In my first column, we talked about when you find out you are going be the proud winner of the baby lottery.
Breathe, you lucky winner you.
There is a lot of effort put into preparing for a baby. Whatever your living situation is, you will find your home overrun with mountains of baby gear. When my wife and I found out we were expecting multiples, we lived in a tiny apartment affectionately called The Hutch. The living room was converted into a bedroom because the place was just that small. The only other decent-sized room housed my brother. It was way too cramped for three people, and suddenly we were adding two more to our living arrangement.
Due to the lack of space, we knew we had to get only the bare necessities together. The stuff we could fit in our tiny little hutch. Most people probably have more space than us (it is best described as an oversized crawl space.) However, I still recommend going bare minimum to anyone. Here is why:
According to The Internet, up to 60 percent of twins are born prematurely (37 weeks is considered full-term for twins. Ours were born at 35 weeks). The percentage for premature triplets is a whopping 90 percent. This doesn’t just mean you don’t have as much prep time as parents expecting one baby. It also means your child is likely going to spend some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Back to the breathing. NICU. The name is scary. However, the NICU is where the best nurses are. Seriously, these are the people you WANT caring for your children. Our family had a nurse I tried to get to come home with us. From talking with other parents who had kids in the NICU, there is almost unanimous agreement that these are the best caregivers for your child. They are in good hands with these amazing people.
Heads out of paper bags, less hyperventilating and back to what we were talking about. The chances of premature birth for multiples is high, and a belly can only expand so much without gaining its own gravitational pull. This means that your babies will have more time to grow into the unnecessary stuff some relative will buy them.
Things like bouncers, toys, even the cutest outfits you “need” to buy for family photos, aren’t necessary. Yes, they will eventually need individual cribs, but to be honest, my twins shared a crib until they were six months old. I would never tell anyone to go against what a professional tells them to do. Babies aren’t all that mobile when they get home from the hospital, and we just didn’t have the room in our first place to house two cribs. Our sons slept feet to feet in a single crib until we moved to a larger place.
At our baby shower, we asked for the bare necessities. On our invitations, we requested a present for one child and diapers for the other. If you can get all your friends and family to buy diapers, it will make the first-year adjustment so much easier financially. We had a trove of diapers from size newborn to 4, and it helped a lot. Babies are super expensive. So, before you rush to Babies ‘R Us to get the latest and greatest, think about the necessities. Diapers, wipes and those bottles with the air vents that help reduce colic. Oh, and cleaning supplies because babies are just as messy as they are expensive.
Items you NEED at birth
- Baby Bottles (with the air vents that help reduce colic.)
- Car seats (unfortunately they can’t share those. Bummer, right?). A few onesies ranging from preemie to 0-3 months. (Consignment shops are a beautiful thing. Pop some tags for baby Macklemore)
- A few onesies ranging from preemie to 0-3 months. (Consignment shops are a beautiful thing. Pop some tags for baby Macklemore)
- Diapers (The NICU provides diapers, clothes and this awesome butt cream during their stay. You probably can skate off with buying the right size diapers on the way home from the hospital. Also, if you want to do the reusable diaper thing, you can talk to someone else about it because we don’t do that in my house, but I hear it is a real money saver. Also, steal the butt cream.)
- Wipes (about a trillion or so should do.)
- A breast pump (I said breast, haha. Seriously, Mama watched her beach body transform into a beach balloon. Night feedings are Dad’s job. Also, Mama can freeze her breast milk and then get that margarita she has spent the last few months craving.)
There are some things that fall under the nice-but-not-necessary-category. These include a boppy (which is super comfy), bibs, the video camera you swear you will use to record every moment, and a swing. There are even eventual needs like a stroller. Strollers are a tricky subject and more about personal choice. I will tell you a side-by-side is a nightmare in a store. We had the two-child stroller where it was in a single row, and I like to call it the baby limousine. As soon as the boys were able to hold their heads up we ditched that thing for the cheap little umbrella strollers and haven’t missed it.
The bare necessities. All the other things you feel you need are most likely wants and will end up cluttering your house and gathering dust. Or, buy everything you want because you want your house to look like an Ikea for babies – it is your home, right? Whatever you decide, get people to bring diapers to the baby shower. Trust me on that little nugget of wisdom.
I purposely left out the names of the brands my family use. If they want to provide me with a Nascar-style jacket to wear their logos on I will be happy to preach their glories. We found products we liked. If anyone wants to know more about the products my family used, I am more than happy to answer any questions. Pop those questions in the comment section and I can preach the gospel of brands.
Briton Underwood, better known as Punk Rock Papa, is a parent above all else. When he gets sick of being at his kids’ beck and call, he likes to escape to his Facebook page or website. He writes about any and everything he wants, but mainly about his twin boys or his newest addition—another boy. He also would like the world to know he has a beautiful wife because the couch isn’t that comfy.