My list of must haves when you’re expecting twins!

A friend asked me late last year to talk to a friend of hers who had just found out she was having twins.

I happily said yes and she asked me lots of questions and I created a list for her of all the items that we needed and that we bought to get us through the first 6 months so I thought today I would share that. I’m sure theres lots more things that people buy but we were on a strict budget so we got the bare essentials! Almost all our items came off ebay and I’ll do a post about this later. The only things we bought new were the car seats (don’t buy second hand as you don’t know if they have been involved in an accident!), the highchairs (we got them at 40% off which ended up being a similar price to an expensive second hand one on ebay), the pram (it is possible to get twin ones on ebay but we decided to save and buy this new) and of course dummies, bottles and the teats.

* Twin pram
* Car seats x 2
* Cots x 2
* Baby bouncers x 2 – these were my life savers in the first few months (we had the very basic ones)
* Dummies – if you choose to use them, I recommend them with twins, the sucking calms them often when you can’t – at least 4 (2 for home, 2 for in the car/pram)
* Breast pump – if you choose to breastfeed and wish to express there are double ones available and I have heard good things about the Medela range
* Baby bottles and teats – if you are choosing to bottle feed you will need at least 8. It’s also a good idea to have some just in case you need to top up with formula or are expressing at any stage.
* Bottle steriliser – we use one that plugs into the wall and takes 8 bottles at a time (you can also get a microwave version) – recommend the Avent one
* Bottle warmers – we got 2 and they were the best things ever, I still use them now for every feed. They always get the bottle to the right temperature and you don’t have to think about it – recommend the Avent ones
* Teat cleaner & bottle washer – don’t buy the cheap ones they break quickly when you’re using them so often!!
* Formula dispenser – I had 2. If your planning a day out we used to fill the boys bottles with boiling water in the morning and then would measure the right amount of formula into the different compartments of the dispenser and add when needed. Boiled water stays warm for a good majority of the day and my boys learned to drink room temperature bottles anyway!
* Nappy bag – a decent sized one! You will be carrying around a lot of crap!!! 
* Change table – if you choose to use one. Ours has 3 open compartments under the change table part and then a couple of drawers under that. We still use it now even though one of our munchkins try to roll off sometimes or crawl up the wall. Everyone told me to use our bed or the floor but I didn’t listen. I think having a change table has saved me a lot of back pain!!
* Chest of drawers – to keep all their clothes in – we have never used a closet as baby clothes fold better than they hang.
* Nappy bin – nappies smell awful and there was no way I was going to the bin every few hours. We’ve got the tommee tippee version and its awesome – we still use it
* Musical mobile – we started off with 1 as our boys slept in the same cot for the first 3 months. It was just basic with coloured toys and music. Once they moved to separate cots we bought a second one that has a projector in it that puts butterflies on the roof (keeps them entertained now that they’re older when they refuse to go to sleep!)
* Teethers – we got both the rings and ones that look like toys – my boys started teething really early and they liked different teethers at different times – we have ended up with quite a few!!
* Bowls, spoons, storage cups – once they start eating you will need lots and lots! I suggest you make in bulk and freeze. We still do it. Ask for help and recipes when you get to this stage!!!!!!!!
* Excersaucers – they look and sound like space ships!! The are round play stations that you sit the kids in the middle of. They can’t use them until I think it was around 4 months, maybe later. But once they were out of their bouncers these became my life saver. We bought two different ones and switched the boys over to keep them entertained.
* Baby bath – I know people say use the sink but seriously buy one! Ours has an insert thing for when their baby babies so you don’t have to hold them up. We put it on our dining table which saved my back and meant I could have both baby bouncers next to me and all the other crap around me without being crowded.
* Cot sheets – buy 6 or 8. Trust me you need to change them often at the start! Also buy 4 of the plastic ones (I cant think of what theyre called but they stop the mattress from getting wet)
* Newborn nappies, baby wipes, baby powder, baby bath wash, nappy rash cream – stock up!
* Baby clothes – start with 0000 (don’t bother with 00000 – my babies were early but we just put them in the 0000 and they were a little too big, just made them look cuter!). Don’t overbuy! I think we had about 20 jumpsuits in 0000 and that got us through until they were in 000. Oh and lots and lots of socks!!! And a few hats/beanies. You need to keep their heads and feet warm.
* Baby wraps – buy lots and lots, you wrap them every time they sleep and they’re great to put on your shoulder for when your burping bubs, etc.
* Baby sleeping bags – once they can get out of their wraps its best to put them in sleeping bags as sheets aren’t safe. I think they changed over about 2-3 months. Buy them from target/best & less – the grobag ones sold at baby stores and toys r us are really, really overpriced!
* Baby towels and washers – you don’t need the towels with the hoods, they’re expensive and pretty useless until they’re much older. The washers we used for everything – cleaning up vomit, washing them in the bath, as bibs, and lots of other things!
* Baby bibs – we have tonnes of them. When their newborns the cloth ones are best. Once they start real food I suggest getting some that are plastic that have a scoop on the end and also some that are plastic on the back and material on the front (great for once they’re trying out drinking water and it goes everywhere!)
* High chairs x 2 – ours are from target and adjust in a multitude of ways and I love them. We got given an expensive one from someone second hand and got rid of it because it was useless and bought these instead
* Maternity pillow – buy whichever version works for you! I have two, one I used through my pregnancy and after to help me sleep which I then used to lean against when feeding in the middle of the night – it’s a long round pillow. The other one I have is a belly bean which I sometimes still use between my knees as my hips still hurt some days! Otherwise there are twin feeding pillows but I never got one of those
* Safety stuff for once they start moving – don’t even get me started on everything you’ll need to baby proof the house!
* Play pen – ours all comes apart so we use it to put the kids in from birth so they couldn’t roll away while I wasn’t looking, but we also use it for blocking off things like the Christmas tree
* Play mat – we have a large one on our lounge room floor. The room is carpeted this just provides extra cushioning for when they’re rolling and eventually crawling, walking and falling! They come in bright colours which also entices the kids to get moving and focus
* Baby toys – you’ll end up with hundreds! The only ones I recommend for when they’re little are rattles (our rattles are the shape of a circle if that makes sense!). Once theyre grasping the Lamaze toys are the best. We’ve got quite a few and highly recommend them – We’ve got a dinosaur and dog that live in our car and a horse that lives at home. Soft blocks have a multitude of uses and our boys currently love us building towers with them that they knock down!
* Blankets – for use in the pram when you’re out, in the car, when out and about to put on the ground for babies to play on or to change on. Also to use on top of wraps on really cold night – only if they’re tucked in really well into the cot
* Baby monitor – once they’re out of your room you’ll still want to be able to hear them. We never got ones that attached to the cot or had a video. Unless there’s a medical reason to have one don’t get it – it will make you nuts! We used it for a few months once they were in their own room and still put it on if we go outside and they’re napping.
* Dummy clips – there will come a time when dummies start vanishing – they get thrown out of prams, cots and lost. And there’s nothing more annoying than having to get up in the middle of the night and try to find a dummy because someone can’t settle themselves again without it! You won’t need it until about 4-6 months.

There is lots more you can buy and you no doubt will buy but this is a good starting reference point.

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Valentines Day!

Today is Valentines Day and personally I really enjoy it – it has a huge amount of significance for my husband and I and we wouldn’t be together if it wasn’t for Valentines Day. But this week I’ve been made to feel bad about it by someone. What ever happened to respecting other peoples’ choices? If you don’t like Valentines Day for whatever reason that’s fine but please don’t make your issue my issue.

Since hubby was working today I decided we would take advantage of hubby’s day off yesterday and have a little family Valentines Day. And it was lovely (and a little stressful!). We took the boys to the aquarium, which we were lucky to get a yearly pass for for Christmas. Like the zoo (which we also have a yearly pass for) we never look at everything in one day. The boys are too young to stay happy for that long and it’s not worth the stress to us.

We had things on in the morning so we didn’t get there until around lunch time. We spent a couple of hours there and the boys enjoyed watching the penguins swim (its apparently very funny!), looking at the turtles (one of which gave me a heart attack and splashed me!), and the fish bowl shark viewing area. This is one of the best parts for us as we can get the boys out of the pram and let them crawl around and stand up against the glass and look at all the creatures swim by.

After the aquarium we took a long walk along the river and stopped at a playground, where I got hubby to take the boys down the slide. It was very amusing!! A bit more walking and we stopped for a bite to eat – our budget is extremely tight but I knew this was coming and that as a family we needed something nice so I put some money aside for this little outing. We had a lovely meal, which the boys made it most of the way through in their special little seats the restaurant had. Then there a stop in park, where the boys tried to put grass down my top and the long walk back to the car.

All in all it was a lovely day and I have some adorable photos of the day which will go in our family album.

Stay at home mum

So we had a busy weekend with a couple of first birthday parties to attend which was a whole new experience to me. The boys only lasted about an hour at each one, which I thought was pretty good, and seemed to have a really good time playing with other little kids and playing with different toys.

I chatted with some of my friends at one of the parties from mothers group who have or are about to return to work. As much as I respect everyone’s right to choose whether they stay at home or go back to work I found it really interesting as to the reason why they were going back to work. These mothers told me that although they can afford to stay home as their husbands earn enough to cover their expenses they want the extra money so that they can continue to live their pre-baby lifestyle.

We always wanted children, even before we were engaged we discussed it constantly. Before I was even pregnant we were buying baby items, which turned out to be a real lifesaver once I found out we were having twins!! So we had a plan that I would stay home with the kids. We both had mums who stayed home when we were little and although I don’t remember alot of when I was very young I know that the best things were mum walking us to school and going home to a parent who was there.

Our boys are only a year old and they have reached so many milestones but there are still so many more that I don’t want to miss! I want to be the one who sees their first steps, who hears their first words, who gets to cuddle up with them and have pyjama days. I don’t want to miss any of this!

And I guess I don’t understand these mums who want to continue this lifestyle even though their lives have completely changed. I understand those who have no choice but to go back to work because they need the money to pay bills and survive, and we were in that position at one point. I went back to work for a few months when things were bad on the job front for my husband. It was tough! I worked while my husband stayed home and when he had a job my mother in law came to help. I know it was the right decision and it was also the right decision to formally resign when I did. I don’t regret any of that. But I was lucky – I didn’t miss any special moments and I only had to do it for a very short period of time.

Yesterday I was asked why I don’t just go back to work because my husbands job is not stable and we are doing it so tough. My answer is simple – it’s not worth it. We have twins who would need to go into daycare. Although there are rebates for daycare, the costs are still high and the job that I would be going back to wouldn’t bring in enough money per hour to make it worth what I would be giving up. And the reality is I do not want to put them into daycare. I know plenty of people do and thats fine but I really don’t want to. Thats another person raising my children. And that’s just not me.

Yes we do it extremely tough some weeks and money is constantly on my mind but I would rather cut back on everything and be at home with my kids. Each to their own and I respect my friends choices, I just wish that they would respect mine.

Social media

So I haven’t been writing. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, it’s just that life has been getting me down a bit and I have been trying to find ways to make things better for myself and my family.

I do have one major vent though. Why is it that people think they can be so unkind over social media? In the last few days I have seen some horrible behaviour by adults because of a simple difference of opinion. Do we all seem to forget that we are talking to real people? Or do we think that just because we’re not saying it to that persons face that it is not going to hurt? I’ve had a few nasty things said to me over facebook in the past which have upset me and in the last few days I’ve received a couple of messages over something that was well and truely out of my control telling me it was my fault. And I took that hard. What I took even harder were comments made by one particular person who went out of their way to attack not only individuals because they had a different opinion but then whole groups of people. When did this become ok?? I’ve seen this happen previously here and there but this was my first time being in the middle of it. And honestly it took me a couple of days to get over it and move on. Facebook, twitter, blogs, they have no inflection; you can’t tell if someone is joking or not sometimes. You can’t see when you have hurt another person. And you can’t see how many other people you are hurting by making broad generalisations. Social media can be great for many reasons, but I think “trolls” (as they have been deemed) are the one thing that puts many of us off, including myself.

Happy moment

It’s been a busy few days. After the boys birthday I thought things would be a bit more relaxed but I was wrong! Had to visit the inlaws to get photos from the boys birthday, and took a visit to the country to see someone who I consider family. So its been a busy few days. Add to that that hubby has been doing morning shifts the last few days and my whole schedule has gone out the window. We adpated really well but tomorrow he goes back to afternoon/evening shift so we have to readapt all over again. I’m a little upset! I was in this great routine with the kids and now it’s going to be ruined but it will be ok.

So we have some lovely photos from the boys birthday but unfortunately not as many as I had hoped for. This is what happens when your aren’t taking them yourself. Oh well. The important moments have been captured and I will have them in their photo albums so that makes me happy. I can look back one day and remember the lovely time we had.

We used hubbys day off mid week to take a trip to see someone I consider family. My gran unfortunately passed away last year, but her lovely partner is still around and has been my whole life so we try to go up regularly to visit. Its a long day but he loves to see the boys and considering my family is quite small it makes me feel good whenever we go and spend a few hours with him. He is really good to us, and I mean really good. He always tries to give us money, which I always refuse to take but somehow always manage to go home with (he’s sneaky!) and this was no different. He gave the boys a lovely card and what I consider a large amount of money (but to some is probably nothing). It was really funny, I opened the card and the first thing the kids did was go for the green notes!!

We decided that it would mostly go into bank accounts for them for when they are older, but that we would go and buy them a couple of new toys. And so off to the shops we went this afternoon. And can I just say it was the most wonderful moment. There is a kids shop at our local shops that I love. Its all wooden toys, which I’ve been really keen to buy the boys as all their current stuff is plastic, which I am a little sick of! So I spent quite a while browsing and picking up and playing with all the bits and pieces. And it was just this amazing feeling of being able to buy the boys a toy each and not having to stress about being able to afford it. Almost everything the boys got for christmas and their birthday I purchased off ebay, so it was all second hand. And I know they don’t know the difference and there is nothing wrong with what we gave them but to be able to go into this store and stand there and say well I love this, this and this, what should we buy was honestly just a joy. We walked away with two great toys for just under $50 which I was thrilled with as that’s left the boys with change from what I decided we would spend to buy something special next time I see it.