Okay, so it's very early in my pregnancy with my first, but my BFF just helpfully sent me a list of her personal "must haves" for baby and it got me thinking about strollers again.
DH and I plan to babywear with one or more wraps/carriers, but I can see where a stroller would come in handy here and there. OTOH, I have had more than one parent (not all of whom really baby-wore) say they hardly ever used their fancy $$$ strollers and only ended up using one when their child could use the (more compact and convenient) umbrella style.
Here's our situation...
We are urban types who lived smack downtown in the middle of a large city for many years-- and loved it-- but recently moved to the suburbs because we got an AMAZING, COULD NOT PASS UP 2-year deal on a place. That means we will be here until baby is about 13 months old, though we plan to move back to the city then. Our current neighborhood is semi-walkable (moreso on a great paved trail than to and from errands), and only 5 minutes' drive from the very "urban" part of our suburb, which actually borders the Big City.
I had always figured I'd still be downtown when I had an infant, walking to most of my errands, etc., but walking everywhere is no longer a real option. At least not walking TO the main destination... maybe walking AROUND while doing errands in the urban part of our suburb. That means... car and carseat, at least part of the time.
My BFF loved her Peg Perego Snap & Go system, and it did seem pretty cool, although I should note that she drives an SUV and we have a compact sedan, so I'm pretty sure it'd take up all or most of our trunk space.
Maybe I'm just not able to picture the "procedure" for taking a baby out of a carseat and putting him/her into a wrap/carrier, but in some ways, it seems more convenient to pop a baby (particularly a sleeping one) out of a car-- without having to take him/her out of the carseat-- and pop baby directly into a stroller, as with those combo systems.
OTOH... I want to babywear, regardless, and pushing a humongo stroller around REALLY REALLY does not appeal to me.
On the OTHER hand, I can see where it would be convenient-- like to use it as a cart (though we have a cart) and when clothes-shopping, etc... although-- this is another important part of the puzzle-- I work from home and the current plan is that DH will be quitting his job to work with my business when the baby comes... Thus, I'm guessing if I really needed to go clothes-shopping (etc.) during the day, DH could be home with and/or wearing the baby.
So... what say you? Interestingly enough, the person who REALLY seemed to think infant (pre-umbrella) strollers were a waste was a friend who lived in some way-far (not walkable) suburbs, and who owned an SUV...
So... I don't know what to think! We don't have tons of space around here and though money isn't SUPER-tight, it's not free-flowing either, and I can't stand to waste it.
WAHer & Wannabe, Wife to DH 1998, Mama to Buko, Born at Home March 2013
We didn't get much use out of a stroller until DS1 was about 7-8 months and DS2 wasn't in a stroller til after he turned a year old. By that point they could sit in a 5-point harness umbrella stroller-- we had the peg perego aria. I found it much easier to transfer the babies from a carseat into a carrier. It takes a little practice but is super easy once you get the hang of it. They were always happier being worn and errands went much easier! We did have a snap-n-go that we used maybe a handful of times? It was pretty cheap to buy and even though we didn't get much use out of it, I would still recommend it. It's not the best stroller for wheeling around/long trips, but is a cheaper solution to going to the store as you've described. I'm pretty sure you could also find one second-hand on craigslist. Gigantic infant strollers made no sense for our lifestyle
Jean, feminist mama raising three boys: W (7), E (5) and L (2.15.13)
We also didn't use the stroller much until DS was about 10 months old. After that, it was handy to have. I found he didn't want to be worn all the time by 10 months because he could see what was going on better from the stroller (Forward facing, our go to carrier being the Ergo). I still wore him about half the time, and I still wear him now occassionally (on my back) and he'll be two on the 26th.
To be honest, I think those "systems" are crap. They are a bumpy ride, hard to push and steer and the wheels can't handle anything other than super smooth pavement. Even going over curbs, etc. is a PITA. If you may use a stroller when DC is bigger to walk to/from errands, etc. then I'd go for something like a Bob, Valco, or Phil & Teds type stroller with inflatable wheels. My Valco folds down fairly small (not umbrella small, obviously) and we rented a Bob on vacation and it was awesome too! They are easier to push and IMO much, much more useful for errands etc. Sometimes I'd walk to the grocery store with the stroller, with DS in the stroller on the way there, then put him in the Ergo, load the stroller with groceries, and walk home using the stroller as a grocery cart. lol. You will be able to find used ones on Kijiji, Craigslist, etc. If you have room, you could get 1 umbrella to put in the car when you need to take a stroller in the car, and a used "big" stroller for walking errands. However, given what you've said about lifestyle I don't think you'll really need a stroller until your DC is around 8-10 months old.
N, wife to my goofball K and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013). Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.
If someone wants to debate the following hypotheses I just pulled out of my rear, by all means (I welcome it!), but the more I think about it...
1) Although not guaranteed, perhaps it's not uncommon for formerly-sleeping babies to fall back asleep fairly quickly after being transferred into a wrap/sling? Furthermore, if many of my drives will be <10 minutes, it seems possible baby might not always (or even often?) fall asleep in the car?
2) Although I can see where a bucket seat with a cover would ease transferring a baby from car to indoors in frigid weather, this babe is due in March, so probably not much of an issue. It might be cold-ish for 2-4 weeks, but that's about it. When it becomes colder again in our semi-temperate climate, babe will be 8-9 months old, and possibly too big (?) for bucket styles anyway.
3) IF the "plan" comes to fruition, and DH and I become dual work-at-home parents with not-terribly-demanding schedules (should be 50-60 hours of work/week between the two of us), then how often will I need to wrangle baby and complicated shopping by myself? Even if DH comes with, he could be wearing baby most of the time (which I guarantee DH is ALL about, LOL). Our "plan" is an "if," but still...
4) I actually loathe lugging bucket seats (and things of that size/weight) around anywhere, for any reason, so I don't see myself using them without a stroller, but at the same time...
5) I can't stand not having my hands free, which isn't really possible with a stroller.
All of this looks like it's adding up to a harness/umbrella stroller and not a convertible system type/infant stroller (for me).
But I'm definitely looking for more opinions-- particularly from people in similar situations!
WAHer & Wannabe, Wife to DH 1998, Mama to Buko, Born at Home March 2013
nstewart-- that makes sense to me. And that way, I can kind of keep my options open for a while and buy one second-hand later-- only if I really find I'll need it.
WAHer & Wannabe, Wife to DH 1998, Mama to Buko, Born at Home March 2013
My kids were adamantly opposed to all 800 wraps/carriers/slings that I tried. When my second was 3 weeks old I realized that I was feeling stuck at home because I couldn't carry him for any sort of serious outing. Its hard to even pay for something or carry your own coffee around when you've got a newbie in your arms. So, I ended up getting something in between an umbrella stroller and a more significant one -- like an umbrella stroller but more comfortable for baby. It was $75 I think, and I was able to use it from 3 weeks to over 3. He's 3 1/2 now and if he liked it we'd still be using it. My older son loved riding in a stroller until he was older than this. And truthfully, I have to say, I have really enjoyed having a good stroller and I miss it. I don't even want to face the zoo without it. I may bring it if we go again soon just to carry the stuff.
Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.
Yes. I remember using them with my friends kids and knew I didn't want one for myself, for the reasons described. I have several friends that liked to spend a lot of time walking in malls that swear by them.
If you may use a stroller when DC is bigger to walk to/from errands, etc. then I'd go for something like a Bob, Valco, or Phil & Teds type stroller with inflatable wheels. My Valco folds down fairly small (not umbrella small, obviously) and we rented a Bob on vacation and it was awesome too! They are easier to push and IMO much, much more useful for errands etc. Sometimes I'd walk to the grocery store with the stroller, with DS in the stroller on the way there, then put him in the Ergo, load the stroller with groceries, and walk home using the stroller as a grocery cart. lol. You will be able to find used ones on Kijiji, Craigslist, etc. If you have room, you could get 1 umbrella to put in the car when you need to take a stroller in the car, and a used "big" stroller for walking errands. However, given what you've said about lifestyle I don't think you'll really need a stroller until your DC is around 8-10 months old.
We were absolutely thrilled with our Valco. It was worke great on dirt paths AND in town, smooth transitions over the bumpiest old sidewalks and was very easy to turn and navigate in crowds. I wish it would have had a odometer, we used that thing hard. The bottom baskets had ample room for packages, easily held the equivilant of a paper grocery bag of stuff. We didn't get ours until our son was mobile but I seem to remember it laid flat. Ditto on the Bob, I pushed someones's little one and it was a fine ride.
We have been out of the stroller years for some time now (baby wore until he was mobile) but I agree, wait until you need a stroller as that will give you time to eye up the options.
Jogger was for dd1 when dh said he would take dd out with him when he ran. Dh rarely ran and never took dd. overall it was too big for errands and dd was always wanting to look ae me.
With dd2 I wanted a reversible stroller as live in a very walk able neighborhoods stays in garage. Nice umbrella is great for travel and keeping in the car.
Out of the three, the nice umbrella is my must have. I don't use bucket carseats, frugal choice. While I love carriers, my kids sometimes prefer strollers. Especially as toddlers. My youngest was done with carriers by 18m
Our DD hated being in her carseat with the fury of 1000 suns (as in screamed almost the eintire time she was in it. Fun!). So glad that we didn't have a "system". Initially she was all about the sling, and once she was bigger, she liked the stroller if it faced us, and then later she prefered facing out. We ended up with an UppaBaby Vista which comes with a bassinette, and a seat that faces towards you or outwards. We also got an UppaBaby travel stroller when she was ~7 months (we were traveling), but the cheaper one that doesn't recline because she fell asleep only once in the big stroller (after screaming in the car seat for the entire 40 minutes drive to where we were going). The Vista doesn't fold up super small, but small enough that it fits in the back of our Honda Fit.
I think you'll want a stroller when your baby is a bit older, but unlike a PP I would not register for a system if you think there's a possibility of returning it. This is more from the pain in the ass side of it, and I'm probably jaded because returning anytghing to a store meant 60 minutes round trip with a screaming baby hating her carseat.
Mama to F (3/09) and S (3/11); and never forgetting my babe gone too soon (4/10).
I believe those combo strollers aren't safe for infants. Carseats belong in the car. (Im one of those people who put my infant in a shopping cart and had the whole cart flip over on a pothole. 3 nights in icu, not nursing, minor skull fracture= lots and lots of stress.
Aside from that, there has been research done saying that infants' blood oxygen level decreases with a prolonged time sleeping at a 45 degree angle. Because of my own personal habits, I know that when you start using a bucket seat as a pop in and out, put it on the stroller, take it in the house, ect it's easy to do it all the time. Especially if your kiddo stays asleep during transport (both of mine did). So, I advise against combos. Just my personal opinions.
I never used a stroller for infants. I like my jogging stroller because it holds tons of sh*t and Im lazy.
I babywear in stores, on hikes, and pretty much everywhere when the babes are itty bitty. Fast forward to having a 6 month old: I love to babywear, but I do not want to carry my squirmy baby, our diaper bag, the bag of stuff I just bought, the leftovers from the restaurant, ect. God forbid I want a sip of my water, because I'd rather dehydrate than put all that stuff down to get my bottle out. Also, good luck trying to retrieve a paci off the ground when it pops out of your kid's mouth and your arms are loaded with crap. So, I still babywear my two year old on hikes and in stores, but if Im going to the zoo, the park, the museum, the state fair, any craft fair or art festival Im taking my stroller. I just have to have the storage compartment if Im going to be out all day. I love my stroller for times like that.
Id probably use a good umbrella stroller if I had one. I don't because the one I had was impossible to walk behind. Everytime I took a step my feet were hitting the back of the stroller (and Im 5 foot tall with size 6 feet). It was the cheapie brand at babiesrus
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)
I am definitely a fan of my jogging stroller, but then again, I live in an area with a ton of parks, trails, etc. so being able to go over mulch, gravel, etc, is a must. I don't use it for running errands much though because I always either wore the baby in a sling (months 1-4, after that he didn't like being confined at all), or he could go in a shopping cart (either in his car seat, or later just sitting up). He didn't like umbrella type strollers and would scream if you put him in one. Having a jogging stroller was a must when I lived by the ocean because nothing else would have cut it. Strollers are useful if you do a lot of long distance walking, but they're a pain if you ride public transportation. If all you're doing is running brief errands, you probably don't need one. If you're big on exercise, or have the tendency to carry lots of stuff, then they're useful. It just really depends on your situation I guess. Hard to predict ahead of time.
Sageowl, thanks-- I'm not sure if I mentioned it previously, but a very good runner friend of DH's, who is done having kids (his are 3 y.o. and 4.5 y.o.), already offered to give/lend us his jogging stroller. So we may at least have that!
WAHer & Wannabe, Wife to DH 1998, Mama to Buko, Born at Home March 2013
Happy Wife Since '05 and NEW MOM! in '12
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I baby wear exclusively, but I do get a little envious when going out to eat and seeing the ease of transition a sleeping baby from car to restaurant, having somewhere to sit in restaurant, and then back out to the car. Then I realize, for me, I prefer the minimalism of just carrying/wearing baby over bothering with a bulky travel system. I can see the plusses. Why not register and if you get it, great, if not, no biggie right?
I totally agree with this. I baby wear but not excusively, and I got lax in it because DD is so content in the carseat and it never failed to get her out of sorts by transferring her to my wrap or sling. I dont live in an urban area anymore and (yes its big unfolded, but its a cinch to maneuver, fold and unfold ) with the stroller I can get her out of the car at a dozen places in 90 minutes and she is still sleeping peacefully or looking around, never disrupted. Dont get me wrong, she still loves to be carried but its nice to have both options.
Id register for it. Most people assume you will want a stroller and its a nice gift. They wont know that you dont use it ALL the time. Plus as baby gets older, personality may dictate a preference for the stroller or both. And if you dont get it, oh well, you can always get it down the road if you decide baby wearing needs a break every once and a while.
With DS I didn't want a stroller but my mom wanted one because she has arthritis in her back and couldn't wear DS and he was huge. He didn't end up going in the stroller till he was about 4 mons old. I wore him pretty much all the time and I would take transit often as it was easier to wear him then to put him in the bucket and transfer him out of it into a carrier when he was little (he was born in January) and we live downtown in a big city. I hate with a passion those travel systems as I think they are over used as it makes it so easy to just pop the bucket into the stroller and the poor baby never gets held/carried.
With DD we are using a convertible seat from the get go as I also hate the buckets but did find it useful when DS was a newborn and it was freezing to load him into a nice warm seat inside and the cover him up before getting in the car. DD was born in June so not an issue with the cold. I wasn't going to get a stroller but again my mom wanted one and well I found this really cool system on Babies R Us and it was on sale for 200 for the whole system and so my mom paid for half and I got it. It is a system that was designed in Germany and it is a bassinet that clicks into the stroller base and also comes with a stand it clicks into so you can use it inside as well. Then it has a seat that reclines flat for when baby outgrows the bassinet that goes on the stroller base. it even came with hardware that allows you to click a bucket seat onto the stroller base. The stroller base folds up pretty small it is really easy to use. The bassinet is a bit big but it can also be folded mostly flat. I have a mini van so it fits fine without folding it. It has been so crazy hot hear and poor DD gets a wicked heat rash/baby acne when I wear her on hot days that I have been using the stroller with bassinet when around the neighborhood. I have also taken it with me to the mall a few times when clothes shopping and have gone out to dinner were we walked and it was great. DD likes it, especially when it is hot and I always toss a carrier into the bottom basket in case she gets fussy and I need to sling her. I am using the stroller way more then I thought I would but still wearing her a fair bit. Anyway I have come to the realization that there are times when a stroller is very handy and there are times when they are very cumbersome. i will never ever take a stroller on the transit or to a busy place like a fair but for restaurants, malls and hot days in the hood I am OK with it as long as DD is. Also I have used the bassinet on the stand when we stayed at my moms and DD slept really well in it right beside the bed.
Scarlett , DH Boris , DS 1/29/08 Julian DD2 6/7/12 missing our DD 1/06/06 Sonja and MC @ 9 wks 11/18/06 Satchel
SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)
I registered for one... a nice one. And a bunch of my single friends pooled their money to get it for me. I lived in a more suburby area at the time, but we've since moved (DS is 10 mos) recently to a more urban location that is much more walkable. I have taken the stroller out of the car twice when we went to the zoo and used it to carry the diaper bag, my sweater and my friends' diaper bag and her sweater. DS has never liked it.
If you live in my area, I'll give you mine for $50 (I'm serious - you can PM me). It's lovely, but I just haven't used it. Nevermind the fact that it's ridiculous to get it in and out of the trunk of my Mazda 3. Seriously, thank goodness for the kindness of strangers because I always need help either getting it out or putting it back in. Once he starts walking I might get an umbrella stroller for when he's tired, but grandma is getting one for her house first and I'll see if he likes/tolerates it before I buy one for our house.
To address your hypotheses:
1. If my kiddo is asleep when I get him out of the car, he goes right back to sleep if I pop him into my Ergo if he's tired enough, which he often is.
2) We never used a bucket at home... he was big enough for a convertible right away and he didn't go in the car for a while anyway. When I finally bought a bucket seat, it was a cheapo and we ditched the base and used it for taxi travel when we flew back east to see my folks... I wasn't into losing my super expensive convertible. Now, when we travel we make sure whomever we visit has borrowed a seat from a friend.
3) You'd be surprised how often you'll need to wrangle things alone... and one wrangling a month is enough to put you over the edge in those early days, so being wrangle-free is best... IMO strollers are not wrangle-free... carriers are.
4) Again, this is the only good thing about a stroller... it acts as a cart for shopping, etc. Even so, I walk to the grocery store (it doesn't make sens to drive as I'd end up parking further away than the store is to walk!), and I just go often and sling my own reusable bags over my shoulders, and walk a little slower on the way back.
5) Ditto. Hands-free is the way to go. And AP-wise, my kiddo feels safer and more comfortable next to me... andan added bonus is that as he grows, I'm carrying more weight around, which means I'm shedding the lbs. and getting in shape to start chasing him when he reaches that phase. LOL
We wore our son a lot of the time, but I'm so glad we had a good jogging stroller and later a good umbrella stroller. I walk 2-4 miles everyday and the stroller is just so much easier for that. The umbrella stroller was helpful for all day things like Disneyland or when we were traveling.
Honestly, I dont know how I could have done a lot of what I do without a stroller. I love our carriers and over the yrs we have done all of them but sometimes I simply can not hold them and really need them to be in something (I personally hate shopping carts and such) plus I have other kids so sometimes I simply needed another person to hold a baby and stroller was it for me. I dont like the huge travel systems, we had one with our first child and quit using it pretty quickly. I was simply too cumbersome and huge. I really like maclaren strollers and its what we have now. The are very lightweight and made well. plus you can get some that can be used almost from newborn stage so the stroller life is extended especially since they have high weight limits. They are pricey but for example one that we have been able to use thru 2 kids and honestly I think if we had another it easily still be usuable. We made the mistake of getting cheaper umbrella strollers (after our travel system debacle) and it was a waste of money. It wasnt till our 2nd child that I even learned about maclaren and considering all the $ we wasted on cheap umbrella strollers we would have been better off get the maclaren from the start.
I liked have the availability of a stroller, even if we used the sling. There were days when I simply couldnt put her in the sling (backache,dr's appt for me) so having one was good as I too dont really like to tote baby around in a bucket carseat.