Twins: Nappies, bottoms & bathing
The bond between multiples
Same as a singleton baby, your twins will do number ones and number twos… frequently. So, same as a singleton Mum, you need to make the choice between disposable or cloth nappies. The difficulty with twins is knowing how many nappies to have. The simple answer is… a lot!
As a general rule, newborns will use between 6-10 nappies a day - a day being 24 hours. So you know what to do with that number - double it!
Asking for nappies is a good idea for a baby shower or, when you see them on special at supermarkets or department stores, grab a couple of boxes.
I remember someone asking me how many nappies we used in a day when my boys were newborns. I replied with "oh about 16" and their response? "Gee that seems like a lot! We never used that many…" But she never had twins!
Disposable nappies are extremely handy and easy to put on and get off; there's no denying it. They are made in such a way that the 'deposits' shall we call them, are drawn away from baby so they are not sitting in their number ones and twos for too long creating nappy rash.
One of the interesting arguments which is pro disposable nappies is that although they are not terrific for the environment in taking up so much space at the tip, they are not using detergents and water to clean them as cloth nappies are.
There are many different brands of disposable nappy on the market and a good indicator of quality is price. Price will determine the absorbency ability of the nappy as well as materials used.
Your babies will probably be in a "newborn" size nappy (up to 5 kg) when they are born and may be for a while as twins are generally smaller than singleton babies. A hint is to stock up. A box of newborn nappies will hold about 108 nappies - do the maths; if you use 16 nappies per day you will get through about a box a week.
Asking for nappies is a good idea for a baby shower or, when you see them on special at supermarkets or department stores, grab a couple of boxes; some brands will let you trade in nappies for the next size up when you need too - just consult the individual companies. There are also bulk buying stores online that are competitively priced. Just make sure you do your research as you can grab a top quality bargain at certain stores over others.
Cloth nappies have their own positive points. The most obvious being the money you will save closely tied with the environmental factor.
Allow for 12 cloth nappies per child per day; this way if there is a major leakage you have some on backup. So around 24 cloth nappies per day should do your twins- more if you don't want to have to wash the cloth nappies at the day's end.
There are nappy washing/delivery services available, and can be a great gift idea - or mention it to the mother-in-law, where they deliver you a bunch of fresh nappies at the beginning of the week and pick up the stinky ones at the end. Prices range for this service; your local yellow pages should have details of some in your area.
To accompany the nappies you will need to buy some nappy liners to help stop leaks as well as some waterproof pants that you can put over the cloth nappy, again to help with leaking. Some pins with safety latches on the top to do the nappy up and you and ready to rock and wrap!
There are countless easy-fold cloth nappies on the market where you simply place the child onto the nappy and it pretty much folds itself; the internet or your local baby store is a great resource for finding these little gems.
Nappies and wipes go hand in hand; you take the nappy off, you wipe, you put the nappy back on. With twins, bulk buying wipes will save you time and money as you will go through these like they are going out of fashion. Of course you can always use a facecloth dipped in warm water to wipe your babies' bots.
Nappy rash is extremely uncomfortable for your babies and is caused by too much moisture around the sensitive skin, amongst other things.
To combat this try to let your babies be free of the nappy in some 'nappy off' time - as much as possible. This can be difficult with really new newborns as they tend to not have much awake time at all, but even five minutes will let the fresh air in and, hopefully, kick the nappy rash out!
If either of your babies develop nappies rash in the first few months, use a barrier cream which acts as a barrier (surprise, surprise) between the number ones and twos and your baby's skin.
Avoid using lots of bath products in your babies' baths as the chemicals can dry their skin out and sting already sore nappy rash. Water on it's own is enough to clean their skin at this age as they don't really get dirty, unless of course your newborn has been unusually active and rolled in the mud whilst eating an ice cream and playing paintball!
As previously mentioned, water on its own is enough to clean your twins in the early stages of their lives; trying to keep chemicals against their skin to a minimum will stop nappy rash as well as reactions and skin irritations. Bathing your babies everyday is not essential in the early days but can be a great way to calm them down, get them used to water and establish a night time routine.
You can choose to buy a plastic baby bath, you can choose to buy two plastic baby baths or you can use the bath tub, if you have one.
Baby stores sell bath cradles that are a steel frame with a terry towelling cover on them, which baby lies on in a tub. Always make sure an adult is ever-vigilant whilst the twins are in the bath - never leave them alone. In the early days, if possible, try to make bath time coincide with your partner's arrival home or when an older brother or sister is available, until you get your confidence up in bathing two babies.
Vicki Morris is an author, a teacher and self-taught mother of identical twins Zake and Kaeleb. Her book Double or Nothing! A Guide to Twin Pregnancy is due for release next year. Discuss twins & multiples in the Essential Baby forum.