We just hit the 12-month mark with two babies under the age of two. Beyond the obvious two cribs and two car seats, below is a list of the baby gear that helped us thrive survive this first year.
A Double Stroller. If I could only recommend one thing, this would be it. A double stroller has been the key to my success over the past 12 months. Seriously, having a double stroller is what has kept me (and the babies) sane—it’s the only way we can get out of the house. We were given the Joovy Scooter x2 at my son’s birth, and more recently got the Maclaren Twin Triumph. Both have been fine and both have their good qualities, but honestly I don’t love either of them. If I could do it all over again, I would have gotten the Britax B-Agile Double stroller (or some sort of travel system double stroller…I lust after the City Select Double Stroller & if we have another baby we’ll likely get this stroller with the glider board). It would have been SO nice to have had a travel system and simply been able to strap DS into his car seat while we were still in the house and then to have headed out from there. Especially if your oldest is not yet walking when baby number two arrives, as was the case for us, I strongly encourage you to find a travel system double stroller.
A good baby swing. It’s sooooo important to have a safe, comfortable place to put your younger baby down when you’re at home. You need a break sometimes—or you need two hands to prepare meals and/or put your oldest down for a nap, etc.—so the swing, complete with soothing, entertaining music and mobile, allows your littlest to enjoy some quiet play time while you do your thing. We used this swing and loved it.
A playard (safe play space for baby) – Toddlers don’t know their own strength sometimes, especially when they’re under the age of two and still a baby themselves. Since the time when DS grew out of his swing (or it might have been since the time DD started trying to “play” with DS while he was in his swing) I have kept a pack-n-play equipped with toys in our living room. I put DS in there when I need to get stuff done around the house and might be momentarily distracted. It’s a great safe place for your littlest to play because your older child can’t reach them easily, and they also can’t get into trouble.
A baby carrier. Helpful at all hours of the day, from the house to the grocery store. Most helpful for when you go to the park and you need to chase after your oldest while wanting to keep your youngest close. A baby carrier is useful anytime you need two hands (or wish you had more than two hands), or anytime you need to direct all your attention to your oldest while still wanting/needing to hold your youngest. We had the Moby Wrap when DS was a newborn and the Ergo 360 for both DD and DS (side note: We still use the Ergo 360 for BOTH kiddos).
A good nursing cover (if you’re nursing) – I have nursed in a variety of public places since DS was born. It has been a very different, much more challenging experience than it was with DD. With DD I was always able to retreat to the car or be in a private place to nurse when I wanted, but with DS I have nursed everywhere from the library, to the park, to farms and malls and public transportation. When you have a toddler who wants needs to get out of the house and explore the world (a.k.a. burn off energy), you need to be able to nurse wherever and whenever. Sometimes this means you are nursing while chasing after said toddler. If you’re okay pulling out your boob wherever and don’t care if people see you, you go for it Mama (I tended towards this attitude around month 10 of nursing my second). But if you’re not comfortable baring it all for the world to see, than finding a cover-up is essential. I liked my Covered Goods nursing cover for my second because it wrapped all the way around and provided excellent coverage from every angle, while still being lightweight. Once it was on and situated, I didn’t have to mess with it too much.
A backpack diaper bag & a purse with a wearable strap – As a mom of two under two, I often wish I had about 10 more arms. But since I don’t, I’m always looking for ways to maximize the two that I do have. One way to do this while I’m out and about is to have a backpack diaper bag. Just throw all your essentials in there, put it on your back and forget about it (until you need it). You can easily wear your baby in a carrier on your front and have your diaper backpack on your back. We’ve used the Skip Hop Forma Pack and Go Diaper Backpack, and it has worked great for us. That said, sometimes you don’t want to haul the whole heavy diaper bag into Safeway to pick up milk (two babies is enough of a load for you to carry). In those cases, I’ve found that a wallet with a purse string attached is super helpful: take it out of the diaper bag, sling it across your body, and once again you have both arms free for schlepping babies around. I have the Vera Bradley Women’s All in One Crossbody, which is so awesome it even holds my phone.
Side note: As a mom of two under two you are perpetually tired. Therefore, if your wallet is not on a string/attached to your body, you will likely lose it or leave it behind at a store. THIS HAPPENED TO ME. That night I went in search of a wearable wallet.
For those of you with two under two, do you have anything to add to this list?