One of the most overwhelming things in our twin journey was baby gear. What to buy. What not to buy. What’s ok secondhand, and what you must have new. With several children finances become even more of an issue, and yet twin gear appears to come with astonishing price (at least in New Zealand). We saw some twin prams that cost more that our car. As much as we tried to be wise with our spending, some purchases (even if they were based on our experience with our older daughter) ended up a waste of money, and yet some other things we din’t think to buy.
I decided to start a product review category in this blog, to share what I found most useful, and what I wouldn’t buy again if I had a chance. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of those brands, not getting any commission of them, so all product reviews are impartial, based on my experience.
First, one of my most used equipment – breast pump.
Pros: I believe that breast pump is a must-have if you are blessed with twins. Even if you are successfully breastfeeding from day one and don’t have any issues with milk supply, it is nice to have expressed milk so that others can give you a hand with feeding every so often (and you can have extra sleep!!). If you have any issues with supply (which is highly likely) then breast pump can really help. Also even if you aim to breast feed doing predominantly bottle feeds (which is what happened to me – see this post for the full story), then you might be spending more time with your breast pump than with your husband.
Cons: It can be an expensive investment, and if by any chance you won’t have milk than you’ve wasted your money. However, good breast pumps are in high demand, so most likely you’d be able to sell it.
I have used three models of breast pumps, one manual and two electric, and reviews for each of them are below. In my experience, a small not expensive manual breast pump is sufficient for a single predominantly breastfed baby. For twins, electric double pumps are much more practical – after all, nothing will be as valuable for you as your time.
Avent manual breast pump
A good, reliable breast pump I used with my first daughter. She was mainly breastfed though, so I used it infrequently, mostly to regulate my oversupply of milk – or to express if I wanted to skip a feed and have a drink. It worked well, but expressing takes quite a bit of time with those, and it’s definitely not the most pleasant experience. Another downside compared to electric pumps is that you cannot control the strength, and sometimes you might want to turn it up or down. Oh yes, and you might get a sore hand if you are pumping a lot (not to mention sore nipples).
I am not using it now for the twins, but keeping it as a spare in the car. I’ve already had a couple of incidents of sore breasts because we were out at relatives for longer than expected, and I couldn’t express. So I always have a spare with me now.
Medela electric double breast pump
I used those breast pumps while I was in the maternity unit with twins, and they are amazing. So comfortable, very versatile settings (you can control both strength and pumping speed). Everything comes apart and clips back in really easily and very well made. Double pump can be switched to single mode if needed. Another thing that I love is that the collectors come in different sizes, so you can chose one that matches you breast/nipples size. This makes it much more comfortable, and using the wrong size can apparently damage your nipple and be painful.
One substantial down side of Medela pumps is their price, we couldn’t afford one of those. It may be possible to find them cheaper second hand, but I’m always a bit hesitant when buying second hand electronics, I like them coming with a warranty.
Unimom electric double breast pump
Not as fancy as Medela, those pumps are also much more affordable, and yet have really good reputation. We ended up buying one of those for our twins, and this was one of the purchases I’ve never regretted – don’t know what I’d do without it. We did consider hiring a pump for a while, but actually I used it for over 5 months now non-stop, so I’m sure hiring costs by now would be comparable with purchasing.
The pump is very gentle because of a really soft gel shield, and at the same time it is pretty efficient. It has a strength control (but not the speed).It can also be switched to single mode. In general the expressing with this pump is pleasant, I never was sore afterwards, although it does tend to take a bit longer for me than it did with Medela. Still much better than manual pumping of course.