When you're caring for twins, it can be twice as hard to feel like you're getting anything accomplished at home. Heading out the door for a supposedly quick errand can seem like a herculean feat. Don't panic. These parent-tested tricks will help things go more smoothly, both at home and when you're out and about.
Be a chief bottle preparer. When Tamara Pier's twin son and daughter were infants, she prepared a day's worth of bottles every morning (some moms prefer to do this in the evenings, when their babies are down for the night). "I used a washable marker to write each baby's initials and the feeding time on each bottle," says the Swartz Creek, Michigan, mom. Pier then lined the bottles in chronological order in the fridge. "This made it easy to grab the next bottle for the next feeding."
Do double-duty with the diaper bag. A fully stocked diaper bag is a must. Make sure you have at least two sets of clean clothes for your babies (a clean shirt for you is a good idea, too), plenty of diapers and wipes, and a plastic bag to stash soiled clothing. "I go through the diaper bag twice before leaving home to make sure I've got everything," says Meghann Buckles, of Irmo, South Carolina, mom to 7-month-old twin girls. Buckles also keeps a spare bag in her car with extra supplies. As soon as you get home, remove soiled items and repack the bag with clean clothes, diapers, and wipes. You'll always be ready for the next outing.
Make things easy to find. Jenny Turkelson, of Evansville, Wisconsin, uses an over-the-door shoe holder with clear pockets to organize her 7-month-old twin daughters' socks, shoes, and items like hair bands, soft books, and toys.
Track your babies' schedules. One of the most helpful baby gifts Elsbeth Russell received was a spiral notebook with pages separated into columns that allowed the family and caregivers to track the Russells' twin boys' feeding and sleeping schedules and diaper changes. "When you're sleep deprived and getting to know two babies, it's hard to keep track of which baby did what," says the Gainesville, Florida, mom. This type of chart also allows mom to know each baby's schedule when someone else is doing the caregiving.
Hold back on the shopping. It's hard not to go crazy when registering for baby stuff or preparing for the arrival of your two little ones. "But twins can share a lot of baby gear, so parents don't necessarily need to buy two of everything," says Joe Rawlinson, author of A Dad's Guide to Twins and father of 4-year-old twin girls. Twins are used to being together, and many parents find that the two babies sleep better when nestled in one crib. Separate them when they start rolling or moving more. Because high chairs can be space hogs, consider using feeding chairs (sometimes called booster seats) that strap onto your kitchen chairs or fasten to the table. Most parents of multiples find that they can get by just fine with one swing, one ExerSaucer, and one infant bathtub. Of course, every parent of multiples needs an endless supply of diapers, patience, and love.