Dec 132013

things to buy in bulkRaising twins has taught us to do things efficiently. One pregnancy, two babies, right? In our case, we’d already had a single child; we knew what that was like. Then reality sets in. There are also twice as many mouths to feed, diapers to change, and jammies to put on every night. It’s much harder to go in public, i.e. to the grocery store. Keeping with that efficiency theme, we started buying a lot of things in bulk. You can do this online or at the so-called “big box” stores.

Advantages of Buying in Bulk

There are good reasons for families with multiples to buy in bulk:

  • Stock up. You buy a ton of food, and it lasts a lot longer. Not as long as it should, of course. Two buys seem to eat and poop like four boys.
  • Cover the gaps. A major winter storm is brewing here as I write this, and there’s a rush on pretty much everything at the grocery store. We get to avoid that. Also, I can grab a fistful of wipes for that blowout diaper without worrying that we’ll run out.
  • Save money. This is a big deal for us — we’re the kind of people who look at the price per diaper or ounce of formula.

Disadvantages of Buying in Bulk

There are some down sides to buying things in bulk, and these probably apply beyond the realm of baby stuff:

  • Storage. It’s an eternal struggle to find place to stash the huge box of diapers or canister of formula.
  • Up-front cost. True, you usually save over the long run, but you have to put up the money now for a larger quantity.
  • Narrower selection. You can’t always get everything you want in bulk. Specialty products, like organic foods, are a good example.

5 Things to Buy in Bulk

We’re a long way from done raising our twin boys, but already I can tell you a few things that we bought in bulk and made a huge difference.

Simply right bulk infant formula1. Infant Formula

Even though we breast fed all of our little ones, it become somewhat impossible to keep up with them. Especially once they grew and were drinking 6 or 8 ounces at a time. Infant formula, as you may be aware, is like liquid gold. It has all of the nutrients that a baby needs, DHA, all that good stuff. And they make you pay for it.

They say you’re supposed to pick a brand of formula and stick with it. We went with the big-box generic form of Similac, called Simply Right infant formula. It even has the blue lid. The price ends up being about $0.48 per ounce. They also have a Simply Right gentle formula for babies with sensitive tummies.

2. Diapers

huggies bulk diapersThis is probably the most obvious thing that you’ll burn through with twins or multiples. Even if your little ones start potty training early, you’ll still change thousands of diapers in the first 18 months. And this is something you don’t want to run out of, or even low on. It takes a bit of planning to make sure that you stock up on the right sizes (especially before they reach size 5, which seems to be a plateau).

Storage is another challenge, because diapers are bulky. We usually take them out of the box and stash the plastic sleeves of diapers in closets, under cribs, or wherever they will fit. We buy Huggies size 5 from Sam’s Club online, and they give you free shipping! Same thing for Pampers Easy Ups diapers.
Bulk baby cereal3. Baby Cereal

Here’s one food staple that our boys couldn’t get enough of, once they were old enough to eat it. Single-grain and later multi-grain cereal makes a world of difference in keeping those little tummies satisfied. Especially at night, when a few spoonfuls of cereal before bedtime provides that slow burn to help them sleep just a little bit longer.

Most babies will start on the single-grain rice cereal, like the whole-grain organic cereal you can get from Earth’s Best.

4. Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are another crucial staple that we always try to have in stock. We don’t want to run out of these, EVER, and we don’t want to have to skimp on them after a blowout. They have uses beyond diaper changes, too: washing hands before or after eating, wiping faces before you go into the store, impromptu mess clean-up, that sort of thing.

5. Snacks and Finger Foods

toddler finger foods in bulkWe learned the hard way (with the boys) that once toddlers are old enough to eat finger foods, that’s pretty much all they want to eat. It’s one of the first things in life that they can somewhat control, so they latch onto it and don’t let go. Gerber claims that 25% of a toddler’s calories come from snacks; I’d say that’s probably an underestimate in our family.

So, as often as possible, we fed them finger foods that were designed for little kids. As opposed to, you know, Cheetos. When our twins first started eating finger foods, we gave them Gerber Graduates Puffs, for a few reasons:

  • They have a light, airy texture and dissolve easily
  • They’re made with real fruit
  • They come in shapes that are easy to pick up

lil crunchies bulk foodsWhen the toddlers had grown more confident we also tried some of the other snacks: Gerber’s Lil Crunchies that look more like miniature cheese puffs. They’re far healthier, of course, as they’re:

  • Made with 100% whole grain corn (4g of whole grains per serving)
  • 30% less sodium than the leading cheese snack (presumably Cheetos)
  • Good source of Vitamin E, Iron and Zinc

There are other things to buy in bulk, too, but these are the big ones. Just wait until your twins start drinking milk, then you’ll really learn what “buying in bulk” means.


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