Camping with toddler twins – madness or magic?

We may have been having a bit of a mad moment when we decided to take our 13 month old twins camping last weekend. I was supposed to be going away on a hen weekend for one of my oldest friends but with the girls still feeding all night and teeth coming through one after another it just wasn’t going to be possible to leave them overnight. I was feeling a bit down in the dumps so when my husband suggested we do something with our free weekend I knew I wanted it to be something that would remind me that the babies were enriching our lives rather than just ruling them. 

With the weather forecast looking good, we packed up and headed West for Pembrokeshire (Wales for my overseas readers), early on a Friday. 

Pembrokeshire is a convenient nap-length distance away, so we didn’t have to deal with any of the stresses of having awake babies in the car, and we had a packed lunch ready for when we arrived.

We chose the campsite very carefully – Caerfai Farm http://www.caerfaifarm.co.uk, a favourite of ours as its in a beautiful location right on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, with a beautiful sandy beach, a short pram’s push into St David’s, great facilities, yet small and peaceful. It’s also an organic farm so I knew that if we ran out of milk or eggs we could get what we needed in their shop. 

As we arrived early on a Friday, there were plenty of pitches to choose from. We chose ours mindfully, with great views and a bit of seclusion, but with sleepless nights of babies crying in mind – I had an awful sense of trepidation that we would be very unpopular campers if the girls kept everyone else awake with their crying. 

  
Admittedly as several other campers enthusiastically pulled in to pitch up in the spot next to ours then spotted the babies and did a quick about-turn I really did begin to think we’d made a mistake. But as we put the tent up and the girls played in the field occasionally coming to ‘help’ us with the tent pegs, I started to relax and not worry too much about what was to come. The girls thought the tent was the most fun den they had ever come across, and had no end of fun playing with the guide ropes, chasing bees in the grass and picking flowers for each other. 

 
In the afternoon we went down to the beach and the girls paddled in the waves and we built sand castles for them to knock down. It was all going so well until meltdown number 1 happened!! Apparently the very sticky sand on their skin wasn’t a nice sensation and they didn’t calm down until we got them back up to the campsite, rinsed off and into a warm change of clothes. 

   
 The next task was to cook dinner, and a nice rice pasta with cheese sauce and ham provided a nice dose of carbs to warm us all up and refuel our tired bodies after the days’ excitement!! I’d planned each meal with any chilled food to be used in the first 24 hours, as it was unlikely to keep for longer than that in the cool bag. After that meals were made from food not easily perishable. I plan to write a separate post on my camping meals for the family soon. 

 

I was so nervous about bedtime as it hasn’t been going well at home recently for some reason, but perhaps because of all the fresh air, or because I decided to feed to sleep (I usually feed then my husband cuddles to sleep at home), but the girls were out like lights! Incredible! This gave us a chance to sit outside and take in the gorgeous views and spend some time together away from the distractions of home. The night went unbelievably well, with only 2 wake-ups each for a quick feed then back to sleep. We all slept so well on our new self-inflating mattress, a great investment as it was much further than our old blow-up bed, so I wasn’t worried about the girls safety. 
The following day was cloudier so all the warm clothes I packed really were useful. We had a lovely stroll into St David’s for a coffee while the girls napped in their pram, a walk along the coast path with the girls in their backpacks, and another afternoon on the beach (this time much better prepared for sticky sand situations!). 

  
The second night went as well as the first and then it was time to pack up and head home. Overall, it was such a positive experience for us all, it’s given us the confidence to do it again soon, pack less, and get more off the beaten track. 
 
As always, I like to leave a few of my ‘lessons learned’ for anyone planning to do this for the first time, so here goes: 

  • Check the weather forecast and keep checking, we reckon our first trip in the rain might have been miserable and put us off for the foreseeable future!
  • A short trip, reasonably close to home is a good idea the first time
  • Pack lots and lots of warm clothes for the babies, and less clothes for you. 
  • A windbreak makes a good ‘safety gate’ or additional sound barrier between you and the neighbours
  • Choose a campsite where there is plenty of space between pitches so neighbours aren’t going to be really grumpy if the babies cry all night. In the end we reckoned that the seagulls, sound of the waves and man snoring across the way were way louder than our babies’ brief wake ups. It’s a good idea to leave a clear sign that there are babies in your tent so that people who are really baby-averse can choose not to pitch up next to you. We left a couple of toys and some small clothes hanging up outside. 
  • Give thought to bedding – a self-inflating mattress that we bought is a great investment – the most comfortable bedding I’ve slept on while camping and firm enough to be safe for babies. 
  • Plan meals ahead and start cooking early – gas camping stoves usually take longer to cook meals on. 
  • If you have a pitch in a beautiful spot, you can enjoy your surroundings after the babies have gone to bed

 

Life Unexpected

Hiking with a baby / babies or toddlers

I love nothing better than to go on a really long hike somewhere beautiful in any weather. Some people enjoy retail therapy, some might enjoy a day at the spa, but for me the ultimate way to restore peace and nurture my soul is to get my muscles moving, breathe some fresh air and take in some beautiful scenery. Maybe it’s the goat in me as a Capricorn! 

Getting out for a long hike with one baby is a challenge, let alone two! While I  recovered from the birth and was getting used to life with twin babies, I ‘made do’ with some gentle strolls next to the sea. I couldn’t keep my itchy feet still for long though, and so gradually increased the length of our strolls to walks, and walks to hikes, and we have recently attempted a climb! 

As mentioned in previous blogs, I’m a big fan of babywearing. It’s a great way to keep the babies calm and regulate their temperature, meaning longer uninterrupted walks for me. 

When they were newborn, I used my twin Weego carrier to carry both together; meaning I could off-road it with both babies alone. I look back on those early days with such fondness; it was so so special to carry both of my babies at the same time; and they were so content being with me and together. 

  

 

As they got bigger and the weather got hotter, my twin carrying days were over. Our walks were confined to areas suitable for a pram, or when someone could come with me. Thankfully there are no shortages of volunteers to carry a little baby, so we were able to get out often. We switched to the wonderful BabyBjorn carrier, which can be faced inwards with good head support for small babies, and outward for nosier older babies. 

   
  
The bonus of the BabyBjorn is that when facing inward, the babies can sleep, and with a bit of manouvering, can even feed on the go! We really got our use out of the BabyBjorn carriers, using them whenever we were together – at the beach, at the aquarium, when shopping, visiting friends etc. I used to put everything I needed in a backpack on my back so we could walk hands – free. 

As the babies got bigger, it became much more difficult to see where I was going, and after one horrible incident where I tripped and fell with my baby facing outwards (luckily she was not hurt but it could have been very serious) it was definitely time to switch to a backpack carrier. 

Thankfully the girls made the transition to backpack carrying wonderfully and absolutely love to be in their backpacks! They have even fallen asleep in them several times which, when you consider how sleep-averse my two usually are, feels like a bit of a miracle. 

   
         

The great thing about the backpack (ours are Macpac) is the amount of space for carrying other things. We can easily fit nappies, wipes, drinks, food, hats, suncream, spare clothes and a blanket with room to spare in just one of the backpacks. As we have two, then we almost never struggle for space. 

How to carry your baby is the main thing to consider when going for a hike but there are also several key points to plan for: 

  • Terrain – the right footwear is essential, to avoid nasty accidents & being stranded with a broken leg in the middle of nowhere with two babies! 
  • The weather – we live in Wales and can easily have four seasons in one day so we pack for all eventualities
  • Route – really study the route so you don’t get lost. Take a map and gps if possible, learn any shortcuts back in case it all goes wrong
  • Cut-off points – we always time our walks and if the girls are starting to get really grizzly we will call it a day sooner rather than later – it’s just not worth a mega meltdown miles away from anywhere we can do anything about it
  • Food and drink- take three times more than you think you’ll need, just in case. I usually offer mine a feed at the halfway point even if it’s not their normal time of day to feed, to pre-empt and prevent any meltdowns! 
  • Safety – a fully charged mobile phone, first aid kit, telling someone where you’re going, checking the weather, tide times etc are all normal parts of hiking safely, but become even more important when you have a baby on board. 

Planning for a day out with twins: Part two – after starting weaning (food ideas included) 

I couldn’t wait to wean my twins! Exclusively breastfeeding twins is pretty draining and I looked forward to the promise of them dropping some milk feeds and sleeping longer with fuller bellies. Little did I realise that for a couple of months after starting weaning, the babies would continue to have as many milk feeds as ever alongside their food, and while their tummies got used to digesting new substances they would wake even more frequently with dirty nappies or wind. 

I knew from the outset that I wanted my girls to eat home cooked, unprocessed, simple ingredient, and where possible, organic food. I’m not a snob but I believe nutrition is one of the most important things in life and these new lives needed the very best foundation for their future health.

 My research led me away from starting the girls on the traditional bland and filling, but nutritionally void foods like baby rice, baby porridge, packaged purees and other forms of processed drool; to foods packed with nutrients that were vital for their development: egg yolks, avocado, banana, sweet potato, and butter. Gradually I introduced more vegetables, cheese & yoghurt, fruit,  nuts, meat and fish. Now at 13 months the girls’ diet is more relaxed and includes beans, rice, corn, oats and honey, but I still avoid giving them processed food, and non-organic dairy, vegetables & meat wherever possible.The girls have eaten finger foods from the offset, as they were very strong, could sit up early and were dexterous allowing them to feed themselves (aka baby led weaning). However when they were little and went through growth spurts or hungry days, or now when their teething puts them off food, I supplement their finger foods with my homemade soups, purees, mashes and yogurts.

My approach makes it more time consuming to prepare food than it would if I went down the pouch route, and it takes some forward planning to get out of the door. However there are some great shortcuts, and relatively non-messy foods that we find good for taking out and about (or chosen from a menu if you’re eating out)

Breakfast

Usually we eat breakfast before we need to head out for the day because we get up so early, but occasionally, if going on a long trip, we might get the girls up and to sleep in the car before breakfast, so we need breakfast on the road. 

A great nutritious portable breakfast are banana pancakes. I blend two eggs with one banana and sometimes a teaspoon of nut butter, and fry the mixture into mini pancakes. These will keep fine for a few hours out of the fridge if it’s not too hot, and I can make them the night before. These were great first foods for the girls, but made with just the egg yolks until they got older. 

If we’re eating out, then scrambled egg, bacon and peas can be found almost anywhere that serves breakfast and is the girls’ favourite! 

Lunch

If we’re out for the day we almost always take a packed lunch. It saves money and I can’t guarantee finding suitable food out and about every day. 

Items regularly found in the girls’ lunchbox include sliced organic ham or turkey, cucumber sticks, carrot & apple (now they have more teeth), sticks of organic cheddar, rice cakes, cold roast veg or potatoes normally left over from the night before! 

We rarely eat out for lunch but items we’d pick from a standard menu at one year old are side dishes of vegetables, potatoes, fish, a high quality burger or sausages (cut up and skin removed), or something like a risotto. At the moment I don’t usually give them anything from the children’s menu.

Dinner

When we’re travelling or staying with friends or family we usually cook separately for the girls and then eat later with them. I like to give the girls a hot dinner so items that travel well – tinned and packeted whole foods – do well here.

Something like a chorizo and bean stew can easily be rustled up from dry ingredients, and the girls love this dish!! We’re normally at wherever we’re going to lay our heads for the night for dinner, as the girls go to bed shortly afterwards. Avocado travels well and can accompany many dishes to boost the nutritional value of a meal. If the girls have had a really busy day then I’ll often give them porridge before bed and this can be made with oats and tinned coconut milk for a travel-friendly version. 

Snacks

With such a varied diet I do find it a challenge to think of portable snacks that aren’t repeats of ingredients I use in their main meals! However, the girls do get hungry between meals (even with their milk feeds!) so I tend to revolve a few favourites such as rice cakes (not that nutritious but they aren’t that worrying either) – the Organix ones are great; dried fruit, cheese sticks, homemade flapjacks, cucumber, apples, pears etc. 

Logistics

At the beginning of weaning it can be a daunting prospect to eat outside of the (relatively) controlled environment of your own house. We invested in very cool foldable high chairs that strap on to almost any seat so that if we were anywhere without two high chairs then we weren’t!  Large bibs and plenty of wipes are a must, although I hate the wastage of wipes so I rather use a cloth and water. I keep a blanket in the pram and backpack so we can picnic wherever we are even if the ground is wet or dirty. Lots of mini Tupperware and a decent insulated lunch bag helps keep food fresher and less messy. 

I hope this post shows that it is definitely possible, if a bit exhausting, to get out every single day with twins and keep them fed healthy food. 

Please note that I am not a qualified nutritionist and this post is not intended as professional dietary advice but to inspire ideas only. 

Beach adventures with a baby or babies! 

My favourite place to be is the beach. Pre-babies I would have visions of what it would be like visiting the beach with my children. They’d play happily in rockpools, jumping waves and building sand castles. At 13 months, this glowing vision is gradually beginning to emerge from the at times hilarious, at times very stressful reality of taking babies to the beach!! 

The Summer after my babies were born was really hot. So hot that it quickly became impractical to carry both babies together in my beloved Weego Twin carrier; the combination of our 3 bodies’ heat was, I believed, too hot; and so sadly our adventures had to be made in places suitable for a pram, or when I had someone else with me. On the weekends we made the most of having my husband around, and switched to individual carriers (BabyBjorn) which enabled us to go off-piste without overheating. 

Our idea of a trip to a beach is a quiet, remote beach where we can relax away from the crowds. This inevitably means at least a short hike over uneven terrain not suitable for prams. The carriers enabled us to visit our favourite beaches with the babies. 

Because of the hot weather, we worried about the babies overheating a lot; to the point of paranoia! We invested in a beach tent with UV protection and dressed the babies in light clothing, and found that the breeze usually made the coast the best place to be to stay cool. 

With babies in the front carriers, we could each wear a backpack stuffed with nappies, wipes, change of clothing, hats, suncream, towels and food & drink for us. More often than not, lulled by the sound of the waves and the breeze, the babies would fall asleep in the tent leaving us to take it in turns to go for a swim. 

As with most things, as the babies got older trips to the beach got messier! They discovered the joy of eating sand, crawling into rockpools, using wet sand as a dip for their carrot sticks, and mixing sand into their suncream. My car is covered in a perma layer of sand, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Once our babies outgrew their front carriers we bought backpack carriers from Macpac which they LOVE and have the added bonus of lots of storage so only one item to carry. 

Our trips to the beach aren’t restricted to Summer; we visit all year round. Winter brings its own challenges; trying to keep the babies warm and away from the dogs which are only banned between April & October on our local beach. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard ‘oh he’s very friendly’ when a stranger’s dog has bounded up to my babies; I really don’t care if he’s friendly or not; his jaws could kill them in one little nip so keep them under control or on a lead please!!! 

Here are some things I always consider when visiting the beach: 

  • Tide times: annoying to make a car trip then hike to a beach only to find the tide is in and there’s no sand to pitch the tent on. 
  • What to take in Summer: suncream (I love Jasons – no nasties), sun hats, sunglasses (if they’ll keep them on), plenty of water for all, plenty of non-spoiling food for all, a beach tent, towels, several spare changes of clothes, nappies and wipes. 
  • What to take in Winter: warm hats, gloves, booties that don’t fall off (we struggled with this a lot); weather protection cream for the face; a puddle / splash suit; we love love love the girls hooded puddle suits from Tog 24.
  • Consider access: if the beach is accessible by pram, i.e. If it has a slipway directly onto sand then fantastic!! If not a carrier is great but watch your step and wear sturdy footwear to get onto the sand – falling over with a baby on the rocks is not good. 

Twin life: Surviving a long car journey with baby or toddler twins

A change from your day to day scenery can be as good as a rest when you have baby twins. When they were very young believe it or not longer trips were actually much easier than they are now. We’d take advantage of their long nap times and made several long trips knowing that they’d sleep most of the way. 

When planning a long car trip with babies, several things were always really important: 

  • Recommendations are for a baby not to be in their car seat for any longer than 2 1/2 hours. This meant planning in a long rest stop around this time, somewhere the babies could stretch out and take a rest from the car seat. 
  • Likelihood of being in a traffic jam; you don’t want to get stuck on a boiling hot motorway at a standstill with no chance of getting off! Use a route planner with traffic warnings and check regularly throughout your journey
  • What to do if they wake and its a while to somewhere suitable to stop? Well this is where toys and songs can come into their own. We found if one of us sat in the middle seat between the babies and played with them we could buy ourselves a further 30-40 mins. 
  • Car mirrors are worth their weight in gold – we bought large ones so that the babies could see us and we had a good view of them. 

As the babies got older and started to crawl and climb everything in site, and sleep for less time, longer trips became more of a challenge. Some things we found really useful: 

  • If making a very long journey, we would wake the girls up (yes I know!) early, say 5am. We’d then keep them awake while we finished packing the car, and they would be ready to go back to sleep by the time we left at 7-ish. The bonus being how quiet the roads are at this time of day. We’d then factor in a long break in the journey of 3 hours, by which time they were nearly ready for their normal lunchtime nap, slightly later than usual, and we just did a later bedtime (which enabled us to set up the travel cots when we arrived!). This has worked for us countless times since they dropped to one long nap at 10 months old. 
  • Research soft play centres along your route! Perfect for tiring out wriggly babies half way, plus lots of facilities for changing, feeding etc. we have essentially done a tour of most of the soft play centres across the UK! 
  • To keep them entertained, I recommend stocking your car with a pack of bubbles, a duck quacking whistle, a CD of their favourite songs, and lots and lots of snacks. 

Twin life: Getting out and about when you’re breastfeeding twins

Image credit Mari Owen http://www.childreninnature.co.uk

I’m going to try not to turn this into an evangelical post on the benefits of breastfeeding, although I will just mention at the start that I am very pro-breastfeeding for several reasons; nutritionally the evidence shows that breastmilk is absolutely the best thing for babies; psychologically breastfeeding is the ultimate form of attachment parenting; and in my experience (though I have never formula-fed) breastfeeding is the most convenient way to feed your baby especially when there are two, and especially when you are out and about – no lugging about bottles and formula, flasks of warm water, sterilising and waiting – the milk is quite literally on tap. 
Oops this is beginning to sound quite preachy. Before I get shot down, I know there are many people that really struggle and are eventually unable to breastfeed and that is really sad but in the end it is ok, that is what formula was designed for – to help those mothers who were unable to feed. We had many problems ourselves in getting established and at 13 months still continue to have issues. Not many people know about this, because I tend not to harp on about our feeding problems – for me they have been part and parcel of breastfeeding and so when I get told how lucky I am that I am able to breastfeed twins I just smile and nod. Yes I do count myself lucky but what is the point of telling people about the tears, pain, guilt, hard work (expressing as well as feeding two every 3 hours round the clock to build my supply anyone?) illness, worry and frustration I have been through, and still regularly go through, in order to feed my babies, when I am unlikely to change people’s view that I’m not just ‘one of the lucky ones’ but a stubborn and determined lucky one!! 

So, with that out of the way, I’ll get to the main point of this post. In the early days, my girls fed for 45 minutes at a time each, approximately every 3 hours, and I was expressing in between feeds to build my supply. This meant trips out   could usually be an hour max. Luckily we live near the beach and it was Summer so we could get out for lovely walks most days. By 4 weeks old I didn’t have to express so much, the girls weight gain was satisfactory for the health visitor and so we began to brave longer trips – and as their feeding time began to quicken I could venture further knowing that I’d be able to feed them out and about. By 10 weeks old I had learnt, with much persuasion and support from the local breastfeeding clinic, to feed them at the same time which was a revelation! It halved the time it took to get ready to go out!! From then we have been riding the rollercoaster that is breastfeeding; distraction when out and about, struggling to be ‘discreet’ as they got older and more wriggly, and then their copycat feeding – if one was feeding having to feed the other, which is absolutely not discreet at all, and attracts much attention from anyone who happens to catch the spectacle; most of which I can easily shrug off as curiosity and who can blame them!

As well as describing our journey, I like to give some tips and suggestions for people who might be embarking on theirs with each post, so here goes:

How to get two on when out and about? 

When they were little, I found being on the floor easiest – sit down with my back to a wall preferably, lay one baby on the ground (on blanket or mat), get the other one on (we feed in biological position see here: http://www.nursingnurture.com/positions-for-breastfeeding-twins/) then scoop the other one up with one arm. Obviously if there is someone you trust with you then they can help which is great! Now they are bigger I can get one onto my lap and the other one half clambers up, or if I’m on the floor they now launch themselves onto me from a great distance – ouch!

What to wear? 

Nursing tops are expensive and very unflattering / boring!! My saviour has been the clip down nursing vests (H&M do very reasonable two-packs in lots of different patterns), with any top I like on top – lift said top up and unclip vest top down for quite discreet feeding. 

Where to feed? 

Anywhere and anywhere you want, whenever your baby wants to. In the UK we are legally protected to be able to feed our babies wherever we want and you might want to tell anybody that challenges you that! Please don’t hide away in the toilets – gross and undignified for you and your babies. You can find a quiet corner almost anywhere if you are self-conscious. If we’re out and about in nature I find a rock, tree stump or back against a wall or tree works brilliantly. I have fed on a beach, half way up a mountain, in the woods, and many many more places which I forget. It’s always a good time to take in the view! 

I intended this post to demonstrate that it is far from easy, but very possible to breastfeed your twins when out and about, and eventually can make getting out and about much easier! I know this is a very emotive subject and so it should be, but I in no way mean any offence to those who choose not to breastfeed, every one is free to make their own choices 🙂 

Planning for a day out with twins: part one (pre-weaning)

For a successful trip out with two babies, some thinking ahead is required – sadly it’s goodbye to spontaneity for now! First you have to consider the logistics of getting to where you are going, then numerous other factors such as the amount of time you are going to be out of the house, the facilities where you are going, whether you’ll have any help, and of course what you need to take with you. Let’s face it, you’re never going to be able to travel light with baby twins in tow. 

Here are a number of questions I had to answer to plan any trip out with the girls before they were weaned (a whole new set of challenges – will cover this in part 2): 

  • How long does it take to get there?

If the answer is longer than one hour, I knew it was likely that at least one of the girls would need feeding and mentally planned a few suitable places to stop along the way. I got good at feeding them in the car and so any quiet country lane, layby or supermarket carpark would do. I also religiously planned our trips out around the times they were likely to sleep: pre-weaning they were usually only awake for 1-2 hours at a time, followed by a nap of at least an hour (usually!). If you get to know your babies’ routines pretty well then you can predict what they will probably do. Both my girls slept extremely well in the car so I could usually rely on them sleeping most journeys at that age. I’ll be honest; I have never braved a bus or train journey with the girls so I can’t cover that!

  • How am I going to get them from car to where I’m going? 

If it was for a short walk for walking’s sake then I’d take them in the carrier; anything longer and I’d need my pram – I had a travel system (pram you can click car seats on to and also carrycots) to be able to transport them from pram to car and vice versa without waking – although they usually woke as soon as I turned the engine off! I believe new recommendations are to never leave your babies sleeping in their car seats – all I can say is that is going to make things considerably more difficult for twins mums to get out and about if their babies wake when being moved from car seat to carrycot. A pram that you can clip your bag onto without tipping it backwards is a great thing! Since switching to a lightweight pushchair this is the main thing I have missed. Pram toys (Lamaze toys are great and keep them engaged from newborn to at least one year old) are wonderful for entertaining babies. I also found a muslin cloth which smelt of me (used to mop up milk) were soothing for them when placed in the pram. Consider access – twin prams are not small and more rugged paths need sturdy wheels. 

  • Will I have anyone to help me? 

You can’t and probably shouldn’t always rely on the generosity of strangers to help out if you get in a pickle while you’re out with the babies. That said, a lovely lady once helped me by holding one of the babies while struggling to put up a beach tent on a hot windy day!! If a family member can come with you, great, but I try not to let being alone with the babies stop me; the frustrating exception being our local beach which doesn’t have pram access: ok when I could carry the babies but impossible when they outgrew the carrier. I have recently put one in a front carrier and one in a backpack with bucket & spade and nappies squashed into the pocket!

  • What facilities are where I’m going? 

Are there baby changing facilities? If I’m going for a walk somewhere is there somewhere discreet and soft that I can change them? I have on many occasion changed the babies in the boot of the car! Feeding; is there somewhere I can feed them without feeling uncomfortable (I had to woman-up a bit and not be too self-conscious about feeding anywhere and everywhere). If formula-feeding or bottle feeding expressed milk- somewhere you can warm the bottle? 

  • What is the environment like where I’m going? 

Sunny, windy, hot, cold, wet, noisy, bright etc are all things to consider when dressing the babies and packing my changing bag. However it is best to be prepared for all eventualities which leads me to…

  • What to pack in the changing bag?

Nappies – my general rule is twice as many as I think I need: work out your average by keeping a nappy log at home for a couple of days – loads when newborn and less later on

Wipes, nappy bags, cream & fold-up changing mat

Sun hats, sunglasses & suncream (I love Jason’s suncream)

Spare vest, trousers and top for each – for the inevitable nappy explosions which always happen when out and about

Muslin cloths – for sick and catching milk! 

Spare clothes for me – see above. One of my babies had bad reflux and could shower me from head to toe several times a day, it was impressive. White is a great colour for pre-weaning (and definitely not for post!)

Warm hats, mitts or gloves for colder weather, and a couple of blankets. Also a weather protection cream is great if it’s really cold or windy. 

Raincover & pram toys for the pram 

Snacks & drink for me

The great thing about breastfeeding is you don’t need to pack milk – it’s on tap! However, breast pads might be necessary in the early weeks until your supply stabilises (not always). 

If very soon after birth then maternity pads & spare pants are a good shout (sorry if tmi!) 

Calpol, teething powders or teething gel don’t take up much room and can turn a bad day into a bearable one!! 
When you get home, congratulate yourself on getting out, unpack everything and replenish ready for the next trip! Phew! 

Twin life: First trip out with twins

The first time you go out with twins can be an extremely daunting prospect. It’s a bit like waxing – the quicker it’s done the less painful, and the more you do it the smoother it gets. 

I think I was in complete denial about what I’d been through to bring the girls into the world. In my mind, I still thought I was able to do everything physically and logistically as I had pre-pregnancy. True, I immediately lost around 3 stone in weight of babies, placentas and water, and I felt sprightly in comparison, but I was physically and mentally traumatised!! However, I knew that it was so important for my mental state of mind to get out, and One thing I hadn’t lost was my determination. So, straight after feeding both babies, a nappy change and bundling them up in layers of clothes and blankets, off we went. Me, pale from not quite having recovered from the blood lost at birth, and limping along with painful stitches, I was still determined to march up the steep hill out of our village on a gorgeous summer evening. It did me a huge amount of good to be out after the best part of a week in hospital and a couple of days at home with the blinds drawn. No doubt the babies benefited from the fresh air. We stayed out just half an hour, just enough time to get back home before the babies needed feeding again. It was a success, and gave us a confidence boost to go out again. 

My suggestions for a successful first trip out with twins (or one baby for that matter):

  • Go as soon as possible – the longer you leave it, the more daunted you will be
  • Keep it short, and close to home so should the babies start crying, you can nip back home without too much trauma
  • Go just after a feed and nappy change
  • Carry the babies in a sling or carrier – the motion of you walking and being close to you will be massively comforting for them – I loved carrying my babies with the Weego Twin carrier
  • Being outside in nature will do you all the world of good – probably more so than a trip to the shops!
  • Take it easy – especially if recovering from blood loss / episiotomy / c-section
  • Take a big bottle of water with you