Pushed around.

So, strollers.

Bingo is now somewhere between the size of an avacado and an onion, according to the internet.  Bingo is also still firmly rooted in my uterus.  As a result, I’m having a fairly easy time carrying Bingo with me at the moment.  But I’ve been told that transportation gets trickier after the graduation from fetus to baby, when the parents-to-be suddenly find themselves transporting a small breathing, wiggling, crying person up stairs, over icy sidewalks, through narrow doorways, etc.  So, strollers.

I don’t own a car, but I imagine purchasing one must be similar to purchasing a stroller: comparing different makes and models, looking at the available colours, finding yourself torn between function and form.  In fact, last week I listened to an ad for a car on the radio and thought “Huh, there’s a stroller with the same name.”  Sea and I try to compare features (of strollers, not cars) on websites.  We read about one-handed folds and breathable bassinets, but the truth is that we don’t have a clue.  We inevitably find ourselves going back to the dubious reasoning of, “Ooh, pretty!”

So, internet, I beg your help.  Do you have a stroller?  Do you like it?  Which brands are good brands?  Which brands are to be avoided?  What’s the difference between a Graco and a Stokke?  A Stokke and an Uppababy?  An Uppababy and an i’coo?  A 2010 model versus a 2013 model?  How bad would an orange stroller be?  Please, tell me more.

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19 thoughts on “Pushed around.

  1. My thinking is that if you don’t own a car, do not go cheap with the stroller. I think we may have put close to 1000 miles on ours at this point, and we have no major complaints. (The front wheels got a wobble, but they sent special washers that fixed that.) It’s a bugaboo bee, and yes, they cost a fortune, especially once you get accessories, which you do want. What I love about it: for a what I think of as a “full service” stroller — one that goes all the way flat for sleeping babies, works equally well for newborns and preschoolers, and can face either way (which I really wanted and am happy to have had) — it is remarkably small and lightweight. Also, if you don’t have a car and will therefore potentially be taking it on buses or stairs or anywhere else without the kid in it, you MUST chose one that folds in one piece. I cannot overstate that — carrying multiple pieces while dealing with the kid would be a nightmare. The bee folds very quickly (when forward-facing; more of a pain when rear-facing, but we folded it less when he was that age, since he was not walking) and is pretty decent to carry folded. The city mini is probably easier, but there are trade-offs in terms of size, comfort, and flexibility.

    We also considered a cheaper stroller (safety first? Something first?) whose seat spins around to switch directions, but someone in the know told us she thought it was poorly made and easy to break. In addition, it folded into multiple pieces. No dice.

      • Darn! I should have read the comments before I replied. I guess you don’t need a snap and go if you don’t have a car or use for a car seat (unless you live in a building with a lot of stairs, then you probably would want the carseat carrier to transport the baby up the steps).

  2. I totally remember our first trip to the dreaded big-box baby store with a backwards R in its name. We spent a lot of time wandering around in a daze trying to figure out how to figure out what we needed. What kinds of “features” were available on a stroller/car seat/crib/etc? Which ones would we actually need? It was so overwhelming! Some friends lent us a copy of a book called “Baby Bargains” which helped a lot–it has nice clear language about different types of baby gear and how to figure out if you need them and, if so, which kind is right for you.
    In terms of strollers, we started out with a frame that the car seat straps into. We wouldn’t necessarily have bought it on our own, but some friends lent it to us and it was fabulous! The baby carseat is big and bulky to lug around places, but it’s also a huge pain to get the baby in and out of the car seat each time you stop to do an errand (especially if s/he is asleep!). So it was great to be able to snap the car seat out of the car, snap it into the frame and go. When Tad outgrew that arrangement, we got a MacLaren. It wasn’t cheap, but has been super sturdy–we’re still using it 4 years in and have taken it on some crazy adventures (dragging it through the sand at the beach and hauling it over our bumpy urban sidewalks)! And it’s lightweight and not bulky–I keep it in the trunk of my car most of the time and it doesn’t take up much space.
    So there’s my novella about strollers…. I didn’t know I felt that strongly about them.

    • I didn’t know that I cared about strollers at all until now. But apparently I do.

      We don’t have a car, so the carseat won’t be much of an issue. We only have one at all because a) it was free and b) you need a carseat to leave the hospital with a baby. I am worried about being able to drag the stroller through snow, and I guess sand is kind of similar…

      Thank you!

  3. A friend of ours who is a veteran parent told me that pretty much no one loves every feature of their stroller. For the things one does love, there are always drawbacks, so it’s important to prioritize features that matter most to you. As someone sans car, I would recommend looking for something durable that folds into one piece, as was previously suggested. I’m not sure if storage space for a diaper bag or other baby paraphernalia matters to you, but it was at the top of our list for features. Like pajamamamas, we opted for something compatible with our car seat, but one major drawback to our Snap and Go style model is that it doesn’t seem like it would be super durable for public transportation and a lot of city walking. It is, however, very lightweight, easy to fold and can be stored in the trunk of our small car.

  4. We bought a nice stroller off Craigslist and put all our would-be stroller money and then some into babywearing. Bunny does like the stroller now, but wouldn’t stay in it all until around 15-18 months.

    I still love wearing him and he will sometimes agree to a ride on Mama, but we stroll much more now.

    • Yes, we’re definitely planning on buying secondhand. We are with most of our things, really! We’re also lucky to be getting a lot of hand-me-downs from family members, but no stroller unfortunately.

      I really like the idea of babywearing, and plan to do it often. However, given that Bingo will be born in November, I’m terrified of slipping on snow or ice in the early months. My winter almost always includes a couple of slips, and I’d rather not crush a baby. Sea also has a terrible back, so a good stroller is even more key for her.

      Thanks for the advice!

  5. We actually have three strollers at this point. We have a Graco something or other, where the handle flips around so that you can face the kid either way. The infant carseat also snaps into it, which is very convenient. We’ve been pretty happy with it, and it’s held up pretty well, ice cream stains aside. It was part of a travel system, so the carseat came with it. We’re planning to use it with Teeny as well.

    We got a swanky stroller at yard sale last summer, because it was a good double stroller (the second seat is behind and sort of under the first, and is removable, so it’s perfectly reasonable to use it for a single child as well). It was cheap, and also I developed a bit of psychological issue about it (this was not terribly long after the miscarriage, and I needed to make myself believe we would actually have that second child we wanted). We’ve used it a bit with Critter in single-seater mode, and occasionally with Critter and another child in PB’s care, and have been pretty happy with it. It’s a Phil & Ted something or other. It folds up pretty well, although not one-handed. (In theory our Graco folds up one-handed, but in practice it’s a bit trickier. If that’s something that’s important to you, I would recommend finding one in person, and practicing.)

    The other one we have is a cheap umbrella stroller. It wouldn’t work with a tiny baby, of course, but we got it for airport travel when Critter was old enough to sit up. That’s the one we keep by the door now, and use most frequently, although not for longer excursions.

    Like Pomegranate, though, we did a lot of babywearing with Critter. Dude did NOT want to be put down for the first several months of his life, and wearing him was the only thing that kept us close to sane. We did it a lot around the house, but also when going out. One of the nice things about, say, a mei tai is that you don’t have to worry about folding it up one handed so that you can get onto a bus. And they’re not bulky. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get a stroller, just that when you’re considering how, and how much, you’re likely to be using said stroller, you might consider baby wearing as an option.

    Honestly, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to wait to get the stroller until after Bingo arrives, and you have a better idea of how you’ll actually be using it. Strollers mostly aren’t actually something you need right away. Although shopping *with* a baby is always harder than shopping while pregnant, so…

    Good luck!

      • Fair point. Critter wanted to be held all. the. time. at first, and both of us were around and able to do so, so we didn’t get much stroller usage until he was at least a few weeks old. I suppose that’s one of those things that’s a bit hard to predict.

    • Thanks for this advice!

      I do want to babywear, but live in an area with plenty of winter snow and ice. Given that Bingo will be born in November, I’m pretty terrified of falling with a baby strapped to me.

      By the time we decide on a stroller Bingo might be walking everywhere, anyways!

  6. I had the same problem a couple of weeks ago that ended in a huge argument with my mother when she bought one for us that I didn’t even get to look at. Needless to say it was exchanged for another one after I spent about 2 hours in the store playing with them all, including borrowing a strangers baby to decide between 2 I couldn’t decide between. So yeah. Long story short, like buying a car you will need to test drive. Wait until you go to buy bottles. That will make your brain hurt.

  7. I have the Bugaboo Bee, which is FANTASTIC for city living (and folks without a car since we rely on public transit). Folds up nicely, isn’t very heavy. Great for infant to toddlers. I sing the Bee’s praises, but recommend a sun shade. The canopy doesn’t really cut it on sunny summer days.

    • Totally true about the sun shade. They shortened the canopy a couple of years ago, which annoyed the pants off me. On the other hand, the mesh sections of the sun canopy are great for letting a breeze in and keeping bugs out when we took him to our community garden in the first year.

  8. I’m a few days late because I am woefully behind on my blog reading, but I had to chime in. I would highly, highly, highly recommend getting a Snap-and-Go that works with your infant car seat carrier. You can probably find a barely used one on Craigs List for around $25. They are super light weight and easy to use. You just pop the baby carrier on it and are set!

    With my first, I got a travel system and it was kind of a nightmare. The carrier had really thin padding and my son hated being in it. The stroller was way too heavy. We ended up going through four strollers (thank dog for re-sell stores) to find one that actually fit our needs.

    With our second we got the snap-and-go and used it until the baby outgrew the carrier. At that time I was able to choose a stroller that fit our actual needs, not the needs I thought we would have when the baby was still in the womb.

    Good luck!

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