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Things I've Learned on our Stroller Journey

My husband and I are finally ready to register for our upcoming baby showers, but it has not been without some significant struggles. Few of these have been disagreements between the two of us and more that neither of us have any earthy idea what we’re doing. This is our first baby and we are new to the whole world of baby stuff.

We were able to quickly make some decisions about many products, narrowing our infant seats down to two models, choosing where we would register, what our crib bedding will be and a few other details within the first week of really talking about it.

But where we got hopelessly and seemingly endlessly stuck was on the stroller. For the past two months we have lived in the middle of a stroller debate. Again, it hasn’t been between my husband and I, it has been between the two of us and the 9 million varieties of strollers. And in this hunt for the perfect stroller (which we think we have finally found), we have learned several important things.

1. Everyone has a favorite stroller and no one will ever agree. I have asked for advice several times and have frequently found it useful. However, when you ask for stroller advice, you need to know that people take their strollers very, very seriously. People have absolutely loved the strollers we hate, and vice versa. If you ask for or receive advice, remember that no two families, budgets or babies are alike and that the decision is yours to make, regardless of what anyone says. You’ll note that I’m not actually telling you what stroller we’ve chosen, mostly because it’s the best stroller for us, but we harbor no delusions that it’s the best for anyone else. And we really want you to do your research.

2. You absolutely HAVE to push them around. And you should weigh the stroller down to simulate a baby. There were several strollers we absolutely loved that had all the elements we wanted (and then some), but when it came time to actually drive them around, they were just not great. And when we added some weight to simulate a baby in them, it got even worse. Don’t buy one off the internet unless you’re sure you can return or sell it.

3. Consider what you’re using it for. There are some totally awesome jogging strollers out there, but the fact is, we do not jog. We also do not hike. So while they may be cool, they’re unnecessary for us. There are others that come with bassinet attachments that look awesome. Except we’re going to use an infant carrier and don’t want to wake a sleeping baby to transfer from the car seat to the bassinet. What I’m saying is, bells and whistles are nice, but they are not necessary. Once we sat down and talked about what we really needed in a stroller, we were able to narrow down the field considerably and our cost dropped too.

4. Read reviews. My mother-in-law got us a good of baby product reviews for Chanukah and that in addition to reading reviews on Amazon and other sites gave us some good insights into quality and performance of some of the strollers, as well as customer service in the event of a product malfunction. None of this can replace actually trying the strollers out yourself, but they can be good if you’ve narrowed down to two and need a tie breaker. Babble has their own stroller guide that also played a big role in our decision.

5. Don’t forget to collapse and put them in your trunk. I drive a pretty compact car, as does my husband. I had never really realized how little my car was until I stumbled upon a conversation that informed me that one of the infant car seats we were considering won’t fit in our backseat unless the person sitting in the front is extremely fond of the dashboard and not breathing much. And once we realized this, we also realized that not all the strollers we were considering would probably fit in the trunk. And we were right. If the store will let you collapse and put the stroller in the trunk, go do it. If not, either search the web to see if other parents are talking about this or make sure that you have a good return policy and try it out as soon as you get the stroller.

6. Always choose function over style. Yes, there are some gorgeous and/or adorable strollers. But some of them drive horribly. Always choose the more boring looking but better quality strollers. You can make them cute on your own.

What about you: What is the best advice you would give to a new parent trying to choose a stroller?

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