Strollers generally fall into the following categories:
Infant stroller frames: These are light, simple frames into which you insert your baby’s car seat. This frame is really helpful and convenient for at least the first six to nine months, when you can tote your infant around from the car (especially if she’s sleeping) without having to transfer her to a different stroller. Many strollers are not safe for infants under six months anyway, so this is a good option for newborns. Remember that you’ll only be able to use these as long as your baby car seat lasts. You can buy a universal frame, like the Snap ‘N Go, or a frame meant for a specific brand of car seat, like Graco’s SnugRider.
All-in-one travel systems: This includes an infant car seat, a base, and a stroller that accommodates the infant seat and also functions as a regular stroller without the car seat. That means that once your baby reaches approximately six months, you can use the stroller without the car seat. These systems tend to be on the bulky side; you’ll be pushing around, folding, and unfolding both a car seat and a stroller (bigger than just a simple frame).
Combo strollers: These are made to grow with your child, transforming from a flat bed stroller or bassinet (which is needed in the early months) to an upright stroller. You may need to buy an adapter if you want to put a car seat into this variety of stroller – for example, the Bugaboo Cameleon has an additional adapter (sold separately) for most infant seats, whereas the Quinny Buzz 3 comes with an adapter and car seat included. These can be expensive systems, but they are made to be versatile and grow with your child.
Jogging strollers: These strollers are a great option for active families. With three wheels that typically have large, air-filled tires, jogging strollers are made for parents who run, but they also are comfortable strollers for families that walk a lot or need to navigate bumpy city streets. Jogging strollers can be heavy and take up a lot of space (although some models fold up well, and the front wheel can be removed for storage). There are also some more compact and lightweight jogging strollers (sometimes called all-terrain strollers) that are not for the hard-core runner but offer similar comfort and maneuverability.
Double strollers: Made for strolling two kids at once, these are a good option for twins or closely spaced siblings. Double strollers come in tandem form – with one seat directly behind the other, making them equal in width but longer than a single stroller. There are different configurations of tandem strollers, some that allow the kids to face each other, others that allow the rear passenger to see over the front passenger, and some that simply have a “glider board” accessory option for the older child to stand on while the stroller is in motion. Some tandems also accommodate an infant car seat in one of the positions.
You can also go for a side-by-side double stroller, which looks like two attached single strollers. Some side-by-side stroller models even allow you to attach infant seats. These are nice because both kids have full and equal views, but just remember that you’ll be twice as wide with this variety, so getting through grocery aisles, a restaurant, or even a doorway will be tricky. Side-by-side strollers are also harder to store, even when they’re folded up. Note: You can make your own side-by-side stroller using a stroller connector or link that attaches two strollers of the same model. Munchkin, for example, makes stroller links, which you can easily find on Amazon.
Umbrella strollers: These are lightweight, no-frills strollers that are easy to transport and store. For example, Cosco’s umbrella stroller weighs a mere seven pounds. For older babies and toddlers (make sure to check the box or manual for age and size minimum), they can be good for quick trips. Since they have very little support and no suspension, they aren’t the most comfy ride for long strolls.