One of the biggest decisions parents of multiples will make about their babies concerns sleeping arrangements. Cribs are a big-ticket item in the nursery; not only do they consume a lot of floor space in a room, but they can also consume a big chunk of the budget!
Initially, you won't necessarily need an individual crib for every baby. Two or even three infants can easily share a sleeping space during the first few months. Instead of a crib, you may prefer to keep the babies close at hand by having them sleep with you, or nearby in a bassinet, cradle, portable crib, or Moses basket. Eventually, however, you'll want to provide a designated, segregated spot for each baby in order to ensure secure and uninterrupted sleep for everybody. Once the babies are old enough to roll or scoot around, they can disturb each other, and that's the time to invest in additional cribs.
There are some bed options designed specifically for twins, but their cost and space demands may make them prohibitive for most families. Baby Trilogy, Inc. sells wedge-shaped cribs that, when placed together, form a semi-circular unit for twins. They retail for close to $1,000 and require special bedding products at an additional cost.
Crib Safety Considerations
- A firm, tight-fitting mattress so babies can't get trapped between the mattress and the crib
- No missing, loose, broken, or improperly installed screws, brackets, or other hardware on the crib or mattress support
- No more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between the crib slats so a baby's body can't fit through the slats; no missing or cracked slats
- No corner posts over 1/16 inch high so a baby's clothing can't catch
- No cutouts in the headboard or footboard so a baby's head can't get trapped
For mesh-sided cribs and playpens, look for
- Mesh less than ¼ inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby's clothing
- Mesh with no tears, holes, or loose threads that could entangle a baby
- Mesh securely attached to the top rail and floor plate
- Top rail cover with no tears or holes
- If staples are used, none that are missing, loose, or exposed
Another factor to consider when choosing cribs is longevity. Many families find it convenient to keep twins or more sleeping in cribs much longer than they would a singleton, perhaps even up to the age of three. In that case, the multiples may move right into—pardon the pun—twin beds. However, if you anticipate the need for an intermediate sleeping arrangement, toddler beds, with their protective railings and smaller mattresses, may be a viable option. Some crib models convert to toddler beds, extending their usefulness.
Staying in the Budget
Cribs and baby bedding can be expensive, with fancy solid wood items retailing for well over $1,000. When you're faced with buying two or more at the same time, it may make sense to investigate secondhand products. Local mothers of multiples clubs are a wonderful source for locating secondhand sets of cribs, as well as other baby equipment. When purchasing used products, be sure that they are in good condition and meet established safety guidelines.