Equipment for Multiples

One of the most frequently asked questions on the Twins List is "What equipment will I need for my twins?"

Unfortunately, this is a hard question to answer specifically. "Need" depends on many things: your finances, the amount of space you have available, and even the personalities of your babies. However, this list of suggestions from Twins List members should give you a starting point.

Due to a shortage of volunteer hours, we are no longer able to make additions or corrections to this website. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

DISCLAIMER: Product and service information is provided for informational purposes only. is not affiliated with any manufacturer or service provider mentioned in this FAQ, nor does it claim to endorse products or services mentioned in this FAQ.
Additional Resource: The CPSC has a booklet with advice on how to set up a safe nursery. The text only, online version is available at The online version with graphics can be found at (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). For a printed copy, write: Safe Nursery, CPSC Publication Request, Washington, DC 20207.

In the Beginning...

For Mom & Dad

For the Baby

For the Nursery


As They Grow

Bath seats, high chairs, gates, and more.

Baby showers

Here are a few novel ideas for baby showers that list members have shared.

To help stock up on meals, have someone do a shower for frozen dinners/gift certificates for carry-out restaurants (don't forget the menus). This works particularly nice when you have already had children and aren't as in need for many of the "necessity" gifts. The hostess can ask people to put as much as they can in disposable containers to make it easy on you.

One hostess purchased a gift certificate for a local restaurant. Each person who brought a bag of disposable diapers, any size, got a ticket (one ticket per bag of diapers) to put in a hat. At the end of the shower, the winning ticket was drawn from the hat and that person got the gift certificate.

Organize a meal rotation: "each person who attends signs up to bring a cooked meal after the babies are born. That gives them a chance to see the babies and you a chance to eat w/out having to cook. Also, because there's a meal involved (that the giver probably isn't "invited" to), they will be less likely to overstay their welcome. The shower hostess can easily tell the attendees that the drop-off & visit should only take about 15 min (or whatever the mom agrees to)."

The CPSC has suggestions for a Baby Safety Shower at

Back to Table of Contents

Feeding & Food

You'll find recommendations on breast pumps and nursing pillows in the breastfeeding FAQ, and bottles, etc. in the bottlefeeding FAQ. Even if you are planning on breastfeeding, you may want to have a stock of bottles on hand for "just in case." You don't even have to buy them. Check out the Freebies and Discounts FAQ for companies that might send you free samples. Need some resources for easy meals? There's a section of them in the Bedrest FAQ.

One mother pointed out that you should stock up on frozen food, canned juices, and other healthy snacks for mom and dad, especially if mom's nursing. You may be too tired to do any meal preparation, so try to have healthy options on hand in the freezer!

See if you can find a volunteer to schedule meals to be delivered after the babies are born: "We had a variety of people who said they'd bring us food and it was nice to have someone else be the contact person and who would do the "thinking" for us. We just told her what things we couldn't eat/didn't like. Some of my husband's co-workers got us gift certificates for restaurants with carry-out services. (I think this was a relief for the co-workers who wanted to do something, but weren't quite into cooking or shopping for baby gifts.)"

One "meal" that was very helpful for one mom of multiples was a bunch of healthy snacks for those midnight nursing sessions. A friend prepared small portions of sandwiches (cut into sections), fruits, salads, vegetables, crackers and cheese so that they are easy to store and get to. They were wrapped separately on disposable plates/bowls or in plastic bags so that clean up wasn't a problem. Keeping each plate, bowl or bag to one serving size makes it easier for mom to choose just what she's hungry for and not waste anything.

Back to Table of Contents

Electronics for Mom & Dad

Cordless Phone

A cordless phone has been a lifesaver for many parents of infants or toddlers. Even better, is one that has a headphone set so that you have your hands free to tend to the babies. One drawback to the headset is when the child develops an interest in grabbing the cord or the mouthpiece.

Answering Machine

Great for those times when you are bombarded with phone calls and are just too busy to answer it. I think one of the best greetings that I ever left was when I had the cries of two hungry babies in the background. I paused, said "Hi! Leave a message." Pause and hung up. Even though the babies weren't necessarily crying when they called, most of my callers thought they were.

Wet/Dry Vaccum

I guess I've become really practical since becoming a MOT, but I would've loved to received one of those small duster-busters type of wet/dry vacuums ( I was too superstitious to have a shower). I guarantee it will be used often!

Video Camera Tips

Our hands are so busy taking care of the needs of our little ones, that we often don't have time to record in their baby books what is going on (moreso as they get older). One way to record those memories is to put them on videotape. Get tired of seeing endless shots of baby sleeping? You can narrate what has been happening lately while recording "dry" footage such as this (although, if the baby is sleeping, you probably should be too.)

Here are some tips from a list member about using a video camera in response to another list members questions (written in April of 1999):

Well, I don't know if I qualify as an expert but I'll give it a shot.

Q: What features should I get?

A: Features, technology etc. is a tough question. I'm not a big fan of VHS-C (though they work fine) 8mm has better quality and resolution plus more cameras so the price is liable to be lower. Digital is pretty new so I don't have a lot of data on that.

I think at this point I would look for an 8mm based camera and lean toward looking for a Hi-8 camera. (Better quality than "normal" 8mm.)

As of a couple years ago the color viewfinders were still not as sharp as the b&w ones. This still seems to be the case in all but the most expensive cameras.

I borrowed a friends Sharp viewcam when they were pretty new. I liked it quite a bit, but accidently (and luckily) discovered what I considered a major flaw in the design. (I looked at one in the store this weekend and it looks like they fixed it.) The microphone was on the back of the viewscreen portion. If you were steadying the camera on your lap the only audio you got was from the transport.

Q: What brand should I get?

A: I hesitate to recommend a particular brand but I will give you some ideas of what to look for.

1. Find one that feels comfortable to you. Some just don't fit well in some peoples hands.

2. As I said I would lean toward an 8mm or a Hi-8.

3. Look for a zoom lens in the 1:12 or under range. An optical zoom can only do about 1:8 (or maybe it was 1:10) anything beyond that is accomplished electronically by cutting down on the imaging area. (In other words - less picture quality)

4. I would still look for one with a B&W viewfinder. A pull out color display is OK and can be helpful in some situations. I like the viewcam style ones if they've fixed that mike problem, but read on...

There is probably other stuff to look for, but I'll leave you with a couple strong opinions...

Buy the very best tripod you can possibly afford. Look for a fluid-damped head. Use it whenever possible. Even the steadiest camera operator vibrates a hand-held camera. The electronic image stabilizers are nice but they don't take out more than small vibrations. (I would think about paying extra for that feature though.) Definitely buy the tripod!

Get a camera that supports an external microphone. When conditions permit use an external microphone. (less tape noise for one)

Consider an external battery pack. Those little video camera batteries are annoying at best. I have a pack that looks kind of like a fanny pack. It has a gel-cell battery in it. Yes, the cable is a [bother], but I can tape till I run out of tape and not have to change the battery. Even with good battery management I never got more than 20 minutes out of the little ones.

Practice holding that camera steady. The "palmcorder" design is actually a lot harder to hold steady than the old "5 ton monster" that you mentioned. I've seen a few people taping where I figured you would need dramamine to watch the resulting video. Tip: Keep that elbow sucked in to your chest...

Twin & Triplet Birth Annoucnements

If you are having a hard time finding birth announcement for twins and triplets in stores near you, there are numerous online websites that sell them. Some moms actually made homemade announcements while on bedrest.

Back to Table of Contents


You might not want to buy too much ahead of time. If the babies come early, you'll need preemie and newborn sizes; if they come closer to full term, they may be out of the newborn sizes in a month. One option is to stock up on pyjamas at first. Choose a few days' worth in newborn size, and a few days' worth in 3-6 months (they'll grow into them, even if they don't fit at first). These will be fine for daily wear, and once you know the babies' sizes, you can look for other outfits.

Some parents prefer gowns to sleepers. One advantage is easier access to diapers for night changes. In a cold climate, blanket sleepers may be more practical.

Baby socks were also recommended by some parents.

Back to Table of Contents

Diapering Needs

Disposable Diapers

This is another area where you'll have to be guided by personal preference and what's available locally. One mother recommended starting off with 500 disposable diapers, if you're not using cloth: 100-200 newborn and the rest size 1.

Many parents recommended waiting, for a variety of reasons.

If you choose to wait but still would like the benefit of "stocking up," many parents suggested setting money aside now for diapers later or buying yourself gift certificates now that you can use to buy diapers later.

Cloth Diapers

One mom asked list members for advice about using cloth diapers. Here are some of the replies she received:

Check to see what discounts your local laundering service offers for multiples, if any. Or, for older infants who don't go through as many diapers.

As with the disposable diapers, you may not want to "stock up" before the babies are born. Click here to read why.

How many diapers do you need?

Whether you use cloth or disposables, you may be wondering how many diaper changes you'll be going through per week. One parent suggested that you estimate 7-12 diapers per day per baby for at least the first 6 weeks. After that, they may drop one to two diapers per day per baby. This figure might vary if you change diapers very frequently, or if your baby(ies) have a lot of bowel movements. Another parent said that even at 6 months of age, you'll still be changing around 6 or so diapers per day per baby. As one father said, "Every baby is different, so your mileage may vary."

Saving money on Diapers

Diapers are expensive enough, but when you've got more than one baby, it can become a drain on the finances. Here are some of the tips list members shared to help save money on the cost of diapers.

Diaper Pail

Check out the Discounts & Freebies FAQ about a Diaper Genie offer. If you get a Diaper Genie, just use it with soiled diapers, so that you don't go through the plastic liner as fast. Some parents prefer a regular diaper pail that uses regular garbabe bags (so they don't have to buy the refills). It doesn't hurt to have one pail for each level of your home where the babies will be.

Diaper Bags

"Last year, before the twins were born, a lovely neighbor of mine gave me a Land's End backpack-style diaper bag....

"It is, in a word....FANTASTIC!!!

"I have 4 kids, 3 in diapers, and many adventures. It is plenty big, very well compartmentalized and organized, and I don't know what I'd do without having my hands free to do things like: getting the stroller out of the van and opening it, unloading kids, handling food items out in public with the kids, bathroom trips, etc.

"I cannot recommend it enough, and we have mucho other bags, including a huge, very nice Right Start bag I received after the birth of my second child. Also nice, but cannot even imagine carrying a shoulder bag while handling my crew."

"I have two Lands End bags that I never use because they are way too big. I only use them when traveling. I prefer the classic Pooh bag that I got at a department store."

Changing Table

Most list members felt that a changing table was a worthwhile investment, whether it was a traditional table or a makeshift one. Those who had a bad back (before the babies) especially felt it was helpful to have the table waist high and have all items within reach. Dresser top changing tables were nice for those who had limited space (although one mom said she only used it once to change a diaper and after that it was used to place nursery decorations on.) Many parents also found that they used the table later for another purpose (book shelf, toy shelf, closet organizer).

One piece of advice that many parents of multiples agree with: Consider setting up a changing station in each of the main areas of your home, or at least on each floor. It will save you a lot of running around. Keep each area stocked with diapers, wipes, ointment, etc. It doesn't have to be elaborate; a Rubbermaid storage container could hold the supplies and a towel to lay the baby on to protect the floor.

Comments from list members:

"I would definitely vote for a changing table. Ours has been invaluable,even used it in early days for sponge baths. Ours was a hand me down, but if we had the extra money I would of went for the ones that are on top of a dresser.

"We also when needed changed our daughters on top of bed or on floor but to me it's so much easier standing and doing it, plus less back strain. We also would sometimes use the bassinet top of the pack n play but I still felt like we were bending over too much. Plus underneath shelves were great storage for sheets, washcloths, towels, blankets and in early days onsies and some outfits."

"With my oldest (singleton) we just used a changing pad you could put on top of any flat surface. We used this on the low dresser that was in her room. It worked fine. With the boys (now 1 yr.) we didn't even have that. We've always changed them in their cribs; no room for a changing table anyway. When they're little their cribs are just as high as a changing table, plus they are safe and won't roll off. Since we are in a 2-story house, we would change them on the couch (on a waterproof pad, of course) when downstairs. Since they've gotten to wiggly for the couch, we just change them on the floor when we're downstairs, but still use their cribs for changing upstairs.

"So . . . my opinion is that a changing table is not necessary. Just my .02."

"I was really glad to have they changing table when the babies first came home, due to having to have a C-section. It was much much easier on me not to have to bend over them for those first couple of weeks. However, once I healed, I found that I used it less and less. It was just easier to change them on the floor, automan, bed, whatever was handy."

Some good friends thru our church gave us a waist high dresser that happened to have a padded top!! What a lifesaver. We used this as the changing table, and had it set up at the end of our living room, put a shelf high above it, on which we stored diapers and other necessities. It was padded with a vinyl cover, so it was easily washable. Since one or our munchkins has cerebral palsy, we also used the table for a special type of home therapy (patterning) and continued to use it for changing [said child], who is still in diapers due to the cp. The drawers were used for storing clothing that was readily needed, and having it in the living room was so conenient.

"I think as long as you have a sturdy, waist high table, dresser, etc., you don't necessarily need a traditional changing table. I always found them to be rather flimsy (at least those in my price range) and impractical, when there were other things around the house that were just as good, and had further uses once the kids were bigger. Try to avoid using the floor or bed; you need a good, healthy back for when they get bigger."

Miscellaneous Diapering Needs

You can also get lap pads to guard against leaks: "I also could not live without my flannel-backed water-proof pads. I have them in all sizes and they are wonderful."

As some list members suggested, you could stock up on some diaper creams before the babies are born. However, keep in mind that some babies do not tolerate the zinc oxide (white) creams well. I've also found that I've developed a personal brand preference.

"One more thing that I do is I keep a diaper basket. My diaper basket is a comfortably portable wicker basket (it's roughly the size of a picnic basket) that I keep at least one package of diapers, a changing pad, baby powder, baby lotion, a thermometer, a baby brush, a nasal bulb, diaper wipes, and balmex in. It is much easier for me to carry that around and always have those things handy than to have to take the babies into their room( which happens to be mine)every time they need to be changed (although the excercise i would get going back and forth would probably get rid of these postpartum pounds alot faster!"

Back to Table of Contents

Cribs and Cradles

Where will the babies will sleep? This is one of the most important considerations when bringing home newborn multiples. It's also one of the problems with the widest variety of solutions.

One Crib

Many list members start off with one crib. The babies often seem to sleep better together, and it definitely saves on space! Some parents who bought two cribs, then decided to keep the babies together, found it works well to set them up in two different areas of the house. For example, one in the bedroom, and the second in the most commonly used area of the house (especially useful if you have stairs). "I did without two cribs until 6 months old. I have done with out two exersaucers, two swings, two bouncers. I have one of each. I just switched them off."

Two Cribs

Many list members felt that they eventually needed the second crib. Many started off with two from the beginning. Some chose to just use one and then separate the babies as it became problematic. Some started with their twins separate right away.


Other parents find it easier to keep the babies separate: "We were given a bassinet and a crib. One of our babies was a good sleeper, and was fine in the crib. The other was colicky, so it was easier to keep her in the bassinet (on wheels). We could move her to wherever we were, and rock her when she needed it."

Another vote for bassinets: "The bassinets were nice because the sheets were so easy to change (esp. as opposed to wrestling with the crib mattress & sheets) when they were wet/messy."


There's also the option of co-sleepers (especially handy if you're breastfeeding): "The co-sleeper is expensive but it was worth every penny. It looks like one of the new play and go playpens but one side comes down and the mattress comes up and it hooks right next to your bed. So you have the babies right next to you, without having them actually in your bed with you. Mine stayed in that for a long time, much longer than my first child stayed in the cradle we used." Afterwards, it can be used as a regular playpen.

Double Strollers

Some people have used their double strollers inside to create "beds" downstairs. They either reclined the side by side, laid both seats of an inline flat to make one long bed or put both (small) babies in the reclined back seat of an inline stroller. Diapering supplies could be kept underneath. One piece of advice, you might want to make sure your stroller had pads that are remove easily for laundering or buy some kind of waterproof pad to place over your seats for times that the baby spits up, has a leaky diaper or blow out.

Back to Table of Contents

Blankets & Bedding

You'll want several blankets, receiving blankets, and cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are great for cleaning up messes and spills, even if you use disposables. Receiving blankets are useful for lining the crib, especially if the babies sleep together: "There's nothing worse than having a soundly sleeping baby on one side of the crib, with a soaking wet baby on the other side...for that reason, we often used receiving blankets under the babies to facilitate clean-up & keep the actual sheets safer from harm."

Be sure to get at least one water-proof mattress pad or similar product per mattress that you use. It's always helpful to have an extra for when one is in the laundry. Even better if you can have a spare per mattress for those times that both babies are sick.

Be careful when selecting bedding: pillows and comforters may increase the risk of SIDS.

One mother on the list shared about crib sheets that she bought to keep her toddlers from taking the sheet off the mattress. The sheets "are like pillow cases so that babies can not strangle by removing the sheets while asleep. They slip on like a pillow case and then velcro on the bottom. The mother that invented them lost her son when he strangled in his sleep by pulling off the sheet and getting tangled in them at 13 months old."

Here is the web page where she got the sheets from:

Back to Table of Contents

Other Nursery Items

Back to Table of Contents


Here's another area where you'll need to go by your own personal preferences, as well as any allergies/sensitivites in your twins. But here are a few specific suggestions:

Back to Table of Contents

Car seats, bouncy chairs, and swings

Car Seats:

In the US and most parts of Canada, you must have car seats to take the babies home in. The seats may double as sleeping chair, bouncer, and feeding station.

Many twins are born early or small. You might want to cosider getting car seat inserts to cushion the head. Also, some infants who have difficulty sleeping sleep well in their car seats. The padded inserts can make this more comfortable.

Bouncy chairs:

You'll find a wide variety in the types of infant chairs available. Some vibrate, others are made so the baby can rock himself. You can even buy double bouncers, for twins.

One mom called them lifesavers: "I'd recommend getting 2 different kinds -- not identical -- then you can switch the kids around in them and it's a little extra variety." Another says: "I wouldn't have survived without the vibrating bouncey seats. And get the ones with removable toy bars, too. As the babies get older, you can let them bounce themselves for awhile, then turn on the vibration for awhile, then give them the toybars. For my money, anything that provides more distractions is worth it." Some suggested the double bouncers because they take up less room. Other parents said they would not have worked well with their babies, as they both did too much bouncing (enough to propell the seat across the room!).

You'll find that these seats come in handy, for everything from mid-morning dozing to feeding when the babies aren't quite ready for high chairs.


Many parents swear by these (especially if the babies have colic): "I would suggest 2 swings. I got the kind where you can turn the seat so it swings like a cradle or like a swing and they were a life saver!! The seats also come out (like a carseat). They stayed in those seats! Fell asleep in them and then i just moved them, seat and all, to the 'co-sleeper' which is another thing I recommend. It keeps them a little more upright which helps with gas."

But some babies may not be calmed by the swinging motion. It may actually upset them. You might want to start with just one, or see if you can borrow one at first, before investing the money.

Back to Table of Contents

Front Carriers and Back Packs

Having even one single front carrier (like a Baby Bjorn or Snugli) will make life much easier, by allowing you to hold a baby, yet have your hands free. There are a few points to consider when deciding which to buy. Most notably, how soon can you use them, and how long can you use them. The back packs, which can be used well into the toddler years, can't be used until the child can support his head well (around 6 months). On the other hand, many of the front carriers are not useful much past that point. "We had some overlap, when my bigger twin was just too heavy for the Snugli, but the smaller twin still fit. So we'd go for an afternoon walk around the garden with one in front, one in back, up until around 9 months."

Twin carriers

The Maximom carrier can be found at the following sites:

(Features gleaned from advertising claims, not experience.)

Single carriers

There are many types of carriers and slings on the market. Some can only be worn with the baby facing forwards. Some allow the baby to face out, as well. The most frequently recommended single carrier on the list is the Baby Bjorn.

Back Packs

When looking for a back pack, be sure to consider the parent's comfort as well as the child's! A comfortable pack will have a padded hip strap, well-padded shoulder straps, and a chest strap. (Believe me! I've tried the ones with only the shoulder straps, and thought I'd end up in traction!) You should also be able to adjust the height.

As for the child: "Our Gerry backpacks had adjustable seats for the kids, so we could lower them as they grew. They also had a bit of a neckrest-- but not as high as some other packs I've seen." A canopy is also a great help: "I highly recommend the rain/sun attachment for the Tough Traveller baby back packs. I assume some other backpacks may have a similar set up. This is a removable cover with a see-through part in front of their face so they can see out, but are well protected from the weather."

Back to Table of Contents


For information on strollers, see the Stroller FAQ. You'll find info on double, triple, quad & jogging strollers as well as info on bike trailers, clips to connect two umbrella strollers and other alterntative methods of moving multiples around. It also has links to Internet sites so that you can research different stroller models on the net.

Back to Table of Contents

Other equipment

Back to Table of Contents


For more ideas on age-appropriate toys, see the Multiple Toys FAQ.

Back to Table of Contents

More Equipment | Twin List FAQs

Twins List FAQs:   Copyright © Mary Foley
All Rights Reserved
Permission to reprint all FAQ information is granted to individuals for private use.
Please contact regarding any other reprint permissions.

Back To FAQs