This post will not criticise specific items or companies. Nor does it pretend to be the last word in baby items. Some people I know swear by the items I’m about to tell you we found no use for, so again it has to be your own choice and decision. In the end, you know your children better than anyone else.
TUMMY TIME MATS
I had heard lots of good things about tummy time mats from mummy things and mummy websites so thought I was doing the right thing by buying two of them for Biscuit and Cracker. Unfortunately the twins had other thoughts and did not use them, at all. I think they’d be useful if your little ones didn’t like going on their tummys and needed lots of encouragement. My two were the complete opposite of this, they would have rather spent all their time on their tummys and never on their back! Once they could roll it was all we could do to keep them lying back.
For us, it was all about getting down onto their level and giving them interaction whilst they were on their tummy, giving them things to look at (including each other- the ultimate entertainment for twins) and encouraging them to lift those gorgeous heads up!
LIGHTS/SOUNDS SLEEP AIDS
This anti-recommendation was actually suggested to me by my good friend, C. She found that she had used lots of them for her little girl, E, and didn’t feel that any if them actually helped, apart from making her feel she was at least doing something to help.
There are lots of these on the market, with relaxing noises and twinkling lights for bubba if they have trouble going off to sleep or settling if they woke later. I’ve always found that the lights are quite stimulating and the twins would fight sleep to stay up and watch them. Music etc had the same effect, although we found the white noise function on ours (many of them have this feature, or there are apps featuring this too) very helpful. We live in a Central London flat and there is often lots of noise outside in the evening which the white noise helped to drown out. Now they are a bit older their fan in their room did the same thing in the summer. We can definitely hear more noise now their fan isn’t on overnight.
As a children’s nurse we used apnoea monitors on a regular basis when we had babies on the ward and, yes, they can offer piece of mind to parents who have concerns about their babies breathing. But I also know how regularly a baby can wiggle off the mat and send everyone into a blind panic racing in to find a perfectly well, breathing baby lying nicely just off the mat. This can also happen when one half-asleep parent goes in to feed/change/settle the baby in the middle of the night and picks them up without turning off the monitor. The poor parent still in bed enjoying a few extra minutes of sleep then gets woken up in the worst way, causing palpitations and stress.
If you really want this sort of monitor then use it with a little caution, but I had decided a long time before the twins came along that I didn’t want this sort of monitor. We just have a standard noise monitor, a good friend of mine swears by no monitor at all so each to their own!
‘PACK N PLAY’/COLLAPSIBLE PLAY PEN (for multiples)
We bought a collapsible play pen for our two when they started to roll around (ostensibly to pop them in if I needed to answer the door or go to the toilet). It was like a travel cot. Firstly it wasn’t big enough for the two of them, even at 4 months old and barely mobile. Secondly, they didn’t seem to like the feel of the floor of it. It was off the ground and I think it didn’t feel so stable. Once they’d started pulling themselves up they didn’t like feeling off balance in there.
If you do have multiples and want a good play pen then there are lots out there which are large enough for all children and parents to fit in and play in. We have cats and without this play pen at least one of the twins would have ended up in the litter tray!! It also keeps them away from the TV and all other dangerous electrical equipment when you’re away preparing food etc. Until you know how having two or more toddlers wanting to go in opposite directions feels you wouldn’t know how vital a large play pen can be. Our one is recommended for nurseries to keep the little ones safe so that gives you and idea of the size.
There are other things that I personally didn’t/wouldn’t spend my money on like shoes for non-walkers, designer children’s clothes (they grow out of things and get things messy was too much to justify these), the latest/most popular/most expensive toys (as they’ll enjoy playing with the box more anyway) but whatever keeps you happy!