My advice to parents – the goal during the first year is not necessarily to get the babies to adapt to your chosen lifestyle, but rather to adapt your lifestyle to their individual and collective personalities. This will allow you to keep your sanity while making sure you do not do any psychological harm to the babies.
This is why the choice of appropriate gear is even more important in the case of twins than it is for singleton parents. For parents of twin the choice of the wrong gear can make life much more difficult for you than it needs to be. This is especially true when it comes to two of the most critical gear in the life of any parent – strollers and car seats.
For parents of twins, it is important that you choose a car seat and stroller that are complementary to each other, at least for the first 6 months. Why you may ask
- 75% of twin moms go through c-section, so there is a strong likelihood that you may have to go through it as well. So ideally a light wight stroller and car seat are desirable. The lightest stroller are ones onto which car seats can attach.
- When you are handling both babies alone, you want everything to be a seamless and disruption free as possible. You want to transfer the baby from the car to the stroller without any kind of disturbance, which essentially means keeping the baby in the car seat while you perform this task. One crying baby can wake the other up and things can get out of control.
- Ideally you want the car seat to sit snugly on the stroller frame. No fiddling around with straps if you can help it.
Let us talk about strollers first, Here are my suggestions
- It is usually best to start with double car seat strollers. I have outlined the reasons above. But here too you have a choice to make
- Basic frame strollers – These are minimalist frames with wheels which allow car seats to be attached to them. They usually accept a variety of car seats with the help of adapters and are usually lightweight and compact(can be folded). Very few bells and whistles so as not to defray from the primary objective of being a receptacle for car seats. These are useful only as long as you use infant car seats – which is around 6 months.
- Car seat receptacles cum strollers – These are designed so that you can attach your car seat but you can also use them independently as strollers. Thus in effect these can be used well beyond the 6 months period. However these are certainly more expensive and may not be the best option for either periods of time.
Why I would suggest you go with frame strollers for the first six months
- They are lighter and easy to handle
- They are less expensive
- They allow you to adjust the position of the car seat so the baby does not have to face the sun
- They are compatible with most car seats through the use of adjusters
Only reason to go for car seat strollers
- You want to buy just one stroller for the kids through this period till they walk
- The weight does not matter
- You want to buy the stroller sold by your car seat company
2. Full featured Double Strollers – When the babies grow too big for the car seat it also means that they can be transitioned to a full featured double stroller. I strongly recommend moving to these after the use of the frame stroller is over, as these are reliable and sturdy and will last you for a long long time, can be taken for most regular trips, except as carry on during flights etc for which I recommend you buy an umbrella stroller. Here also you have a choice to make
- Tandem or In line double stroller
- Side by side stroller
3. Double Umbrella strollers – Once the kids get closer to one, you want something lightweight for everyday use and for traveling out and about. They are compact and can be folded and stuffed into the trunk without much hassles. However be warned that you will never get one as lightweight as single umbrella strollers. They are usually good for short trips and are not that expensive. There are some umbrella strollers that are a little more sturdy and you could even skip your regular all terrain stroller if you wanted to save some money. The umbrella strollers are the best option for travel.
4. All terrain double strollers – They are the best quality double strollers that you can find, most convenient to push and can be used in any kind of terrain. You can even take them for jogs, even though – http://www.lucieslist.com/best-all-terrain-double-strollers/
These strollers have heavy-duty all-terrain wheels, usually with a front wheel(s) that will swivel or lock. Many can be used for “light” jogging. All-terrain side-by-sides are heavy, bulky and generally take up a lot of trunk space, but are delightful to push and steer. They also tend to be the most expensive. Prices range from $200-$750, except for the Bugaboo Donkey (~$1,300).
Best Frame Strollers
1. Joovy Twin Roo Plus My top choice and I would suggest you look no further. The design allows you to place two car seats facing to the side. With the help of adapters you can snap on any brand of car seat without any hassles. You can adjust the way you place the car seat in a way that the sun does not hit their face directly. It is sturdy and stable while being relatively lightweight.
- Small footprint and so will fit in smaller cars
- Side position can be adjusted so that teh baby does not face the sun
- Large storage
- Greta customer service
- A little on the heavier side
- If you are buying online, the first thing you should do is to check if the stroller fits in your trunk
2. Baby Trend Universal Double Snap-N-Go Stroller Frame – This one is much lighter, which is a big advantage but I was left pretty confused about the compatibility of car seats with this one. Not to mention – I was in no mood to fiddle around with straps. Hence this is a good choice only if you want the lightest frame available.
Best Car Seat Strollers
Even here there are ones manufactured by the car seat companies which are specific to your car seat and other universal ones that can fit a variety of car seats. The first two are specific ones and
1. While Chicco fits well with every stroller I would recommend the Chicco Cortina Together Double Stroller, Ombra if you don’t mind the weight.
2. Graco Fastaction Fold Duo Click Connect Stroller, Piazza is a good option I would recommend with Graco Snugride car seats. They can be used as regular strollers once the infant car seat has had its time.
BEST REGULAR STROLLERS
Joovy Scooter X2
BEST UMBRELLA STROLLERS
$200-$300 Range (My Top Choices)
BEST ALL TERRAIN
Some things to consider
- Choose infant car seats – This is a must according to me because it is nearly impossible to deal with the babies alone on a quick trip if you don’t have these. All you have to do is to transfer the infant car seats into a double frame stroller and you are good to go. You babies may be around 6 pounds or less when they come out and convertible strollers may not work.
- Choose the lightest ones you can find – You may not always have the frame stroller around, and you or your husband will need to carry the car seat around. The lighter the car seat seat, the more convenient it will be.
- Look for minimum weight ratings close to 4 lbs as there is no knowing how soon the babies may come out. If the rating is not low enough and your babies turn out to be preemies, then you will have to buy a different car seat.
- Choose seats with sufficiently low harness seats that will work for smaller babies – as the baby’s shoulder while reclining should be higher than the harness seats.
Here are the recommended ones that meet this criteria
- Chicco Keyfit – This is my top choice as it is one of the lightest car seats in the market. I have detailed out the pros and cons in my car seat guide, but here I will talk about why they are perfect for twins
- It is one of the best bets for prematurely born babies, with inserts you can make this work for preemies as lightweight as 4 lbs.
- 5 point harness means you get one low enough for preemies.
- It is compact, narrow and easy to install.
- Fits well with every stroller in the market.
2. Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LXIf your car has some extra space and you want to extend the use of your infant car seat by a few more months, then I would choose the Graco Snugride 35.
Why this works for twins
- Works for babies from 4-35 lbs
- No rethread harness makes it easier to adjust the harness with the growing baby. The best such system in any car seat.
- Works well with Joovy and Graco strollers such as Graco Fast Action Fold Duo
3. Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat This is another top choice and is my favorite in the Ero category. It has self-wicking fabrics composed of bamboo and other natural fibers that deodorize and draw liquids away from the skin to keep baby dry and comfortable during the ride.
Why this works for twins
- Very light
- Works for babies as light as 4 lbs albeit with the assistance of a wedge
- Lot of color options to give each twin his own color
- 4 sets of harness slots and three buckle positions
- Being a Euro car seat obviously it is richer in features
- Compatible with a lot of strollers