Buying a stroller is like buying a car
You know you need it, but all of the models, features, and options can be confusing... Sound familiar? With my first child I chose the SUV of strollers, a travel system that included both the infant car seat and a conventional stroller. I didn't try out the stroller before I bought it; I had no idea how to fold it, how much it weighed, or if it had adjustable handles; and I didn't even check for cup holders. I wanted a behemoth to encase my little one—and I bought one.
Yet after getting the stroller out of all the packaging, I couldn't even figure out how to fold it. Twenty minutes later, stroller folded, I discovered it barely fit into the trunk of my car. I could take my baby to the mall, but anything I purchased wouldn't fit in the trunk.
So how do you find the right stroller for you? Invest some time (instead of just money) in deciding exactly what you need and try out several strollers before you buy.
Types of Strollers
The granddaddy of strollers, travel systems combine a car seat and a stroller, making it possible for you to use the system throughout your baby's infancy and toddlerhood. The car seat locks into the stroller for easy transport. Once your baby can support herself, use the stroller alone as you would a traditional stroller.
Pros: The all-inclusive system gives you more for your money. Plus, it offers a smooth ride and good coverage from the elements.
Cons: These strollers can be the bulkiest of the bunch, and once you decide on a travel system you must choose the stroller and the car seat contained in that system.
Price Range: $150 to $500
Within this group, you will find everything from high-end brand lightweight strollers to inexpensive umbrella strollers. Some strollers may be convertible, switching from a carriage (with baby riding in a bassinet-like compartment) to upright seated stroller with only a few mom-friendly flicks of the wrist.
Pros: Traditional strollers are generally easy to use and fold, and are also rather lightweight.
Cons: Depending on the model, you won't be able to use these during the first few months of your baby's life.
Price Range: $20 to $900 and beyond
Favored by moms for their classic style, pram carriages are essentially bassinets on wheels. Built with an elegantly curved lightweight metal frame and oversized wheels, traditional prams function as a cozy place for your newborn to nap while you take a stroll. Prams are intended for infant use only, meaning you will need to purchase another stroller once baby is able to sit up.
Pro: Suspension springs give these classic buggies a super-smooth ride.
Cons: Almost all classic prams on the market in the US are made by exclusive European manufacturers and come with a hefty price tag.
Price Range: $800 to $1,200 and beyond