Expecting Twins: Do I Need Two of Everything?

If you’re expecting twins, congratulations! It’s common to feel overwhelmed during pregnancy, particularly if you’re expecting multiple new babies. Does having more than one baby mean you’ll need to spend way more money? In this blog post, we’ll talk baby gear—specifically what you need and don’t need to buy doubles of.

The first thing to know is that, while having twins is really tough in some ways, in other ways it’s totally awesome. The bond between your kids will always be unique and eventually they’ll be able to play together, rather than needing things from you. So how do you know what you need to make the period of time when they need a lot of things from you easier?

It might be helpful to focus on baby essentials and then decide what your babies can share and then what will be helpful to buy two of or to buy something that’s meant for twins. At the most basic, a baby needs the following: a place to sleep safely, diapers, something to eat, weather-appropriate clothes, and a car seat, if you ever plan to put them in a car that is. Next, we’ll go through each of these categories and discuss what can and cannot be shared.

Twins might like to sleep in the same crib or bassinet at first—they’re used to sleeping together from being in the womb together after all. But it’s a good idea to have two sleeping spots for safety. The good news is that safe cribs and cosleepers—a type of bed that is meant for rooming in, when babies sleep in the same room as their parents—or bassinets are easy to find used online. You can also buy some beds that are specifically for twins that allow them to see or sense each other, while also having their own safe sleep surface, may work for your babies.

If you buy disposable diapers for your babies, you’ll need twice as many for twins. But if you choose to cloth diaper, you won’t truly need double the amount as you would for a single baby—maybe just 50 percent more. The reason for this is that you can wash cloth diapers, so they’re not single use like a disposable. If you buy fewer cloth diapers, you might just have to wash a little bit more often.

In terms of something to eat, if you’re breastfeeding, you only have your two breasts, which will likely be just right for your twins. If you are planning to formula feed or combination feed (give your babies breastmilk and formula in some combination of breast and bottle), it’s a good idea to have enough bottles that you can get through all the feeds in a day without washing bottles. It is of course possible to wash bottles after every feeding that you use them, but that takes a lot of time, so if you can swing it, plan to have a bottle for each baby for at least six feeds per day. In the early days, you likely will have to wash bottles mid-day, but when your babies are older that should be plenty.

In terms of clothes, this is where you don’t have to truly double the clothes that you have, but it is good to have more than you would for a single baby—along the same lines as if you were using cloth diapers. If you know the sex of your babies, you can buy gendered clothes, but if you are having a boy and a girl, it’s a great idea to buy gender-neutral clothes so that they can share. As with diapers, you might have to wash clothes more frequently, but it might be worth it to you to have fewer things hanging around.

Car seats are the non-negotiable thing that you must buy two of. Your babies cannot share a car seat, as it’s highly likely that you’ll need to take them somewhere at the same time. Home from the hospital, for instance.

Finally, there are a few items that are not essential, but are really nice to have. First, a stroller. There are great double strollers on the market that can accommodate babies from birth. My favorite double stroller is the Bumbleride Indie Twin, which lays flat, making it safe for newborns, but also has bassinet attachments available for really little babies. This stroller will also grow with your kids—my daughter rode in it until she was almost five years old. Another nice to have thing is a play yard: usually a mesh-sided safe space where baby can hang out while you do adult things. The good news is that you only need one of these for your twins to share. And if you think of other things that you might want, try getting just one at first and see whether that works for your family. It’s possible that you’ll be able to make do with less stuff than you think!

Abby Olena
Dr. Abby Olena has a PhD in Biological Sciences from Vanderbilt University. She lives with her husband and children in North Carolina, where she writes about science and parenting, produces a conversational podcast, and teaches prenatal yoga.

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