With four kids, you’d think I’d have a lot more to say about baby/kid gear. In particular, I should be posting more about how the heck we get out of the house with everyone.
Well, if you’ve been wondering, you’re in luck now. I got this email from a reader yesterday:
I have two boys (3 1/2 and 2 1/2) and a third boy due in September. I’m wondering what you have done with all your littles and stroller choices? My oldest will be as old as your twins by the time the baby is born, but he still likes to ride in his stroller pretty regularly rather than have to walk at the park, zoo trips, etc. The younger is the same. I have a double jogger that I love but I’m afraid that banishing one boy to the front “step” so I can put the baby in the seat will result in hard feelings and toddler tantrums. I have a big truck so I’m not worried about something fitting in the trunk of a car. I was thinking along the lines of a triple jogger like the one you have/had. Could you fill me in? Thanks!!
Getting around when you have a lot of small, stroller-aged children is difficult and daunting. In our case, we are majorly outnumbered and all of our kids are really young. If you find yourself in a similar position, you might think you’ll won’t set foot out the front door for a few years.
But! Have no fear! I will fill you in on how we get around and what has worked/not worked for us so that you, too, might see the light of day yet.
First, an inventory of what we’ve had/what we have:
- Baby Trend Double Snap n Go
- Baby Trend Single Snap n Go
- Two umbrella strollers
- Jeep tandem stroller
- Combi TwinSport double stroller
- Baby Trend single Expedition jogging stroller
- Baby Trend double Expedition jogging stroller
- Mountain Buggy triple stroller
- Baby Trend Sit n Stand
- A variety of baby carriers: Moby wrap, Baby Bjorn, Ergo, Boba 3G, Baby K’Tan
A timeline of sorts:
Just the twins
We’ve never had a single-child, single-stroller scenario. We started out with a double stroller and we don’t know any different.
When the twins were infants, we relied almost solely on the Baby Trend Double Snap-n-Go. I loved this stroller. I could snap the twins into it in their infant car seats and not worry about waking them up or fitting through doorways.
The girls are almost six weeks old here in their carseats
The storage on this thing is great, too. In the early days before I got brave, I used to walk with the twins in the Double Snap-n-Go to a nearby supermarket to do some grocery shopping. Whatever I could fit in the storage basket was what I could buy, and this sucker could fit most of what we needed — a 12-pack of Coke, milk, bread, whatever. (It wasn’t until years later that I noticed the storage basket has a five-pound limit. Oops.)
As the twins outgrew their infant seats, I started looking at double strollers. We settled on the Jeep tandem stroller pictured here. It was reasonably priced and worked for a time — a short time. As with the Snap-n-Go, I found the maneuverability of a tandem stroller to be pretty crappy, especially as the kids got heavier.
I tested out a friend’s side-by-side double stroller and couldn’t believe what I’d been missing out on. The steering! The ease of pushing! And it still fit through a standard doorway! I had to have one. We went for a Combi TwinSport, mainly because it had a single handle instead of the umbrella-style, which is almost impossible to steer with one hand.
This stroller lasted us about a year until Amaia was born and my needs changed again.
Somewhere in here, we purchased two cheap umbrella strollers, figuring we’d get tons of use out of them. We used them exactly once.
With three kids, we had different considerations. The twins were a little over 2 years old when Amaia was born. I originally bought a single Snap-n-Go for Amaia, figuring it would serve us as well as the double had for the twins.
single snap n go
But at the time, the twins weren’t in school and we frequented parks and other outdoor venues for playtime. I quickly discovered that the Snap-n-Go was useless to push around mulch and sand. So I bought a Baby Trend single Expedition jogging stroller.
This purchase has proved a smart one, as I still use this stroller daily. It pushes easily through mulch and park sand, accommodates an infant seat so I don’t have to wake the baby to move him, and is mostly okay for actually jogging with (as long as the front wheel is locked — there’s a major and well-known issue with the front wheel shaking. You get what you pay for, I guess.). Oh, and it’s just about $100 new. You can often find them used on Craig’s List, so it’s doable for many families.
When we went to DisneyWorld a few times with all three kids, we opted to bring the Combi double stroller for the twins as well as the infant seat snapped into the Expedition jogger for Amaia (she was still small at the time). In addition, I brought a carrier to wear Amaia in case she got sick of the car seat. Yes, it was cumbersome to get all our kids, strollers, car seat, and other shit on the tram in a reasonable amount of time, but we did it.
One thing that was not useful for us? A triple stroller. I bought a used Mountain Buggy triple stroller and we’ve only used it a handful of times for walks around the neighborhood.
I just didn’t find it practical or necessary for everyday use. The stroller is beautifully constructed and maneuvers like a dream for a triple stroller. But dude. This thing is a beast. It’s got to weigh 50 pounds, so it’s a feat to pick up and put in the trunk. And forget about fitting through a single doorway. I much prefer a double jogging stroller and wearing one of the kids to pushing this around.
As far as child transportation is concerned, going from three to four kids involves even more contraptions.
We met our first challenge when we wanted to do DisneyWorld again this year. We wanted to give everyone the option/ability to sit in a stroller. I wanted to wear the baby much of the time, but I also needed the option of putting him in his infant seat to give me a break sometimes, too.
The only way we could conceive of doing this was to purchase a used Baby Trend Sit n Stand for Amaia and the baby, and to take the double jogger with us.
(There are no photos of this. We’re still not sure how we actually survived that trip with two giant strollers.)
Although the Sit n Stand is a pain to maneuver compared to a jogging stroller, the arrangement worked great for our needs. Chris pushed the twins in the jogger while I took Amaia and the baby.
Not every day is a Disney Day, sadly. Our daily stroller needs are pretty minimal with 4-year-old twins and a 2-year-old. Everyone walks while I either take the baby in a carrier or infant seat snapped into the single jogger. In general, my recommendation for friends who are going from two to three children is to wear the baby everywhere instead of buying bigger strollers.
If I had to do it over again knowing what I know now, I would have invested in an awesome, quality double side-by-side jogging stroller, a quality single jogger, and a variety of good baby carriers. What they say about “you get what you pay for” and “buy right once” and whatever else they say is true. We’ve obviously wasted a ton of money on crap strollers when we could have purchased quality the first time and skipped all the junk.
Next up will be my totally non-smug breakdown of the baby carriers we’ve used. You’re welcome.