Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Year Necessities

I decided to write a post about the things we found most useful in our first year with twins. Some items are twin specific, but most aren't.

Breastfeeding Specific:
Madela pump in style breast pump- I used this for the first 8 weeks after every feeding to help build up my milk supply as well as my frozen stash. I was able to use a hospital grade pump while the girls were in the NICU since I could pump there. To be honest, I never noticed a huge difference between the hospital grade pump and PIS, but I didn't use the hospital grade one for long. I'm sure if I had used it more I would have. I also found out later that often insurance companies will cover a rental of a hospital grade pump for preemies. I did fine with my PIS, but I always had an adequate supply. I purchased mine from a friend who only used it a few weeks. 
Pumpin Pals flanges- I purchased these after reading about them online. They are so much more comfortable than the flanges that come standard with the pump. They are angled so you don't have to lean forward and be so uncomfortable while pumping. I also found my breasts emptied much quicker and my milk let down faster when using them. I wish I had discovered them sooner! 
Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags- Cheaper than the Madela ones and with a double seal to prevent leaking. We've gone through so many of these!
Madela nipple shields- I think this is more preemie related than anything else, but we relied on them for a long time (probably too long). Without them I don't think I would have succeeded from the beginning. They were first given to me in the NICU as I had flat nipples and the girls were unable to effectively latch without them. I just wish they weren't clear because I lost so many of them. Keeping them in a pacifier holder connected to the diaper bag helped for on the go. 
Double blessings twin breastfeeding pillow- This was given to me from a friend and I was so grateful. I tandem nursed about 95% of the time for the first 6 months as it saved so much time. I don't really use it anymore since the girls are so fast to eat and I almost always feed them separately, but it really made tandem nursing possible. Too bad it took me about 6 months to figure out how to strap in on correctly with the little back pillow. 

Sleep Specific:
Babywise- We bought read this book prior to the arrival of the girls so we could be on the same page as far as scheduling went. We stuck to the eat, play, sleep schedule for quite a while and found this book to be helpful. I would recommend it to anyone looking to get their baby on a flexible schedule. 
Aden + Anais- We used the swaddle blankets for at least the first 6 months. They are huge and soft and the girls associated them with sleep. When they starting rolling and not wanting to be swaddled we switched to the sleep sacks. My friend got the girls monogrammed dream blankets for their birthdays and we've started using them instead of the sleep sacks in their cribs. The muslin is so soft but also very breathable. I've heard they make an adult sized one that I really need for myself. 

Blackout curtains- We bought ours at Pottery Barn kids but I think they help with daytime sleep so much. Worth it if you ask me!

Rock and Play Sleeper- The girls slept in those at night for quite a while in our bedroom. It was nice as we each had a baby on our side of the bed. It also let me rock them with my foot while staying lying down in bed. Great for reflux babies. 

Wubbanub pacifiers- My girls liked the soothie pacis and these were such a life saver. It makes finding the paci so much easier in the dark or a sleep deprivation stupor. They also stayed in the girls mouths so much better when they were little because they have some weight. We have a dog, cat, frog, elephant, and caterpillar. 
Motorola MBP41 Pan and Zoom Camera- We have one video monitor that is mounted in a high corner of the room. Because it can pan and zoom we are able to see both girls. The battery life isn't great, but it has night vision and a long charging cord. 

Feeding Specific:
Antilop Ikea Highchairs- these were recommended to me by a mom of 4 boys. They are small, cheap (think 20 bucks cheap) and so easy to clean. It's basically a hard plastic shell that can even be thrown in the shower to be cleaned. There are no cushiony seats (although their is an optional cushion for when they are smaller) with tons of cracks and crevices for food to get stuck in and have to clean. I do wish the trays were more easily removable and that there was a place for their feet to rest. All in all, no complaints for the price and ease of cleaning. My in laws bought a set for their house too. 

Tommee Tippee easy roll bib- Once again I opt for ease with cleaning. These can be rinsed off and reused over and over. They are sturdy was the girls don't play with them as much as the thin plastic bibs. 

Mountain Buggy Pod Clip-on High Chairs- We bought these for travel and love them. They work great and are super convenient and light to carry. The clamps open large enough to work with a table that has a lip as well. We haven't found a table they haven't worked with yet. 
Playtex nurser bottles- It took a long time to find a bottle the girls would take as I primarily nursed them. These have fewer pieces than Dr. Browns bottles and have a disposable drop in liner (not the most environmentally friendly). Being able to squeeze the liner some helped the girls when drinking. Plus, the nipple wasn't huge and it more closely resembled my own. We just bought playtex sippy cups with straws that I introduced yesterday. 

Sili Squeeze reusable food pouch- These are great for on the go. It's a reusable food pouch so you can control what's it in. It's also very easy to clean and eat from. The girls love yogurt from it. 

Cloth diapering:
Tots Bots Tini Fit- these were our newborn diapers. They are an all in one that are so cute, soft, and reliable.

Skip hop duo double deluxe diaper bag- Big enough for cloth diapers for twins for a whole day plus clothes, toys, and wipes/changing pad. W picked it out but I was okay with that since he'd be carrying it most of the time we were out together. It's big and black and awesome. 

Bum Genius Freetime diapers- These are our favorite one-size diapers. There is no stuffing involved and they have lots of cute prints. We use them overnight without problem and have about 35 in our stash. 

Cloth wipes- I made my own that have terry cloth on one side and flannel on the other. It made sense to use cloth wipes as we didn't need a garbage can in addition to our diaper pail. 

Bummis Swim Diapers- We wanted reusable swim diapers so got these because they had matching sun hats. They've been great minus some color fading in chlorine. 

CJ's Butter- Our go to Cloth diaper friendly rash cream. It comes in lots of great smells and works great. The girls haven't really had many rashes but this stuff is great for dry skin, cradle cap, eczema, and many other things. 

Baby Jogger City Select stroller- I wish I had known about this stroller sooner and not gotten the side by side one. Although expensive, it has tons of different configurations (including one that lets the girls face each other) and is a tandem stroller. This means it actually fits in store aisles. The basket is also large enough for me to do a weeks worth of grocery shopping without needing a cart. 

Britax B Safe infant car seat- We got this brand because I had heard great things about its safety rating. We are still using these seats but now leaving them in their bases in the car since they were so damn heavy to carry all the time. They are also rated for a lower birth weight baby so we could bring our preemies home in them. 
So there you have it, the most useful items for the first year (as much as I could remember at least). I hope someone finds this helpful. 


  1. Great list! It's always nice to see what has worked for others. I wish I had done better research on strollers. Yours sounds amazing.

  2. Thank you for this! We just found out we are having identical twins so I will look into this stuff!

  3. I LOVE my city select stroller. My husband did a ton of research before the girls were born and picked that one. One of our best purchases.

  4. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this post! We are leaving the hospital today and girls will be in the NICU for a while. I did go ahead and get the hospital grade pump. Still waiting on milk to come in. I do have a good amount of the stuff on your list though.