Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bare Necessities (0-3 Months)

I had the hardest time registering for baby items. How was I supposed to know what I/we needed!? And of course, all of the retail stores are right there to help you through the process - with a list of 200+ items that you will "definitely need". And having twins was even more difficult because you don't necessarily need two of everything and - being the budget-conscious mama that I am - I really didn't want to buy anything that I didn't need or wasn't going to use... imagine that...

So, I have compiled a list of items that were completely necessary for us during the first three months. Hope it helps.

CLOTHES
- footed pajamas - lots of them (weather appropriate)
- t-shirts (that snap)
- socks
- swaddles
- hats
- blankets

I am not a fashionista. Although I love to see my girls all dressed up and looking cute, it was not worth the hassle the first few months (it might have been different if I only had one). Save the cute outfits for when they are older and for when you are out and about more often. Besides, babies are the cutest when wearing nothing at all.

Since it was winter when the girls were born, for the first few months, they lived in footie pajamas. I liked the snap ones because you could unsnap from the waist down when changing a diaper - this way their little chest/belly stayed warm. But the zip pajamas are the quickest and easiest! We ended up dressing the girls in a t-shirt and socks and then putting the zip pjs overtop.

Things to think about: it is no fun trying to pull a baby's head through a top - for you or the baby. Look for clothes that you can put on around the baby instead of pull over.

Swaddles were an absolute must for us. The girls would not fall asleep without being wrapped up as tight as a burrito. We tried a few different kinds of blankets and swaddles, but ended up really liking Kiddapotamus (which is now Summer) organic swaddleme. It was super easy to wrap and the girls couldn't Houdini themselves out of it. If you end up using blankets, the thermal (waffle) blankets seemed to work best for us - good mix of stretchy and soft.

SLEEP
- swaddles
- co-sleeper/ pack-n-play
- vibrating chair/ swing
- infant carrier
- white noise
- a king size bed (queen works too, but king is best...)

I remember during my pregnancy, I would tell people "the girls will sleep in a pack-n-play next to our bed for the first few months, and then they will graduate to the crib..." Ha ha ha... So easy, right?

The first night home from the hospital was quite an eye opener for us. We played musical beds all night long, in and out of a dream state. They went from the pack-n- play to the swing to the vibrating chair to our bed back to the pack-n-play and around again. For the first few weeks, night time sleep worked best in their infant carriers in the living room while Daddy snoozed in the bedroom. Then we moved the infant carriers into the pack-n-play in the bedroom, but the girls pretty much ended up in our bed most of the night and Daddy spent many nights in the guest bedroom.

While the girls (and their parents) were figuring out the best place to snooze, there were some constants that were a must. They seemed to like the environment that was most womb-like... tight quarters (swaddled and nestled in their bed), white noise like a fan or the noises from the vibrating chair (apparently the womb is as loud as a vacuum - who knew!?), some movement or vibration (swing/vibrating chair) and in close proximity to the milk.

The girls seemed to prefer the vibrating chairs over the swing and we liked the Boppy chair the best. We also had a Fisher Price vibrating chair, but it didn't bounce in addition to vibrating (which ended up being helpful) and we would always trip over the base of it. Stubbing your toe is no good when you are trying to deal with one (or two) crying infants... on less than 4 hours of sleep.

EAT
- a boob (or two)
- boppy pillow (or two)
- nursing cream
- breast pump ?
- bottles
- spit up cloths

Breastfeeding twins has its challenges, but can be done! You'll have to figure out if feeding them one at a time or together works for you, but a Boppy pillow helps either way. I was lucky and didn't have many issues bfeeding, but I did need some nursing cream the first few weeks while my nipples adjusted. My friend got me a jar of Earth Mama * Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter and it worked wonders. It is completely organic and was completely effective for me.

I wanted to make sure that my girls continued to have as much breastmilk as possible when I returned to work so we splurged on a pump. We got the Mac-Daddy Medela FreeStyle which is worth the price – I justify the cost because without it, we would have spent more on formula in the last 7 months. So – it depends on how long you plan on breastfeeding, but it is so convenient! Hands free so you can sit at your desk and answer emails while you are pumping away! In fact, I am pumping as I type this!!!

POOP
- diapers
- wipes
- diaper cream
- changing table

I had lofty goals of using cloth diapers for my girls, but we haven’t gotten there yet. When registering for baby items, make sure you include plenty of size 1 and 2 diapers as you will go through them quickly! We have always used Pampers diapers and wipes (we started out with Pampers Sensitive for both) and the girls haven’t has any major issues. They did need diaper cream a few times when a few rash bumps would appear, but a little slather of Boudreaux’s Natural Butt Paste would do the trick!

CRY
- pacifier
- infant wrap/ sling
- your arms

Babies cry... a lot... if they are tired; use the tips in the sleeping section. If they are hungry, use the tips in the eating section. If they are both well-rested and well-fed and they have a clean diaper, then they just need love. We used pacifiers for the first couple weeks, and then the girls didn’t want them anymore. They liked to be held. All the time. You’ll learn how to do a lot of things while holding a baby. I am quite handy with only one hand! A sling is nice because it can leave your hands free to get stuff done around the house, while baby is nestled comfortably next to you. I really like the Moby wrap – but it lies… I never did figure out how to carry both babies in it…

BATH
- bath tub
- soap/shampoo
- wash cloths
- baby towels

Until the baby’s belly button falls off, you won’t be washing him/her underwater, so you don’t need much but water and soap. We just gave our girls sponge-baths on a towel. But once the tip falls off (gross question of the day – keep or throw away their belly button stub?) then I recommend bath time! My girls loved it and it would calm them down and wear them out! We didn’t/ don’t use any lotions (their skin is soft enough!) but the cleanser we used was a soap/shampoo combo – California Baby Calming Shampoo and Bodywash. It smells so good – like clean sweet baby.

TRAVEL
- infant carrier
- car bases
- infant carrier stroller

It is quite difficult to bounce around town with two infants. While all of my other mama friends were going out to lunch or running errands with their newborn, I was either stuck at home with the girls (wailing - me and the girls) or driving around with the girls (sobbing - again, me and the girls). (Okay, okay it wasn't that bad, but there were those days...)

The times that I did feel some sort of relief is when I would take the girls for a walk or drive. It seemed to calm them and give me a moment to clear my head and get out of the house. It wasn't often the first few weeks since it was winter and I was a new mom scared of my newborn girls catching a cold, but once we realized that the fresh air knocked them out, the walks (or drives) became a daily occurrence.

I scored a Baby Trend Double Snap-n-Go for cheap at a consignment sale and we got the Baby Trend Infant Carriers and bases to go along with them. It was a little bit of a hassle snapping the girls in, but I would suggest not spending a lot of money on this system. The girls have almost grown out of it.

Good luck to all of the new and soon-to-be parents out there! It’s an exciting, trying, exhausting and thrilling time… and it is completely worth it!

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