9 Really Useful Bits of Kit
"There were some things that we brought (or were given) that I didn't even realise we would need or I found exceptionally useful."
1. Nasal Aspirator
The least glamorous thing ever! This tops the list due to the panic it will save you the first time your little one gets a cold, and wakes up screaming because they are struggling to breath through their tiny blocked up my nose. This bad boy can be used to suck all the mucus out and clear the airway in a second. It’s also a lot more pleasant than the alternative “mouth suction” method I went with the first time, which won me lots of daddy brownie points with my wife, but I wasn’t keen to repeat!
We tried a couple of different types but the simple pipette was the best in terms of effectiveness and ability to use it when in a panicked half asleep rush at 3am. Ours was a gift so I can’t link to it, but plenty on Amazon and Ebay, of course check reviews!
Knowing already how important being able to assess how the twins were before we intervened at night was going to be, I wanted to make sure our baby monitor was going to be good. I never really considered an audio only monitor, and got a lot from being able to see the twins.
I did a lot of googling, and while there are a lot, at different price points, I found that they all seemed to have a really varied reviews which gave me no confidence that what I was getting would be useful.
Eventually, due to having the most balanced set of reviews I could find, and the ability to use multiple cameras, I went for the Eufy Spacecam. I have no idea why they called it the Spacecam, but It is a great product.
It's super easy to set up, you can add a second or even third camera in about 10 seconds, and it has a “vox” mode which means it will switch the monitor on when a baby cries, with adjustable sensitivity and volume. This all meant we could keep an eye on both babies from a single monitor unit (it automatically cycles between cameras, or you can manually cycle), and adjust sensitivity for their current levels of grizzlies and volume needed to wake us up.
They are well built - every now and again they have fallen out of our camera holders and banged into the bedframe with no damage, and at nearly 2 years the monitor battery is still easily lasting through the night.
There is a second lens included which screws on easily and gives a much wider field of view, which was perfect for when we moved the twins to their own room and they started roaming about more. When I had an issue with one of my camera's microphones not seeming to be working, after a quick email exchange I just got sent a new camera straight away, so really excellent service.
In terms of negatives, the screen is 720p which is decent, but initially seems quite grainy compared to most smartphones, and the video feed isn't available on your phone, just on the included monitor. This actually worked fine for us, as having a separate motor mant that it was easier to hand it over to whoever was in charge at a given time, and we didn’t have to worry about keeping our phones charged/having them used as a monitor screen when we might want to be using them for other things. I am sure if I had had a monitor that fed through to my phone I would have plenty of good things to say, but we managed fine without. The only negative was if we were handing over at any point, you had to physically go and get the monitor, and that it couldn’t be used very far outside the house.
At the time of writing, there are some stock issues - the link to the product page is here, but if the shop now button doesn't work then you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. with the following details to purchase:
-Your current shipping address
- Confirmation you can pay by paypal
I had no idea what a muslin was until we were gifted about 70 million of them. I wish I could say this was over the top, but I am pretty sure we used all of them!
Really just a piece of cloth for wiping dirty faces/hands/furniture, you get into a habit of having them strategically placed around the house, and one shoved in a pocket at all times. We were gifted, and then stocked up on some more, jumbo size muslins.
These were not only great quality and super soft, but given their size could be used to wrap the babies in, as sunshades for the pram, or just to wrap your head in for a few seconds of blissful sensory deprivation if things got too much! Highly recommended.
We flip flopped a bit between swaddling and not swaddling the twins for bed, but decided that they slept better swaddled about a month in. Swaddling in a way that would stay fastened all night, even with the jumbo muslins, was easier said than done.
We found these simple to use swaddles that saved us a bunch of time, but also crucially stayed on the twins all night, without needing a 3am baby origami session. The twins seemed to grow out of them pretty much exactly the time they didn't need them any more - that may have just been luck though!
We decided early on that we wanted a pram that was “inline” not side by side, purely to make navigating doorways and pavements easier (given the twins were born during Covid, this probably mattered less as we got out so little, but hey ho!). There were a few options, but we ended up with the Baby Jogger City Select (designed for actual jogging with the babies. Sadly not much of this happened, cardio is RIP!).
It was sturdy due to the aspirational jogging use, it has a lot of different configurations for the baby seats, so they could be facing forwards, back, or each other. The latter was really nice as they got older, as they could interact with each other on walks. It also had adaptors for our car seats (Maxi Cosi Pebbles) which we used extensively in the first 6 months. This saved boot space as the larger pram seats could be left at home, and meant we never actually purchased the carry cots as we didn't need them.
There is a boogie board fitting for a toddler to stand on which we are just starting to use, and plenty of space below the pram for storage, although some configurations of the seats eat into this a bit. It folds up pretty easily and fairly flat considering its size, but is a lot bigger than some of the magic folding single travel prams some of our friends have.
We used it extensively for walking the babies and getting them to sleep, as naps have always been a challenge, and even now at nearly 2 a quick 10 minute walk around the block is the fastest way to get them down in the day.
As the twins have grown, it is quite heavy and can be a bit like manoeuvring an oil tanker, but I guess given their combined weight, this is probably the case for any twin buggy!
These were honestly life savers, and when people visit they always get asked about (I have no idea how other parents manage without them!).
These bibs cover the entire upper body but also crucially most of the high chair, which stops food going on their clothes and into nooks and crannies. When they are done you just whip them off and give the babies face and hands a quick whip and you are done.
A wipe down of the chair or a change of clothes is rarely needed. The only downside is perhaps they learn a little slower the consequence of spillages (we are slowly phasing in the pelican bibs to counter this) and that over time the velcro on the bibs dies, making them slide off a little. Also worth getting one per child per meal in the day, as you do need to wash them after every meal.
Ok, this might seem a bit weird on a baby list, but honestly these were genius (for me, not them!).
As they are bone conducting, they don't go in your ears, so you can still hear ambient noise (like crying babies) whilst listening to music/podcasts/being on the phone. It’s exactly like having the TV or music on in the background, you can listen when things are quiet, but if something kicks off it doesn't drown it out.
These really helped with feeling less isolated as it was possible to have something on while walking the twins or doing chores, without worrying about missing them having a wobble, or something else important, like a speeding car as I zombie walked across the road.
These are Bluetooth so wires don't get in the way, and the battery life is insane, I often forget to turn them off at the end of the day, and still get 2 - 3 days out of them! Sound quality is surprisingly good unless you only communicate in sub bass.
(I bought some cheaper £30 replicas initially, but these broke after a couple of months, and a friend of mine said he had tried a few which all did the same, so it’s worth splashing out up front).
We were gifted these, which are basically Bibados for on the go.
They go right over the whole pram or car seat, capture all the bits of food that don't make it into the mouth, and can be whipped off after and washed.
These were epic for day trips, and saved us lugging high chairs around or going freestyle and getting food all over the twins' clothes and some else's house!
I feel like a total sell-out for including this, but honestly, the ability to do things hands free is absolutely golden.
We used Alexa to set reminders for us to feed, walk, go to bed, breath etc, which given how much the routine changed over time really helped us stay on track.
We also had our lights, TV etc controlled by Alexa, which sounds a bit much, but when you are trying to feed one baby, change the others nappy and suddenly release that you haven't been micro sleeping, it's actually getting dark, being able to turn lights on hands free is really helpful.
It was handy for asking basic questions without having to get out a phone, like checking the weather, time, and when I might ever get a good nights sleep. Sadly even Amazons advanced AI cant crack that one...
The final and most important function of the Echo is to play nursery rhymes, the last line of defence for sanity when all hell is breaking loose - yes, things get that desperate!