I cannot tell you how much time I spent worrying about prams in the early days of finding out it was twins. There just seemed to be SO much to research. Tandem? Side by side? Sling them in a rucksack? Embrace the fact it will probably be more hassle than it’s worth to go outside at all and just stay indoors til they can walk? Honestly, there were times where the latter option began to look like the most appealing choice.
That all being said, I’ve since come to the conclusion that choosing a twin pram is actually less stressful than shopping for a single pram. After all, there’s a lot less choice for twins. I can’t imagine going into Mothercare and knowing that ALL THOSE PRAMS are an option. Singleton parents, you may have my envy when it comes to squeezing through doorframes but when it comes to the actual choosing a pram part I’m glad my choice was so limited. How do you even begin to decide?!
I realised quite early on in my pram research that a lot of the reviews for doubles are unhelpful as they come from the point of view of a toddler and a baby as opposed to the perspective of two children the same age, but with the help of twin groups on Facebook, chasing twin mums in the street (literally) and the Instamum community I began to figure out some clear favourites.
But where would I SEE these magical twin prams? And how would I ever know if they’d fit in our (specifically bought for the twins but oh god what if it’s still too small) new car?
We went to John Lewis who did, to their credit, have all the double prams I wanted to see on display but the store was PACKED (maybe don’t shop for prams on a bank holiday?!) and the staff didn’t seem particularly well versed in the needs of twins. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect everyone to know everything about twins, but some of those travel systems are well into four figures and I didn’t really fancy getting this decision wrong. I wanted to feel 100% confident in our purchase.
A bit of Googling later for basically ANYWHERE AT ALL which we could get to in the car to see all the prams in a slightly less chaotic setting and I stumbled across reviews for the A3 Baby Barn in Claygate. An independent family-run business out in the Surrey countryside, it was only 40 minutes or so from where we live in SW London and they had a whole section on their website about shopping for twins so I knew we had to pay them a visit. Awesomely, they offer out-of-hours appointments where you can have the store to yourself, twin discounts AND they’re also very happy to try prams and car seats in your own car. I felt like I had found baby shopping mecca…and that was before we got there and realised there were ponies outside!
We had our private appointment last Friday after work and were met by Amanda who knew everything there was to know about the specific needs of twins. Crucially, this also included a lot of what not to waste our money on which we really appreciated.
Our pram needs are quite specific as we live in a flat with two lifts and TEN comically heavy gates and doors between us and our car in the garage, so we had a lot of measurements to consider. Plus living in London means I use the bus most days and wanted to still be able to do this with the pram. Ahhhh bus journeys with the twins, I’m sure they’re going to be quite the barrel of laughs! (Please don’t tell me horror stories, at the moment I’m banking on the twins being so impossibly cute that strangers will gladly make way for them without any eye rolling/tutting/general unimpressed mum hatred being spewed my way – don’t burst the bubble!).
Despite wanting the pram to be suitable for city living though, I still really had my heart set on a side-by-side. Yes the iCandy is GORGEOUS (I’m sure we’d have gone for that if only the one bub) but I’d read so many stories on forums of twin mums giving up on their tandems and switching to a side-by-side that I really wanted to try to get it right from the start. I had to consider the way I expect to travel every day and with all that factored in, the Mountain Buggy Duet seemed the best option. No, it’s not as pretty as the Bugaboo Donkey, but the width of the Donkey made it a no-go from the start as much as I loved the “feel” of it.
Amanda agreed that the Mountain Buggy Duet would be best for our needs (which, again, I really appreciated given that it’s a lot cheaper than the Donkey!) and she took us through all the features, the newborn options, the carrycots, the folding, tried it out in our own car and so on. We spent ages – in a good way – discussing all the pros and cons and when we placed an order that evening I felt completely confident that we had made the right decision. (Okay I may have uhmmmmed and ahhhed about the colour choice later at the pub but as an ACTUAL PRAM I knew we had done the right thing!).
Please meet our lovely pram and pray for my ability to keep it looking this clean and tidy.
Having sorted the pram, the next decision was car seats which again Amanda couldn’t have known more about. Being in London we don’t use the car that often, but when we *do* use it we’re in the car for a long time to visit family – typically at least three hour journeys – and I’ll be travelling on my own a lot with the twins I suspect. We went through a whole myriad of options before once again coming up with something that we were really happy with, especially once we saw it all kitted out in our own car and could really picture it. We went for two of the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus, the 2WayFix bases, mirrors so we can see the rascals and car seat protectors so they can’t cause quite so much carnage back there!
Then we moved on to look at the various cotbed and co-sleeper options and whilst we didn’t place an order there and then, it gave us lots to think about and helped narrow down our ideas. I am still dedicating way too much mental energy to sleeping arrangements but we’ll get there, eventually!
We didn’t have to pay for everything we ordered there and then, we just paid a deposit and the rest will be paid when we collect it all. As twins can come early we were advised to order for collection at around 32 weeks, this suited us perfectly as I don’t want everything in the flat anyway whilst we don’t need it. Wonderfully, we won’t just get a bunch of boxes delivered to us whilst we spend a frantic weekend trying to assemble it all either, by going to collect it we’ll be able to build it all together (no additional charge for this!) and get a refresher lesson on just how everything folds and clips in. I’m sure this will be an absolute life-saver when the time comes!
I didn’t want to leave with nothing on the day though, so I did cave and buy a pack of extra large Aden + Anais Jungle Book swaddles. LOOK HOW GORGEOUS THEY ARE! I’m half tempted to wear them as scarves.
All in all, I couldn’t recommend a trip to the A3 Baby Barn more highly. I wasn’t there “as a blogger” or because I’d been invited to review, nobody was serving us thinking I was going to review it after (and I didn’t have any intention of “reviewing” our trip anyway, until the customer service was so good!) but this is clearly a business that really cares about customers AND they really know their stuff when it comes to all things baby. I’m so happy we stumbled across it!
Of course I can’t actually review the pram/car seats til the bubs are here but I def will when they are. If I’ve learnt anything during this research process it’s that there needs to be as much info as possible out there about all the pros and cons before you spend a small fortune. Babies aren’t cheap…and twins definitely aren’t!
You can find opening hours, directions and contact details for the A3 Baby Barn here.