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Bringing Up Babies

1: Everyday basics

A lot of day-to-day multiple management is trial and error—and we made our fair share of mistakes before figuring out what worked for us. Check out a few of the logistical solutions that made our lives easier:

* When our babies had enough neck control, we simultaneously bottle-fed them while they were propped up on pillows side by side to save time. You can also plop them in their car seat buckets and do the same thing.

* We used propping tools to help hold bottles in place (yeah, we know it's "wrong"). Cathleen bought a great hands-free baby-bottle holder—the Milk Maid ($15)—that she heard of through the mommy grapevine. We recommend buying one for each baby.

* We kept plastic bottles from taking over our kitchens by immediately hand-washing them. At the end of the day, we'd refill them and load up the fridge for the next day. No can do? Don't feel guilty about running the dishwasher day and night.

* Once we started the twins on solid foods, we placed two high chairs right next to each other and sat on a chair in front of the babies to spoon-feed them their mush. (Watch out for the cross-tray grab once Cheerios are introduced!) You can also use infant feeding seats, a space-and money-saving alternative to high chairs.

* We were sticklers for safety when changing diapers. If one twin pooped, we put the other one in the crib with toys until the changing was done. (We kept the lights on so she knew it wasn't bedtime, and we took the toys back out of the crib for sleepytime.)

* We kept two well-stocked diaper-changing stations—one upstairs and one downstairs—filled with fresh clothes and burpies.

* We're still trying to master the art of bathing twins. When ours were infants, separate baths were more manageable. As they got sturdier, one giant pool party with seats in the tub worked. Once they outgrew the seats, they had the freedom to splash... and get us completely soaked.

* We faced up to the fact that two babies generate a huge amount of laundry. If we didn't wash it every day, the dirty piles of clothes, sheets, and burpies would haunt us. There were plenty of other things to let slide around the house—cleaning, cooking—but not this chore. We didn't bother with folding, though; we'd just rifle through the clean wash basket and pick out the stuff we needed.

Christina Boyle and Cathleen Stahl are cowriting a book about twins, to be published by Three Rivers Press in spring 2008, as well as a blog, TwinSetMoms.com.

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