Every mom that I know has gone through this insane debate. I know, it sounds trivial and ridiculous if you haven’t been through this quandary, but sometimes the stupidest issues are the ones that keep you up at night. Here’s my point of view after my experience with an almost 2 year old:
This is the set-up I have and it accommodates all of my needs:
1 UppaBaby Vista– retails for around $700 (yes, cringe-worthy and obnoxious, I know, but it was a gift AND it is one of the only strollers that are build for tall people…my husband is 6’5″)
1 Snap N’ Go frame– retails for around $70 (EVERY mom pretty much has one of these)
1 The First Years Jet Umbrella Stroller– retails for around $40 (I did lots of research- best low-cost one I have found)
Here are the questions to help you determine what you need:
1. How much money do you have? No, I am not trying to be completely inappropriate! It really does matter. I didn’t have an unlimited budget, but did have some very generous family and friends who pitched in.
2. How many kids do you plan on having? Again, not being nosy, but some more expensive strollers can expand to accommodate more kids with minimal additional investment and can last through multiple rowdy/abusive toddlers.
3. What are you going to do? I know, you might be thinking…um…walk? Well, let me tell you- I have tried to haul my UppaBaby through the mall on many occasions and almost took out entire racks of clothing; way too wide. Conversely, I have attempted to take my umbrella stroller to the forest preserve and ended up getting stuck in a rut, literally.
Okay, here are my answers based on budget and need…
1. If your stroller budget is TIGHT like under $100, go for just the frame (which is just a frame that your baby carrier/car seat fits on). You aren’t going to climb mountains in the first few months, right? You can purchase an umbrella stroller when your little one graduates to a car seat. The frame is MANDATORY in my book- do you really want to upset your snoozing bundle of joy to pop him out of the car and into a stroller?
2. If your stroller budget has a little wiggle room like around $200, I say go for an inexpensive travel system. They can usually accommodate a baby carrier which eliminates the need for the frame stroller. They start at around $150. Umbrella strollers start at as little as $15, so snag an inexpensive one.
3. If you have a pretty relaxed budget say $200-$800, grab a more sturdy travel system. I know they are expensive but I have friends that purchased a less expensive one and they have fallen apart. The more expensive systems usually have shock absorbers which equals a smoother ride for your snoozing little one. Grab an umbrella stroller as well for quick trips and tight spaces; I spent a little more money than the entry level and haven’t been disappointed.
4. Not budget-conscious at all, even $1,000 +? Go for the crazy expensive all-out travel system like an UppaBaby or Bugaboo. If you are planning on adding to your family sooner rather than later, purchase the additional components to accommodate extra travelers. Since the big travel systems are rather bulky, I loved the super light Snap n’ Go frame as well for the baby carrier. Grab a higher-end umbrella stroller that is still light weight- the key here is compact and NOT heavy. Throw in a jogging stroller if you must, but the durable travel systems are pretty solid and some have locking front wheels…um…but I don’t really jog, just walk fast so not the expert here.
Hope this helps, comments are as always welcome and appreciated!