations of seats available and how easy it is to fold and lift in and out of the vehicle. Personally I preferred strollers with stacked seats rather than side by sides. The main reason for this is they are much easier to maneuver in and out of doorways and crowded stores and sidewalks.


We didn't use the bassinette attachment, the babies were most comfortable in their car seats and it was the easiest option for us. We do however use the glider board attachment for our older son. It is nice to have all three of the kids contained on the stroller for busy spaces like airports.


3. Carriers/Wraps - These might not be a must-have depending on how much your babies like to be held/carried. But I found that with an older son when the babies were newborns I did end up wearing them around the house or on outings where I wanted them to naps. A few times I wrapped them both together in a snuggly wrap, but honestly they didn't love it and I didn't find it all that comfortable. What worked best for us was investing in two carriers with the newborn inserts. While I occasionally carried both babies at the same time (one in the front and one on the back), most times that I used the carriers I was with someone else who could carry one twin (husband, friend, grandma etc). Generally speaking I found the stroller much more convenient to be out with the babies and all of our stuff, but the carriers were a good back-up to have in case one was fussing in the stroller.

Bear cuddled on the Tushbaby Carrier

When the babies were a bit older I got a Tushbaby Carrier which has been a game changer for my hips and back! I wear it around the house since there is always at least one baby that wants up on me at all times. It's also the perfect accessory to take on short walks or running errands with one baby as it fits my wallet, phone, keys, diapers, wipes and a bottle. I often throw it in the bottom of the stroller on walks because guaranteed one baby will want to be carried at some point. You can use my code MYDOUBLERAINBOWS22 for 15% off.



4. Backpack Diaper Bag - Take it from me, even with one baby, a backpack diaper bag (or just a regular backpack!) is the way to go. You will want to keep your hands free with little ones, especially twins! I am actually still using the backpack diaper bag that I used with Wells from five years ago! Regardless of what brand you go with, there are a few things I would recommend you look for - large as you can find that's still comfortable to carry, adjustable shoulder straps, wipeable/washable interior, lots of zipper pockets (bonus for an insulated one), and of course, stylish (you're going to get a lot of use out of it, so might as well make it cute)!


5. Muslin Blankets - These light-weight, breathable blankets are great for covering the car seats or stroller in the sun & wind without worrying about the babies overheating. They also make good swaddle blankets and shade covers in the car. I like having a few of these handy to grab on the way out of the house, or just kept in the car or stroller.


6. Baby Bath & Mesh Sling - bathing two babies at one time was too difficult, so what I found easiest was doing one at a time in a small baby bath with a mesh sling. As the babies grow, the sling can be moved into the large tub. What I liked about the mesh slings were that they elevated the babies so their heads were out of the water, but their bodies were submerged to keep them warm. They are also easy to clean and didn't take up a lot of space to store unlike the bath seats that some people like to use.


7. Changing Pad & Diaper Tote - being in a two story home meant that it was too difficult to carry the babies into their nursery every time they needed to be changed. Having a diaper tote stocked with a changing pad, diapers, wipes, creams, toys, that could easily be taken around the house made diaper changes much easier.


8. Hygiene Products & Medicine - I think its a good idea to have some infant Tylenol in the house, because it always seems the babies first fever will be sometime in the middle of night! I also liked to have some baby rub, a nasal aspirator, nail clippers, silicone brush, coconut oil, sensitive baby wash and lotion ready before babes arrival as well. It may take awhile to figure out which brands of lotions and wash work well so stick with the smallest size at first until you find the brand that works best for you.


9. Diapers & Wipes - The hospital will usually provide you with a small supply to get you going, but with twins its a good idea to bring some newborn diapers and water wipes with you. I personally do not have a brand preference, but I typically buy from Costco as they seem to have the best prices. You can also subscribe to a diaper delivery service with Amazon to save that way. If your friends and family want to get you gifts for the babies, diapers are always a great idea. You will want at least a couple boxes of newborn on hand and a big box of wipes, too!


PLAY

The first couple months with your babies will really just be eating, sleeping, and diaper changes... but you can start doing a little bit of play early on. My favorite items for the first few months with the twins were a play mat with hanging toys, some crinkle books, the bouncy chairs and swings. Depending on how much space you have in your home, you can decide when to bring in these items and if you have space for more than one.

Twins on their play mat together

Personally, I think having two bouncy chairs and swings were worth it for convenience, but it's definitely not a necessity! It's very difficult to soothe two babies at once on your own, so we utilized the swings on our main floor and the bouncy chairs in the nursery to help soothe the babies to sleep for naps and before bed (they easily transferred to their cribs from both). We only held onto the swings for about 4 months, but the bouncy chairs were used for at least 8 or 9 months for play, settling and bottle feeding.




3 MONTHS+

If you're looking ahead a bit and want to be ultra prepared, here are a few more products we LOVED and would highly recommend.


Transition Swaddles - when those babies start to roll, you'll want to transition them into sleep sacks from swaddles. This was made so much easier with these love to dream transition swaddles.


Sleep Sacks - once the boys transitioned out of swaddles, we tried a couple different sleep sacks. Hayden held onto his newbotn moro reflex for a lot longer than Barrett, and would get stuck on his tummy after rooling, so the Merlin Sleep Suit was perfect for him. Bear did best with the weighted Dreamland baby sleep sack as he loved to feel like he was being held. Eventually we put them both into the Nested Bean sleepsacks and they still wear these for sleep at night.


Bumbo Chairs & Trays - these little seats are great for helping babes strengthen their neck muscles and get some time off their backs. We used them for play from about 3 months and feeding around 6 months all the way up to a year when they figured out how to crawl out of them! I preferred these seats sat on the floor or our counter top over highchairs as they were much easier to clean (just spray down in the sink)!


Exersaucer/Jolly Jumper - our boys loved to stand and jump from about 4 months onward, so they had a lot of fun in both of these units.


Bibado Coverall Bibs - with twins it's tough to spoon feed, so we did a lot of BLW (baby led weaning) and allowed the boys to self-feed... which meant a lot of mess! These bibs drape over the entire highchair and stop the food from getting on their clothes or through the seat to the floor. We have three sets and use them for almost every meal, especially for foods that stain or are extra messy. You can use my code DOUBLERAINBOWS for 20% off!


Whew, that was a long post and a lot of products. I know first hand how exciting and overwhelming preparing for twins can be. Remember, the links above are just to direct you to some examples of the products we used. I got many of these items given as gifts, second hand or for free from our local twin association. You certainly do not need to purchase everything new!


As always, I hope the information I share here, and on my social media channels, will not only help you feel more prepared, but also less alone. Reach out anytime!!


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