Buying equipment for twins can be expensive, but there are ways to minimise this. The Dulwich and District Twin Club has a twice-yearly Nearly New Sale where good quality equipment and baby clothes can be bought for a fraction of the original price. The club also sends out emails to members advertising second hand equipment and clothes, some of which is offered free.
With any of the large equipment purchases it may be worth your while to become a member of TAMBA, which offers some very good discounts, especially online; as well as giving you access to their message boards, where there is a dedicated ‘for sale’ section. Ebay, Craigslist, the East Dulwich Forum and Gumtree will also provide some real bargains online. Join the Southwark Freegle site, to receive – and ultimately give away – baby equipment for free: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/southwark_freegle/.
Prams and Buggies
Buying a double buggy is a very individual decision based on many things, including whether you need to negotiate public transport with it, whether you can fit it in your car boot or through your door and how big, or small, your budget is. What is right for one family will not necessarily suit your needs. For that reason, try to visit the Dulwich and District Twins Club playgroup where you will find an array of double buggies to test that will save you hours of research. You are likely to be using your buggy for at least three years so try to take a long-term view. It may be possible to get a suitable buggy second hand but consider how much wear it has had and whether it will last you as long as you’ll need it. Things to consider are:
- The width of your front door: this is essential!
- Your car boot size – if you have one
- Larger pneumatic tyres – or smaller foldable wheels? If you walk a lot pneumatic are worth considering with older twins
- Tandem or side-by-side. If you go on buses or in smaller doorways tandem can be easier, but side-by-side is easier to manoeuvre and get babies in and out.
TAMBA does a twin buggy guide (free to members or £3.50).
Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, you will probably find that you need some bottle-feeding equipment, and a steriliser is a must. Muslin squares are essential for mopping up endless mess.
A really big v-shaped pillow is good value as it supports breastfeeding babies, it is useful whilst pregnant to aid sleeping, and helps your babies when they learn to sit up. Other things worth considering:
- ‘EZ2Nurse’ pillow. A strap-on D-shaped pillow specifically for feeding twins simultaneously. Available as a foam or inflatable pillow, look for one second hand online or through DDTC.
- Breast pads – Johnson and Johnson are pretty good. Buy more than you ever expect you’ll need.
- Lansinoh lanolin nipple cream – this is the only brand that is pure lanolin, and sterile.
- A few really good nursing bras. It’s worth getting a fitting for these, but wait until as late as you can for accuracy.
- Breast pump. This is not a necessity in advance: you can hire them from hospitals and from breastfeeding organisations but you may find it more cost-effective to buy one – ideally a double one.
If you are doing three-hourly bottle feeds you will need a minimum of 16 bottles. Also worth considering are:
- A steam or microwave steriliser (or two)
- Milton liquid steriliser and a large container for leaving things in
- An extra kettle is useful
- A milk powder measurer
- Around 16 bottles, slow flow teats, and lid
- A bottle brush
- A plastic ‘cage’ for dishwashing your bottles.
Some people find that their twins sleep together head to toe in a cot for up to six months, so you may not need two cots straight away. A good option is to put twins in baby sleeping bags once they are big enough (8lb 8oz or 4kg) – and these are plentiful and cheap second-hand. When really tiny you can put them either end of the cot, and swaddling them up in a baby blanket works well. Care should be taken that covers cannot smother the other twin.
A moses basket (or two) can be useful, either in your room, or in living areas as a safe place to put the twins down.
If you have a car and already have a child (or are expecting triplets) you will need to check that your vehicle can accommodate three child seats. Not all can, even some estate cars.
Clothes and Nappies
Cloth nappies are cheaper over the time you will use them. Fewer twin parents use cloth nappies as it is more work, but if you are considering trying them, search online for ‘trial pack cloth nappies’.
For the best deals on nappies, shop around. Most supermarkets have offers and it saves money to buy them in bulk when you spot a good deal.
You are likely to be given a lot of newborn clothes, so buy just a few essentials before the birth. Sweet outfits are lovely, but for the first six months your twins are likely to spend most of their time in babygros. Vests and leggings can be good for quicker changes.