Of all the baby equipment you’re going to need – and you will need a lot! – the stroller might just be one of the most important and possibly one of the hardest to choose. So, we’re going to break it down for you. If you’ve ever purchased a new car, you’re going to recognize the shopping process needed to find that perfect stroller for you and your new little one.
So, this is a big one (pun intended). When I was shopping for my son’s stroller nearly a decade ago, I didn’t know there were so many different weights when it came to strollers. It only occurred to me when I went to the store and physically pushed them, while they were still empty. Remember, you are going to be putting a baby in there – so anywhere from 6lbs to 25lbs if extra weight is in front of you already, and that’s without the diaper bag, snacks, anything you stuff into the storage compartments, water bottle etc.
You also need to remember that you will be lifting that stroller in and out of a car, and for the large majority of the time you, mum, will be doing it solo when you are on maternity leave. So, make sure you pick that stroller up when you’re in the store! See how it feels in your arms, really take it for a proper “test drive.”
Here was another factor I didn’t take into consideration until I actually physically went to the store to test out each and every stroller.
Of course, strollers have evolved a great deal since I was last looking at them, but fundamentally they all remain the same, no matter the decade they are bought in. They all have a release lock, and they all fold down to (hopefully) a manageable size that is easy to lift and store in any size car.
There are uber fancy strollers that self-fold electronically, and there are those that require a button be held the entire time you fold it into itself. The best strollers are the ones that fold and open with one easy step. Take your time to get familiar with the mechanics of each, and see which suits your lifestyle and your abilities. And make sure you lift that stroller up once it’s folded! The weight is more condensed and could be harder to lift than it is to push forward on its wheels.
This is a two-parter since you not only want to make sure your folded stroller will fit appropriately in your car trunk, but you also want to make sure that your stroller will fit your life. Let me explain.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen mothers pushing strollers through stores that barely fit down the aisles. The handles catch on racks, or the turning radius just won’t make the turns needed to fit in everyday stores. You do NOT want that to be your stroller. So, take it for a walk around the store you’re in. Walk down narrow aisles, make sharp turns, see how it feels. (Remember how I said this was like buying a new car?)
If the store allows it, ask if you can bring the folded stroller on display out to your car for a dry-fit run. If need be, suggest one of the store clerks come out with you to make sure the stroller makes it back into the store! If this isn’t a possibility, it’s time to break out that tape measure!
Choose the Right Combination
As I’ve mentioned before, there are so many different styles, sizes, and designs these days for strollers.: from single and double strollers, to jogging strollers and umbrella strollers. You need to choose the right style for your life. Just like a car, your stroller should fit your daily needs and those of your baby, too.
Stroller sets that come with a bucket seat that can be transferred from the car to the stroller with one easy “click” is a fantastic option that will stop you having to buckle and unbuckle the baby every time you get in and out of the car. However, those bucket seats are only good for up to 22lbs, at that point your car seat will be changed, and your baby will be sitting directly in the stroller. But that’s a topic for another article!
Consider all the Available Options
You know how cars have tons of options listed to choose from? Well, strollers are just about the same. From cupholders to storage compartments to pillows built in for baby’s head, rain covers, cross-bars to attach toys, etc., there are so many options available for strollers. Of course, not every model has all the features. Sometimes, a bare-bones entry-level model is the most practical – you can always add things on down the road where needed, don’t forget that.
Take your Time to Choose Your Stroller
Just like a vehicle purchase, this is a big deal and this is a product you will use for at least 3 years, so make sure you choose a well-built model from a trusted brand. Cheaper isn’t always better, especially when it comes to something that has so many moving parts (like a stroller). Your stroller is going to go through hell and back (trust me), it is a daily appliance that will also go out in all types of weather and conditions. So, do your research, go to the store and physically see the models you’re interested in, and always remember to take each model you’re interested in for a test drive. And don’t forget to have fun with it and choose a stroller that suits your style and character, too.
What is your favorite stroller? Let us know in the comments below!