You hear that a lot when people find out you are pregnant with twins. To this I think most twin moms will say, “Ha!” There is no buy one get one for having two babies, and you still need two of several baby items. Fortunately you don’t need two of everything, but you do need two of most of the basics. So what do you actually need two of? What can you skip? What can you wait to buy? I’m going to break it down for you. First up will be what gear I actually used in the first few months with my girls. For the second part I decided to do a little digital shopping to see how much this would all cost to buy new. We were blessed with a lot of hand me downs and my husband’s amazing garage sale shopping abilities, so we got some real deals. But not everyone has the time or resources to do that kind of work. I wanted to keep the initial investment as low as possible while sticking to products we have actually used as much as possible, and aimed for a $1000 budget. That’s $500 a baby, which I think is reasonable. Let’s do this.
First up is the list of the gear you will need in the first couple of months.
You need two:
Bassinets: AAP safety guidelines recommend a separate sleeping area for each baby. The bassinet is only used for a short time, but it is handy to have something a little smaller that can be in your room. I like the bassinets that top pack and plays. That way when you are done with the top you still have a pack and play to use.
Cribs: Once your babies are in their own room they will need their own beds. Most cribs these days convert into toddler beds, so despite having to buy two you will use it for a few years.
Crib mattresses: Two cribs, two mattresses. It makes sense.
Car seats: If you want to drive anywhere, you need two car seats. There is no way to get around this one.
Bouncer/swing/baby seat: I know this sounds mean, but sometimes you have to put the babies down. You do need a place to put each baby. Yes they need floor time, but the floor isn’t always the best place, especially if you have older children running around. I like the bouncer because they are easier to move to different parts of your house. They are also very helpful for soothing two babies at once. I think the bouncer is easier to customize the motion to the level of fuss.
There isn’t really that much that you need literally two of them. Unfortunately these are most of the big ticket items, making it more expensive.
There are only two twin specific items I could think of that we used this year.
Twin nursing pillow: I didn’t use a pillow with my singleton, but with twins it made all the difference.
Double stroller: If you want to leave the house you need a way to get those babies around. There are twin wraps for babywearing, but I prefer to use a stroller. One person can push both babies with a double stroller.
Other things (diapers, wipes, burp cloths, swaddles, outfits, blankets, toys, bottles if you are using them, pacifiers, etc) you need more of, but not necessarily a certain number. If you are willing to do more laundry you can get by with fewer of these items. I would buy some to start, but wait to get more until you see a real need.
Items the baby doesn’t really interact with or things you know you will use one at a time you only need one of. These are things like a monitor, a sound machine (although if your twins have different rooms you may need two), baby bath, and pump.
Items to skip:
There are two big items I would skip. This is personal preference, but I actually had these items available when the girls were newborns and didn’t use them.
Changing table: I changed my girls on a table once. Now, I used it all the time with just one baby. But with two it is way easier to just camp out on the floor. I know, it doesn’t sound fancy, but it is way faster.
Glider or rocker:
I used a rocker when nursing one baby. Two babies mean you need way more room. We didn’t want to spend the money on another furniture item so we skipped this and it worked out just fine. I could nurse on the couch. As the girls got older they started to be impatient if they finished first. Nursing on the floor meant the early finisher could gently roll off the pillow and get back to playing without disturbing her sister.
How much will it cost?
How much can you expect to spend on all your twin gear? Well as little as possible would be the goal. I decided to see what I could find on Amazon, everyone’s favorite online store, to get everything I need as cheaply as possible. (These prices were as I found them as of the original publication date of this post, 2/24/17. They may have changed with time.) These are all either the products we actually used, or as close as I could find.
Twin Bassinet. I like using the pack and play with the bassinet top. This way we can use the pack and play long after you no longer need the top. Sadly the twin one is more expensive. You could go ahead and get two of the regular bassinet for about the same price. We didn’t have room for that in our room, so the double it was for us. Pack and play with twin bassinet top: $129.59.
Crib. This is one of the most basic model cribs I could find. I really feel like cribs have gone a little nuts these days. You can get giant cribs with all sorts of bells and whistles. Yes, a lot of them are beautiful. But you know what I have learned? Kids like to chew on cribs. Kids like to use their cribs to climb on and mess around. And where do you leave your children without direct supervision the most? Their cribs. This leaves them open to all sorts of issues. Add to that with twins you could be putting two cribs in one room. That takes up a lot of space! I wanted the safest, most simple crib I could get for the cheapest price. This one still has three mattress height levels for safety. It can still be converted into a toddler bed. There is some cost variance with different finishes. But for having to buy two I went with the cheapest. Crib: $99.99. For two: $199.98.
Crib Mattress. This is an item I wouldn’t necessarily go on just price for. I mean, your baby is going to spend a lot of time sleeping on this mattress. And I know I’ve mentioned a time or two how much I don’t like messing with sleep. Plus a quality mattress can help lower some SIDS risk. Worth the extra money in my mind. This mattress still has a waterproof cover. This is a huge bonus when (not if, when) your little one has a diaper blowout all over the bed. Splurge on a little more expensive mattress and save elsewhere. Safety and sleep matter. Mattress: $58.99. For two: $117.98.
Crib Sheets. It is super fun to get the cute themed out ones, but really babies don’t care. Grab a two pack to start. When our babies were newborns they were swaddled and we put burp clothes under them to sleep, so they didn’t really touch the sheets for a few months. You can buy more as you need them. Crib sheet two pack: $11.96
Car Seat. We have used Graco Snugride 30 car seats with all three of our kids. I really like them. We were actually in a multi-car collision when my oldest was a baby. He was in this car seat and was completely fine. So sadly I have tested this one out. They are decently lightweight, easy to snap baby into, and easy to load into the base. With twins I really enjoy having the bucket style car seat that can be taken in and out of the car. It is way easier to load the girls up inside and carry them both out to the car instead of bringing one to the car and strapping her in, then going to get the other. It might sound strange but when you are out and about it is nice to sometimes have a place to put your baby down. The car seat is already with you, making it perfect for this. This car seat is rear facing only, but babies should stay rear facing for as long as possible. It is good for babies as small as four pounds, which is good because twins are often on the smaller side. This seat comes with the base, which is awesome for easy loading. It can also be used without the base, good to know if you are going out of town with it. Car seat: $71.99. For two: $143.98.
Stroller. This snap and go stroller is awesome. It is just the frame of a double stroller, but most bucket car seats snap into it. (The Graco Snugride does, another bonus of getting that style car seat.) Since this is just a frame, it takes up way less space when folded up and fits easily into the trunk of a car. It is way cheaper than most twin strollers you will find. It is easy to use and easy to fold up. We use ours almost every day. I was able to find mine used, which is awesome. They are very twin specific item though, so it can be a challenge to track one down. If you have one they are easy to resell. I have literally had a car pull over and ask to buy mine out from under my girls while we were out on a walk. If you have a toddler you might be thinking about how you will use a stroller with all three kids. My eldest was two and a half when the girls were born and he has walked everywhere since then. As much as I want to say twins don’t hold you back, babies in general can limit some of the places you go and the amount of time you are out. It has never been an issue for us to have our son walk. We do still have an umbrella stroller. My thinking is if we are going somewhere major enough to be concerned a toddler can’t walk the whole time, I will probably have another adult with me to push the extra stroller. This snap and go is long, and honestly a bit of a boat to push around. But it is easier to maneuver than some side by side ones, in my opinion. The front to back method makes it easier to get through doorways, a huge plus. We use this stroller pretty much every day, making it a worthwhile investment. Stroller: $67.99.
Nursing Pillow. I should really work for this company I have plugged this pillow so much. But seriously, I love it. It is worth every penny. Speaking of, I did the math and for the number of times I used it during the year it comes out to about four cents a use. Since it is a twin pillow, that is actually two cents per baby a feed. That is a good deal. This pillow really helped me position the girls when they were newborns, and it still helps me hold both girls to feed them thirteen months later. This is my top product for any twin mom. Nursing Pillow: $49.97.
Bigger Bouncer or Smaller Bouncer. Okay, I have two choices here. The first one is the bouncer we had with Ben. We had another smaller one much like the smaller bouncer listed here at the office. I started off using the smaller bouncer with the girls. The drawback to that one is that I didn’t feel like newborns are as well supported in it. The girls would slip and tilt to the side, even when strapped in. We had a small house with a two year old running around, so the bigger bouncer gave me a better sense of safety for the girls while they were in it. This sort of purchase can a bit of a gamble. My son loved his bouncers. He adored being in them and was so happy to be bounced. He used them until he was too big. The girls lost interest a little earlier, around 7 months when they got mobile. After that point they still came in handy for soothing the girls. Both types of bouncers vibrate and have a removable toy bar to look at. Let me tell you, my babies all adored the birds on the big bouncer. Crazy loved them. I think this is one you really have to consider the size of your home, your planned use, and if you have other little kids running around (or pets). I actually like the foot bouncing as opposed to automatic ones. You can give the level of bounce your baby wants, then taper off if they fall asleep. This limits dependence on bouncing to sleep in my mind. Big bouncer: $45.21. For two: $90.42. Smaller bouncer: $19.50. For two: $39.00. This is a decent difference, but if you can swing the bigger bouncer I would recommend it.
Alright, that is all the big items you will need to purchase. The total? $811.87. Not too bad! Only $760.45 if you go with the smaller bouncers. After the big things you can make more choices based on price and preferences.
Bathtub. Simple, works in a sink and later sitting in a tub (uses less water and helpful to contain baby) The plastic is very easy to clean, even the cushion for baby to sit on. The newborn sling helps keep your little ones out of the water while you get them all clean. $17.98
Sound Machine. This one has six sounds to choose from. It also has the option to play continuously or set a time limit. It can be plugged in or use battery power. It is small and sturdy, making it great to travel with. $19.97.
Monitor. Video monitors are fun, but they are also more expensive. And no, you don’t need one. The sound ones work just fine. This one has a parent unit that can be battery operated to carry around with you. I have a small enough home that I rarely used a monitor with the girls. (First time mom me used it with my son all the time. My girls have always been, well, loud.) If you have such a large home that you might not be able to hear the babies, well, then you can probably afford the fancier monitors. $17.98
Swaddles. We got by with three swaddles. One per girl and a backup in case of emergency. They always had jammies on underneath, so they weren’t directly touching the swaddle and didn’t mess them up often. These are my all time favorite. They are easy to use and really keep babies snug. $19.94
Small Blankets. These small blankets can work in several ways. We put them on the bouncers for easier cleaning. We put them on the floor for the babies to lay on. They can work as burp cloths. They can be tiny blankets for when baby is napping by you. They are a little harder to swaddle with, but it can be done in a pinch. We put these cloths on every surface the babies were on. It is way easier to do a load of laundry than clean spit up off of some things. Some babies are big spitters. We had burp cloths everywhere with my son. My girls weren’t really, so we didn’t need as many. I would start with two packs for twins and then reassess what you need based on your baby. $21.98 (for two packs of 4)
Clothing. You will need some clothing for your babies. I would get a couple of newborn sleepers and onesies to start with. Babies grow so fast and vary in size so much it can be hard to know what to get. My son fit into newborn clothes for like a week. The girls lasted much longer. If your twins come early you may need preemie clothes. I would get a couple of staples then wait and order what you need as you go. There are a lot of variables to clothes- climate, time of year, and personal taste really play in to this, hence no personal recommendation. I’d set aside about $50 for this. (And not to depend on others, but people love to buy twins clothes, so hold off on spending too much.)
Diapers, diaper cream, wipes. Costco has cheap ones. We love Target brand and find it very affordable. I don’t like to recommend certain brands for these because different babies can have such different reactions to creams and diapers. Get some newborn diapers, but if in doubt stock up on size one. You can always get more newborn if you find you need them. Approximate cost: Diapers: $22 per pack (around 176 diapers). Cream: $3.50. Wipes: $15 for a pack of 8.
Soap and lotion: We got by on the hospital samples for some time. Same as with the diapers, you might have to try a few types to see what works with your baby’s skin. Approximate cost: $7.59 for Johnson and Johnson double pack.
Pump. Insurance should cover this now, so free!
Bottles. We nursed, so I don’t know a lot about bottles. I do know with my firstborn I was able to get sample bottles from formula companies for free. Try that first and see what your baby likes before investing a ton into bottles. If you go this route you might be able to skip the nursing pillow and use that money for formula and bottle needs.
Add it all up!
Alright, that was a lot! Let’s add in the extras to get an approximate cost before the babies even show up. That is around $195.94 for the extras. If you go for the smaller bouncers we are at $956.39. If you splurge on the bigger bouncer you are at $1007.81! Yes, it is over our goal of $1000, but we are pretty darn close. Shopping sales, waiting on things you might not need right away (like monitors if your babies are sleeping in your room.) This list is just a jumping off point. You will need more as your babies grow and you get to know what works best for your family. But this shows that it is possible to get set up for your twins for a reasonable price!
One last bonus of twins– some places do actually give you a discount if you buy two of the same bit items. Baby’s R Us gives 10% off two identical items over $100, for example. Some of these need to be bought in store, but hey it can save money! Check out the following sites for twin discounts.
Twinniversity- multiple birth discounts
Very Well- Discounts and freebies for twins and multiples
Twin Pregnancy-discounts for twins
The Twin Coach-discounts and deals
There are more if you google twin discounts. And if you have a product you really love email them, you just might get some coupons.
Having twins is big, especially financially. But it doesn’t have to break the bank. You can do this.
These are just some suggestions. I would love to hear what other deals or advice twin moms have! Comment and let me know where you found a deal or what you found you did/didn’t need with twins.