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Getting Out of the House with Twins

Let’s be honest, it’s really hard getting out of the house with a baby. There is so much prep work and sometimes it feels like you’re packing for a 2-week vacation with all the stuff you have to bring with you! Then there’s actually leaving the house with TWO babies! And, if you’re trying to get them out of the house by yourself, it’s a logistical nightmare! But staying home alone with the babies can be isolating and lonely, so it’s important for my sanity to get and about with them! Taking twins anywhere turns everyday outings into little adventures and today I’m sharing my routine, tips, and tricks for getting out of the house and going on adventures with my twins!To leave the house in the first few months with newborn twins you simply prep the carseats, prep the diaper bag, load the lightweight frame stroller into the car, then feed the babies, change their diapers, pack them into the carseats, and carry them out to the car. At the time, it seems like a lot, but looking back now they were tiny and it’s easy carrying two infant car seats out to the car. Unfortunately, before they outgrow those car seats (either height or weight-wise), they’ll get too heavy for you to carry them both in their carseats (unless you have superhuman strength) and you’ll have to switch to convertible car seats. For me, this happened around 8 months old when they were about 16-18 lbs.

So we made the switch to the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat. Two of them. We like knowing that Maxi-Cosi is the top selling baby car seat brand worldwide! Plus, the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max is an innovative new 5-in-1 convertible car seat that accommodates children from birth to age 10 (5lbs. to 120lbs.) and easily transitions between five modes of use: Baby Rear-Facing, Toddler Rear-Facing, Toddler Forward-Facing, Child Forward-Facing and Belt Positioning Booster.

When we were prepping for the twins, I didn’t know that convertible car seats even existed for newborns! I think there are pros and cons to going with either infant carrier car seats or convertible car seats from the start, so you have to figure out what works for you and your situation. For me, recovering from a twin pregnancy and c-section delivery, using infant car seats and this lightweight frame carrier stroller was appealing; however, I don’t think I left the house with them by myself in those early months, so I probably didn’t need to use it and we could have simply used the convertible car seats and a more “permanent” stroller.

Before we installed our new Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seats, I put the car seats in the twins’ nursery, read the instructions, set the babies up in them, and practiced putting them in and taking them out of the car seats. The Magellan™ Max has a convenient EZ Out harness system to keep the straps and the crotch buckle from getting caught and bunched under your kiddo and with the ClipQuik auto-magnetic chest clip, you can open the chest clip quickly with just one hand—making it easy for parents but hard for kids to unbuckle.

After we installed the new Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seats in the car, I scheduled a certified car seat technician to come out to our house and inspect the car seats.

I highly recommend doing this!

Did you know that something like 95% of all car seats are installed incorrectly or the child is positioned incorrectly? Plus, it’s a huge myth that you can simply go to a fire or police station and get your car seat checked. Not every firefighter or police officer is a certified car seat technician. And sometimes stations have a certified car seat technician who is available, but it’s by appointment only (because they don’t work there full-time or travel to several different locations), so make sure you call ahead or schedule an appointment and make sure the person who is checking your car seat is certified and knows all the different nuances of car seats and installations!

Because I have two babies and two car seats to check, I didn’t want to be stressed out at a fire or police station, so I found a paid certified car seat technician who came out to our home and spent an hour and a half with us going over the car seats.

While our car seats were installed correctly using the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) installation, we did learn from our certified car seat tech that we could only use the rear-facing LATCH installation on these Maxi-Cosi car seats up until the babies weigh 35 lbs and then we would need to switch to using the Vehicle Belt Installation, so he recommended that we just make the switch the Vehicle Belt Installation now while he was there and could help us install the car seats and check them.

And we also learned that if you remove the back pillow, you must also remove the head pillow because they need to be used together. Once we removed the head pillow, Hank’s shoulder restraint straps were not positioned correctly (they need to be at or below the shoulders) and they needed to be slightly lowered.

The car seat technician also showed us some quick tips on how to quickly fix any straps that get flipped around and how to check and make sure the harness is tight enough.

He also discussed a few things that I hadn’t even thought of such as what happens with window sun shades, headrest mirrors, and projectiles in the SUV trunk area during an accident and how dangerous they are. So, instead of using these window shades that stick on using suction cups and have hard pieces of plastic, I’m switching to these window shades that are simply pieces of film that simply stick onto the glass and have no other hard plastic parts. And we’re working on using ratchet straps and large canvas bags in order to tie down the stroller and other items (such as groceries) that need to be placed in the trunk space of our SUV. We never even thought about how dangerous a gallon of milk could be if it became a projectile in a car accident.

So here’s how we now leave the house when I’m taking them by myself: everyone is fed, diapered, and changed. The babies play in their “baby jail” safe play area. I load the stroller into the car along with their diaper bag and tie them down, then I load one baby into my Ergo baby carrier on me, then I pick up the other baby and carry them on my hip, I set the alarm, I lock the door, and walk them down the stairs and out to the garage where I load them into their car seats.

If you live in an apartment without an elevator, you can do my method above, or use a TwinGo carrier to carry them both on you, or you can set up the stroller at the base of the stairs and put them in infant carriers and carry one carrier down one flight of stairs to a landing and then go back up and get the other carrier, and repeat down all the flights of stairs so they are never out of sight.
Now that I have them loaded up into the car, I need somewhere to go!

I hate that some of the only indoor places to take young babies are shopping locations such as malls or large retail box stores. If you don’t want to spend money, there are very few places to take two babies by yourself where you can let them out of their stroller. This is exactly why I signed up for Mommy & Me classes last month! It gets us out of the house for an hour and a half each week to an indoor location where I can take them out of their stroller and we can socialize with other babies and adults. It also makes me practice with all of our new baby gear: our Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seats, our stroller, and even driving our car! (Side note: we purchased an SUV last December before the babies arrival. It’s almost a year old and it only has 1,200 miles on it. Half of those miles were driven before the babies were even born. This demonstrates just how rarely I was getting out of the house with them!)

Since the weather is getting milder for fall, other places I’m looking forward to taking the twins include local gardens and museums, baby music classes, kids’ museums, the park, and the library. (Note: my local library’s children’s story time is for babies ages 1+, so I assumed that was true for all libraries – it’s NOT! A few other libraries in my area host story time for non-walking babies and we’re looking forward to driving to some of those libraries to check them out!) I found most of these places by Googling where to take babies in my city, through the Peanut parenting app, or recommendations from other moms in my Mommy & Me class.

Just remember, if you have twins (or even just one baby) and you’re anxious about taking them out on your own, overcoming a difficult situation will make you feel like a super mom! Start small! Go to places with which you’re familiar. But just start! Practice makes perfect and you’ll figure out your routine and it will get easier and easier. You’ve got this, mama!

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