Your baby is on the way! While at first your little one will be tiny enough to carry around in a front pack, before long you will probably need a stroller to get around town. But what kind to get?
Which stroller you choose all depends on how you will use it, advises Vanessa Antonelli, baby gear expert and owner of NessaLee Baby boutiques. “Assess your own lifestyle,” she says. “Not your best friend’s, not your cousin’s, not someone you read about on the internet. What do you think your own life with a baby will look like?”
Will your stroller be used on city streets or bumpy country roads? For long walks or short jaunts? Will you need to fold it to take on buses or put in the back of your car? These answers will dictate style, wheel size and important features.
Other decisions include whether you want to buy a stroller that is compatible with an infant car seat and then upgrade to a different model later. You may want a jogging stroller if you’re always on the run or a double stroller if you have two children. An umbrella stroller is light and compact and good for traveling. Visit BabyWheels.net to find the pros and cons of different types of strollers.
Although you may want to do some advanced research online, Antonelli suggests that you go to a brick and mortar store that specializes in strollers to get a feel for several models and talk to an expert who knows the ins and outs of each one. You’ll even be able to take them for a test drive, “just like a car” to see what feels right for you and baby.
Regina Siles did just that. “My stroller is my savior,” says the first grade teacher who has traveled three continents with baby and stroller in tow since 16-month-old Stella was born. Here are some of the features she says are important when considering which stroller to buy:
You don’t want something too heavy if you are carting it around. “I was looking for something I could lift with one hand,” she says.
This is important if you are opening and closing it frequently. Bonus points if you can do it with one hand.
Look for a sturdy stroller that will last for years, possibly through multiple children. “With all the traveling I do, I needed something that wouldn't break at the airport.”
Like driving your car, you want to feel good pushing it, says Siles. “I didn't want any cheap looking or old fashioned models. It had to be something I liked looking at.”
How easy is the stroller to maneuver up and down curbs or stairs? Are the handles at a comfortable height or are they adjustable for a tall dad and shorter mom?
Ask yourself whether baby will be comfortable in it for long periods of time. Make sure it has features that work for both baby and mom including ample underneath st orage, a secure but comfy seat belt, a sun visor and rain shield.
Make sure the stroller will be easy to keep clean. “I wanted pieces to detach so I could machine wash them,” says Siles.
Ask friends and family for recommendations, she suggests. But the bottom line is to actually try them out for yourself. If possible, put baby in for a spin around the store and get a real life experience before purchasing.