Ask Design Mom Week — Stroller Advice

November 2, 2009

Question:
I am pregnant with my first and am doing a lot of stroller research. There are so many to choose from. Cost is an issue with me but I don’t want a cheap one that will fall apart. I like the idea of having one for newborn to toddler that can be converted into a double stroller. Any advice? Many thanks! — Meghan



Answer:
So smart to be doing your research, Meghan. The first thought that comes to mind, is that it makes a big difference if you’re a city dweller or living in suburbia. You’ll use your stroller differently, and want different features, depending on your location. (My current stroller is the
Micralite Toro, pictured. We love it, but it wouldn’t have worked for us at all about a few years back — I had completely different needs.)

The second thought that comes to mind, is that you’re not alone. I actually get a lot of stroller questions. And I see the topic discussed around the interwebs pretty regularly. In fact, a week or so ago I heard about a new site called Stroller Source. They don’t actually sell strollers — so that they can remain non-biased. But they have tons of research and comparison information. They’re like the Good Samaritans of the stroller world. Stroller Source would be a really good place to start.

What about you Dear Readers? What kind of stroller advice would you like to offer?

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carla November 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm

My bambina is 5 months and I rarely use a stroller. I use my baby carrier 99% of the time. We walk the zoo 3 times a week and its fine. I'm glad I purchased my stroller on craig's list.

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2 That's Ms. Amy to You... November 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I am a huge fan of Maclaren, and have used the Techno XT for 2 kids over almost 6 years. Still going strong. We also have a BOB jogger that I LOVE, but it's definitely a luxury item, and not quite as versatile as the Maclaren.

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3 Kristin November 3, 2009 at 4:25 pm

I agree with Carla, and my daughter is almost 18 months old! She tends to be much happier in a carrier. I used a moby wrap when she was very little, and an ergo carrier now (still very comfortable for me to backpack carry a toddler). We used a snap n go stroller when she was very young, but only rarely use an umbrella stroller now.

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4 Damaris November 3, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I love our Combi stroller. It's affordable and most importantly is folds down so small so it fits in our tiny house and our tiny car. I used it with my first who is know almost 4 yrs old and now with my 6 week old baby.

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5 Kristen November 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I have two little ones and while I wore my littlest often when he was a wee one, the BOB double stroller is my saving grace.

Yes, it is heavy. BUT…if you love to go walking/running, it is perfect. I fold it up and heave it into my Corolla trunk EVERY day. The kids have tons of room and I get a smooth ride. The uphills….well, that is just considered the workout. :)

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6 Jenilee Holbert November 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I actually got my eddie bauer stroller from freecycle. It was in great shape and has worked wonderfully. I especially like the material used because it is very warm, and being from wyoming we need warm! I would try freecycle. Its nice when you dont have a lot of money because everything is FREE

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7 Shauna November 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Pricey but I bought my Phil and Ted double inline stroller on craigslist. And it has been my LIFESAVER!!! We live in an apartment and have a long ways from the car to our front door. This stroller totes my groceries, my baby and my 3 year old holds onto the leash that is attached. If I don't have groceries or when we go on walks my 3 year old has her own place underneath. I LOVE IT!!!

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8 joolee November 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm

BIG ditto on the Phil and Ted stroller!! I have the "e3" version and found a used one on Craigslist – can't rave about it enough! I can take it anywhere because it's not a HUGE side-by-side double. It's sleek and can fit through the skinniest aisles in stores. Also love that it has a removeable back seat and can be adjusted for a newborn, just a toddler, newborn and toddler, etc. LOVE.IT. Easy to fold up as well.
It's not meant to be a jogger, but ssshhh, I use it as one! The wheels are large enough and hallelujah to the swivel wheel in front! It's def. a more spendy stroller, but since I would have bought a jogger and then an umbrella stroller as well, I considered this as killing two birds with one stone!

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9 Shannon and Cameron November 3, 2009 at 5:27 pm

I just had my first and I also did tons of research and decided on the UPPA baby. I thought there were many great selling points to the stroller but we decided on it for the following:

1. A handle bar can raise up TALL. I'm 5'10" and my hubby is 6'4"… it is perfect for us
2. It comes with the pram and seat, plus you can buy an attachment for your car seat.
3. I walk the trail a lot and it is sturdy, yet I go to the mall with it.
4. You can buy an extra seat for baby #2 and there is a standing board for #3 too. I can't imagine pushing 3 kids… but you have that option.

That being said, it's expensive but its been worth it for me. It's also a bit bulky so I don't travel with it. I travel with the Quinny umbrella stroller which I have also really liked for the versatility. Good luck! I would go to a store where you can push them around and try out all the features (I went to Goores). That was big help for me.

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10 ~Kat~ November 3, 2009 at 5:32 pm

there is a great little company in the Boston area that provides a "Stroller Matchmaker" service on their website http://www.mbeans.com and so basically you fill out this form that asks questions about your needs, your price range etc and submit it and in a day or two you get a response by one of the matchmakers that is absolutely dead -on (in my case anyway) as to what they recommend. It was very well thought out, filled with information and I really appreciated that it seemed like someone really took the time to consider my needs and get back to me with a few options. Check it out!

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11 kmberrien November 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm

I've got three kids between 1 and 4 years old. I love, love, love my Phil and Ted's stroller. It is so versatile. I can use the double seat arrangement when I've got all of them with me (the oldest one rides on the footrest) or just take the extra seat off if I just have one kid. Also you can use it with the infant carseat bucket which is great. It drives so easily and isn't wide like other double strollers. I live in the suburbs and might not want to haul it up and down subway steps, though I have done it during trips into the city.

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12 Katie November 3, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I bought a Phil&Teds and my babe is 3.5 months. I wish I could say that we get out lots and lots, but we don't. I've been running with it and loved it for that. It is a little heavy and sometimes tricky to open and close. And the handle bar rests on the ground which is somewhat worrisome for me even though I have replacement parts (Phil&Teds is not the best on the service end). I do love that it becomes an inline double as I plan on having more children. I think it's a stroller that I can use for all my children and when I'm done, sell it or give it away. I do wish my carseat could easily click into that. I could purchase an extra piece that would allow me to do that, however I'm not sure if it would be usable for subsequent babies.

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13 christina November 3, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I wish i would have splurged on the phil and ted stroller the first time around so that when other babies came i could've just bought the add on kit for an instant double stroller-but i didnt and ended up buying a macleran double when my last two were born close together. It works fine for me but is hard to manuever when shopping.

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14 Brooke November 3, 2009 at 7:06 pm

My only advise is what ever you buy make sure it will fit in your trunk. I drive a VW Beetle and I think there are 3 strollers that will fit. We just bought a MiaMode Cielo Evolution, It rides nice, my son seems happy in it and it folds so small. Very reasonable price as well.

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15 Em November 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I would recommend looking at the babycheapskate blog because she did a review on strollers and got TONS of mamas' input and it's a perma link on the right side of the blog. It's very very helpful, imo. And we have the Quinny Buzz and LOVE it.

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16 Carey November 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Check out UPPA Baby. It's similar to a Bugaboo, but cheaper, and you get a lot more for the money!! The best part is that they've come out with a second seat that can be put on the stroller when you have the need for two seats. AND…if you ever need space for 3 kids, there's a boogie board that can be attached for the oldest to stand on! If you're near Boston, go to the factory and you can buy them for 1/2 price. We live in the city and it's been great for us so far!

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17 @wowsolomom November 4, 2009 at 1:26 am

forget strollers!!! I carried two big boys in Nojo slings (til 5 months when their neck muscles were seriously developed) and after that, baby backpacks til they were nearly two! Because the babies / toddlers are close to your bodyheat and/or at your eyelevel (backpack), they are more secure, smarter AND content. Used these devices each and every time I walked, went in the grocery store, even in the house so I could get stuff done without worryin' about them gettin' into stuff…(not to mention that carrying them, in addition to breastfeeding, TORE the extra pregnancy weight RIGHT OFF of my frame – and I ate like a horse!)

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18 Laura November 4, 2009 at 2:25 am

There are so many kinds of strollers, and as was mentioned, it really depends on your needs. I tried at least five strollers and got rid of all of them, they were either too big (wouldn't fit in my trunk!) or too flimsy (McClaren's and all other umbrella strollers fall over)…anyway, I finally settled on a Joovy Kooper, and I LOVE IT!!! It is the perfect size, has all the features I want, looks super cool. If you want a little more high end, look into Quinny.

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19 Elise November 4, 2009 at 3:51 am

Although expensive, I splurged on the Bugaboo 5 years ago and it is the one and only stroller I have had. When #2 was born, I bought the skateboard attachment for #1. I love my Bugaboo and it has been worth every penny. I've used it for hiking, in the snow, on the beach, basically anywhere and everywhere.

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20 Ann November 4, 2009 at 8:36 am

HUGE Phil and Ted ditto also! Such a smart stroller. We use it in our suburban home and on the road since we travel with our kids almost non-stop. My husband is an opera singer (I am writing this from Warsaw where my husband is singing with the Polish National Opera). The stroller is a great urban beast and easy to fold and get in a car. Too bad, costco.com had a deal on Phil and Ted strollers a few months back (stroller, extra seat and bouncy chair converter for $299). I had an e3 but got a new Sport and sold my e3 in one day for only $40 less than I bought it for. Phil and Ted also make a great port-a-crib that weighs 6 pounds and folded is about 1/3 of the size of a typical port-a-crib. It is very nice to pack your port-a crib just in a suitcase and not have it as an extra item. Costco on-line has these for just $99 (awesome deal! cheapest I have seen them for is about $160). Phil and ted also make a clever things called the Lazy Ted (mentioned it above with the costco deal)that makes the doubles chair into a bouncy chair, which is great for travel or small living spaces (less baby gear). I would work for Phil and Ted if I could, kind of changed my life. We use ours for jogging too, works great!

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21 Ailen November 4, 2009 at 9:35 am

We use the Simmons Pearl stroller and LOVE it! We've been using it since our baby was a newborn. I highly recommend it…it's affordable too!

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22 amyks November 4, 2009 at 10:24 am

Urban buggy! It doubles as a jogger, folds up easily, has tons of attachments. It's not inexpensive, but it is sturdy and very durable.

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23 michelle November 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Wait until your child is born. I live in San Francisco and use my stroller much more than my friends in other places, but I wish I did wait until my child was born. I purchased a Peg Perego and found it a bit cumbersome and eventually switched to a Maclaren Quest, which I LOVE. I also had a BOB Revolution for jogging, but I sold it on craigslist after getting pregnant with #2. But now we have two kids and we have a Phil and Ted Sport, which I also love.

The first few months I found it much easier to have my child in a bjorn or sling anyway. Both of my babies slept great in them. Overall, I can't recommend Maclaren enough – I really do love their strollers. As far as having two kids, the Phil and Teds is great too.

Good luck!

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24 Emily November 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I bought three different strollers trying to find the right one. I wish we would have bought the Phil and Ted's Vibe first, it would have saved us money. If you are planning on having more than one child, it is an awesome purchase. Many times people will say when something is expensive that it is an "investment" well this would be the "investment" stroller. It is worth every penny. It can be used easily with one child, and we have found that you can easily attach a carseat in the front.
If money is an issue, and you have enough time, try saving a some money each month so that you can buy it by the time the kiddo arrives.

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25 Amy November 4, 2009 at 6:10 pm

I just recently got a Kolcraft Contours Tandem Stroller as we are pregnant with our second. I am sooooo pleased with it!!! It can go anywhere….the mall, dirt roads, etc. It is easy to handle with lots of storage space!! BUT the best part is that you can turn the seats in different directions!! If the kids aren't playing nicely then you can turn one of them around!! You can take one seat out to make a single stroller with extra storage space, or you can take out the seats and put in infant seats. I got mine on Diapers.com for $186 shipped!! You can't beat it! I just posted pictures from our walk today on my blog if you want to see it! http://urbanpioneerwoman.blogspot.com/2009/11/thats-how-i-roll.html

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26 Tally Girl November 5, 2009 at 12:41 am

Things to watch for:

-adjustable handles (anyone who ever pushes it who is over 5'4" will thank you )
-folds with ONE hand
-stands on its own when folded
-fits in a trunk
-as light weight as possible for the size

Right now I have the Peg Perego Pliko P3, which I love (it has all the options above, and a step on back for older siblings), but I'm buying a Maclaren umbrella stroller next. The two should last through all my children.

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27 Tally Girl November 5, 2009 at 12:41 am

One more thing to look for: how easily does it navigate with one hand? So important!

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28 rum sum mum November 5, 2009 at 1:21 am

You may find you need several strollers for different purposes. We bought a Valco (over 5 years ago!) to use for jogging and with the toddler seat in mind (for baby No 2). It ended up being a little top-heavy and therefore unstable and difficult to turn with the second child aboard (although baby was SUPER-comfortable).
We bought a Phil & Ted e3 over 3 years ago and love it (it is still being used for baby No3). We used this in lieu of a car for 18 months (room for shopping, rugged enough for long walks, big wheels for uneven ground, storm cover and bundle-me's to survive Chicago's winter). It has travelled with us across the Pacific and back, been coast to coast in the US, been camping and been subject to a LOT of use. Perfect for transporting one or two kids.
I had a Maclaren frame for transporting the baby seat / carrier – very compact and handy for the back of the car with heaps of space for shopping underneath (but only room for baby… toddler had to walk).
Umbrella strollers are the best for one child on short 'urban' outings but hopeless for long walks.
Unless kids are the same age – avoid a side-by-side stroller. These are hideous to maneuver through doors and cumbersome when the first kid is walking and younger still needs to be wheeled.

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29 Baby Bunching November 5, 2009 at 9:39 am

Stroller talk is my favorite topic! We over at Baby Bunching plan for doubles! You have to think about where you live, what you do now and what you THINK you might do when baby comes. If there is any way you might have a second child close to the first, invest in the Phil and Ted! I'll offer up our Double Stroller guide. Seriously, I wished I had thought of this. Although I really did love my Mountain Buggy Urban!

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30 Dress Code Gen II November 5, 2009 at 10:01 pm

We are city dwellers and LOVE our bugaboo frog. We take it on walks, into NYC, to malls, into the mountains/beaches. It's easy to collapse and to maneuver. Although it's on the pricey side, we think it's well worth the $. :)

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31 erica November 6, 2009 at 1:34 am

i have the Toro also–and a Mountain Buggy Swift–and am a fan (city dweller).

one thing i've learned is that some babies don't like strollers. my 8 month old has always wanted to be in on the action. the only stroller that i think he'd be happy with right now is the Stokke Xplory because the seat is raised high.

considering i already own TWO strollers, spending another $1K is not an option! so my little one stays front and center in a soft structured carrier.

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32 Mariah November 6, 2009 at 3:11 am

Phil and Ted's is DEFINITELY the best for buggy's/prams. They are super expensive though.
Things that could make the purchase easier: they have a high resale value; if your planning on having a large family it will last forever.

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33 Jennifer January 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I work for ebabyplace and these strollers sell like crazy. They are great for moms on the go!

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34 Samara August 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Know this is a post for a couple of years ago, but just in case someone stumbles across it as I did here goes…
I have a Micralite fast fold. So great, especially now when other mms are having to invest in a second pram as their is too big and bulky now. Fab for summer too as it is mesh and nice and breezy!
Micralite are Soon to release what looks to be be a very cool alternative to a double buggy, one that can convert super easilyx back and forth between crashing one or two kids.

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