Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby gear distraction (Advice Needed!)

Thanks to all who've asked how we've been doing. You are all so wonderful and kind! The babies are doing well (we assume), but are being a bit rough on sweet K. She's been dealing with morning sickness (yep she's knelt before the porcelain throne a few times), sensitivity to smells, food aversions, and a ravenous appetite! Although I wish K wasn't going through this, I have to admit that it gives me some reassurance that the babies are growing and thriving!

I've been okay. I'm worried that something bad will happen, but I'm trying not to play into those fears. I'm remaining optimistic that this will end with two healthy babies! So, instead of obsessing over fears I've begun to obsess over baby gear! I know it seems crazy that the girl who used to worry about jinxing myself went to BRU and USA Baby this weekend. Believe it or not I've found that throwing myself into baby gear consumer research to be a great distraction! I pulled out the Baby Bargains book and took it to the local bookstore to compare it to the 8th edition, which just came out, but it doesn't seem to have much new information (there haven't been car seat crash tests since 2007). Therefore, I'm sticking with the 7th edition that I already have. I bought this book while researching the best baby gear to buy while I was pregnant with Myles and have it littered with comments and sticky note tabs. I remember taking this book with me and spending hours at BRU while J repeatedly told me he was bored. It was hard to look back through my notes and to think about those days. I really miss my sweet little Myles and wish he was here to use the baby gear I bought for him.

The two baby gear items that I'm currently obsessing over are car seats and strollers. I have the Chicco Cortina travel system, which includes a Keyfit 22 and two bases. I LOVE this car seat and bought it based on its outstanding Consumer Reports safety ratings and the reviews it got by Baby Bargains book. It was listed as their "Top Pick" and was given an A. The other plus of the Keyfit car seat is that it holds babies as small as 4lbs and is the only infant car seat that can hold such small babies. Clearly this is something to consider when expecting twins. I am undecided if I will keep the carseat and just get another one, but I'm certain I will sell the stroller. My dilemma over the car seat has to do with the stroller. I need to purchase a double stroller (of course this is all assuming everything continues to go well) and Chicco doesn't make one that accomodates two infant car seats.

I have been reading rave reviews by twin parents regarding the Double Snap n Go by Bab.y Trends for use with infant car seats, but Chicco isn't a car seat that is listed as being compatible. I have talked to a couple of twin moms who've used Chicco car seats with the double snap n go, so I know it's possible. However, I worry that it might not fit perfectly and would be unsafe. I do know that Chicco is a relatively new brand, so it may be that the maker of the snap n go just hasn't tested it with their product and if they did it would be listed?! Per the suggestion of a sales rep at USA Baby I think I'll order the double Snap n Go, which isn't carried in any store, to take to the store to try out with two Chicco car seats.

It sounds like many twin parents liked the double Snap n Go for use with the infant car seats (it's inexpensive to boot) and then moved on to another stroller. Many raved about small side by side umbrella strollers like the Macleran Twin Techno, Inglesina Twin Swift, or Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport All-Weather Umbrella (all rated Top Picks by Baby Bargains). I like the idea of having the side by side when the babies get a little bigger, so they can see the world together rather than having to try to look over someone's head! I would LOVE to hear from other twin moms/dads your thoughts on double strollers and infant carseats. Please, please, please give me your advice and/or opinions!

Edited to add: I know it's way too early for me to be thinking about baby gear for twins because we could lose one (or both for that matter). I am not naive to the risks/stats, but I like the distraction and promised myself to enjoy every moment of this pregnancy. So, I'm doing just that ... I'm dreaming of what my life could be like next year with two babies!


QUESTION @ Blog Design: Is anyone having a problem reading my blog? I had a comment from one reader that it appeared strange on her Blackberry (e.g., light colored text on a yellow background making it unreadable) and want to know if there are others experiencing the same thing. If so, I need to change it again!


Meg. said...

Well, unfortunately, I can't offer any advice on the twin gear (hopefully, some day!), but I'm glad that you're having such a stimulating time researching. =) I think it's good that you're getting excited about your sweet babies!

As for the light-colored text, I have noticed this, but only when your page has not yet completely loaded. Perhaps your friend who was using her Blackberry had a slow connection, and the page never loaded completely?

And lastly, thank you so much for your comment about my sweet Tom Tom. Your words were very honest and touching - I must have re-read your note a dozen times. I'm glad that your Asha is still hanging on!

carley said...

I get the yellow text for a min or so while the background loads. Once it's loaded I can see the text fine. The background just takes some time to load sometimes like Meg said.

I can't comment on twin gear. A friend has twins and I think has a Snap N Go? it's just a double black metal frame. Once the twins were old enough she bought a double Valco.

Lisa said...

Well, I am a twin Momma and coincidentally, my guys were carried by my cousin as a gestational surrogate - so I have been watching and hoping for a miracle outcome for you as well.

Anyway, onto the gear, here's my 2 cents...

We had the Graco Safeseats for the boys as infants. I had gotten the double snap and go, but it did not specifically list our seat and it was obvious that our car seats did not fit well on it. The bars of the stroller move and screw down into different holes so that you can position them for different car seats. Baby Trend's customer service was really no help. But I really wanted to be able to use the stroller. My dad ended up making a bar for the stroller that replaced one of theirs that would fit the car seat and make it secure to the frame so that we could use it safely.
That being said.
I LOVED the double snap and go!!
It was lightweight and so easy to use. I would never have been able to be out of my house on my own with our that thing. The babies sit at slightly different levels so that you can see them both and it pushed very smoothly. In the winter, it was great because they cold stay warm and cozy in their seats (in their JJ Cole Bundle Me wraps - loved those too) and I could just snap them onto the stroller and go! My neighbor borrowed it for her twins and it is still in great shape and ready to be sold at a Mom2Mom sale!

We also have a Peg Perego Aria Twin stroller. It is a side by side and we still use that! It is skinny enough to fit though doorways which is great and it is very lightweight. The only negative I have about this stroller is that the shades to block the sun are useless. They are far too small to do much protecting so I ended up buying a large flexible shade that attaches to a double stroller and we use that (I can't remember the name of that, but they sold it a BRU)

So, hope that lends a little help. I'll continue hoping and praying for good things for you and your family!!

Kelly said...

No problem reading your blog! I think it's great you're throwing yourself into researching baby gear. Keeps you busy and your mind at ease and thinking positive!

Heidi said...

Hey Niki,

I am still following your blog...okay, actually stalking you daily!! I am glad to see you posting. Not hearing from you causes me anxiety!!! lol

Congratulations on the twins!!!! I am so happy for you and Josh!!!

We started Kaden and Kory on the Graco Quattro Duo Tour stroller and it worked pretty well. We now use a Kolcraft Contours Tandem and we really like it a lot. It is nice as both seats recline well (On most double strollers, the front seat doesn't recline much), there are great canopies over both seats (great sun and rain protection) and the seats can be positioned differently (both seats can face forward, backwards, or one seat each direction (it is nice to have the babies face each other). On most double strollers, the front seat doesn't recline much. I think that this stroller also has bars to attach infant seats too.

Well, I had better get to bed...I will stalk you again tomorrow...er, I mean I will check your blog tomorrow!! Praying for you and Josh and your precious babies.


Jen said...

I think it's awesome that you can plan, be happy and enjoy what you have and live for the moment. I never, ever could, so I'm a little jealous. :)

Gibson Twins said...

I've had five double strollers over the course of the last 2.5 years so I'm more than happy to provide my opinion to you :) PS- your text looks normal to me.

We had matching Graco snugride infant carseats - love those - and bought matching Graco Duoglider stroller thus completing the "travel system" idea.

I have a Chicco Trevi Twin stroller also but it's for when the twins grow out of the infant carseats. That stroller is very pretty looking, lightweight, fits in my G6 trunk, pushes easily with two hands (you can maneuver the duoglider with one hand easily because of the bar vs handles).

The stroller I would RUN from is the Contours Tandem, it is simply a nightmare and so heavy.

I've not personally used the snap and go but it appears they work like the duoglider for the infant seats. Keep in mind, no stroller is "easy" once you have a combined kid-weight of about 50 lb (around 12-18m).

The other stroller I had briefly was a side by side jogging stroller. It pushed easily but would not fit into my trunk thus we had to leave it at home. The bigger wheels definitely would've made the zoo trips more manageable.

From the infant carseats we went with the Graco Nautilus (about 7 months when they were too heavy to be carried at the same time) and those are good til they turn 8 and are 80 lbs.

Whatever you decide to go with, the one thing I would definitely check for is LATCH if you have it in your vehicle.

OMG that got so long- sorry! I must be missing our stroller days (haven't used one since the twins turned 2).

SMK said...

I wish I could help u out with the questions about gear but when I was expecting I looked at and fell in love with the peg perabo ( not usually into that kinda expensive stuff but nothing but the best for our babies right?). I have heard great things about the snap and go. I also want to tell u if you hang out in the baby stroller area long enough a mom with twins is very likely to stroll by and u can ask them. My hubby did that I was embearassed but the lady gave such great advice! Who better to ask than someone like that right?? LOL! Sorry to hear K has the M/S I can highly reccommend the preggie pops/drops they do help. Happy to hear the little babies are doing well... Have you come up with an in utero nickname for them yet? I am also having difficulty reading your blog on my IPhone.... I thought it was just me ;). Take care and big belly hug to K!!

Anonymous said...

Yay!!! I am so glad you are researching baby gear - I may do the same thing to try and back out of the fear/terror obsessions.

My sister has the Chicco system - she loves it. That is a bummer that they do not have a double stroller...

As for the text - I echo what has been said - it just takes a while to load.

Anonymous said...

I agree that baby gear is a wonderful distraction. No advice to offer on the twin-stroller-issues, just wanted to say hi & let you know that I'm with you on the decision of whether to obsess over baby-health or baby-gear. I think baby gear is healthier at this stage of the game! Take care.

Sheri-ct said...

I really LOVED my snap & go......LOVED IT. But go on Cragislist. You can get a great deal on an used one, just make sure they have all of the necessary bars (there are different ones for different car seats). They really do not get much wear and tear, and you will only use it for 6 months. I bought the Graco Snug Ride and had no problem with it at all. You will be converting to the bigger car seat sooner than a singleton mom b/c lugging two18 pound babies gets really heavy. I purchased the Maclaren side-by-sdie, but never used it! I just sold it on Craiglslist. The issue I had was no snack tray. We take long walks and snacks are a NECESSITY!!!!!! Does your local twins club have a tag sale? You can get a lot of gently used stuff at a great deals (but get new car seats!). Or try Craigslist.

Other favorite were-

Fisher Price Rainforest Peek-a-boo Soother (my twins still use it as their "TV" and I just both a 3rd for the baby at Once Upon A Child for $6.50!).http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2455073

Fisher Price Rainforest Gym (has really cool lights, but you really only need 1)- http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2402051

Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncy- get 2..........my reflux babies LIVED in this (again......cool lights!)- http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2508008

Other thoughts- start with 1 swing b/c not all babies like them (my DS hated it!) and get used Bimbo seat used. You will only use them for a short time and I kind of felt they were a waste.

I'll post more later! So excited for you!

Ruth said...

I had the Chicco system and as wonderfully as the infant car seat is rated, it is HEAVY. It might not seem important in the beginning, but by about 6 months I refused to take it out of the car anymore.

We sold the Chicco travel system and bought a Peg Perego Aria from craigslist and I LOVE it!! (9 lbs vs. 21.5 strollers) My DD also seems to prefer it too. So lightweight and has all the stroller features. Now it is for a single, but the double would be worth looking at.

I also second that all Rainforest gear is wonderful. DD has LOVED everything and she thought the animals were all her friends ;) She still tries to play with the tiger on her high chair print. We had the swing (wall plug, no batteries), play gym, and bouncer too. The lights, sounds, moving parts and everything else just made them awesome. All were worth every penney and I highly recomend them to everyone.

Yeah, I am so excited for you!!!!

ASquared said...

I'm sooo with Sheri-CT - hit up Craigslist for a lot of the things you won't use for long! We got used Bumbo seats for 1/2 the cost and you can just clean them up and they are just as good! I also got an awesome high chair for $20 and a friend gave me her old one so I got 2 highchairs for $20 - can't beat that! Though I know that many people go for the high chairs that strap to the chairs and I think those are a very cool concept because they are good for later stages too.
Also, DEFINITELY hit up Craiglist for the double snap-n-go! You're bound to find at least one (or several) listed. I have a friend with twins that I bought mine from and if I hadn't gotten it from her I would have gotten it from Craigslist. The stroller is awesome and I don't know what we'd do without it. I am small (5'2" and barely 110) so hauling around the car seats is really hard for me. I took my reflux baby to the doctor by himself and didn't have a stroller to put just his car seat in so I left the double in the car and I was dying by the time I got him back out to the car - they get heavy so fast! The snap-n-go is awesome too because the wheels glide so nicely!
We have the Chicco Twin Trevi as a side-by-side, non-car-seat stroller. It folds up nice and I like plenty of the features, but the shades on it aren't too great, and since we are in Texas that was a necessity, so we spent the big bucks and got a Protect-a-Bub shade to use over the shades that came with the stroller - that has worked well. Only downfall is that the twin trevi has those darn plastic umbrella stroller wheels and doesn't glide nearly as nicely as the double snap-n-go does (or as nicely as a jogging stroller would, although those are super heavy).
I don't have any experience with regular tandem strollers because we opted to have them side-by-side to be fair :) Our side-by-side will fit through the doorways of most major public places, but we can't get it through the door of our house because of our screen door. I think people are pretty evenly split about the front/back versus the side-by-side stroller - or at least that's what I found when I was researching.
Definitely 2 bouncy seats! A serious must have! And I agree on getting 1 swing first - but we ended up getting 2 later because ours both like it (but again - got the rainforest swings on Craigslist for a fraction of the price).
I am so thrilled for you guys!! Happy shopping!! :)

Erica said...

No advice on baby gear, but keep me posted on your car seat and stroller choices. I thought about the side by side stroller, but it seems like it will be difficult to navigate in and out of doors and such. Could make shopping a little hazardous - then again, how much shopping am I really going to get accomplished with two little ones? I must be living in a fantasy....

Keep up the great research Niki! I'm totally going to use your site like Consumer Reports. :) Glad to hear things are going well - sorry K is in puke mode, but I'm with you, I think that's a good thing.

Tiffany said...

We bought the Double Snap N' Go for our twins, but have yet to use it of course. I bought it after a LOT of reseach. Found it on craigslist for $50.

Chicco carseats WILL fit, however not as well as a Baby Trend of Graco carseat. Also, I have heard from many Mom's that the Chicco carseats doesn't fit correctly on a shopping cart.

I too was obsessed with stroller research for twins. It seeems that EVERY stroller has some sort of drawback. We opted for the Combi twin sport and bought a parent cup holder and a Mommy hook for additional storage. I just couldn't bring myself to purchase that monstrous Graco Duo Glide.

We also have our eye on the Graco Pack N' Play for twins. It has TWO bassinets on top. We have yet to pull the trigger and buy it. Hopefully we can save enough in the next few weeks to get it.

Hope K starts to feel a little better.

TeriLynn said...

The fun begins is to do all the baby gear shopping!! I have had double stroller here for daycare! I do have the Umbrella Jeep ones that you can keep them as single strollers or i have connectors that make them doubles too! It is great!
I also get the yellow text only while your page is loadiong then it goes to normal!
Hope you are feeling well soon K!

suz said...

I had a singleton and I bought the Chicco car seat because I liked it and had intended to get a snap n'go and discovered that it does not fit. The sales person at BabiesRUs tried to show me that it could work but it really did not look very stable or secure so I would not recommend trying to get the Chicco to fit. Like another commenter said, the Chicco does not fit in shopping carts (it doesn't have that notch in the back that other car seats do that allows it to hook on) and rarely fits on the sling things that restaurants have for car seats. Aside from those things I really did love the Chicco when we used it. Echoing what another commenter said about the weight of it, we stopped using it when my daughter was around 7 months old just because it was so heavy. My friend with twins used a maclaren side by side stroller and loved it. I also have a friend who has a double bob revolution jogging stroller and says its great. I saw a mom at the park not that long ago with a Kolcraft Contours Tandem stroller and she said she loved it. It looked cool because you could configure the seats multiple ways - she had a newborn and a toddler and each used it a different way.

Tom and Margit said...

Hi Niki :)

First of all, I am SO happy both babies are doing great!
The Baby Bargains book is AWESOME!
We have the Baby Trend Snap N Go. Through going to Mother's of Multiples meetings, I heard a lot of people preferred this. Obviously, we never used it, but the advice I heard was that it was great.
I hope K is doing well and you and J are too!
We will have to do another get together so we can see you :)
HUGS Margit

Rebecca said...

Well, I'm (obviously) no help in the baby gear department. I will say though, that I'm on my Blackjack II (similar to Blackberry but simpler) and can barely read your blog. I get a yellow background, light teal text, and then waaaaaaay down in the bottom of the page is your background design. LOL I had to hold my phone at odd angles to read it.
Anyhoo...I'm glad K is still baking those buns, although I hope she feels better soon! Oh, you will have to let me know what colors you want me to knit your baby gifts in...or if u want to wait until you find out the genders. :)
Love and hugs!

N said...

i have the graco snugrides with the double snap and go and can't recommend them enough. The storage under the snap and go is priceless. The babies have now outgrown the graco seats and we can't use the snap and go which has made me VERY SAD! Just this week we had to make the switch. We have the Combi side by side, which is light weight and seems to work fine. It was recommended to me by others. 2 things I don't like though: 1) the shade is very lacking so the babies are in the sun too much and 2) there is hardly any storage underneath. Two big things to consider that I didn't!

Barb said...

I can't offer an advice on twins but it was nice to read that you are getting excited. When I was pregnant, I was very sick right from the start and I too found it very helpful to research baby gear to keep my mind off what was going on but keeping my mind focused on the end result. Everything worked out for me and I'm hoping the same for you:)

Ramona said...

Thinking good thoughts and wishing you the best of luck!!

When I was pregnant with my twins, I was also very nervous, and researched baby gear as a distraction.
It's a fun distraction!!
I would check out websites and try to find the stroller I wanted at the cheapest price.

I have twin 2 year olds.
We used the double snap n go for the first few months, and it was great!!
Light, Easy to use, Easy to push..
I would highly recommend it. As well, it's pretty inexpensive.

Our next stroller that we bought and used is the Double Twin Techno Maclaren.
It's light, easy to fold in the car, and relatively small for a double, and fits through doors for shopping/going to doctors offices..
As the kids get bigger (ie: toddlers) it's a bit harder to push than perhaps a jogging stroller, but we don't have a garage, so it's easy to store in our car, and it is the lighest (or one of the lighest) of the double strollers.

Hope this helps!!
Thinking of you.

Jayme said...

We have Chicco Keyfit 30's for our boys and use the double snap & go and it works great
The seats don't snap in but the stroller has straps too, so I feel like they're secure and safe :)


Here's Ryan in it- you can see the strap :)

Maureen said...

I don't have twins but my boys are 25 months apart so I do have a double stroller. And have endlessly researched car seats (it is a pet peeve of mine). The best resource I have found for car seats (particularly in regards to safety and fit for specific cars) is this forum. It is free to join.


I'm very neurotic about car seat safety so it is a huge issue for me (I turned around my oldest when he was slightly over 3 when he out heighted his rear facing seat... you really don't want to get me going on that soap box because I can go on and on). But at any rate if you ask a question on there, they will give you multiple opinions quickly.

I have a Jeep side by side double stroller and I really like it for what it is. It is not as easy to push as my bike trailer/stroller (InStep, I love it), but it folds up small and easy to transport. I have had several friends borrow it for trips because of those attributes. It is great for when I'm not doing serious walking. DH complains about it because the handles are too short for him (he is 5'10"), I don't have any problems (5'4")

MDZ said...

I'm not a mother of twins. But as a mother of a 4.5 month old, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Snap N' Go. It is light weight, simple to fold and very easy to get in and out of the trunk (unlike my travel system stroller). I only have the single Snap N'Go, but my Chicco Key Fit 30 car seat fits just fine in it.

Downsides to the Key Fit 30 is that it is definitely heavy (especially with my moose of a child in it!) and as other people have mentioned, doesn't fit nicely into the top of a shopping cart. But you're not really supposed to put car seats on top of shopping carts anyway because it's dangerous if it falls over. The plus to the Key Fit 30 is that new research is recommending that children stay in rear facing car seats for much longer and this car seat can handle up to 30 pounds.

TABI said...

Congrats! Enjoy the distraction of baby gear! I too fear things going wrong, but you are right to just dive into it and start to plan!

kerri said...

niki - i can't imagine losing a baby... but i truly believe that Myles is in Heaven watching over his siblings and K. :)

i checked your blog on my bb and it appears to be OK. but it did take a really long time to load. before the full load it did look a little strange. but i think it's just the way it is...

Sheri said...

It's been a long time since I had seen you around the loss board at SC, so I glanced at your signature and followed you here. I'm so sorry about the sad result of the first surrogate attempt! And many congratulations on the healthy twins in there now! You all are going to be busy busy busy soon! My living kiddos are 12 months apart, and they both grew out of their infant car seats by four months of age (though most twins or even regular kids won't), so I'm no expert on that project. Most "convertible" car seats have a five pound minimum but are much better for babies who are sitting well with assistance, at least. We did enjoy our little side by side, umbrella-weight stroller (similar to one with a jeep logo on it, but I don't remember the brand). We could go through typical store doorways in it, and I hope you can get an accurate measurement on that dimension for door purposes. My friend has a side by side jogger, and she can't get through most doors with it. We wore that thing out before moving on to the front/back type, when the kids were 1.5 and 2.5, I think. So the front to back can wait. And I got that one on craigslist for 35 bucks, hardly used (common to find there).

Very best wishes!!
Sheri (SheriKCMO at SC)

Jodi said...

Hello! I just found your blog tonight...my hubby and I are currently exploring surrogacy. We lost our daughter at 27 weeks, and I am unable to get pregnant again, as my uterus is full of scarring. So we are hoping this is the answer to our prayers!

Congrats on K's pregnancy!

leikay2 said...

Just wanted to say Congrats again!!! I am on SMO so I have been following your journey there too. I am a mom to twins girls who are no just about 3yrs. old.. I researched strollers for a LONG time..I would go with the snap-n-go for SURE!! It was the easiest stroller EVER!! plus it folds down to just nothing at all... Comes in handy when traveling with little ones.. I LOVE my side-by-side stroller, it is GREAT when we are at the mall or out shopping cause it forces people to one side..LOL It is not as great when maneuvering through clothing racks but I would still buy it again!!