If you’ve ever had to purchase a new car, you’ve already had some training when it
comes to choosing the right stroller for your baby. Seriously, it’s a very similar
buying experience. This is a product you’ll use for the better part of 3-4 years, and it
has to be as practical and comfortable for your wee one as it is for you and your
partner (though, less so for them, but I’ll get to that in a moment).
There are countless companies that manufacture strollers, and they all claim to have
the best for you and your baby. However, there are certain things you really do need
to keep in mind when choosing the right stroller for your baby (and you).
Before we even get into the different types of strollers out there; this is huge. You
might find it strange that I’ve listed this as the first thing to consider when choosing
a stroller for your baby, but please trust me when I say this is of huge importance.
When my ex-husband and I were looking for the perfect stroller for our baby, we
treated it like a new-car purchase. We took each stroller for a “test drive” down the
aisles, and made sure we could easily fold and unfold the model, and then I made
sure I could pick it up solo (even though I was heavily pregnant at the time) because
we both knew I’d be spending 90% of the time alone with it, loading it into the car
and taking it out.
Of note: As a journalist, I am privy to certain things like product samples. Shortly
after my son was born 7 years ago, a US company, 4Moms, contacted me. They had a
fully automated stroller that would fold and unfold itself at the touch of a button.
The sent me the stroller to test. I was thrilled at the prospect of not having to fold
the stroller myself. Until I had to lift it. The 4moms Oragami stroller weighed 32 lbs.
That’s a lot. It really is.
While you’re shopping for your new stroller travel system (I’ll get to the different
types in a moment), take the time to fold and unfold each model on display and lift
the stroller (to the best of your ability if you’re currently pregnant and in the later
stages of said pregnancy).
I wish I’d come upon the UPPAbaby Cruz Stroller when I was shopping around. It
only weighs 21.5lbs and will safely and comfortably carry your baby until they hit
the 50lb weight limit — and even the under-seat storage will hold up to 25lbs of
Is it Driveable?
Again, the similarities with buying a car are uncanny. Think about it: You’re
going to be piloting this stroller for the better part of 4 years. Imagine you had a
wobbly-wheel shopping car for those 4 years. Yeah. Just think about that.
So, just like you took the time to fold and unfold each stroller at the store, take the
time to walk up and down the store aisles with each model, as well. See how they
corner, how well they fit down smaller aisles (this is a huge deal when you’re
shopping, especially in clothing stores that tend to fill their floor space with lots of
tightly-packed displays), and how easily they move around in general.
Some strollers are made to move more easily than others, like the models from Baby
Jogger. Specifically, the models that feature three wheels only are much more
maneuverable, and also perfect for those mommy-baby workout classes – but not
for full-out jogging, despite the name. Certain Baby Jogger models even feature a
single tab-pull folding feature. Super convenient.
Different Types of Strollers for Your Baby
Again, just like car models, there are a multitude of stroller models, as well.
Personally, I’d recommend getting a travel system (like one from Uppababy or Britax
for your first stroller. This encompasses a car bucket seat that your
newborn baby will travel in until they’re about 22-25lbs. This is super convenient
because when they’re that young, you simply lift the entire bucket seat in and out of
the car, and clip it into either the stroller or the bucket seat platform permanently
affixed to the car.
After that, you’ll need to update your child’s car seat (a topic for another post) to a
conversion seat. Generally, the stroller that worked with the bucket seat is perfectly
safe and acceptable to use until your child hits close to 50lbs. However, if you prefer,
you can update to a more lightweight running/jogging stroller.
From there, you’re looking at umbrella strollers. These are also great for travelling
(if your baby is old enough). Generally, umbrella strollers don’t recline, and that’s
key when your baby is young. However, after 6 months your baby’s neck is
developed enough to hold their own head up properly, so if you want to purchase an
umbrella stroller for travelling or just a light stroller to use daily, you can –
especially one like the McLaren Triumph Hi.
Take Your Time to Decide
What it really comes down to is taking the time to find the stroller that fits your
lifestyle, your needs, and your budget. There are some hugely expensive models and
systems out there that are just as good as the value brand models.
Keep in mind that no matter the price, every single item on the market right now
goes through a rigorous amount of testing and would not be on the market if it was
not safe for your bay to be sitting in (both in the stroller and in the car). The CSA
ensures that each product released on the market for babies/children is safe in
every way, no matter the final retail price. So, find a model that you’re comfortable
with (and a colour your like!), oh and make sure the bucket seat fits comfortably in
your car, too (a topic we will definitely revisit later).