Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Twin Books & Baby Gear Research

I haven't had much to say, so I've been quiet. I'm busy continuing my research on the best baby gear for twins and reading books like Ready or Not ... Here We Come and The Multiples Manual. (thanks for the books S!) I'm learning a lot and feeling more and more anxious as I read deeper into these books. I am a realist and understand that having two babies at once won't be easy and I'm fully prepared for the challenge! BRING. IT. ON! However, I am not without worries. I worry that because I have two babies I won't be as good of a mommy. I know it seems silly, but it's like there won't be enough of me to go around. Almost like the each of the babies will be shorted because there's only one of me and two of them. I also worry about the general logistics of feeding two babies at once, whether or not I'll be able to produce any/enough milk (yep I'm going to induce lactation), the fact that I'll never sleep, etc... I'm sure like anything it will just take a little practice and I'll master some of it, but those are the kinds of things that make me anxious. J on the other hand as the financial planner in the family worries about the economics of twins ... costs of 2x the diapers, formula, day care, etc...

I'm still going strong with the baby gear research! I even took a trip to Tar.get with two of my good friends, L & J, the other day and they had me taking notes on their preferred baby products. It was quite helpful, but a bit overwhelming. After countless hours of reading reviews and examining the features of the car seats and strollers I think I've finally decided on the products for us ...

I decided that we're going to sell the Chic.co Cor.tina travel system. Although the Chic.co Key.fit is a highly rated car seat it's heavy and doesn't work with the Double Snap n Go. Plus, I read several reviews that the extra padding in this car seat (and the Graco Snug.ride 32) causes the babies to get really warm, which of course makes me worry about overheating and SIDS (seriously the worrying never ends!). I decided that the Graco Snug.ride infant car seat is the one. In addition to being a bestseller for years, it's also highly rated in terms of safety and gets great reviews from parents for a number of things. I've been comparing the Snug.ride to the Snug.ride 32 and decided that we'll go with the basic Snugride. The Snug.ride 32 is about 2lbs heavier and when you have to infant car seats to deal with that extra weight makes a difference. I decided that I'm fine with moving the babies into convertible car seats, which can stay rear-facing, sooner if need be, so having an extra 10lb limit and a couple of inches wasn't a huge selling point for me. Another bonus in choosing the Snug.ride over the Snug.ride 32 is the financial savings (this makes J happy). The Snug.ride 32 car seats all cost at least $150 and the bases are more expensive whereas I can get a basic Snug.ride for around $89-100. The thing that I found most interesting is that all of the Graco Snug.ride models have EPS foam and are equally safe (ask a pediatrician and they'll concur), so when you spend more you're spending the extra money on fabric and likely unnecessary "bells and whistles" (e.g., removable boot cover). So, here are the two infant car seats that I like:

If we have a boy(s):

If we have a girl(s):

Okay, now onto the stroller research. I purchased a gently used Baby Trend Double Snap n Go, which was mentioned by a number of twin moms as a "must have item", from a friend of a friend (thanks M). I know that probably shocks many of you that I already purchased something for the babies, but I didn't buy a thing for Myles until I was beyond 20wks for fear of jinxing it and look where that got us. Suffice it to say that I don't believe in jinxing anymore! This double stroller frame will work perfectly with the two Graco Snug.ride infant car seats and will get us through the first 6 months or so.
The other stroller I plan to get won't work with the infant car seats, but I didn't expect it to. I've read tons and tons of comments by twin parents and it's split on tandem vs. side-by-side. I tested the Graco Quat.tro Duo on Monday while I was out with my friends and their kids and have to admit it felt like I was driving a semi. I'm petite (5'1"), so I felt overwhelmed by this large stroller. Also, it's crazy heavy to get in and out of the car! Although I was leaning towards a side-by-side, I was enamored with all the "bells and whistles" of the Graco tandem strollers. But now that I've tried one out I know it is NOT for me.

I will buy a side-by-side twin stroller. I find some of the lightweight double side-by-side strollers (e.g., Combi) to be cheaply made and unstable. It's important to me to get a stroller that is safe, will fit through standard doorways, will hold up with use, can be used on multiple surfaces, folds up easily, is lightweight, and is highly rated by parents. One such stroller that meets these criteria is the Bumble.ride Indie Twin stroller. I love this stroller, but I don't love the cost. My second choice is Baby Jogger City Mini Double (see pic below). I read over 100 reviews of this stroller and have to say that almost all of them were raving. The only complaints were that it doesn't come with any of the extras (e.g., parent console, belly bar), but most of the higher end strollers don't.

Now that I've decided on those two big items I'm going to move onto other baby gear like baby monitors and bottles, so if you have any advice please do share! I've started an Ex.cel spreadsheet with baby gear must haves that includes costs, where to buy, reviews, notes, etc... I think this will be quite helpful when I go to register. :)

24 comments:

Infertile In the City said...

I love the excel spreadshet - that would be my approach too! When do you plan on starting the induction plan? I know when I visited the clinic they wanted to start RIGHT AWAY, but, obviously I didn't. Anyway, it was great meeting with them, and we do have a plan for if/when I get to do that - email me for more details!

Kay said...

Ok.. the one thing I would not live without, after all we went thru to get Luke, is an angel care monitor... it alarms if it detects no movement in the last 20 seconds! We love it!! We still have it on his toddler bed, because we know when he gets up in the middle of the night! But I could sleep easier not worrying about SIDS as much or him having a reflux in his sleep!

Kay said...

http://www.angelcare-monitor.com/show_product.php?product_id=3&language=en&country=US this one is the one we have, but they have even nicer ones now!

Ruth said...

I completely agree with Kay on the angel care monitor. We didn't have it and my DD wanted to tummy sleep and I was too scared to let her, so neither of us slept. If I had had the angel care monitor we would have slept. We do have a video monitor with dual video monitor and love it and use it daily. http://www1.epinions.com/prices/Bebesounds_TV900_2C_Portable_Video_And_Sound_Monitor_900_Ghz_With_2_Cameras The listed review is bad, but this was a luxury buy for us and we have not regretted one moment.

The excel spreadsheet is great and everything is so expensive, especially with twins that I think it is wise you are starting early.

meinsideout said...

OMG I love you. I need to start doing some research to help here - I promise I will soon!!!! I think it is great that you are buying stuff. Enjoy. You deserve it.

That is really cool that you are going to induce lactation! I am excited to hear how that goes.

Crystal said...

I love the carseats they are so cute!

Some things I think I "couldn't live without" lol

Bouncer -use it EVERY day
Cradle swing.. he loves side to side motion
White noise machine!
Exersaucer.. he loves this too

I have a Sony Babycall monitor.. eh its okay. I don't think I would buy another one though.

ASquared said...

I have the Sony Baby Call monitor and I actually love it - we got 2 because 1 of our boys has reflux and has been really miserable at night (doing better now) and the other one is sleeping through the night so we put them in separate rooms - so I bought 2 of those monitors. I got a fisher price lights and sounds first for the 2nd monitor but the static was terrible!!
Also, I have used Excel to pretty much plan everything in my life so I fully support this method - I did the same thing for our baby gear planning!

Gibson Twins said...

You will love the snug ride carseats! And you will have some kick ass arms after lugging two little ones in and out of the car :) Seriously though, you're strength, patience, time management skills improve with multiples. You'll do just fine!!

I can't offer much advice as I didn't use monitors because I let the twins sleep in our bed for first three months and then into cribs in our room til about 7-8 months and I still hear them and they're 2.5 and sleep all night, I just have never slept the same since they were born. For bottles, we went with cheapie Gerber clearviews and replaced the rubber nipples with the Gerber clear silicone ones and for the preemie days we used the same bottles but with the soothie standard slow flow nipples. They are BPA free and very easy to wash/reassemble.

If you do end up using formula at some point, my best advice is to make it in a big pitcher (Rubbermaid Mixers are great). Add an even number of ounces and half that many scoops and then you can give the babies as much or as little in a bottle as you want, like 3 oz or 7.5 oz since it's already mixed up. Plus it's a huge timesaver!

Another book you may like is Twinspiration by Cheryl Lage - she blogs at http://twinfatuation.blogspot.com
Book is super helpful and written so down to earth. She's a real sweetheart too.

I am still so excited for you guys, this is really amazing!

Emily said...

I have the Sony BabyCall Monitor and LOVE it as well :) It works great, no static at all!

We bought the Graco Safeseat, which I think might be the same as the Snugride 32 you are talking about. I have to say, it was a little bulkier than the snugride, and just slightly more expensive, but DD is still using it (she's 20 pounds and 29 inches) at 13 1/2 months! She is still very comfy in there, we've got 10 more pounds and 3 more inches to go in it! Its so nice to still be able to take her in and out of the car in there, when she's sleeping and whatnot, and also nice to have just in case there isnt a good place to put her down (ie: a public bathroom) because she's not yet standing completely on her own (without something to hold onto). Thats just all my opinion of course, you'll hear TONS of advice on products, some people will say they cant live without some things, and others hate those same things! Just my experience :)

I personally highly reccomend, buying or borrowing "Baby Bargains",it helped me alot!

Good luck with inducing lactation, I've heard of that, and think its very cool that you might still be able to breastfeed your babies!

Sara said...

Great research, Niki! It's all so exciting and overwhelming! We have the Graco snug ride as well and really liked using it. Cute patterns you found :)

So glad you are taking time to enjoy all of this and take it all in.

So excited!!

Jen said...

I totally recommend the angelcare monitor (although, you would have to get two). I sleep so much better at night with that!

Kelly said...

Looks like you're going full steam ahead with the research! Love the carseats you chose! We had a snugride and loved it!! Can't wait to find out who is in there!

FET Accompli said...

I am also doing the same research and am pleased to say we arrived at the same conclusion! I have also settled on the Graco Snugride! (Note that they pop up on Craigslist all the time - models after 2007 are your best bet).

And, I also love love love the Bumbleride indie twin. I am thinking of splurging on it because I just adore the one in spice and the little carry cots you can attach. (Although you can only attach one car seat, not two).

I actually started a list on the right hand portion of my blog of various items, usually with links of where to buy them. I'll be adding baby monitor soon, among other things (someone suggested a good name, can't recall off hand which). Looks like the angelcare monitor comes highly recommended!

Kris said...

Thanks for such an awesome post! It is nice to hear what others are doing. We are also getting the Graco carseats and I am still debating on a stroller. I need to make time to just go and look at them, but I am going to wait until OCtober to buy anything.

suz said...

My favorite things are/were:

Itzbeen timer

Video monitor (cost seems excessive but it's so nice to be able to see the baby, we still use it and the baby is 2)

Fisher Price rainforest waterfall soother (like baby crack, loved it from the time she was a few weeks old until now, 2 years later)

We had the angelcare monitor and it did provide peace of mind but was kind of a pain - had false alarms ALL THE TIME. It's also super static-y.

My brest friend nursing pillow - they make one for twins and a couple friends with twins have loved it

Borrow or get on craigslist: swings, bouncers, etc. My daughter hated anything that moved, vibrated, or bounced and that was a lot of money down the drain.

Also, check out albeebaby.com, they had the best prices for gear of any place I found and shipping was free. I bought several things there and even had an issue with one thing and they quickly and nicely sent me a replacement (stroller) and had UPS come pick up the one for return.

Autumn said...

I totally recommend the angelcare monitor! I wouldnt have it any other way. It really does give peace of mind. :)

I also used graco snugride.

Debir said...

Hi Niki!
I think the 2nd most important thing with baby gear (1st being safety) is easy and convenient! And I am sure that is even more important when having twins :)
We used the SnugRide with our DD and LOVED it! Not one bad thing to say about it. I think once the twins have outgrown the SnugRide seat/stroller, you will want a stroller that is light-weight, sturdy, light-weight, easy to open/close and light-weight! Yes I know, but I tell ya, slinging a heavy stroller in and out, and out and in of a car can be draining with just one baby!
I had low milk supply with both DS and DD. With DS, I used a store-bought pump, with DD, I rented a hospital grade pump. Go with the hospital grade, especially since you will be inducuing. The suction, adjustments, and quality are so much better, unless you get a higher-end pump like a pro-quality Madela.
Bottles... we started with Dr. Browns, but cleaning their vent system "sucked" LOL and if you overfilled the bottle it would leak. I switched to BornFree and LOVED them! The vent system is easier to clean (or dishwasher) and they worked so well, no leaks, no air, etc. Another product I cannot recommend enough and worth the extra bucks to get them.
Have fun shopping for those babies!
Debi (SC)

Crystal said...

Niki.. I found this and I think its awesome! I really really want one for Jack if we had the money..

NapNanny..and women with twins RAVE about them..

www.napnanny.com

Jaymee said...

this is so exciting!!

Bryan&Stacie said...

Baby monitor- go for the video. At 18 months, I still use this thing daily. We have the Mobicam, but I've heard much better reviews on the Summer handheld.

Bottles- Our baby liked the Avent nipples best, but we had a lot of problems w/ these bottles leaking if you didn't get the lid on just right. We preferred the playtex drop-ins... less pieces to wash which will be very important w/ 2!

Other must have items... Fisher Price Rainforest Crib Soother (seriously, baby crack), Ultimate Crib Sheet, Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (skip the book), Halo Sleep Sacks (we especially loved the swaddle kind early on), and for a convertable carseat- we LOVE our Britax marathon. Watch for them on sale and you can score a great deal!

Gabby said...

I am so remembering this post when I am pregnant. i am such a researcher, too! I love to learn about the right gear and the best deals!

on another note, i have an award for you on my blog.

leikay2 said...

I am glad you have found your car seats and strollers that you want to get!!! Exciting. I just have a few tips and tricks! When you do buy your car seats buy them from Babies r us. For 2 reasons..1 you get a discount for twins.. You buy 2 of the same item you get 10% off. Only on baby gear. Then get the extended plan for each car seat. It is like 10.00. The way the plan works is it gives you a year warranty on the car seat, this is in addition to the yr. the manufacturer already gives you. Then right around the time the twins will be getting the forward facing car seats call the warranty service and tell them something broke on it and they send you a check for the value of the car seat. I did this for our car seats. ( I learned about it from the cashier at babies r us) So when it was time for me to buy new car seats for the babies I only had to spent about 200 for both in stead of 400 cause the girls car seats were 100 a piece.. It has been a while since I ever even used a monitor. I never used one with the twins so I am no help on that. I do like the idea of the tv monitors though.

TeriLynn said...

Niki,
I have Avent Bag bottles here that are brand new in the box that you can have. TONS of bags to go with both size bottles! I only used only one that i kept and i bet i have 6-8 9oz bottles and that many of 4oz bottles! I just have them all stored in a tub here!! ALL BRAND NEW! I will donate to your babies!! Just let me know if that is the kind you would like to use!

I love the carseats that you picked out and stroller!!! The nursery sounds wonderful! Glad you had your mom there helping you!

Child Car Safety said...

Hi, I know you seem set on the car seats and yes- the SnugRide is a great choice. I want you to consider one thing- with twins you are ging to be cursing up a storm with those ones you selected as they are rear adjust. Yes- some of the bells and whistles on the more expensive models don't make sense but please please do yourself a favor and get front adjust seats! if you're used to a keyfit you will be returning these after a week of use- they are a real pain with one child- let alone two. You can't ever seem to get the straps tight enough or even...The extra $10-$20 on front adjust seats will literally change your life... Good luck! Just trying to make your life easier!