How to Prepare for Twins Checklist: 18 Tips from Doctor & Twin Mom

How to Prepare for Twins Checklist: 18 Tips from Doctor & Twin Mom

Becoming parents is an exhilarating journey, to say the least.

And when you’re expecting twins — that’s a whole other layer of excitement.

While you get double the cuddles, there’s also double the trouble!

If you’re a mom-to-be who’s got two babies on the way, don’t panic, I’m here to share my tips, advice, and personal experiences as a double-duty mom of twins.

I’ll go through all you need to know, from what to do during your twin pregnancy to how to kit out their rooms, and everything in between.

Here’s how to prepare for twins, from a doctor and twin mom.

In this article: 📝

  • My twin pregnancy journey
  • When should I prepare for twins?
  • When should I start preparing for twins?
  • Physical prep for twins
  • Twin pregnancy checklist
  • Twin postpartum checklist
  • Do you need to buy two of everything with twins?

My twin pregnancy journey

For a long time, my partner and I dreamed of starting a family.

After a challenging fertility journey, we were so excited when we found out we were expecting twins — and honestly, a little nervous, too! 👯‍♀️

While my medical background made me all-too-aware of the potential complexities of multiple pregnancies, I knew overcoming any anxiety was so important in pregnancy.

After all, this was our long-awaited miracle!

Drawing on my past experiences with pregnancy loss, I focused on empowering myself and my partner with the knowledge and resources we needed to have the best twin pregnancy experience we possibly could.

I delved into reputable sources like the Twins Trust and the NHS, and connected with other twin parents, including my older sister — a seasoned twin mom herself! [1,2]

Now, I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned.

So if you’re a twin mom-to-be, let’s chat about making this incredible journey not just doable, but, actually, a lot of fun!

When should I prepare for twins?

Well, it’s a personal choice, but, for me, I think, the earlier the better.

The longer you have to navigate, learn, and plan, the more prepared you’ll feel.

Early preparation allows you to make informed decisions, organize your lives, and create a supportive environment for your babies.

When should I start preparing for twins?

Well, it’s a personal choice, but, for me, I think, the earlier the better — aim to have everything your twin newborns will need by about 30 weeks, just in case.

But there are some things you can start preparing as soon as you see that positive, too — like building your support network and reaching out to your doctor.

From the second trimester, you can start buying the essentials you’ll need, preparing your finances, and sorting your childcare options

But by 30 weeks, try to have everything ready to go — their nursery, your hospital bag, postpartum freezer meals… the works!

The longer you have to navigate, learn, and plan, the more prepared you’ll feel.

Early preparation allows you to make informed decisions, organize your lives, and create a supportive environment for your babies.

What week do most twins come?

According to the NHS, most twins are born before 37 weeks. [3]

Twins often arrive earlier than single babies, so it’s worth making sure you’re prepared well in advance.

But some twins can be born even earlier, so it’s wise to have everything ready by week 30.

This time frame gives you a bit of a buffer, so you can be ready for any unexpected early arrivals. [4]

👯‍♀️ What type of twins are you expecting? 7 Different Types of Twins

Physical prep for twins

The first step in preparing for twins is to make sure your pregnancy is as healthy and comfortable as possible — looking after your body.

After all, it’s going to be looking after three of you for the best part of a year!

Preparing your body for a twin pregnancy involves taking care of your physical and mental well-being. [5]

  1. Extra prenatal vitamins: You can take the same prenatal supplements as you would for a single pregnancy, but check with your doctor — they might suggest extra folic acid and iron to help prevent iron-deficiency anemia (more common in twin pregnancies). [6]
  2. Don’t eat for three: Just as you don’t have to double your calories for a single pregnancy, you don’t have to triple it for twins. Your doctor will likely recommend eating about 40% more calories in your third trimester, but this will build up gradually throughout your pregnancy. [6]
  3. Add protein to your diet: A nutritious diet is fundamental for any pregnancy, but for twins, you may need to up your protein. Some studies suggest adding an extra 50g of protein per day if you’re a twin mom-to-be, but it’s worth checking in with your doctor for a more personalized recommendation. [7]
  4. Drink more water: For a twin pregnancy, you’ll likely need to drink more water than a single pregnancy, especially from your second trimester.
  5. Naps are your new bestie: Rest is crucial for any pregnant woman, but it’s especially vital if you’re carrying twins, since it’s usually more physically demanding. Make sure to get enough sleep and listen to your body when it signals the need for rest. [8]
  6. Attend regular check-ups: You’ll likely have more often prenatal appointments with your doc if you’re a twin mom-to-be. Regular prenatal checkups are even more important with twins, since they often come with a higher risk of complications. [9]
  7. Gentle stretches: Sure, it’s recommended for any pregnancy, but with a twin pregnancy, you’ll probably find that the extra weight will put a strain on your lower back, so getting those muscles toned up is fundamental. Don’t stretch to the point of pain — just practise some gentle stretches regularly throughout the day (even a couple of minutes every hour can work wonders).

🤰 What your babies are up to right now? Twins in the Womb: Week by Week

How much bigger do you get when pregnant with twins?

Very generally speaking, twin moms-to-be can expect to gain about 10lbs more than with a single pregnancy.

Single pregnancies usually result in about 25-35lbs weight gain (with a starting BMI between 18.5-24.9), while twin pregnancies can gain around 35-45lbs. [10,11]

It’s no surprise that twin pregnancy bumps are bigger than singles — after all, there’s twice the tenants in there!

You might also find that you start showing sooner with twins than a single pregnancy, so start thinking about your pregnancy announcement now!

Will I need specific maternity clothes for a twin pregnancy?

Yes, you might need to switch to maternity clothes earlier than a single pregnancy, or wear a pregnancy belly band for extra support.

And, when you get to the third trimester, you may even have to size up your maternity clothes sizes.

You’ll probably find that your bump will grow quicker with a twin pregnancy, so any maternity clothes you buy one month might not fit you the next

Buying second-hand can help you stay stylish and comfy without breaking the bank.

Twin pregnancy checklist

So, once you’re pregnant with twins, what else can you do to prepare for their arrival?

Well, to help you stay organized and ensure that you’re well-prepared, here’s everything you’ll need before your twosome arrives.

8. Decide on your twin sleeping arrangements 😴

During the newborn stage (and, for many twin moms, the first 6 months) it’s important to have an adult in the room with the babies while sleeping at night, if you’re planning to have them in cribs or bassinets. [12]

There are a few ways you can do the first 6 months — chat with your doctor about the best option for you and your babies:

  • Safe co-sleeping
  • Moses baskets or bassinets next to your bed
  • Cribs in the same room as parents
  • Separate nursery for the babies where an adult is present when sleeping.

9. Get your twin baby feeding supplies 🍼

With twins, when you’re doing those feeds every few hours in the early days, it all adds up — to around 16 bottle feeds a day if you’re formula feeding!

Some quick tips from a twin mom who’s been there:

  • If you’re breastfeeding, a twin nursing pillow, pump, comfy nursing bras, and breastfeeding tops are a must.
  • If you’re formula feeding, stock up on formula, bottles, and sterilizing equipment, with some essentials stored in the car, too — just in case.

10. Read up on parenting resources 📚

During your twin pregnancy and the first year, you’ll find yourself reading more about subjects like sleep, weaning, and the various colors of baby poop than you did subjects at school!

Research and get your information from reputable sources with evidence to back them up, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and NHS. [13,14,15]

Books on general parenting and ones specific for twins are helpful, too.

Attend antenatal classes about the unique aspects of caring for twins — these can be tricky to find, so do your research, or reach out to the twin moms in your area on Peanut.

11. Start your birth plan 📝

Here’s the thing: twin deliveries can be a bit of a wild ride.

For the most part, your birth preferences (AKA birth plan) for twins will be similar to a single pregnancy, but there are a few unique things to bear in mind:

  • Most twins are born prematurely, usually earlier than 37 weeks, so make sure your doctor knows your birth plan well in advance.
  • Since twin preemies are so common, you may have to prepare yourself mentally for the chance that they may need some extra help from the medical team, like some time in NICU. If there are any specifics that you want your doctor or midwife to do if your babies are born prematurely, be sure to include them in your birth plan.
  • Sometimes, very rarely, baby B decides to come out feet first (breech) or even sideways (transverse). Your plan can address your preferred approach in case this happens.

Can I have a vaginal birth with twins?

Yes, you can have a vaginal birth with twins, although there are a few extra requirements that your doctor will probably check for.

Your first twin will usually have to be head-down for a vaginal delivery, with no other risk factors during (or before) pregnancy.

Your doctor will be able to best advise whether C-section or vaginal birth is suitable for you, but it will be your decision.

12. Plan your twin baby shower

Only if you want to — there’s absolutely no requirement to have a baby shower.

But it’s a great way of stocking up on all the twin baby essentials you’ll need — just add them to your registry!

But if you do want a baby shower, with or without a gender reveal, many twin moms-to-be throw theirs either toward the end of their second trimester or the start of their third.

🎉 Any excuse for a party: 24 Twin Baby Shower Ideas

13. Pick their names! 📛

One of the most fun parts of twin pregnancy prep!

You could go for names that sound similar, names of famous duos, alliterative names, names that rhyme, or more individual names — the choice is yours!

👯‍♀️ After some inspo? Twin Baby Names: 60 Ideas for Naming Twins

Twin postpartum checklist

Once your twins are here, there’s still more prep work to be done!

14. Twin baby health and safety 👷‍♀️

Preparation is key when it comes to keeping your twins safe.

Start babyproofing as soon as your twins start to explore.

They’ll find weird and wonderful ways to put themselves in situations that make your heart drop, but if you’ve prepped with the babyproofing, you can at the very least minimize your panic!

15. Make sure you get enough sleep 🛌

Let’s talk about the magical land of sleep — or lack thereof — when you’re navigating the world of newborn twins and beyond.

Brace yourselves, because those precious bundles of joy won’t be clocking in a full night’s sleep anytime soon.

Tiny tummies demand attention around the clock, day and night.

So, how do we survive the nocturnal adventures without turning into sleep-deprived zombies?

Teamwork is key!

Some parents take turns catching z’s away from the nursery, so at least one of you gets some solid shut-eye while the other tackles baby duty.

Another strategy?

Tag-teaming those nighttime feeds — don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements. from family and friends.

Extra hands in those early weeks can be a game-changer, stopping exhaustion from setting in like an unwelcome guest — and, most importantly giving you a chance to recover from birth.

Communication is your secret weapon.

Be open about how you’re feeling, and don’t hesitate to snatch those moments of rest whenever you can.

The good news? This sleep-deprived phase won’t last forever.

16. Consider getting professional help 🤝

It might sound daunting, but seeking professional guidance from a lactation consultant, parenting coach, or a multiples support group can be invaluable.

If you’re after someone more hands-on, there are nannies and doulas that can be helpful during the day or even overnight, even if it’s just a couple of days per week — if your budget allows — to give you and your partner a bit of rest and support.

17. Develop a routine 📆

Trust me: establishing a routine is so important when preparing for twins.

While it may seem challenging to synchronize the needs of two babies at the same time, having a structured daily schedule can provide stability for both you and your babies.

Perseverance is key!

Create a feeding, sleeping, and playtime routine that works for your family, and be prepared to adjust as your twins grow and their needs change — from shifting wake windows, sleep regressions, and as you learn their baby cues.

18. Strong support system 🫶

Easily the most important thing you can get ready when preparing for twins.

For me, having a supportive and hands-on partner was a great help when preparing for twins — after all, you’re a team about to embark on a huge project together.

Keeping your communication clear, discussing plans together, and managing your expectations from each other makes the whole journey so much smoother.

Line up help from friends and family for the first few weeks — even if they come over to make dinner for you or washes a couple of bottles, it can really help so much.

Whether it’s emotional support, practical help, or just someone to talk to, having a reliable support system can make a significant difference during pregnancy and after the twins arrive.

I also found it incredibly useful to join online communities or local support groups for mothers of twins to share experiences and seek advice — there are lots of great twin mom groups on Peanut!

Asking for help is not a weakness, nor does it mean you’re not a good mom — I can’t stress that enough.

My partner and I called on as many people as possible — after all, they say “it takes a village” for a reason!

Do you need to buy two of everything with twins?

Now this is a tricky one — you certainly don’t need two of all the essentials.

But there are a few must-haves that you will need two of:

What you’ll need two of:

  • Two cribs: Choose cribs as large as your home space can manage — trust me, these babies grow fast. But is it okay for twins to share a crib? Well, twin cribs are great for the first 3-4 months, but once they can roll over, it’s not as safe to keep them in the same crib. I found that if one twin needed tending to, the other was more likely disturbed if they were sleeping right next to her!
  • Two car seats: Some brands offer car seat bundles for twins, or you could opt for a tandem double stroller-car seat combo. But this is one thing you can’t buy second-hand — even if they look pristine, there could be internal damage that could compromise their safety.
  • Twice as many diapers and wipes: No surprises here! Newborn twins tend to go through about 20-24 diapers per day, so start stocking up!
  • Twice as many baby clothes: It’s worth getting some preemie-sized baby clothes, just in case they arrive early. As a rule of thumb, you’ll probably need about 7-8 sets of baby clothes in each size, for each baby.
  • Two sets of bedding: Like sleep sacks, crib mattresses, swaddling blankets, and crib sheets. Blankets, pillows, and cuddly toys aren’t safe around young babies, as they can be a suffocation hazard, so just remember to keep their cribs clear.
  • Pacifiers for each baby: 8-12 pacifiers is best for twins. Many moms buy 4-6 pacifiers per baby, kept in key places, like your diaper bag, the nursery, in the car… anywhere your twins will spend their time.
  • Twice as many bottles: If you decide to bottle-feed or formula-feed, I’d recommend 6-10 bottles for your twins, so you’ll always have a bottle if others need to be cleaned and sterilized.
  • Twice as much formula: Again, this is only if you’re formula feeding. Opt for the bigger containers of formula, or buy two containers for each shop, so you don’t have to do extra shopping.
  • Baby first-aid kit with twice the supplies: I have to admit, as a doctor, I went a bit overboard with this one, but it’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared!

What you’ll need one of:

  • Double stroller: There are a few different styles to choose from, so it depends what would work best for your family. Side-by-side double strollers are generally best for twins — easy to access your babies when you need to. But tandem (or stadium) strollers can be ideal if you’re tight on space or you’re planning on taking your twins out separately (most are convertible from single to double). (Want some help? Check out our guide on the best double strollers.)
  • Changing table: Or even just a chest of drawers, with lots of storage underneath for diapers, creams, wipes, and quick outfit changes for those inevitable poonamis.
  • Comfy chair or sofa: We got a two-seater sofa bed, so one of us could comfortably sit or sleep in the room with our twin girls, since they had their own nursery. The extra space was also handy for double feedings!
  • Baby bouncers: This was something we couldn’t live without. From one twin mom to another, it’s well worth investing in a baby bouncer that’s good-quality and comfortable. It was an absolute life saver for those moments when both girls needed me and I was on my own — I could place one in the bouncer (they both loved it), deal with one of then, then swap them over!
  • Bathtub: You can buy double twin baths, but, to be honest, you probably won’t need it. This is where the baby bouncer can come in handy — while you’re bathing one, the other can chill out in the bouncer!
  • Diaper bag: There are some excellent ones with lots of compartments that can fit everything, with backpack styles that are super easy to hold. You might need one that’s bigger than a standard diaper bag, since you’ll be carrying twice as many supplies!
  • Toys: That’s right — don’t double-up on toys. It’s an important lesson for your twins in sharing!
  • Books: No need to get duplicates, you can read to both babies at the same time. And again, sharing is caring!
  • Playmat: Just make sure it’s big enough for both babies. There aren’t any recommended sizes for baby mats, it all depends on how much space you have available.
  • Twin nursing pillow: If you’re breastfeeding, this is a must! Twin nursing pillows are normally shaped like a number “3”, so each baby can cuddle up in their own space, and you can rest your aching arms!
  • Pump: If you’re breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding, just one pump is plenty. Even if your twins’ other parent is also lactating, you can take turns with just one set of pumping equipment. A double breast pump can be a great investment, too — so you can cut down your time pumping while making sure your twins get the nutrition they need.
  • Bottle sterilizing equipment: Another must for bottle-feeding, but you should only need one bottle sterilizing kit. Opt for one that can sterilize several bottles at once, so you don’t have to re-load it twice for each feed.
  • Baby monitor: Make sure to position it so it shows both cots at the same time — if you can’t do that, you’ll have to buy two baby monitors. We got one that we could see from our phones and a main unit, which was great for keeping an eye on our girls and for peace of mind.

As challenging as preparing for twins can be, being at the other end of the first year, I can honestly say that the magic and joy of having these two in our lives is second to nothing.

Embrace the chaos, stick together, and remember: it’s all part of the wild ride of twin parenthood.

And take it from a fellow twin mom — it only gets better and better!

You’ve got this, mama!


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