Episode 109 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
Listen as we discuss how to prepare your home for your twins, including:
- Preparing your twins’ nursery
- Should you decorate the nursery?
- What do they actually need in the twins’ room?
- Feeding babies around the house
- Making space for your twins’ activity time
Mentioned in this episode
Hey, everybody, and welcome to the 109th episode of the Dad’s Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always, you can find me on the web at TwinDadPodcast.com, where you’ll find much more information about having and raising twins, along with the show notes for this episode and all previous podcast episodes. In fact, you can go back and listen to all past 108 episodes, or read the transcripts of those episodes, as well.
If you missed the last podcast, where I interviewed fellow twin dad Scott Alan Turner, I invite you to go back and listen to episode 108 where we discuss things like travelling with twins, saving money on twins, and the pros and cons of having a nanny that’ll take care of your twins. You can check that out at TwinDadPodcast.com.
Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk about organizing your house for your twins, and making sure those preparations are lined up. Now, when you think about how your twins are going to fit in your house and how you’re going to care for them, really it kind of falls into 3 different zones. There’s going to be a feeding area, a sleeping area, and an activity or play area. Your kids are going to cycle through these 3 areas throughout the course of the day. They’re going to eat, they’re going to have some kind of activity, and then they’re going to sleep. Then they’re going to wake up, and they’re going to eat again, and the whole process repeats itself. Let’s talk about each of these areas one by one, and things you need to put in place around your home to make it functional and ready for your twins’ arrival.
(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)
Where your twins will sleep
The first zone we’ll talk about is the sleeping zone. Ideally, your twins will sleep in their own bedroom, in their own nursery. When you find out that you’re having any baby, of course, mom typically wants to immediately start nesting, and painting and decorating the twins’ room. How much, and how far, those decorations go really depends on if twins are your first children, or if you already have kids. I know when we had our first boys, one and two, and they each came separately, we did a lot more decorating than we did with the twins. When we found out we had twins, we were like, “Okay, where are they going to fit? They’re going to go in this room.” We moved the boys out of the boys’ room, and so the room had blue paint … which, you know, traditionally a girl’s nursery is not blue, but hey, we made it work. We hung up decorations with butterflies and frilly accents, but we didn’t even paint the room when we were preparing for our girls’ arrival.
You may find a similar situation with yourself, where you’re like, “Hey, the room is good enough. Let’s just focus on the actual things that we need in the room to support our twins’ needs.” Really, that’s what’s most important, is the baby gear, and the furniture, and supplies you need to care for your twins. What it actually looks like is secondary. You have to walk very carefully when having that conversation with your spouse, because for example, mom may have very strong opinions about what things should look like, and dads, we tend to focus more on, “Well, is it functional? Is it going to work? It’s good enough.” If you have the functional stuff in place and there’s time, hey, by all means, go for the decorations and the additional accents which make it look like an amazing, adorable, cute nursery that your wife may want.
When you look at the nursery, think about what’s going to go in there. Of course, they need to sleep. You’re going to need to start putting those cribs together. You’ll need 2 cribs, ultimately, for your twins. Get those, put those together, put them in the room. They’ll need a dresser to store their clothing, a changing table where you can, of course, change diapers, but also a changing table is good for storing supplies like wipes and diapers. You’ll need a Diaper Genie, or some kind of trash to hold all the stinky diapers. You may consider putting in a rocking chair in your nursery, where mom or dad can hold one or both of the babies to try to soothe them if needs be. Your twins are going to spend a lot of time in their room, day or night, and you need to be able to help them sleep. You probably want to consider room darkening shades, or blinds, or curtains, to block out that ambient light, to help them not be distracted when it’s daytime and they still need to take a nap. You’re going to have a bunch of diapers that you’ve pre-bought or received as gifts. You need to be able to find a home for those. We ended up storing those in our girls’ closet in their bedroom.
If your twins are not going to sleep in your nursery, and they’re maybe going to start out in your bedroom, that’s fine, too. You need to think through how that’s going to work. Are you going to put the cribs in your room to get started, or are you going to start with something smaller like a bassinet or a pack and play? Our cribs were big enough that once we assembled them, they weren’t going to fit through the door of the room, and I did not want to take them apart and put them together, and then take them apart and put them back … Anyway, I decided, “No. We’re just going to put the kids in their own room to get started. So be it.” If it’s your preference to have your twins in your master bedroom close to you, that’s great. Remember not to co-sleep with your twins in the same bed as you. They can be in the same room for easy access, but it’s safest for them to be in their own sleeping space.
Where your twins will eat
Once you’ve established the nursery, or the sleeping zone, for your twins, it’s time to think about feeding locations. Where will you be feeding your twins? Oftentimes this comes down to if you’re breast feeding or bottle feeding. Regardless, we found out that most of the time, feeding was done in the family room, not in the nursery, not in the kitchen, not in the bedroom. In the family room, you can have a more comfortable chair for the person doing the feeding. If it’s mom breast feeding, she may want more space, like a couch, where she can easily position both babies and have space on either side of her to pre-position babies, or to hold, where they’re not squished all in the same chair together. When my wife and I were bottle feeding our twins, we found that one of us would take one kid, we’d sit in one chair, and the other would sit in another chair with the other baby. As long as it’s comfortable for mom or dad, baby should be fine, because baby’s going to be cuddled up against you in your arms, whether you’re breast feeding or bottle feeding.
Remember, feeding is more than just the actual sticking the food in the child’s mouth when they are infants. If you’re doing bottle feeding or formula feeding, there’s going to be a lot of counter space used up for bottles, for staging the bottles that are clean, as well as cleaning the bottles and letting them dry, as well as the preparation area for making bottles of formula or warming up breast milk that has been frozen. The first several months, of course, you’re going to be breast feeding or bottle feeding. You don’t need to worry about room around the kitchen table for your twins quite yet, but ultimately you’ll need some kind of booster seats to put on chairs to fit them around the family table when you start feeding solids. Remember that you need to eat too, so stock up your kitchen with food in the freezer, in the fridge, in the pantry that’s going to be easy for you to put together quickly, because you’ll be very busy with the twins once they arrive.
(RELATED: Check out the Dad's Guide to Twins Youtube channel for additional helpful twin tips and tricks videos.)
Your babies are going to be going through a certain cycle each day. Of course, they’re going to be sleeping, they’re going to wake up, they’re going to eat, and then you’re going to have a window of opportunity for them to have some kind of activity time. This is usually … In the beginning, it’s either going to be in your arms, you’re playing with your baby, or it’s going to be either on the floor, or in some kind of device, some kind of chair. Tummy time is very important for your babies, where you put them on their tummy, and they’re able to start to lift up their head and get used to moving their bodies around. It’ll help develop the muscle strength that’ll help them roll over, help them crawl, in the months ahead. Where are they going to have tummy time? Where’s a good place for that to happen in your home? In our case, it was in the family room. We threw down a blanket on the floor, and we could have regular tummy time for them.
Where your twins will play
Ultimately, they’re going to have a play area. Where do you want them to play that’s safe for them to be? When they are not under your direct supervision, like on the floor for example with you next to them, they’re going to be in a swing, or in a bouncy seat, or a pack and play. Each of these has it’s own footprint that will take up space in your room. Considering on which one of those you want to go with, you need to figure out where they’re going to fit in your room around your existing furniture and your floor plan.
When you think about activity time for twins, and them starting to move around and get into things, you may be concerned about babyproofing, which is good that you’re worried about that. If you want a deep dive discussion with very technical advice on babyproofing for twins, check out the podcast episode 101 I did with professional childproofer Tom Treanor. He walks through very specific things that you need to do to childproof your home, to babyproof it and make it safe for your twins. But, when they are very small, when they’re infants, they just kind of stay in one place. You swaddle them up in a blanket, and you put them on the floor, and they’re going to stay there. You put them in the swing or the bouncy seat, they’re going to stay there. You have some time to get your babyproofing needs taken care of.
Be flexible in your arrangements
All right, so as you’re preparing your home for your twins, think about these 3 different zones: the feeding zone, the sleeping zone, and the activity zone, and the activities that go on inside each of those zones. It will really help guide your decisions on what you’re going to buy, where it’s going to go, and how you’re going to use it. Now remember, the best laid plans are going to change over time. When you do get your babies home and start to interact with them, and see how your daily routine starts to shape up, whatever you plan ahead of time is probably going to morph to some variation of that in future days. That’s okay. Be flexible. Make changes. Adjust. I know we went to a lot of trouble to set up our changing station in the room with the girls, in their nursery, but we ended up using it in the morning, when they’d wake up, and the rest of the day they’d be out in the front room, the front part of the house with us. We’d have to move some of our supplies closer to where the action was, so we’d always have a stash of diapers and wipes in our family room.
(RELATED: Still expecting twins? Will you be having two boys, two girls, or boy/girl twins? Answer these quick questions to see what several old wives’ tales claim you’ll be having….)
All right, well, good luck with your preparations and getting your house ready for your twins. If your twins are already here, hey, why don’t you share in the comments over at TwinDadPodcast.com what you have found useful as you have organized your home in preparation for your twins.
Thank you for listening to the end of the podcast today. I want to let you know how you can get a free copy of my first book, The Dad’s Guide to Twins. You can get a free audio book version of my Dad’s Guide to Twins book by visiting FreeTwinBook.com. Once again, that’s FreeTwinBook.com. Thank you so much for listening. I do appreciate it, and I’ll see you next time on the podcast. Have a wonderful day.
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Original photo by Emily Snuffer