Preparing for the birth of a child can feel like a full-time job–and that’s just the shopping. Questions such as “How many onesies do I really need?” and “Is the wipe warmer really necessary?” seem perplexing, but they truly pale in comparison to picking a stroller for your little one.
There is good reason for prolonged angst over a stroller purchase. Strollers are expensive. You will likely be using this stroller daily for years, especially if you don’t have a car. There are a lot of strollers out there, and they are all very different. I can’t tell you which strollers work in every environment, but I can say that I’ve found two must-have strollers for the big-city urban parent.
First the criteria. Quite simply, when you have a baby in the city, you don’t have room for five strollers. You need one stroller that does it all. You need to put a car seat in it and later have your six-month-old recline in it for a nap. It also should be able to haul your 2-year-old around without it feeling like you are pushing a freight train. It needs to be light enough for you to lift down subway or bus stairs WITH your little one in it. It needs to fold quickly and can’t take up precious square footage in your apartment or the trunk of a cab.
My first pick is the City Mini by Baby Jogger (above). Here’s why:
You can use the Citi Mini from birth to 50 pounds.
The stroller weighs under 17 pounds.
The stroller has a 5-point safety harness.
It’s narrow enough to navigate store aisle and sidewalks.
The Citi Mini can accommodate a car seat with the child facing you.
The seat reclines to 150 degrees.
The stroller has an incredible sun shade that will keep your kid from getting burnt and peek-through windows that let you check up on ‘em.
It is very durable.
The 8-inch wheels provide a smooth ride for parent and child.
To fold it flat, you simply lift up on a handle and the stroller collapses around itself.
It costs about $239 on Amazon (plus about $44 for the car seat adapter).
My only complaint with the City Mini is that in those first few months when you use a car seat, the center of gravity sits much higher than when the child is in the regular seat. The higher center of gravity makes the stroller’s three wheels feel less stable than the traditional four. It didn’t feel unsafe, just something you had to be aware of when making quick, tight turns.
At that point in your child’s development, they will start to get really heavy, and you will start to get really tired.
You will want the leanest, lightest stroller out there, but you will also need it to be able to take a beating. The stroller needs to fold quick and small.
My second pick for stroller is the Maclaren Volo (left) and here’s why:
You can use the Maclaren Volo from six months up to 55 pounds.
It weighs just 8.8 pounds without the sunshade (possibly less than your baby when he or she was born!).
The Volo has a 5-point safety harness.
The square hood is water-resistant, and though you’ll probably want to use the rain cover for downpours, it will do in a pinch.
Easy carry strap allows you to throw the stroller over your shoulder when navigating stairs or other obstacles.
Super easy, compact umbrella fold. This is particularly helpful on the subway, bus and in small restaurants.
It is durable beyond belief. I couldn’t tell you how many hundreds of miles I’ve logged with mine, but it’s a lot, and my Maclaren Volo is still in perfect working order.
It costs about $115 on Amazon.
The only downside of the Volo is that it does not recline–many of the other Maclarens do. Every child is different, but I found with a little practice mine could nap just fine sitting up, and I was willing to sacrifice recline for size and weight.