Those advertisers, those marketers, and those magazines all make you feel like you need to have the cutest, best, most adorable things for your baby and his nursery or your child will not turn out as bright or adorable. And especially when you will be blessed with two at once, it make you wonder ‘what do I really need for twins?’ But, the truth is, you don’t need most of it. Especially when you are strapped for cash and struggling to know how to afford twins.
But, I am a minimalist and an extremely frugal person (some would say cheap), born out of my poor childhood and currently out of necessity. So, when we found out we were having twins, my frugal self began seeing way too many dollar signs popping up, and it freaked me out! We were going to scrape the bottom of the barrel with just one baby, how were we going to afford two? Looking back, I realize how we could have done so many things differently and saved way more money, but you live and learn sometimes. The good news for those reading this is that you will learn from my experiences. And that is one of the main reasons I pushed for How Do You Do It? to have this money savings theme week.
Crib: Buy yourself a convertible crib, one that will later transform into a toddler bed. It will save you that headache and money later down the line. Also, drop down side cribs are now all recalled, so think twice about using one of those.
Mattress: Buy a sturdy, firm mattress for your crib. A firm mattress reduces the risk of SIDS. Don’t use a pillow-top mattress or put a mattress protector on it that makes it pillow-like.
Waterproof Pads and Sheets: Buy several of each. Babies leak out of everywhere, so you’ll need a few. However, bumper pads, crib skirts, diaper stackers, quilts, etc are not needed. They are just for decoration.
One Pack n’ Play or Playard: Despite having twins, we only bought one pack n’ play, and it has never proved a problem. Just about everyone has a pack n’ play, so if you stay the night somewhere, borrow one. Also, don’t be fooled into buying ones with a changing table attached. We did and I hated it because the baby always sank down into it, making it almost impossible to use. But, I do recommend buying one that has a bassinet type insert. For those first few days, weeks, or months, we use the pack n’ play in our bedroom, and without that insert, it would mean reaching in and bending all the way down to the floor to pick up your tiny baby. Save your back and get one with the insert.
However, if you just have one child, don’t travel often, don’t want a bassinet type bed, or don’t want your child to sleep in your room for a while, you might not need a pack n’ play at all. You can likely borrow one if and when the need arises.
Car Seat: Of course this one is a given, and one of the very few things that is recommended to buy brand new (though of course it is still ultimately up to each individual). This is needed. You do not have to buy a baby carrier car seat, and can just buy a convertible car seat which will last from birth to booster seat. I bought the infant carrier car seat and both love having it–being able to easy put my baby in the car, take him out, not having to wake him if he’s sleeping, easily click it into a stroller–and hate it, because it then means lugging this heavy baby in a large, heavy car seat. I don’t know many parents that lug their kids in it all the way up the suggested weights because it just gets too heavy to do so. They eventually just leave it in the car. If you want to save money and space, just buy a convertible car seat.
Stroller: These are needed. However, what kind of stroller to get is a different problem all its own as there are lots of opinions out there. But, a stroller will allow you to walk around with your baby, while also providing some extra storage for that diaper bag. It will later become helpful when you go places like the zoo or a museum and your child is walking and wants to get out, but will not be able to walk the whole time. It can also allow you to get some exercise comfortably if you buy a jogging stroller.
Dresser: In order to make room for all the cute clothes you will be getting for you cute new arrival, a dresser would be a very good idea. But, a shelving and storage bins can also function as a dresser. I am glad that we bought a dresser that also had a changing table built-in to the top.
Trash Can: You don’t have to buy a diaper pail, but you will have to figure out where those diapers will be going (if you are using disposables) and how you plan on throwing them away.
Bottles: Even if you plan on breastfeeding, it can be a good idea to have at least a few bottles on hand, to use with your expressed milk. If you aren’t breastfeeding, bottles are of course a necessity. We bought a brand of bottles that would convert from nipples to sippy tops to save money too. What type of bottle to get is a matter of preference and your baby.
Bibs and Burp Cloths: Bibs are great for catching all the drool and later all the food that will not be swallowed. Burp cloths are great for an assortment of things, for catching spit up, to cleaning up boogers, drool, and more. Have a few of each on hand. You don’t need a ton though.
Changing Pad: While I am a fan of changing tables, they are a baby gear item you don’t really need. A bed, a dresser with a changing pad on it, or the floor all serve very well as changing stations. However, you need to get a foldable changing pad. They can save your carpet or bed from being stained. They can also protect against germs and dirt when out.
Baby Book or Memory Book: You should physically record all those awesome moments for your child. My parents never made me one (the youngest of nine kids. I totally got jipped) and I would’ve loved to have one! And, chances are you will have a hard time remember much after that first year is over.
Baby Monitor: Don’t waste your money on a video one, but a simple one will allow you to listen for the baby while doing something else (washing dishes or watching TV). If you live in a one story house or apartment, chances are you don’t really need one though.
Breast Pump: If you are planning on nursing twins or triplets, a breast pump will become a necessary part of your life. And for multiples, I would suggest going all out and getting a double electric breast pump. The good news is that some insurance companies will cover the cost or you can see about renting one from your local hospital or even from a Babies ‘R’ Us.
Nursing Pillow: If you are nursing, this is a back saver, and in my book necessary. They even have ones specifically designed for twins. But, nursing a baby without a pillow could cost you money in massage bills, so just buy the pillow.
Diapers and Diaper Rash Cream
Thermometer, Baby Tylenol, and Baby Nail Clippers
Pacifiers: Unfortunately, not all children like pacifiers or will take or use them, but in my experience, when they do, they can be very helpful at times, especially if you have an overly fussy baby. But, if you don’t like pacifiers, don’t buy them, but they can afford you just a few minutes of quiet until you can get home from the store and can feed your baby. And they can help your baby fall asleep.
Swing/Walker/Saucer/Playmat: All of these devices are rather expensive. And will only be effectively used for a few months. Some MoMs swear by one of these contraptions in order to get a shower in, or to soothe their child to sleep, so one of these devices may be worth the money, but all of them? Definitely not. Also, only buy one of each, not multiple, despite having multiples. And in my experience, babies are perfectly content just to roll around on the floor with some baby-approved toys. I also think it helps them learn how to crawl and walk sooner not constantly being in baby-holding devices. (My twins were both walking by 11 months.)
Toys/Books: Less is completely more. Babies destroy books and gnaw toys. Don’t waste your money on expensive doodads. Just get a few staple, classic toys and board books, and you will be set. Examples: balls, blocks, shape sorter, teething ring. And remember, you don’t have to buy double of every toy. Twins are blessed to learn how to share by the nature of their twindom.
Baby Carrier/Sling/Wrap: With my twins, I bought a cheap carrier that dug into my back and that I didn’t end up using more than a few times. And we decided not to replace it with a better quality one. With a double stroller and infant carrier car seats, we didn’t feel the need to have one of these carrying devices. But, I’m not of the “babywearing” parenting camp.
Nursery Decor and Other Non-Essential Things: When you are looking to cut costs and save money for your new arrival of twins and triplets, don’t worry about having the cutest nursery on the block. Your kid won’t remember it, and most of your friends will never step foot in it. And by the time they are able to remember, they will probably not be so in love with your jungle or princess theme decor. You don’t need diaper stackers, hung art, crib bumpers and skirts, diaper warmers, cutesy night lights, foo-foo mobiles, or flowery valences. If you want to invest in your nursery, get black-out curtains and a glidder/rocking chair. And remember, you can always decorate later. It is not necessary to your children’s happiness (or yours), I promise.
When people ask you “What do I really need for twins?” what is your answer? What is on your must-have list? What did you find not needed?
ldskatelyn is the mastermind behind this week’s theme week of saving money, trying to help others learn how to afford twins. She loves saving money and making ends meet and is so excited that she is sharing some of her knowledge with others this week! She blogs about her family and parenting over at What’s up Fagans?