Guest Author - Julixa Newman
There are a wide variety of gifts one can bring to a baby shower, but when a family is expecting twins, the game changes a bit. Having twins does not necessarily mean the parents need two of absolutely everything, so the right research and a great gift can make a guest the hit of the shower. I have surveyed hundreds of twin moms, and have compiled a great list of gifts for a twin baby shower or for the parents themselves at a variety of price points.
Disposable Diapers and Wipes
Just as single babies can really fly through the diapers, twins make the diaper expense seem similar to a monthly car payment. Trips to the store either have to be really frequent, or the family has to fill the closet with plenty of supplies. The more the merrier; there are gift certificates for Target, Diapers.com, or Walmart-make it somewhere convenient to the family. Do you know if they prefer to shop online? Can you Google their area to find out what store makes sense for them? Diapers, wipes, baby wash, lotion and baby shampoo are all welcome gifts. I would stay away from baby formula, since there are so many brands and preferences. If you feel comfortable enough to ask their favorite brands of the other items, skip the certificates and help them by picking up the stuff yourself and bringing it over!
Everyone wants to bring the gift that stirs up conversation, so why not stand out? There are several products geared specifically for twins. One is the TwinTrexx™ twin baby carrier; at around $125, this is a 6 way carrier that can be used in multiple positions, and can even be separated for Mom and Dad to each carry one twin to lighten the load. It has pockets on the sides for easy access to keys, or phones, and it comes in a unisex burgundy color, so it's great for any combination of boys or girls.
Here's another interesting one, the Bebe Bottle Sling. Someone finally found a way to feed several children at once. This contraption suspends the bottle above the baby while in the car seat, for those times when both babies want to eat right now. If they lose the nipple, it comes right back to them. They also have a triplet pack!
I also found bath towels and towel sets to be a popular gift with new parents. I know I always wanted to use a dry one, so I had plenty in the laundry rotation. While there are plenty of basic ones available at the mega-stores, http://Stuff4Multiples.com has several cute themed choices available as well.
Lessen the cleaning workload
Twin mom forums all have the same running joke. The last time any twin mom cleaned enough to their satisfaction was when they were still pregnant. House cleaning falls down a twin mom's priority list really fast after the babies come along. They want to do it, but time has just become too precious. A search of the family's local area on the internet (or in the phone book) will give you some names of cleaning services that will give them a good house cleaning the way they used to do it. Make some calls and find out what services they offer, and for what prices, how long they stay, etc. Be thorough so your friends don't have to ask once they're at the house, and they can keep their attention focused on the babies. If you'd rather, and you are close enough to the parents that you were going to come visit anyway, buy some supplies prior to your visit and do the job yourself! If your friend was one of those people who spent half their time keeping the house clean, this is a great gift.
Take a few shifts
Speaking from experience and conversations with many mothers of multiples, the sleep deprivation one experiences from tending to multiple children throughout the night can be absolutely maddening. One's crying wakes the other, one won't eat at the same time, and before you know it, you've been up all night. This is a gift that should only be offered by close friends, but schedule a visit to come and help out a few weeks or months after the babies are born. If you can take one night (or a few during a longer stay), and stay up to feed and/or change the babies when they need it, you will re-charge your friends batteries like you cannot imagine. What's even better is that they will love you for it. Even if they wake up to hand off the crying one and fall back in bed, the difference between that and staying up for an hour to try to feed makes a huge difference. (TIP-remember when feeding time was last, and when you are shortly expecting them to need it, pick one up and feed them BEFORE the crying starts. Trust me, you'll be marked a hero) If you're up to it, take the babies' laundry to the washer and get it ready for the mom, or if she doesn't mind, throw it in yourself. That stuff piles up quickly. Other things you can do while visiting (besides cleaning) are cooking a nice meal, washing bottles/dishes in the sink, or simply letting Mom nap during the day and watching over the babies for a little while.
Other neat ideas
After changing 100 diapers in a week, or cleaning everything she sees on the fly, your friend will have no time to take care of herself, let alone pamper herself. A manicure/pedicure certificate will always boost her spirits, and if you want to spend the extra dough (if she is a fan), a massage will ease those tired, achy muscles. More importantly, these will give her an hour off the baby job-and get her off of her feet. If she has a healthy support staff, a day at the spa might even be possible.