**Hot Topic Alert!! Keep an open mind if reading, and kindly refrain from unleashing unnecessary judgement. Thank you!! #EndTheMomWars**
When our twins started climbing out of their cribs at 19 months, we were terrified. Terrified they would fall while climbing out half asleep, terrified that they would get into trouble in their room or elsewhere in the house in the middle of the night, and terrified that none of us would be sleeping ever again. We immediately converted their beds to toddler beds, and bye bye went their beautiful naps and stress-free bed time. Bye bye went sleeping through the night. Bye bye went having my bed for just me and my husband. The next 2 months were tough, to say the least. We quite often ended up co-sleeping with the twins and our older son (who shares a room with the twins). In that situation I can't sleep well because someone is always kicking me, and I'm scared one of the kids will fall out of bed, not to mention the girls don't sleep well together - one will wake and be pissed the other is next to mommy and bite her and then they're both up screaming! Sigh.
I'd been venting on Facebook and one of my friends recommended a crib tent by Aussie Cot Net Co that saved her sanity - it had been recommended to her by a sleep consultant who basically told her that children this young just don't have the will-power to stay in bed.
I mean, it makes sense. There's a reason they make seat belts for high chairs and strollers. Do you really expect a 1 or 2 year old to stay in one spot when the world is calling to them to come and explore, or all they want is to cuddle up with mommy? Nope. And as far as laying down the law with rules and rewards and consequences, yeah, not so much working with my wee ones just yet. I watched many Super Nanny clips to no avail. I was in their room for 90 minutes each night putting them back in their beds, as soon as one was in, the other would jump out. If I left the room to end the "game", they would climb up to the windowsill and started jumping around and banging on the glass, or they would bang on the doors and scream, or start opening and slamming shut the kitchen door (and our downstairs neighbor would break out her broomstick and start banging on her ceiling). It wasn't safe and I was seriously at a breaking point (as were our neighbors, yay city living...)
Suffice it to say I reached out to get two of those crib tents for review ASAP! Our "Baby Crib Safety Nets" (also called Crib Popup Safety Net) came the next day, I reinstalled the 4th crib rail on both cribs, and installed the crib tents (the latter of which took all of 5 minutes for both cribs - it's SO EASY!) - just watch my demo below to see me unbox the tents and give a demo of how they work!!
The zippers are stiff so they're not easy for little kids to work, plus they can be pulled to either the inside or outside and completely shut, so their little fingers can't reach the zipper or poke a finger through to pull it down. The tent is made from a tight-woven mesh that is breathable and see through, and the wire frame literally pop right back up if you pull them down, so there really doesn't seem a way for them to come down on the child to entrap them. The carry-case gives instructions on how to twist the tent back into a flat circle for easy storage and travel (they also make a version specifically for mini cribs and pack 'n plays if you prefer traveling with that).
There are two ties for each corner of the crib, made of thick mesh fabric. The crib tent fits snugly down under the corners and sides of the mattress (the material is satin down by the mattress), but does not go all the way across the bottom, so if you needed to you could untie the corners and yank it up and off from above without removing the mattress from the crib. More likely you would be utilizing one of the two windows to get your child in and out, and pulling out the mattress for changing sheets. Though, if you don't already know about QuickZip, these sheets are amazing and even more helpful if you are using a crib tent or bunk beds - you just zip off the top of the sheet and don't have to take the mattress out to change the fitted sheet!! (See my QuickZip review here!).
The Baby Crib Safety Net meets all US Consumer Product Safety Commission baby product requirements, however I would recommend carefully checking your crib tent daily for any tears in the mesh, because a child could possibly get caught in a hole if they managed to make one. There have been several other kinds of crib tents that have been recalled due to injury or death of children, so, be reminded it's not advised to put anything in the crib, even a bumper, pillow, or crib tent, and choosing to do so should not to be taken lightly. Also, it should be noted many of the other "hacks" parents try to keep their toddlers in the crib longer have risks as well, for example, when wearing a sleep sack or pajamas that have been altered to make climbing harder, a child is more likely to fall head first if they manage to get over the rail. Yikes!
All that said, you do what you gotta do and what you feel is best for your children and family as a whole. You feel me?
So, how has it been going for us using the crib tents? We've used them for the past 3 nights and each night has been better than the last!! The first night, our twins laid down and went to sleep in the tents without a whimper, but they were up screaming at midnight and I brought them to my bed. The second night one of the girls screamed for about 10 minutes before laying down, but she slept through the night! Her sister woke around midnight and I brought her to bed. But last night, one of the girls whined for 5 minutes at bedtime and woke crying at midnight (but I was able to sooth her and put her back down into her bed quietly) and they both slept in their beds til 6:30AM (10.5 hours)!!! Ah-may-zing!!
So, the crib tents seem to be working to help the girls realize they need to stay in their beds to sleep, and that nighttime is not the time for exploring or cuddling with mama. We talk about how everyone sleeps best in their own comfy bed, with their own pillows and stuffed animals and no one bumping into them. We talk about how they can cuddle with their baby dolls and have a sip of water if they wake up. Of course, they're not even 2 years old and talking about this alone just doesn't cut it. But together with the crib tents, we may be on to something. I really really hope these crib tents are the solution I'm counting on them being!!
There are also a couple of other reasons you may want to try out a crib tent: 1) they can keep pets out of your child's bed, 2) keep bugs out of your child's bed, and 2) protect a newborn baby from an older sibling (for example, a toddler who wants to "take care" of his little sister - you can flip the zippers to be inside the tent, and a toddler won't be able to open it from the outside).
You can find the Baby Crib Safety Net for sale on their website, and the owner warned there are some knockoffs on Amazon with paid reviews - these knockoff crib tents have not undergone the scrutiny of testing and she warns they may be using inferior materials and design, so be careful!!
Because many of you reading this review are having trouble with your child's sleep, I want to give a shoutout to my friend and AMAZING sleep consultant, Achieve with Carolina!! She has helpful (free!!) Facebook chats and seminars here in NYC, and offers fee-based consulting over the phone or in person. She doesn't believe in a "quick fix" but rather to look at the whole child and family - including the sleeping environment, sleep routine, and even the child's diet!
Have you encountered any sleep troubles with your baby or toddler? Have you used the help of a sleep consultant or any sleep aids? I'd love to hear from you - leave a comment below!!
While you're here, don't miss the chance to enter to win my $300 value Back to School Goodies Giveaway, running through July 26!!! Clickity Click Here!!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
**updated in 2020: rock 'n plays and similar products have been recalled - DO NOT purchase these second hand, they can be dangerous**
In celebration of our twins' half birthday, I'd like to present you with the products I deem must-haves for baby twins - the things we simply couldn't have survived without! I'll also throw in a few which may not be *essential* but are fun to add to your baby registry or splurge on if you have the budget! Ready, set, GO!!!
Twins Prep Book & Classes
"What To Do When You're Having Two" will educate you on how to eat for three and get through your pregnancy, what to expect at the birth, how to tandem breastfeed or bottle feed, create schedules, interview pediatricians and nannies, you name it!! While you're at it, check out author Natalie Diaz' awesome website, Twiniversity, and in-person and on-line twins prep classes!
Tandem Nursing / Feeding Pillow
There are 2 awesome pillows out there for tandem feeding twins. Mothers tend to be divided over preferring one over the other, so I really can't say definitively that one is better. Personally, I preferred the My Brest Friend Twins Feeding Pillow but only because I found the height of the pillow higher and better for me. The Twin Z Pillow (see my review here) is the other beloved one, especially if you have a c-section or are bottle feeding. It also doubles as a baby lounger, and has built-in back support for mama.
Newborn Twins Baby Carrier
For newborn twins, some parents are able to figure out how to tandem wear using the Moby or a woven wrap. This mama? Not so much. For me, the WeeGo Twin Carrier was a lifesaver. Seriously. (Check out my "Life With Newborn Twins" video featuring the magic of this carrier!). The WeeGo is good from 3 pounds until they're about 6 months, however I found that once they hit 10 pounds each I couldn't use it anymore. I never got it to fit right and it hung from my shoulders quite painfully... still, when both newborns were screaming and they'd been fed and changed, this was often the only thing I could do to get them both quiet and asleep!!
Tandem Baby Carrier
For older twins, or even a toddler and baby, the TwinGo Carrier is amazing!!! You can wear them as 2 separate carriers (one for mom and one for dad, let's say), or remove one set of shoulder straps and hook them together so you can wear one child on the front and one on the back. They also have great pocket storage allowing you to forgo the diaper bag! Check out my full review here.
Stroller for Twins
Strollers all have various features which may or may not be what you are looking for. Many twin parents will go with a twin snap 'n go followed by a Baby Jogger City Select, or something like that, because they get the job done and are budget-friendly. But my family had some unique requirements. Being city dwellers with a toddler, newborn twins, and no car, I needed a stroller that had infant-compatible reversible seats, and preferred side-by-side over tandem alignment. The ONLY stroller out there that fit the bill was the StrollAir MyDuo. (If you're thinking Bugaboo Donkey works, no... it's not infant compatible - you have to use the bassinet until baby is 6 months or so). Overall, we LOVE LOVE LOVE our StrollAir!!! You can use with 2 seats (good for infant or toddler), 2 car seats (with universal adapters), 2 infant bassinets, or any combination of those! You can get standard never-flat tires or upgrade to the air-filled tires for a smoother ride (what we have). It's really an amazing stroller!! We also purchased the Englacha X-Rider sit/stand toddler board which has been a GREAT add-on, and later used the Lascal BuggyBoard Maxi+ with Saddle (which doesn't have as sturdy a seat but is easier to take the seat off while out and about to use as a stand board, or to pull the whole thing up and out of the way when not needed). The StrollAir MyDuo comes with 2 plastic rain covers, but we prefer the Manito (see my review here).
**2020 update note: StrollAir's newer version of the MyDuo is the TwinWay, and their tandem version of that is the Solo to Tango a great stroller that goes from single to double! Evenflo Pivot Xpand is another single - double converting stroller that we loved. Video reviews and demo's below!!
Eventually, unless you plan on one giant "family bed," you will need your twins in their own separate cribs. Some choose to go straight there from day one, others wait a month, six months, a year... It's up to you! You can start them off in co-sleepers or cradles, sharing a crib, or whatever, but one really unique option is the Babyhome So-Ro Twin Cradle (see my full review here). It rocks smoothly and has the babies' heads slightly elevated (good for reflux) and when they grow out of it at around 6 months it flips to the side and becomes a storage shelf (or a fun bartender's nook as some friends advised me!!)
I prefer BB Blocks (wooden numbered blocks) for weekly and monthly photos, but Milesone Cards have a twin-specific set with cards such as "We came home today" and "We smiled at each other for the first time today" which are really fun to use and keep (if you ever find the time to put together baby books for them)! They also include a set for each individual baby because let's face it, they will hit most milestones such as rolling over, sleeping through the night, and crawling at different times.
Crib Mattress, Cover & Sheet Savers:
Soothing & Pacifiers:
So there you go, my must-haves for twins! As far as diapers and toys and bathtime and all that, they need pretty much the same products as a regular singleton baby. I took the advice I received at my Twiniversity prep class which was to get one of each and get a 2nd after we're home and decide we NEED another. For example, we started out with two auto-rocking Rock 'n Plays (which they slept in for the first month - BUT THESE ARE NOW RECALLED - DO NOT GET ROCK N PLAYS even second hand!!!), and decided after a few weeks to go ahead and get a 2nd Baby Bjorn Bouncer and Fisher Price Swing. We still have only got one exersaucer, one play mat, one Bumbo seat, and one activity seat, and I just kind of rotate them through those! We also have one baby bath because I can only bathe one at a time, HA! You will most likely eventually need two cribs, two high chairs, and if you drive, two car seats.
My final piece of advice is to search for your local Mothers of Multiples group. You can save a TON by buying all of these products used and/or selling them used after you're finished with them!! This tip and many others are offered in my article "How to prepare for having twins" - check it out!
Did I miss any great twin-related products? Do you have some I should check out for older twins? Share in a comment below!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)