Let’s get right down to it. Here are some useful things the sales people probably won’t ask you to think about when you’re looking to buy your first stroller:
- Will you be taking the subway/train regularly with your stroller? If so, look for a stroller with 3 wheels instead of 4 since they’ll be less wide and take up less room. Also look for a stroller that you can easily fold 1 handed and that’s light/compact enough for you to carry with 1 hand – especially if you’re in NYC, there are NO elevators in most subway stops (found that out the hard way). My favorite and the stroller we ended up with? The popular for a very good reason Baby Jogger City Mini (pictured).
- Some strollers have flat, bassinet-like infant attachments, like the Bugaboo Cameleon (pictured), or the strollers can be modified to be used with an infant car seat, like most Graco travel systems. But my husband and I preferred to trade off strapping our baby to us in a wrap or carrier, so we never had any use for a cradle-type stroller design. Our daughter was always happy as long as she was snuggled up close and in the action and since she was a small baby, we carried her for at least 6 months, probably more (pregnant brain memory lapse). But depending on the size/weight of your baby and their temperament, any back problems you might have, personal preferences, etc., this might not be the same for you. If you think you want to try wrapping though, see if you can hold off on the stroller at least until baby is old enough to sit up on their own. (BTW – More on wraps & carriers coming soon in a new post!).
- Also, before you spend $1000 on an admittedly awesome stroller (like the Stokke Xplory pictured), consider how long you’ll use it compared to the price. For example: my daughter is just about to turn 2 and we’ve used our stroller about 10-20 times at most. We go on walks just about every day and have rigorously practiced hand-holding so ever since she’s learned to use her legs, walking is usually her preferred method of travel. We still bring out the stroller though if we’re going to be in a really crowded area or if we plan on walking around the city all day long – so definitely still useful to have a stroller, but I would have had serious buyers remorse if I’d gotten some of the other models I looked at.
However, I often see people pushing their 4 year olds around in strollers and although I don’t see that happening for us, we’re not there yet, so who knows!? If that’s the case though, and the weight limit on the stroller is high enough (and the straps adjust in case your child is very short or tall), it can definitely be worth the money (especially if you’re planning on using the stroller for multiple children) – I think it really just depends on the child and the parents. Just something to think about.
- I mentioned before that we preferred to wear our daughter with wraps and carriers but the one exception was when it was cold and rainy or snowing. Of course you prefer to not go out in bad weather, but sometimes it’s necessary and baby can’t be home alone so they have to come to. I still haven’t found an acceptable baby ski mask (joke), so although you can bundle baby up pretty well from neck to toes and stick a nice warm hat on, there are days when I’ve have my face wrapped up in a scarf so I certainly wouldn’t want baby’s face exposed either, even for a few minutes. In these cases, a rain cover over the top of your stroller acts nicely as both an umbrella and wind blocker. It’s also a better way to bundle up our little toddler – even though she’d prefer to walk, mommy’d prefer she stay warm. So if you live where there’s snow or a cold wind chill, make sure the stroller you decide to get has a removable rain cover or that generic covers (like the Jolly Jumper Weathershield pictured) will fit your stroller.
- Two words: cup holder. Make sure your stroller at least has the option for you to get an attachment later. I found it essential (and if it’s large enough or will adjust to fit baby’s bottle/sippy cup, even better!).
Do you have any other slightly uncommon stroller suggestions? I’d love to hear them!