Now that we’re two months into rocking the family of four thing, our list of baby must haves has shifted. A lot. I like to be prepared and I’ll be the first to admit that even my predictions about what we would love were dead wrong. Here’s our advice (aside from “have them at least two years apart”):
Fisher-Price Rock N Play
This thing is the berries, as my Mom says. It’s up high enough to protect baby from sibling, it rocks without being a light-up, vibrating, swinging jazz fest, it folds flat and travels in a snap, the cover is removable and machine washable, it’s inclined for refluxy babies (which M is not, thankfully, but it would have saved us with Silas), and it’s good for napping or awake chill out times. It also has mesh on the sides so it’s great for outside, even when it’s hot out. This thing trumps the Boppy Lounger, the bassinet, the Moses basket, and the swing in my book. We borrowed one from a friend, but they got it secondhand at Once Upon a Child, so they’re out there. The newer version does have a vibrate option, apparently.
A Good Double Stroller
And now for the great stroller debate. So, as previously mentioned, I have a stroller problem. We’ve had a mirage of single strollers (jogger, umbrella, Rockstar Baby, Chicco x2, umbrella/classic hybrid…) and we sold all of them except the jogger for Silas/Daddy outings and the robot umbrella to keep in the car. We got a second, better-than-umbrella stroller with a sun shade, reclining seat for M, and storage basket yesterday to keep in the car as well. The reality is double strollers are enormous and they simply don’t fit in the car if you’re packing enough crap to stay overnight with two babies.
That said, after going through a few, Tim and I equally love love love our Joovy X2 double stroller. The sunshade is huge and wonderful, the storage baskets are huge and wonderful, the seats recline independently and the kids ride equally comfortably despite a huge weight difference. We scored ours in like new condition from Craigslist for $100 and I was downright giddy.
This happiness comes on the heels of owning the Countours Options, which felt like driving those shopping carts with the attached car at the grocery. Miserable. We also have/had the older version of this InStep double jogger, and two different double occupancy bike trailer/jogger convertible trailer strollers. I really wanted the City Mini Jogger GT double, but the price tag wasn’t worth it to me. Heads up if you buy a used double jogger–the new InStep joggers fold up WAY smaller than the old ones because the wheels collapse inward to lie flat. If you don’t have an SUV, this could make or break your trunk space.
Two Car Seats
We have two of the same carseat, one gray and one pink, and we like them just fine. They are excellently rated as far as safety goes and the OCD in me likes that they are the same make and model. We are still using the bucket seat for Maren, but I am thinking about upgrading her since she’s such a moose. It’s becoming quite the task to carry her around in the infant seat already while trying to chase Silas. It would be easier to just carry her around.
I wanted these car seats, but secondhand car seats from trusted people won out in the end for the sake of saved Benjamins. The seats I originally wanted were rated highest by Consumer Reports, which is fine and all, but what really sold me was using three of them with my last nanny family. The strap adjustment is revolutionary, easy, and safe without being annoying. I felt like it made for a safer ride every time we left the house. If I ever replace the seats we have, I will get the Triumph seats. I prefer them to the Britax and Recaro seats, hands down.
In case you’re wondering, there have been a few times that I squeezed my giant postpartum behind into the back seat of our Subaru Outback in between two car seats. It was no small task, but it can be done.
IKEA Hensvik cribs
We have two of these and are braving a shared nursery for the babies starting next week. Maren is only up twice all night at this point, so I feel like it’s a good time. They convert to toddler beds, which I’m not sure we will use, but it’s nice to have the option. Wish us luck!
As a tangential recommendation, we are using the Aden+Anais swaddle blankets to swaddle Maren and Silas uses them as blankies. We pretty much are a walking ad for muslin blankets. And elephants. Love ’em.
EDIT: Baby Carriers!
How could I forget? The only way to be a hands free mama with two babies is to wear one of them. We have or had the Maya Sling, Moby Wrap, K’Tan, Bjorn, Bjorn Active, and Ergo carriers in the last year.
With Maren I am using the Maya sling a ton right now (and so is Tim) but we are going to be graduating to the K’Tan carrier (much, much simpler than the Moby Wrap). We have the Ergo, which we never really loved when Si was smaller but we do love it now that he is bigger since he can ride on our backs with it. I still love the Bjorn instead of the Ergo for smaller babies.
So that’s what we’re using these days. Something that is driving me nuts at this point is our diaper bag. It has an across the body strap option, so that may solve it with a simple switch. If not, we will be converting to a backpack. We already use a backpack for going to the water park, but not for full time diaper bagging.
Any other tips for life with two babes? I’m all ears.