As they grow into toddlers, your equipment needs will change. Below, you'll find advice and experience from seasoned parents of multiples.
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Exersaucers and Walkers
High Chairs & Booster Seats
"My 13-month-old twins use (and love) those blue bath seats that swivel around. I like them because I can pull one baby out and dry/dress her/him while the other one plays in the tub. I don't leave the bathroom, but I feel more secure being otherwise occupied if I know the remaining baby is in a seat and can't easily slip under water or stand up. We've been using these seats since they were 6 months old"
"We had those blue bath seats too, but recently had to trade them in for a different model. We ended up getting the white ones with the strap (made by "The First Years") because my one incredibly active son likes to try to stand up in his seat. When we say "NO, SIT!!" he understands completely what we mean, but thinks its a game and just laughs at us while he continues to try to stand. The strap has taken care of this problem quite nicely."
"I got one that the front opens up to make getting them in and out easier. That was one thing I always hated about bathseats is that I always ended up scratching [my daughter]'s legs getting her out of hers."
"My twins are almost 14 months and I stopped using the seats as soon as they could sit unassisted. I hated the way the seats scrapped their legs as I took them out."
"We moved our [boy/girl] twins into the big tub at 7 months and put them both in at once using those blue plastic bath seats that swivel. I just saw them at Target recently for about $9.00 each. I swear by them! I generally do the bath alone, although [my husband] joins in for the diapering/PJ party after. With the seats, I didn't have to worry about one of them slipping under and then the other slipping while I went after the first one. It just made me much more comfortable and let me sit back and sing and splash and play with abandon. My kids loved the seats, too, and never tried to get out. When [my husband] wasn't around at all to help even after baths, I could pull one child out, dry and diaper right there in the bathroom while keeping an eye on the other child, then take the second child out. I wouldn't have had the nerve to do that without the seats.
"Coincidentally, we just tried doing baths without the seats (the kids are almost 20 months now and are outgrowing them). My son kept picking up the seats off the bathroom floor and handing them to me before he got in the bath. He just couldn't understand what he was supposed to do without them. It didn't take long for him to enjoy a little more freedom in the tub, though!"
"I thought those seats were great when I started bathing [my oldest son] in the big tub. Until I noticed two problems. First, he loved to hold on to the ring so that I couldn't take him out. If I pried one hand off, he'd grab on with the other. If I got both hands, I didn't have my hands free to pick him up. Second, if he didn't want to get in he'd spread his legs out so I couldn't get him into the seat, and if he squirmed too much on the way out, he'd scrape his legs on the ring."
"By the time [my boy/girl twins] were ready for the big tub, we just got a spout cover and a big no-slip mat for the bottom of the tub, and let them play as much as they want. The bathroom is child-proofed enough that we can diaper/dress one while the other is in the tub, and feel safe enough leaving the 'loose' one if we need to quickly grab the other. Or if we close the bedroom doors and the gate at the top of the stairs, we can let them run around the hallway too."
"We used a smaller round plastic laundry basket when our 2 were smaller babies and not real good at sitting up by themselves, but they were big enough to lean against each other and stay up, or even back to back worked too. when they got bigger we bought the rectangular plastic laundry basket."
"I just wanted to comment on the laundry basket 'bath tub' idea. Its' a great idea and works pretty well for the most part. But my daughter (name omitted) liked to try to drink the water so when she was in the laundry basket she would bend over and put her face in the water to try and get a drink. She even learned how to keep her nose out of the water. Of course I didn't want her doing it, plus it defeated the purpose of the laundry basket in that I still had to have my hands on her constantly and couldn't watch Isabella as closely, so she got moved into a bath seat so she can't get her face into the water and Isabella gets to sit in the laundry basket."
"When my boys outgrew the baby bathtub but weren't quite ready for the 'big' bathtub I purchased an inflatable insert for the big bathtub. Both fit comfortably in it and you don't have to worry about them slipping, falling or bumping their heads since it is inflated.It also holds just the right amout of water. I liked this much better than the bath seats that I used when both of my daughters were little."
"As they got older and were able to sit up well, we would put them both in the tub with either Mom or Dad (It was a BIG tub!) and have playtime/bathtime. Whoever wasn't in the tub got a little peace and quiet for a few mintues, and when the person in the tub was ready for dry-offs, they'd just holler."
"If you have a shower stall, get a flat, rubber sink clogger to clog the drain, then just put maybe one or two inches of water in it and bath toys. Because of the small area, there is less room to move around, less room to get hurt in if they move around, and you don't have to lean over so far to reach them."
Other parents have shared that one parent bathes one child in the shower, then switches babies with the parent outside to get the second one bathed.
Another possibility is to have the infant sit up in the kitchen sink and bathe them individually in the sink.
Be sure to get one of the long bath mats, two smaller ones with suction cups or adhesive decals to line the bottom of the tub.
One mom reminds us, "I think these bath seats/rings give one a false sense of security. A child can drown just as easily in a bath seat as without, and there have been cases of this happening. The best safety gizzmo is always mommy/daddy. I am sure you all know this but it is certainly important enough to bring up every now and then."
"I usually made sure I had the phone there in case I needed it."
"One thing I did while my little ones were in the tub was soak my feet in the tub with them. Not only did I have wonderfully soft feet, but I could tell when the water was getting cold and it was time to take the little mermaids out. Since you should never leave any child in the bath tub alone, you might as well do something for yourself at the same time."
When a mom asked listmembers about their experiences with exersaucers and walkers, she got mixed results. Some people's infants loved the walkers and hated the exersaucers, while others had the opposite experience. Here are some of the points that were brought up with each:
"The exersaucer is okay with the babies but I would have to say they do prefer the walker. In addition, having 2 exersaucers would take up an inordinate amount of space unless the room is very large."
"Keep in mind that they don't know that there's such a thing as being mobile in a walker if you don't introduce them to one! If you have one of each and they each get a taste of both, then they may get frustrated when they're put in the exersaucer because they know there's something else out there that moves around (especially if the other twin is in it)!"
"my vote is for the exersaucers! I used walkers with my oldest two and luckily never had any accidents. However, I must say that the exersaucers were a godsend for me when my b/g twins became active and needed greater amounts of entertainment. Since they did not have walkers, they didn't know they were missing anything. I could put them in the exersaucers and they could be entertained for an hour or better. They were wonderful for when DH and I would be working outside. They got the fresh air and mom had peace of mind."
"The kids *love* the saucers, and we can put them out on the porch, or in the kitchen when we're cooking, or upstairs in the hallway while giving baths, and I take them to playgroups to keep my babies from being stepped on by the rest of the kids, who are all 1.5 to 2.5 years."
"Walkers can tip easy also. If your child sees a toy on the floor or on a table and leans over the weight can tip the walker over. Or what happened to us was that one child was trying to hug the other while in the walkers and started to pull both of them over( I caught them in time)."
"My biggest hesitation about walkers is that they can get at things and pull them down etc. before you're necessarily ready to totally babyproof an area. The exersaucer is in one place all the time, you can leave them there for a safe period of time if necessary, and they're not going anywhere."
"I have my home totally babyproof in the living room and kitchen and hallway...my 10 month old twins LOVE their walkers. ... They still enjoy the exersaucer and Bungee baby as well, but the walkers help them to release that pent up energy....they actually have started to sleep through the night (yay!) because they can get alot of exercise in the walkers. I wouldn't trade the walkers for anything!"
"With me the walkers prevented me having to walk holding their hands for the 12 hrs a day they were awake. That was with all 3 of mine. I have to say, the ones I had couldn't possibly tip. [My son] even got to were he would climb out, and it still never tipped. I did have to take away the walker at that point (didn't want him falling off it, or trying to use it to climb onto something higher.)"
"The excersaucer is great for allowing them to sit up and look around and be more a part of things, but the walker they loved because they could get around in it."
When it comes to the topic of exersaucers and walkers, there are a lot of issues regarding development and safety that need to be considered. As always children should not be left unattended in these devices, and they should not be used excessively. Children do still have the need for opportunities to explore things naturally on the floor.
Be sure to talk with your doctor and read the latest news in parenting magazines about issues with using these pieces of equipment. Also, keep in mind that exersaucers and walkers might not be beneficial for children with physical/motor delays or development problems. If your child has such delays, consult your physical or occupational therapist before using an exersaucer or walker with your child.
Here are some comments that people have posted to the list about their high chairs. This list is in no way intended to be complete or 100% up to date. As always, YMMV! (your mileage may vary)
As with most pieces of infant equipment, if you buy it used, be sure to check with the manufacturer to see if there have been any recalls.
"I ... have the Cosco Options 5. I just put it together and noticed that it slants forward. I will not put my kids in it. ... I really do not think that it is safe."
"We got the EVENFLO 3 in 1 system when our twins were 4 months old. It starts out as a high chair, can go to a chair to pull upto the dining room table & then later, pull the parts apart & it is a little chair & desk for your children. Our kids are just a year old so it still is a high chair for us. Very easy to use but my husband found it time consuming to put together, a lot of screws. But I hated the idea of spending a lot of money on something we'd use for a short time ... so since this turns into a desk & chair for them to use, I thought it was practical."
"I have these high chairs, also. I know they were a life saver for me. The Evenflo carrier snaps right on the base. I had both babies on the side of my bed. If I went into another room, all I had to do was push the base. Since they are trying to walk, I removed the chairs from the base, so that they can walk around it for practice and support. It was worth the $$$$. Easy to clean and use. I put mine together while on bed rest. I guess the screws did not bother me, b/c I had nothing but time on my hands."
"I'm very happy with this high chair too. My boys are 16 mths. and we get a lot of use out of it. We have just started to switch back and forth from the high chair set up to the little table and chair setup. It literally takes less than a minute to take apart and put together.
"The only negative, is that you need to use both hands to release the tray, but I never really found this to be a big problem (it just would have come in handy once in awhile)."
"Buy used Fisher-Price high chairs with navy blue floral cushions!!
"This is the absolute best piece of advice I could give you as a MOM. My mother gave us the one which belonged to my 14-year-old brother and we bought a matching one at a second-hand store. (Fisher-Price made them for several years and they were very popular, so they're all over the place, second-hand). This is the best deal I have come across yet. Let me sing the praises of these high chairs:
- "They are supremely durable! Both of our chairs look brand-new. Rarely do you see one in poor shape. The frames are metal-and-plastic, the tray is plastic and the seats are vinyl, so they're easy to keep clean. But this is the key: the buttons which move the tray and fold the chair are big, simple and plastic, so they can't get gummed-up or break.
- "They fold! Most new high chairs today have gimmicks like tilting backwards, detaching from the base and clamping onto the table, adjustable height, transforming into a desk and chair . . . but most of them are meant to be permanent fixtures in your kitchen! That's not how I like to decorate - - I prefer to fold up the high chairs and put them in the closet at the end of the day. Most of the new high chairs which fold are the cheap, metal kind, like you find in restaurants. These are nice and they fold!
- "They're attractive. The plastic is creme-colored and the print on the cushions is slightly different from year to year, but it's always a small, simple floral print on navy vinyl - fine for boys or girls. A lot of the prints I see on new high chairs are loud, ugly swirls or paint splotches. Who wants to look at that 3 times a day - particularly in stereo, when you have twins?
- "They're cheap! The average price for a used high chair in good repair is about $30. New ones are closer to $100 - and I haven't found a new one yet that I like as much as the ones we have!"
"I agree completely!! These are great high chairs. I had one of these and one Graco (not sure of style), and I got rid of the Graco as soon as I could find another of the Fisher Price (used, of course!
). My dad got one for me at a yard sale, so I don't know how much that one cost, but the one I bought was $25.00 in excellent shape. I have a tiny house, and they fold up and fit into one corner of the living room. They are also very stable--my boys weigh about 25 pounds each and have spent the last couple of days climbing in and out and in and out etc. after every meal, with no tipping of the chairs *at all*."
"We have basic model Graco high-chairs and they are literally falling apart. They have been in use for 15 months total and we're nowhere near done with them. My husband used a whole tube of epoxy and half of a Sunday glueing parts back together. These are definitely not on my A-list!"
"I got two Peg Perrego Prima Pappa high chairs as a shower gift. They are wonderful. When the guys were little, I had them tilted all the way back for bottles at the lowest setting. I could put one on either side of me and we were all as comfy as I could possibly be. Now, they're totally upright in the highest setting. I recommend them highly."
We love the Playschool 123 chairs, just bought our second. Since our guys eat, but can't sit yet, these are great 'cause they tilt back and have a bar between the baby's legs so they don't slide. our toddler used hers right up to the table until we moved her to a booster. They're a little big and a little ugly, but function over form at this point! Our new one has a "microban" tray that s'possedly helps keep the bacteria down..who knows about that..we're not at the tray stage yet anyway. Plus the babies like them better than their bouncy seats 'cause they're higher up, and we couldn't get two bouncy seats on the table anyway (and its not safe to have them up there in the first place)."
"We have the Playskool 123 highchairs and they are the best. Here is a list of their features.
- seats recline...great for that morning bottle after breakfast.
- chair can be at 4 or 5 different heights. At first we always had it at the highest setting, when the kids were older they wanted to climb in by themselves, so we lowered the seats. Now we have adjusted the hieght so that they fit up to the kitchen table.
- There is a plastic bar that goes between the legs so that the child cannot slip out.
- seat pads are washable and removable
- tray is extra wide which helps to keep some food from falling on the floor.
"They do take up quite a bit of room, but we have found them to be worth it."
"I have found that a 'first years' (I think that's the brand) booster seat with the tray (it's a blue chair with red and green sides, and a yellow tray) works great (at least for my singleton). I find that it goes about anywhere...kitchen table, or in a chair while we are eating, on the floor, on the couch...where ever I might need to put it. And given that we don't have a lot of extra room it doesn't seem to take up much space. It's adjustable so that when they get bigger the seat part isn't as high. The tray comes off and can be used as a regular booster seat when they are big enough for the table. I don't think I'll buy regular high chairs for the twins...just those. It just requires a spare chair, which I'm not sure you'll have (depending on family size) so it might not be convenient for you. I just know for us it works great. Our son likes to sit it in and play with his toys on the tray too...makes him less mobile than when he's in the walker which is nice at times too. I think that they are only around $15 (but maybe not), this is the one I had for my 6 year old. It seems like there are enough things that they quickly outgrow so I'm sold on progressive furniture."
"I (also recommend) the first years seats. We were given two highchairs that we immediately gave away again when we got these seats at around six months. My favorite thing about them is I can put them in an all-one-piece resin lawn chair and we eat outside whenever the weather permits. When we're done I can just hose the whole thing off! This was *wonderful* last summer when they were just a year and spaghetti was more fun to wear then eat. I still can't imagine trying to feed them spaghetti inside! They also travel very well to Grandma's house!"
"For the Mom that said her little ones slid down in the high chair and is feeding in a stroller: Buy a set of Hugsters to use in the high chair. These fit over the back of any chair so they are useful when you are out anywhere where a high-chair is unavailable. It snugs the baby in tight and worked wonderfully for me when my boys were tiny, tiny (and HUNGRY) 9-month olds whose heads barely cleared the high-chair tray. They are not cheap but well worth every cent I spent!"
"My other tip is to buy Wiggle-Wraps for when your high chairs aren't handy. These are strips of cloth with wide Velcro bands (and a teddy-bear applique on the front :-) ) which basically "tie" your baby into any chair. I know that sounds bad, but since they're cloth, they're more comfortable (and more portable!) than booster seats. You can easily fit 2 of them in your purse!
"We use them in restaurants which only have one high chair; as portable high chairs at friends' and relatives' homes; to keep the babies in grocery carts . . . We also use them to keep the babies still for short periods - sit them in a chair near you, give them a book or toy and use the Wiggle-Wrap to make sure they don't fall down. Often, they feel really important, sitting up in a chair next to you!
"They're machine-washable and they're also cheap ..."
"We have the Superyard XT. It's white with interlocking panels. You can also get the extension panels (I think it's 2) to make it even bigger. We have been using it indoors and out with our girls since they were 10 months. But definitely get the XT (extra tall) one as it is higher. "
"The company is North States, and this is the link for their Super Yards. If you have the old model, you can also order the extension for them. Just contact Customer service. http://www.northstatesind.com/juvenile/juv_main_frame.htm
When we moved into our two story house we did some research on what are the best gates. We looked in Consumer Reports and they said one called the Safeway Model is the best. It actually needs to get attached into the wall or banister. This is the only type you should get since the pressure mounted ones can get pushed out. We have one at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom and they work great. They are a little pricey but I think worth it for the safety!"
One mom wanted advice on how to keep the bed sheets on the bed! Here are some of the replies she got:
"I just bought the sheets that are like pillow cases so that babies can not strangle by removing the sheets while asleep. They slip on like a pillow case and then velcro on the bottom. The mother that invented them lost her son when he strangled in his sleep by pulling off the sheet and getting tangled in them at 13 months old. ... Here is the web page where I got the sheets from. I just received mine the other day and I definitely sleep better knowing they can't pull them off. http://www.info-asyst.com/babysheets/."
"I solved this problem by sewing cords to the ends of the sheets that I can then tie underneith the mattress, both on the sides and the ends. This way, there is no way the kids can get the sheets off the bed!"
"I have seen some clips that look kind of like suspenders that you can put under the mattress to keep the sheet in place. They were in the bedding or housewares section of a department store."
"I have one of these and they work wonderful. To me they are more secure. I probably started using mine about 6 months old. Of course, mine is an older version and doesn't have the cover for the handles. I still use mine to fasten the twins in chairs at other people's houses and church dinners. Work great!!"
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