Home twins 10 ‘must haves’ to survive the early days with newborn twins and a toddler

10 ‘must haves’ to survive the early days with newborn twins and a toddler

Having newborn twins and a toddler is bloody hardcore. But I found there are a few ‘must have’ items that are absolutely key if you want to survive relatively unscathed.

If you’re about to have twins (or to be honest, even a single baby) and already have a young child, you may likely be wondering how the hell you’re going to cope. This is a totally acceptable thing to be doing in your position.

Or you might have some idealistic dream that your toddler will be a perfect child 24 hours a day and it’ll all just be wonderful. Mmm, good luck with that.

Everyone does it differently, but I remember there being several things I literally wouldn’t have been able to survive without. You know, practical stuff.

So here they are, hope it helps if you’re in the same situation.

TWINS BABY BOUNCERS

If I could recommend only ONE SINGLE THING (or two if you’re having twins!) it would be to have decent baby bouncers. Because like it or not, your twins will be spending A LOT of time in them. They need to be ones that can lay as flat as possible so they can sleep in them during the day. My twins were basically nocturnal and slept during the day and not until 4am every night (and then only for about 15 minutes), so buy good ones.

You may also find if you’re bottle feeding, you can feed the babies in them too. This was an absolute lifesaver for me. Either put them facing you on the settee and lean forward to feed them, or to save your back, plonk yourself down on the floor in between the bouncers, facing them to hold their bottles. If you’re thinking of feeding them separately, YOU WILL HAVE NO LIFE. And your toddler won’t thank you for it…

TWINS FEEDING PILLOW
Mum bottle feeds twins at the same time as reading to her toddler

On the subject of feeding, if you wanted an alternative, get a good double feeding pillow. Either a special breastfeeding one which you can tandem feed on (both at the same time), or a double V pillow (which basically is a W). Put it on your bed, pop a baby in each of the slots (you know what I mean), lie down to one side of it and reach across holding a bottle in each hand. Takes a bit of practice to find a comfy position but beats kneeling over them and breaking your back. I used to do this before they went to bed. Bouncers downstairs. Pillow upstairs. Sorted.

COLD WATER STERILISER

If you’ve not heard of these, it’s basically a bucket with a lid, that you fill with cold water and a sterilising tablet, sling your bottles in and walk away. No faffing. No heating up, no microwaving. I had two Milton ones which had a plastic tray thingy on the top to keep the bottles from bobbing up and a lid. Each would take six bottles, and the sterilised water lasts for 24 hours. So I would have one bucket full of water with bottles in, and the other bucket stacked high with ready-made bottles (see further down for how I did it). I loved these sterilisers, it was so easy and to be honest you could always just use a giant tub with a sterilising tablet if you don’t want to buy a proper one.

SHED LOADS OF BOTTLES

Lots of baby bottles are necessary if you have twins

So obviously the last two points are about bottle feeding, if you breastfeed twins at the same time as having a toddler, you’re a bloody Wonder Woman in my eyes! Most twin mums with extra children I know end up bottle feeding sooner or later. I went for sooner. Like within a day of BF not working when they were born. (Earlier this year lots of people took offence at me saying I was bored of hearing about breastfeeding, and called me lots of silly names, you can read all about it here)  If you have the luxury of no other kids and can spend all day on the settee feeding, then clearly you don’t need a huge stash of bottles.

But if formula is your thing – go large or go home on the bottle front. I had 18 MAM bottles which seemed ridiculous (and was a massive pain when it came to washing them up. I couldn’t bring myself to stain them with spag bol in the dishwasher) but it meant I could always have some at the ready.

The professionals’ advice on how to make up bottles seems to change by the year, but I went for old school boiling water from a kettle, doing a batch of probably 8 at a time, then when I needed them (they’d obviously cooled by then), topping them up with freshly boiled water to warm it up before adding formula. If I was out, I’d take a flask of hot water with me. I had a prep machine first time round and found it more hassle than it was worth, but I know people swear by them. As ever, each to their own!

A BIGGER CAR TO FIT TWINS AND TODDLER IN

VW Touran is big enough to fit twins and a toddler in.

It goes without saying that once you have more children you’re going to need a bigger car. But what a lot of people don’t realise is what a massive pain in the arse it is to find a car which can take three baby seats across the back. There are literally only a handful of them on the market, and you can kiss goodbye to any style. You can get a ‘bench’ type seat which supposedly fits into any car that can accommodate three babies but you can’t put a portable car seat on it, which put me off.

.Most cars only have a ‘half’ seat in the middle. A whopping great big no-no, when you need to fit in three children still in group one or two car seats. If you know me, you’ll know this was basically the BIGGEST issue I had with finding out I was expecting twins. Sad I know, but we’re car people. We’d only just bought a brand new all-singing, all-dancing BMW. Only to give it back straight away and get a VW Touran. I’m still gutted. I live in hope that one day, I’ll have a fancy car again. You can read all about it here.

PORTABLE CAR SEATS

twins in maxi cosi pebble car seats

I think most people opt for portable car seats anyway but for me it was an absolute necessity. I wanted to put them on my buggy and not be fannying around with carrycots when I was just nipping somewhere. Actually, who the hell am I trying to kid? It’s IMPOSSIBLE to ‘nip’ anywhere with three children under three (or indeed twins, or actually even one baby!) but car seats on a buggy make it marginally quicker. (Read about how difficult it is to ‘nip’ anywhere here) But when it comes to twins and a toddler, the added advantage is you can put them in the seats inside your home.

You’ll find getting out of the house a giant mission anyway, but at least you can get everyone ready in the warm and then do what seems like endless trips in and out to the car in one go. I would get my toddler into the car on the drive first, so I wasn’t leaving him to cause havoc in the house on his own, then do baby, baby, bags. Phew! 

Also make sure you have toys in the car for your toddler. The whole rigmarole of getting everyone in and out anywhere you go, will mean they probably have to sit in there for a while whilst you sort the babies. That’s how I did it to reduce the risk of him escaping/being flattened by traffic. So make sure you have a stash of things to entertain them while they sit there. It probably won’t work, but at least you’ve tried.

MUSIC TO DISTRACT YOUR TWINS

This is a good one. Not only do babies seem to love music they often find it soothing. Anything that works to stop them crying, right? So if you’ve not already got one, get yourself a decent radio and tune it into some half-bearable music. It doesn’t have to be Classic FM, although I’m sure that might soothe them better than some of the commercial radio station playlists. So long as it’s not some ranting BBC Talk Sport presenter, you’ll be okay.

Some harsher people would say it also works for dulling the noise of screaming, but I couldn’t possibly comment on that… Or if music isn’t your thing, tune into Radio 4 and it’ll totally teach them how to talk by the time they’re 18 months old. To find some great radios (and a lot of other items on my must-have list) have a look at Late Deals here for some fab offers and savings. 

IPAD

Toddler watching the ipad whilst twins are put to bed

This leads me onto the other ESSENTIAL item if you have any hope of being able to survive those first few months. Get an iPad, or similar for your older child. Ditch the mum guilt about them using it, and realise that this shit is hard. Like REALLY f*cking hard. I had the idealistic thought that I’d get a ‘special bag’ of toys for my toddler to play with whilst I was feeding the babies. Ones that only came out during feeds so he was entertained by them. How lovely it would be. They lasted approximately half a day. It’s sods law, but you know the second you start feeding a baby your toddler will be kicking off for some attention.

My twins both had bad colic so feeding time was sometimes quite stressful – a bit of a Russian roulette of who was going to projectile vomit their entire bottle across the wall/carpet/me first. It wasn’t even like I had a spare hand to read a book with him, like I may have possibly done if I’d only had one baby. (Read about those early days fun and games here)  So get over your ideals, and get the iPad out.

Stick on Cbeebies iPlayer, press guided access so they can’t f*ck it up and whinge, and relax in the knowledge that Andy Day is teaching them all about dinosaurs you’ve never even heard of, but that in six months’ time your child will be pronouncing perfecting. Parasaurolophos anyone? I also let my toddler watch the iPad at bedtime whilst I got the twins ready for bed and still do. I fly solo a lot, and I couldn’t do without it. If you can, you’re a better mum than I am (not hard, I know).

EXTRA PAIR OF HANDS

If you had one wish at this stage, it would be that you could grow an extra pair of hands. To cuddle one crying baby/toddler whilst changing the other one’s dirty nappy or build Duplo with the toddler. The alternative is to accept offers of help. Ditch the pride and get help, or risk losing your mind. If someone wants to come and cuddle your baby/babies, let them. When they want to feed them, say yes please (especially if they’re colicky). If they want to help you at bathtime/bedtime – bite their hand off.

When you’re out and about (and you MUST go out even if it takes you three hours) go with friends. They will look after a child whilst you take the other one to the changing room. Or will feed a baby, whilst the toddler has a meltdown over what you’ve packed him for lunch. Assuming they’re bottle-fed, or that would be a tad weird. There are no medals for surviving this on your own. I would have lost the plot had I not had so much help from my husband, parents and friends in those early days. I would also never have left the house. If you don’t have many friends, find them in online twin groups. They’re a great bunch and totally ‘get’ it.

WINE…

This needs no explanation. But I assure you, it is ABSOLUTELY KEY to your survival.

HOW TO SURVIVE EARLY DAYS WITH NEWBORN TWINS AND A TODDLER

*This is a collaborative post. It also contains affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these I may receive a small commission. It does not affect how much you pay. 

 

How did I do?

If you liked this post, how about you hang around and have a read of some more. You’ll definitely like this one about how I ignored advice to survive the newborn days. Or this one about how my toddler wasn’t too keen on the twins, ooh, for about six months. Enjoy!

If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.

If you like what you see, how about you check me out on Pinterest,  Instagram and Twitter too.

And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at helen@twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com and I’ll get back to you.

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17 comments

Jade 02/11/2018 - 4:01 pm

I think I had a bit of an idealistic view of being a parent before reality hit. Totally agree baby bouncer is a major must when you have more than one child. Wine also major essential for all mums xxx

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 02/11/2018 - 4:06 pm

Think I should probably have put it at the top of the list!

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Deborah Kos 02/11/2018 - 6:17 pm

I don’t know how you do it with twins, I love the 10 must have survival items for the early days with twins, I agree that the items are a necessity for someone with twins. I didn’t realize twins feeding pillows were available.

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 02/11/2018 - 8:30 pm

Yes that was an absolute lifesaver!

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Agnes Shapiro 02/11/2018 - 9:30 pm

While I didnt have twins, you hit the nail on the head with coping. I had 5 in 7 yrs, so there were times I had 3 in diapers, or hanging onto me, nap time was never the same time. And yes, my house was always a mess. But it was a great time, I survived and when they grew up I missed it. So I got a cleaner house, but alas the grandchildren are here…messy house again, noise and loving it….time flies, enjoy every minute of it.

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 02/11/2018 - 9:59 pm

Wow 5 in 7 years! You’re right. It’s already going very quickly.

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Laura: Adventures with J 03/11/2018 - 9:58 am

Oh wow! This is a great list of advice for most parents. The ipad would definitey be my friend for toddler if I was in the same boat!

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 03/11/2018 - 10:26 am

Definitely wouldn’t have survived without it!

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Viv Simone 03/11/2018 - 1:59 pm

Twins run in my family, my cousin has 2 sets with 4 years between them but I still dont know how twin mummies do it! When I found out I was pregnant I was worried I’d have twins (I want them in the future – or do I? Lol) because of how hard it would be. I loved your post! It was so honest and insightful! X

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 03/11/2018 - 5:46 pm

Thank you! Yep not the easiest some days but I’m going with the “they’ll all entertain each other soon” theory!

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Gemma stringer 05/11/2018 - 5:49 pm

I had 3 under 5 at one point and think i would have preferred twins so the hard stages are out of the way at once. Totally agree about music- even if I am sick of all nursery rhymes I know them all by heart.

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Vicki 07/11/2018 - 10:09 am

A decent bouncer is a must! I only had one baby and a 3 year old but it meant Freddie was safe from James trampling feet and toys!

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 07/11/2018 - 10:18 am

Exactly! I don’t know what I’d have done without mine!

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Emily 07/11/2018 - 10:37 am

Oh my goodness. I have twins and it was hard enough. I couldn’t imagine having twins and a toddler. You’re super woman! I second the bouncers. They were a life saver. I used to put my girls in them and bring them to the bathroom door so I could shower and still see them!

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 07/11/2018 - 11:30 am

Ha ha, yes! I used to move them around all over the place!

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Rachel 07/11/2018 - 9:38 pm

Yes to all these points! People always thought we were mad with the amount of bottles we had. It’s bloody hard work having a tolder and newborn twins, you need to make things as easy as possible. And I did that with have like 25 bottles haha.

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Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 07/11/2018 - 10:30 pm

More bottles the merrier, i say!

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