Routine Care | Stroller
There are a lot of strollers to choose from: lightweight strollers, travel system strollers, full-size strollers, double & triple strollers, and jogging strollers. Refer below for things we discovered in our stroller search.
Versatility Size, Weight, & Price
It is generally recommended to carry the baby in a stroller that "reclines fully (to an almost flat position) until your baby is around 6 months old" (BabyCenter). A lot of people use a stroller that accommodates the infant carrier (infant car seat
). The infant carrier can be put into a stroller frame
or in one of the travel systems
that is built to accommodate an infant carrier. Not all strollers are able to use an infant carrier thus, if you want to be able to properly use the infant carrier with a stroller make sure it is compatible to do this.
Strollers come in many different sizes and weights. For us, we tried to find the smallest (or at least the stroller that could get the most compact) and also the lightest. That is why we went with the Graco SnugRide travel frame, and then moved onto the Combi Cosmo EX Stroller and then moved onto the Especially for Kids Umbrella Stroller (probably my favorite).
Price generally is also a factor for most people looking into strollers. We initially felt that by getting the travel frame (rather than the travel system) we would save money. (We primarily wanted to go with the travel frame rather than the travel system because the frame was lighter and less bulky.) Although, some of the travel systems may be more economical since they tend to include the purchase of the infant carrier (car seat). Just make sure you are satisfied with the car seat that comes with the travel system. Refer to “Car Seat” for more information on car seats.
Overall, I would "test" out the stroller in the store. Open and close it, then lift it so see how easy it will be to get in the trunk of your car, and push it around to see how smoothly it goes. As with most things you have to evaluate the cost versus quality and still stick to the budget you can afford.
Comfort & Accessories
Some strollers fold up compact and may even have a strap to carry the stroller on your back. That’s one of the features we liked about our Combi Cosmo EX Stroller was that it folded up well and you could carry it on your back. I recently saw someone carrying a stroller on his back without having to fold up the stroller. This is a nice feature if you have to run after you child who is no longer sitting in the stroller or if you end up carrying the child and thus need to carry the stroller as well. Pushing a stroller while carrying a child (is doable) but is not easy.
Some strollers appear more comfortable than others. I would test them out or if you have an older child you could let her tell you which one she likes best. Most strollers come with some kind of organizer or holders for cups, keys, a phone ect. If the stroller doesn’t come with any of these items you can buy organizer and holder accessories for the stroller. Include the price of these add ons when comparing different strollers.
It is nice to have a cup holder for the child. Sometimes the cup holders are by the handles for the adult and sometimes it is on the side or on the tray so the child can reach it. I prefer to have a holder that my son has access to as he likes to drink on our walks. If the stroller doesn’t have a cup holder you can still set the cup in the stroller with the child but having a separate cup holder is a nice feature. I also like to have a cup holder near the handles so I can put a water bottle in it for me.
It is nice to have a basket below the stroller as well. We use this a lot when we go on outings to the park to put my son's ball, bucket and shovel. Also consider how you will be strapping the baby/ child into the stroller. Take a look at the bar that may go across the front of the stroller. Erik’s sister recommended having one that easily snaps off or swings open so you don’t always have to remove the bar to get the child out of the stroller. I tend to simply get my son out without moving the bar but it is a nice feature to have the bar easily swing open.
There are a lot of toys you can buy to strap onto the infant carriers or strollers to entertain the babies as well.
I would expect the travel system is a very popular first stroller most people buy. The travel system strollers enable you to start out by putting the infant seat directly in the stroller and then once the baby is big enough to ride in the stroller without the infant seat you can use the stroller by itself.
Generally, these strollers are fairly big and bulky and can be heavy to lift. We didn’t get one for these reasons. We probably would have bought a travel system if Erik’s sister hadn’t warned us. She mentioned that at the time when you don’t need to have the baby in the infant carrier, when you are using the stroller by itself, it is easier to have one of the smaller, more compact strollers that are easier to lift in and out of the car and maneuver around in crowded places.
The travel system strollers seem to be popular so people must like them. The prices range from $150 - $400 but the price generally includes the cost of the infant carrier (car seat). In addition, you technically only have to buy one stroller if you buy a travel system as you should be able to use the stroller throughout the infant and toddler phase.
Most brands make a travel system stroller. The following are some travel systems found at Babies R Us:
Since we didn’t buy a travel system, I don’t have much more to comment. All I can say is that we were very happy with our lightweight frame that we used with our infant carrier and the other lightweight strollers we used as discussed below.
We started with the Graco SnugRider Infant Car Seat Frame. Baby Trend and Kolcraft Universal also make an infant carrier frame. Our travel frame worked great. The price was around $70 for a frame. I believe the frames usually work with other models of infant car seats, but you will want to confirm that when purchasing. The frame is what it sounds like, simply a frame; you can not use the frame stroller without the infant carrier. Once you no longer need to use the infant carrier, you no longer use the frame stroller.
Combi Cosmo EX Stroller
Once we no longer used the infant carrier in the stroller we started using the Combi Cosmo EX Stroller. It was about $130. I liked this stroller. It appeared to have a decent amount of padding for my son. It had a nice cup holder for both me and my son and it also had a nice basket bag underneath the stroller. It was easy to maneuver and seemed to be a smooth ride for my son. It also folded up nicely (very compact) and had a strap so you could carry the stroller on your back.
I love our Especially for Kids Umbrella Stroller. I thought our Combi Cosmo EX stroller was a compact stroller until I started using the Umbrella Stroller. I keep the umbrella stroller in my car. It is very lightweight and it is very easy to maneuver. It doesn’t have any extra padding so I’m not sure how comfortable it is but my son doesn't complain. We’ve used this stroller both times when we had to go to the airport to fly with my son and it worked great. I have the standard model for $19.99 but there is also a deluxe model for $29.99.
The lightweight strollers generally range from $20 - $300. Other companies that make light weight strollers found at Babies R Us are:
If you are an avid runner or speed walker it may be nice to have a jogging stroller. Erik’s sister gave us her old one when she no longer needed it. My son was about 15 months at this time. I liked the fact that it was a very smooth ride for my son but I found it hard to turn. It is definitely fairly big and bulky but I would think most of the jogging strollers would be. I think this is definitely a luxury stroller (i.e. not one you definitely need) but if it enables you to continue with your pre-baby routine of running and if you can afford it then it would probably be worth looking into. The prices generally range from $100 - $700.
I’m using the Baby Trend Expedition, but other jogging strollers are made by the following companies:
Double and Triple Strollers
This is something I didn’t think about when we were shopping for our first stroller. Even though we planned to have another child we didn’t buy a stroller that would accommodate another child. I didn't look into a double stroller until after the birth of our second child. I wasn't sure we would need one since our son was 2 1/2 and didn't really ride in a stroller much before his sister was born. But of course once my son saw me put his sister in a stroller he wanted to ride again so now I was trying to carry him, push the stroller, and carry my purse/gym bag or whatever else I was carrying. I realized that a double stroller would be great to have even if it was for a limited amount of time.
Generally, you can get a side by side stroller or a front/back stroller. I thought I would want the front/back stroller since the side by side strollers are so wide but when I tried the strollers out in the store I found the side by side stroller seemed more natural to push. We were fortunate that our friend let us borrow their Peg Perego side by side stroller so we didn't have to buy one. I am happy with the side by side stroller although it does just barely fit through most doors. The stroller we have is a 60/40 which means the one seat is bigger than the other. This works well as the infant seat can easily sit in the larger side but it keeps the stroller small enough to fit through doors. The nice thing about a full double stroller is that both children are able to lay back and sleep if you are on a long outing.
Depending on the age of the older child, I like the idea of the strollers that have a stand for the older child to stand on or a small seat. We were fortunate to also receive one of these from a friend. Our son loves standing in the Joovy Caboose stroller. This is perfect for every day trips. Some of the companies that make double and triple strollers found at Babies R Us, are:
Where to Buy
Strollers can be both a luxury and a necessity and also quite expensive. So in addition, to looking at Babies R Us you may want to consider the following stores that also carry baby products:
- The MOMMBY Amazon Store - Almost everything in this article can be bought there. (I appreciate your support.)
- Burlington - Baby Depot - You can usually find good deals on baby items especially big ticket items like baby furniture such as the crib and dressers.
- Buy Buy Baby - This is affiliated with Bed Bath & Beyond and so you can use 20% off coupons you receive from Bed Bath & Beyond on most items.
- Khols - Mostly for clothes and few small toy items.
- Target - I love Target but I try not to go in as this is another store I have trouble leaving without spending a lot of money.
- Walmart - I do think prices are cheaper here for everyday products like diapers and wipes.
- Other online sources such as eBay or Craigslist.
You may also be fortunate to be able to borrow a stroller from a friend and then pass it on when you're finished with it.
Coming Home from Pool (Combi
Other Ways to Get Around
Don’t forget there are other ways to transport your baby around such as “Baby Wearing” or using other items such as a wagon. My son loved his red wagon. It was great in the summer going to and from the pool and also at the beach. See pictures:
BabyCenter. "Buying Guide: Strollers." BabyCenter. 18 Jan 2010
Last updated: March 2011; February 2011; January 2010