Twin life

Babies on wheels

I am delighted to report that we finally bit the bullet and made our big pregnancy purchase over the weekend: we bought our pram.

When it comes to twin prams, there are two main options: in-line contraptions (which can seem like they’re the length of a bus), or side-by-side contraptions (which can be very wide, making it difficult to get through doorways).  And like any other time of life where you’re compelled to spend a large amount of money, you have to consider your needs carefully before making a purchase.

At first, we were planning to buy the Baby Jogger City Select:

This pram is a single baby vehicle that can be adapted into a twin pram by adding on a second seat attachment (as per that photo).  The main reason why I thought that this would be a good choice is because it enables you to have the babies facing you if you choose (and you can have them facing each other, which would be quite cool when they’re at the ‘making eyes at each other and cracking each other up’ stage).  You can also add attachments to it that enable you to click in the babies’ car seats, or you can buy separate bassinets and let the babies lie down properly.  And you can mix and match the various attachments in a huge number of ways, as follows:

It’s a pretty flexible pram and I know that a lot of people swear by it, but I had an 11th hour change of heart and we decided to go for the Mountain Buggy Duet instead:

The Mountain Buggy Duet is no wider than a normal Mountain Buggy (and definitely fits through doors).  I’d originally discounted Mountain Buggy options because I didn’t think that they enabled you to arrange things so the babies can face the person pushing them when they’re little, but I later learned that you could buy bassinet attachments for the Mountain Buggy as well:

And you can attach car seats to the Mountain Buggy, although I’ve since learned that it’s not actually very good for babies to be in their car seats for extended periods of time (it can be bad for their backs, apparently).  So the bassinets will be the go while the babies are little.

There were two reasons why we ended up choosing the Mountain Buggy instead of the Baby Jogger: Mountain Joggers are much sturdier and better off-road (and I’ll still need to take Tui to the beach every day); and Mountain Buggys are (reportedly) far easier to put up and collapse.  We did choose that red and black Mountain Buggy, as per the first picture: everybody knows that red vehicles go much faster, right?

One of the main things I wanted from a pram was that ability for the babies to face me when they’re little.  It seems logical to me that tiny babies might prefer looking at a familiar face, rather than at the big wide scary world.  And I remembered a piece of research conducted by the National Literacy Trust (a fantastic charity that my firm partnered with when I was in my old job) that concluded that babies’ language development can be affected by the choice of pram: it found that parents were twice as likely to speak to their children in face-to-face buggies.  If you accept the theory that parental interaction with young children has a huge impact on their language development (and I certainly do), this all makes sense.  Whenever I see people pushing prams with their children facing away from them, they often seem to be listening to iPods and not actually interacting with the child.  Of course, they may well be chatting away to their children when they’re at home, but it seems to me that when you’re out for a daily walk you have an ideal opportunity to talk to your child.  And I’m also aware that twins can sometimes have issues with language skill development, so if something as simple as choosing the ‘right’ pram for us and then making sure that pushing it gives us the opportunity to talk to the babies and do what we can to support their language development, then so much the better.

If you’re particularly interested in the way that parents can influence their children’s language development, I really recommend the National Literacy Trust’s Talk to Your Baby site – it’s full of excellent resources.

The other big issue with any twin buggy is the need for a suitably large car in which to transport it!  A couple of weeks ago we traded in my zippy little Ford Focus for a much more substantial Ford Mondeo station wagon (or ‘estate’, for those of you in the UK).  The new car is absolutely lovely to drive, but in the first couple of days it was a bit of a challenge for me to manoeuvre it out of the very tight turning circle at the top of our shared driveway – my first attempt involved what must have been a 17 point turn…)

The final piece in our twin transport puzzle will be a couple of those front-loading strap-on baby harness things, so we can flit off to brunch or for a walk and have one sprog each strapped to us.  Steph did email me this hilarious photo of a twin baby carrier from WalMart:

I think we’ll be giving that a miss…

4 thoughts on “Babies on wheels

  1. I’m going for a Mountain Buggy for its off-road ability and compactness. Nothing depresses me faster than those enormous single baby things that force you to walk in the gutter so the mother can get past. And half the young mums around here actually wear headphones when they walk their baby! I’m going to wear the munchkin until she gets too heavy though – god knows what sort of posture wearing that twin carrier would give you!

    1. I know! You’d have to have a back like an ox!

      Here on the Shore everybody seems to be out running with their babies in the prams. I guess you have to take your opportunities for exercise when you can get them, but it doesn’t look like a very exciting experience for the baby (and looks like it would make a run even harder – I’m planning to start running again after I get over the birth, but I’ll go first thing in the morning, before Tristan goes to work).

      I think I’m starting to sound like a hippy dippy earth mother who will be pounding the local streets and having a continuous dialogue with her children (and dog), pointing out every flower and birth we pass…

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