So now that I’m officially six months into this whole parenting thing I’d love to share some of the products that helped ease us into parenthood/made life with infant twins a bit easier. I know there are a million and one of these types of posts out there, but there aren’t many that I have found that have not only been budget friendly (who am I kidding, having twins is not budget friendly!) but also keeping the earth in mind as well as being geared towards twins.
The criteria for these items is they had to be able to have long use, have the least amount of plastic possible, not look too kid-ish, as well as not cost an arm and a leg. Yes, some of these items are pricey, but put those suckers on your registry or check out the reuse stores and craigslist … I love craigslist and thrift shops; I’m forever finding free or cheap items we need, you can catch up on my latest findings here.
In no particular order …
1. The Puj Tub
I love this thing. It’s super light weight, it’s a single color so it doesn’t necessarily look like yet another kid thing around the house and my favorite part, it can be stored flat! This tub uses magnets to stick to itself in order to make a seat and I use those magnets to stick it to the side of the fridge. Out of sight and out of mind until needed. The girls are six months old and we still use this in our kitchen sink.
I put this on my registry on Amazon and it was one of the only things I didn’t get, probably because people thought I was crazy for wanting such an expensive tub. Well, I ended up finding it, brand-new, in-box, at our local children’s reuse store for $11.99 and I had a 15% off coupon. Score!
2. lifefactory – glass baby bottles
I had some super rad friends gift us many of these bottles in blues, greens, yellow and orange, because if you’ve read The Times They Are A Changin, you know we didn’t find out the gender of our twins prior to birth. I love how these bottles are easy to clean, come with the silicone sleeves and can transition to sippy type cups when the girls are ready. Also, I’m super clumsy, i.e. drop them all. the. time., and no damage what-so-ever, thus far.
Get both the 4oz and 9oz versions. My breastfeeding story makes me sad, as we just couldn’t get it right even though we had lactation specialists and doulas help us. Until very recently we used the 4oz bottles; now we’re on to the 9oz bottles. We got 8 in each size, which was the perfect amount for our 2 hour (will they ever out grow this horrid schedule?!) feeding schedule without constantly standing at the sink washing bottles.
3. Swaddles *
These things saved our lives and helped us keep our sanity. I had bought a couple from a thrift store to have as I hear they were a good to help facilitate sleep. True … but there’s something that makes these suckers work even better. I started using the “secret” swaddle technique at 6 weeks for the twins, with some receiving blankets we received at our shower, and they started sleeping for 8 hours through the night.
Yes, eight hours through the night!
I swaddled them after their 11:00 PM feeding and they slept until 7-7:30 AM! That first night of 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep was blissful. Blissful I tell you!
We weened them off the swaddles when they began to roll, and the girls now sleep 10 to 11 hours through the night, so we all have full energy tanks when we wake up … errr, rather, the twinsies do for sure.
*After we implemented the swaddling, I was doing research and found all kinds of reasons why we shouldn’t have swaddled, but when I was recovering from a c-section, the Mr. had to be at work, and I could barely form coherent thoughts, these things helped us get sleep so we could survive infant twins. It’s all about survival sometimes!
4. Ring slings
These things were awesome for the Mr. and I to each hold a newborn baby while also being able to do other things, like eat. I bought a Moby wrap from a thrift store for $5 and a friend gave us hers as well, but I was never able to master the Moby in my sleep deprived state and it never failed that as soon as I had the girls situated one of them needed a diaper change or got fussy. Sigh.
Regardless, we cracked up at this tutorial on how to use the Moby for twins, go ahead, watch it and have a chuckle.
At about 3-4 months the girls began getting frustrated with the ring sling as they did not want to be so confined, yet I felt they didn’t have good enough head control to do different holds. I got an Ergo for a reasonable price second hand.
This is my new best friend.
Both girls love being in it, so I just put who ever is fussy while the other one naps or plays. I may actually invest in another one, or maybe a Tula, so I can wear one on the back and one against my chest.
You might be thinking, why don’t we just get this instead of the ring sling? You totally could as it’s easy on the back and lasts longer than the ring slings; however, in order to have newborns fit safety in these carriers an insert is needed. The infant inserts and the ring slings we got are roughly the same price, but we can still use the ring slings but not the infant carrier that goes inside these …
So the girls haven’t been able to sit in these until about a month ago, with the baby set, but oh my, I really like that they are sitting at the table with us! Before we started pureed food, (very recently) I kept a basket of wood toys on the table for them to interact with while we ate, as I think it’s good practice for them to sit with us, as a family, during meals. I also like that there is no tray to separate the girls from us and that these chairs are adjustable so they will be a perfect fit for years to come.
We scored a matching pair, the same color as our table, off craigslist for $100 each and we were gifted the infant seat parts. A bit pricey? Yes, but not when you look at the big picture. It’s not another “kid” looking thing in your home, they sit at the table with you and they can be used for years to come – no booster seats needed! Honestly, if I hadn’t found them on craigslist, I would have paid full retail.
The girls also like to sit in their chairs to watch our nature TV.
Let me start this one by saying I do not want to create a single sleep environment in which I put my kiddos to sleep in. I want them to be able to sleep when it’s quiet, when it’s loud, and when a fan/white noise machine is on. (I had a nightmare roommate in college who worked nights and had to have it absolutely quiet to sleep, in the middle of the day, and she had no problem yelling at us or neighbors to speak in nothing but whispers).
My dad is a retired investigator and has had some sleep problems throughout the years, assumedly due to being awoke all hours of the night during his shifts. He used his Marpac sleep machine for as long as I can remember to help drown out all the little noises his hawk ears caught. Since he’s retired and sleeping much better these days, he passed it along to us.
8. Baby Ears
I had no idea that my babies cries had different meanings, honestly, in my sleep deprived state I didn’t even notice that my babies cries were different, but they are! If you watch this video you can get the background as to how this app was created. Buy it, it will save the smidgen of sanity you have left in the middle of the night when you are a few weeks into parenthood; you’re sleep deprived, and have seemingly done everything to comfort your crying baby. You’re welcome.
Okay, so not the most high tech baby bouncer out there but here is why the Mr. says it’s his favorite: it works. The girls could be moved from room to room easily, they pack easily enough for a visit at the grandparents, they vibrate, and they can be manually rocked to help facilitate sleep. We got ours from the local baby thrift shop when the girls were about a month old, and now at six month’s the girls still sit in them happily for a spell.
For Christmas, the girls each got a Stella doll, I thought my mom was a bit nuts as they are still very young, but they LOVE her. Each of them will stare at her, pet her, giggle when she “talks” to them and both like to get Stella kisses. Good job Nanni, Stella made the favorites list.
This guy is amazing. The girls and I frequently walk with other mom’s around our neighborhood and we also spend a lot of time in Santa Cruz and Yosemite. This guy turns on a dime, is super easy to push and has a five point harness system.
This was a want, not a need. My parents bought our infant car seats and stroller for a steal, so I was all set with what I had, which worked perfectly, and still does. I have that system in the van, so I don’t have to lug it in and out of the house all the time for errands, walks, or meet-ups that we get to by car, and this guy is for our longer walks/nature walks.
We had a family friend who was adamant on buying us a stroller despite us already having one. Um, score! This item didn’t even make it to our registry as I thought it was too much to ask for, but I’m glad our friend had other thoughts on the matter. Other twin mamas I know still use this for kids as old as five and counting; therefore, I can see us getting lots of use out of it for years to come.
We have lucked out and got, brand new with tags, accessories off craigslist for half off retail.
12. North Face backpack
Any backpack will do, really, but I picked the North Face Borealis as there is a drink holder on each side that fits our lifefactory bottles perfectly. There are also multiple pockets so we use one for back up outfits, one for diapering items and the small pocket as my purse.
Seriously, carrying two infant car seats is enough, just throw this puppy on your back and away you go. The hubby won’t be embarrassed by some cutesy design and once your twins are gown enough to no longer need a diaper bag, it can be reused as its intended purpose, a backpack for everyday adventures, or even grand adventures!
Okay, so this one is more for the pregnancy and birth, but I HIGHLY recommend hiring a doula for pregnancy knowledge and the birthing process. Both my mother and MIL are wonderful but they would have stressed me out if they were in the room for more than a few moments at a time and my dear sweet husband, although extremely supportive, hadn’t held a baby in 10 years let alone help guide someone through birth.
I had 3 doulas that rotated through my birth – because that’s what happens when you’re in labor for 30 hours – and God gave me the perfect one for each stage they were there.
At first contractions are mild, and I had the doula who brought over homemade scones and juice, who helped with backrubs as the contractions were peaking and guided me through meditation to help me stay calm and helped us decide when we felt was the best time to get to the hospital.
The next shift happened to be taken by the most upbeat and lively doula in the group, who put on music, cracked jokes, and told my husband exactly what was happening and exactly what he needed to do to be the most help. She gave back rubs, too.
The last doula had five (or six?) kiddos of her own, and assisted in many births prior to ours, needless to say, she knew what was going down. She was so calm & collected and really helped in the hours leading up to the pushing as well as the three hours of pushing.
If I were to have another baby, which is not in the plans at all, I would definitely hire doulas again. They are worth their weight in gold.
There you have it, “these are a few of my favorite things” infant edition.
Moral of the story: Raising kiddo’s isn’t one size fits all, but some direction on what works (at least for us!) can be useful.