One of the most frequent questions by those expecting twins is: do I need two of everything?
Just because you are having twins doesn’t mean you need two of everything. The trick is to know when you need double and when you can survive with just one of that particular item.
Getting two of something really comes down to:
- do both twins need this at the same exact time for safety reasons?
- do both twins prefer to have the same thing?
The question of getting double of everything for twins really comes down to physical needs and individual preferences.
You won’t know your twins’ preferences until they start to show you what they like.
However, you can make a list of what they physically will need two of to survive.
When is One Item Enough for Twins?
Think about scenarios where your twins can take turns using one piece of baby gear.
If they can safely share something, you only need one of those items.
For example, you only need:
(RELATED: Still looking for the right twin gear? See my Twin Baby Gear Essentials.)
One baby bath but two towels. We found it best to bathe one twin at a time until they could sit up safely in the regular bathtub. When they were infants, we bathed them solo in a little baby bath or on a bath chair in the regular bathtub.
One changing table but diaper supplies for two. Unless both mom and dad are changing the twins simultaneously in some kind of pit stop race, you will almost always be changing just one twin at a time.
One playpen or playset where you can sit one baby on each side
One of any given toy until the twins are old enough to both want the same toy at the same time. More on that below.
One stroller – but it better be a double stroller!
One pair of toenail clippers – they won’t fight over this until they are much older
What do you need two of for twins?
When it comes to your twins’ safety, physical space, feeding, and hygiene, you’ll need double:
Car seats – don’t take your twins anywhere in the car unless they each have a car seat. The hospital won’t let you leave without them.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Diapers – you will literally go through thousands of diaper changes for your twins. They can share a box of diapers but they can’t share the same exact diaper. Ewww. That’s just gross.
Feeding Supplies – If you’re breastfeeding your twins, it will be helpful to have a twin nursing pillow. When bottle-feeding your twins, you’ll need a rather large collection of bottles but likely only one bottle brush.
Clothing – While your twins can wear the same outfits on different days and even matching outfits on the same day, they will need double the clothes to be properly dressed. And yes, laundry with twins is crazy.
Also don’t forget double the burp cloths, receiving blankets, and onesies.
Consumable Products like wet wipes, rash creme, trash bags (for smelly diapers), and more will be used up quickly.
And for safely sleeping your twins…
Do you need two cribs for twins?
You need two cribs for your twins. The safest place for your babies to sleep is on their own sleep surface.
If you prefer to have your newborns in your master bedroom with you, you’ll likely need two bassinets. Then the twins can graduate to full-size cribs in their own nursery after several months (or when you feel it is time for them to move on).
(RELATED: Love podcasts? Check out the entire Dad's Guide to Twins Podcast archive for additional twin tips and interviews with twin dads.)
Do twins need separate rooms?
Your twins can easily share a room. You don’t need to put them in separate rooms unless you want to.
As your twins get older, they may ask to have their own rooms. At that point, it comes down to the size of your home and your family’s preferences.
Our twin girls have shared a room since birth.
Do you need two baby swings for twins?
In our home, we had only one baby swing for our twins, and we got it used.
We needed this swing the most when either my wife or I was alone with the twins. This gave us a place to put one of the twins, where they could be soothed by themselves and we could focus our attention on the other twin.
The swing was great for helping distract, soothe, and keep a child happy while you changed, fed, or soothed the other. We found that having one swing was more than enough for our twins.
We stopped using our baby swing after several months because we found that the twins weren’t using it that much. We definitely used the two bouncy seats that we had a lot more than the swing for our twin girls. If you can only get your hands on one baby swing, that should be fine.
Do you need two of every toy for twins?
Buying toys for twins is always a challenge. Should you buy two of everything? Buy different toys for each twin? What if they don’t like any of them?
Even if you have identical twins, each twin will have a unique personality with distinct likes and dislikes.
This means that you can buy two different toys and one would appeal to each child. Granted you have to be paying attention to your twins’ unique preferences for this to work.
For example, one of our daughters loves swings. When we saw a Little People playset with a swing at the toy store, we knew she would love it.
When you buy different toys, you can help offset the short attention span your young twins will have. They will most likely rotate through the toys one by one.
Having a diverse set of toys will give your twins some stimulating activities and help avoid boredom and toy fatigue.
As well as you think you know your twins, you will probably buy some toys that aren’t your kids’ favorites. This is fine as long as you stacked the deck in your favor by buying different types of toys. This way, if one toy flops, the others can save the day. Just like you’d want a balanced portfolio in the stock market, you need a balanced toy mix for your twins.
If you feel the need to buy two of the same toy, stick with the time-tested and tried-and-true favorites, like push poppers or Magna Doodles. These toys are still around because they have been child favorites for years. It’s probably a safe bet that both of your twins will like them too.
Your twins will fight over toys (even if there are two of the same toy). Expect this as it is normal behavior. One twin often wants what the other has.
Be prepared by distracting one twin with a different toy or repositioning him so as to be looking away from his twin sibling.
Before buying gear for your twins, ask yourself a few key questions…
Do I Really Need This?
Ask yourself: Can the main purpose of this piece of gear be handled manually or with something easily available around the house?
Lots of baby gear is designed to do something that has been done with babies for centuries. Odds are you can get by with a low-tech or manual option to solving a particular problem. Think about how you can keep your babies warm, feed them, or change diapers without buying extra gear.
Seriously consider if you really can’t live without the baby product you are considering. Odds are you can get by with a simpler (and cheaper) solution.
Will This Help With Twins?
Next, ask yourself: Do I need this piece of baby gear (or two) to be able to handle and care for my babies at the same time?
Caring for twins becomes extremely demanding when there is only one caregiver. If you’ll be home alone with the twins, it is OK to have some baby gear that will help ease your ability to care for them.
For example, we had two bouncy seats so we could lay each of our infant girls in them for feeding. This made it extremely easy for one person to simultaneously feed our twins.
What do your twins want?
As your twins get older, you’ll start to see what they like and dislike. At times they will be quite vocal about their preferences!
Be flexible in your purchases and pay attention to the signals your twins are sending to you (either through action or eventually words).
You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.
Be judicious with your purchases. You’ll need double of a lot of things with twins but there is no need to spend more money than is necessary. Your twins will share a lot as they grow up together, you might as well start them early.
Remember, you can always resell unused or gently used baby gear and recover most of your cost. Or pass the twin gear on to the next twin parent you know or via your local multiples group.
What is something that you were glad you had two of for your twins? Share in the comments below.