It's Ez and Fonz's first birthday this week. One year old, already. This post is inspired by Rebecca at Two Become Four's seven first year essentials, and is a list of what we couldn't have lived without for our first year with twins...
- TAMBA membership – Membership of the Twins And Multiple Births Association allows you access to the forums, where I got some great advice from other twin mums in the early days.
- Bouncy chairs – I had four: two upstairs, and two downstairs.
- Twin feeding cushion – I had the EZ-2 nurse twin feeding cushion. Go for the (more expensive) foam pillow – I bought the inflatable one initially and regretted it as it kept deflating.
- Double breast pump – For us, introducing a bottle straight away was the only way to manage feeding two newborn babies - I needed Young Daddy to help out. I bought a Medela electric double breast pump second-hand, and it was a lifesaver in helping me to supply enough breast milk as quickly as possible.
- A pushchair that fits through your front door – Mine didn't. I didn't think it would be a big deal, and I was so wrong. I spent many a cold hour sat on my front doorstep after walking the babies to sleep.
- Hands free phone adapter – when Young Daddy first went back to work, I'd phone him a million times a day (usually in floods of tears). More often than not, I had my arms full of babies, so a hands free kit was great.
- Swaddle blankets – I'm not exaggerating when I say we could not have made it through the first six months without swaddle blankets. It was the only way to get Ez and Fonz to sleep. They seem complicated at first, but become second nature so quickly. I could win a competition for Speediest Swaddler, I'm sure.
- White noise app/hairdryer – Another crutch I leaned on in the early months. If both babies were screaming, switching on the hairdryer would instantly silence them. We downloaded a white noise app for the iTouch, and played it in their room when trying to get them to sleep.
- A watch and a clock in every room – I didn't wear a watch before babies, but we quickly realised we were always needing to know the time (When's the next feed due? How long have they been asleep?). We now have at least one clock in every room, and I always wear a watch.
- Handheld camcorder/camera phone – Or you'll forget everything. I can heartily recommend the Flip video camera, though a lot of the early photos and video footage I have of the babies was taken on my BlackBerry.
- Baby Einstein dvds – Ok, I know there are people who don't believe that babies should be allowed to watch TV, but they can't possibly have twins. The Baby Einstein dvds were invaluable at feeding time, when one baby had to wait for the other to finish, and almost always kept the waiting baby quiet.
- Planned walking routes – If your babies are anything like mine, you will do A LOT of walking. Research local routes, of varying lengths so that you know where to go when you head out the door with two screaming babies. I walked for hours and hours and hours in the early months. Always pack a drink and a snack for yourself. Oh, and a book if you're lucky enough that they'll continue sleeping when the pushchair stops moving.
- Stacking cups – If you only buy one toy, buy these. There are enough in a set to share between two babies, and they have a million different play uses, from bathtime, to stacking, to chewing, to building sand castles. They're amazing.
- Touch and feel books – Try Usborne's Touchy Feely range of books, with different textures on every page. Ez and Fonz enjoyed these from very early on, and I think reading books to them helped to calm me down too.
- A cleaner – Sadly not a luxury that we could afford, but if you have the money, this would be amazing.
- Twitter – If I have a question or need advice, Twitter is the first place I turn now. Get onto Twitter before your babies even arrive to build up an invaluable network of online friends who can help you out when you're having a meltdown. I'm at www.twitter.com/YoungMummyUk so come and say hello.
- Bath seats – Bathing two babies can be a stressful experience, and it also takes a physical toll. Both Young Daddy and I found bathing the babies in the early days really put a strain on our backs. So as soon as Ez and Fonz could sit up unaided, we invested in these bath seats from Kiddicare.
- Metoo highchairs – We started out with regular highchairs, though I carefully chose a model that folded down, as there isn't loads of space in our kitchen. I soon got very sick of putting the chairs up and down though, so we opted for the metoo highchair from Phil & Teds. They are brilliant as the babies love sitting at the table with us, and they fold down flat so are easy to take out with you. One of our top buys, I think.
Hope that's useful to any expectant twin mums out there. I know how daunting expecting twins is, and I was desperate to be as prepared as possible. If you want any advice at all, please do leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. .