The Best Carseats and Strollers

strollers-for-registry 2OK, guys, let’s do this: the registry seriesWhat should new moms register for baby gear and more?  Which are your favorite pieces of baby gear — and have they changed through the months and years with kids?  We’re going to start with just two categories: the carseat and the stroller.  (I was going to do a big post on all of these categories, but after an hour of writing just about strollers and carseats, I thought I’d break it into smaller posts!)  I envision the entire series going through these categories:

  1. Carseat — necessary from coming home from the hospital!
  2. Stroller — how many have you tried? How many do you keep? (E.g., big stroller, umbrella stroller, jogging stroller)
  3. Sleeping gear — crib and bassinet rocker, if necessary
  4. Clothes — swaddles, sleeping clothes, daytime clothes, baby socks
  5. Babywearing carrier — infant and 15-lb.+
  6. Baby toys — swings, seats, and other Big Things to register for (Exersaucers, etc)
  7. Essential books
  8. Diaper bag
  9. Nursing clothes
  10. Breastfeeding pillow
  11. And one final category: The Biggest Flops (stuff you hated).

My own $.02 on the first two categories (stroller and carseats) are below. What other categories are you interested in talking about?

Carseats — We have an infant carseat, two convertible carseats, and a third booster we use now that Jack is 40 pounds.

  • chicco keyfitInfant Carseat: Chicco Keyfit 30.  We were happy with it and, when we bought it, it was Consumer Reports’ top recommended car seat.  I do know that the Car Seat Lady does not think it’s the best for taxis, but we never had a problem with it. (Pictured, Jack in his Chicco.)
  • Convertible Carseat #1: Once your kiddo outgrows the infant carseat (30 lbs or 30″, I believe) you need to go to the convertible carseat.  We got the Combo Coccori for Jack’s first convertible carseat because it’s the one that installs easiest into taxis, and we used to travel with that to and from Ohio (using the same BabyTrend Universal EX Stroller Frame we used with the Keyfit).
  • Convertible Carseat #2: Once Harry came along, we decided to stop bringing the Coccori with us on trips so we could focus on Harry’s Keyfit.  We bought a second convertible carseat to keep in Ohio (the main place that we travel to) — based on recent Consumer Reports’ rankings we bought the Chicco Next Step.
  • Travel booster:  Jack weighs more than 40 lbs and is really tall for a 3.5 year old, so we’ve been using the BubbleBum Travel Booster for him for the short taxi ride to the airport.  You can often call a car service and ask for the car to include a car seat, but I got uncomfortable with the fact that the carseat was often kicking around the trunk, and because we were unfamiliar with the carseat model we had to totally rely on the driver for proper installation. I decided I’d rather have a properly installed Travel Booster rather than an improperly (and possibly damaged) car seat, so… yeah.

cityselect2Stroller — I’ve found that most people tend to hate their strollers eventually, and that’s true of ours.  One of our friends has tried FIVE strollers, and her daughter only just turned one — she keeps buying and selling them on the local parents’ listserv. We’ve stayed loyal to our four:

  • BabyJogger City Select (pictured with JJ Cole bunting and Zutani hat, with Jack) — This was recommended by the Baby Bargains book as a great competitor for the UppaBaby Vista (which costs about the same and is the one that most of our friends have; the Vista seems like it’s always on sale on Gilt, too) and the Bugaboo (more expensive, and if memory serves it wasn’t recommended by the Baby Bargains book).  When we went to the store to try the strollers we vastly preferred the steering on the City Select to the Uppa Baby, so this is the one we got.Some thoughts: First, we loved this when it was just Jack — it was our main stroller until Harry came along.  It’s a very solid, comfortable stroller — he preferred the seat, and it rolls over rocky ground SO much better than the umbrella stroller.  But, of course there are some negatives:  First, note that it isn’t really collapsible unless you remove the seat, which always seemed like a pain to do.  Second, note that you can’t use the seat until the baby is six months old — you can either buy an attachment to use with your carseat (which we did; it was a super heavy stroller), or buy a bassinet (which we did for Harry, and then never used it because we wore him everywhere and put Jack in the stroller).  Third, the main reason we bought the City Select was for the option to add a second seat — and we HATE THE SECOND SEAT. Maybe if we had twins or something, where they were both the same size… but Jack is so tall at this point that the seat that’s lowest to the ground is too low for him, and with both boys in it it’s almost 85 lbs — almost impossible to steer around a corner, and the curb cuts are vital for crossing the street.  Our condo building has an elevator, but the hallways have little stairs here and there, so it’s almost impossible to use in our current situation with two seats.  A double stroller (side by side) is going to be impossible to use with the front door and back gate (we could barely get the CitySelect into and out of them) so we’re not sure what our plan is except to keep wearing Harry and putting Jack in the stroller, and make Jack walk when that gets tiring.  (We have the Rollerboard for the City Select and it is also a PITA with our hallway situation.) Pictured below: the Tank (a more recent pic with two seats and both boys):

city-select-second-seat

  • uppababy gluxeUppaBaby G-Luxe – We’ve had this umbrella stroller since Jack was about 18 months old.  It has taken a LOT of use — it’s collapsible so we used to take him to and from daycare in it; we also grab it if we’re taking an extended trip into Manhattan (although, honestly, having Jack walk and wearing Harry is easier).  The main cons: it’s broken a number of times (mostly covered under warranty), the seat needs adjustment every.single.time we un-collapse it, and it doesn’t collapse if it has any stroller bunting on it.
  • BabyTrend Universal EX Stroller frame – We’ve used this in the airport with both the KeyFit and the Combo Cocorri.  It seems to roll fine, has a nice big basket for shoving stuff, and has been gate checked a zillion times without damage.  We always use this bag when we gate check it.
  • Random junky umbrella stroller – My parents bought a random junky umbrella stroller for $20 or so the drugstore for when we visit them in Ohio.  We’ve taken Jack to the zoo and so forth in it — it seems fine for such limited use.  It’s far heavier than our G-Luxe, and is missing a lot of the nicer bells and whistles — the sun shade, the cup holder, the big wheels, the brakes, etc.

OK, ladies: I think this exhausts my thoughts on strollers and car seats. Which do YOU have? Which have you cast off? Which would you register for, if you could do it all over?

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Comments

  1. I’ll jump in.

    Carseat: Peg Perego infant carrier/seat. We chose between this and the Chicco Keyfit. It’s super-duper safe and I loved being able to just wipe it down. It also attaches via adapter to many strollers. The biggest con is that this effer is HEAVY. I’m 6’0, a former college athlete, and strong. And I’m not kidding that carrying that thing with a baby in it is a workout. My first kid was big for his size, generally 75% percentile height and weight. That made it a haul. My second kid is literally off-the-charts in height and weight and I could not physically carry him in his seat more than a few feet after three months. If you’re deciding between the Peg and the Keyfit and will have to carry the carrier at all, get the Keyfit (which my mom has and uses and we love).

    Stroller: UppaBaby Vista. I’ve sung the praises before. Adjustable enough that I (tall) can push it without constantly kicking the stroller wheels/basket. It comes with a bassinet (and a stand you can buy) so your baby can sleep in that in your room for the first few months. The basket is HUGE and holds so much. We converted it to a double stroller and it worked really well for us. It’s opposite of the CityJogger: my oldest sits in the back and the baby is in the front. My only complaint is that it takes me 2-3 tries to collapse it each time I use it, but I’m fairly certain that’s user error, as my husband doesn’t have that issue.

    • Ha! We had the Peg Perego infant seat, too. I didn’t realize how heavy it was until I picked up a friend’s baby in like maybe a Chicco-type brand. Blew me away how light the other one was!

      That said, I loved the Peg Perego infant seat so much we got the convertible, which we also love. We also got a Diono Radian for our other car. Love that one, too! It has a cup holder. I think a higher-dollar/quality car seat is worth every penny. I know people say that the lower-end ones can be just as safe. But I really think the quality on our seats is just better than cheaper ones. The straps, the fabric, the solid feeling parts, IDK exactly what it is. But, I feel strongly about it for some reason.

      We have an UB Vista, and adore it! I don’t think I would be able to handle taking my son on a flight, a train, or a trip to the zoo/mall/museum without it. (We got the bracket to clip our infant seat on it, and that was a lifesaver at first, too. The bassinet was useless.)

      We also have a UB G-Luxe, I think ours is one year newer than the one pictured above. I haven’t encountered any issue with the seat needing to be adjusted after collapsing.

      • Oh, I should add that we bought the Peg convertible seat for both our cars and also love it. Cleans well, straps don’t twist, no rethreading, easy to shorten and lengthen the straps. That I can recommend heartily. Our oldest uses a Britax Defender and we absolutely love it.

  2. anon eagle says:

    We splurged on the glorious Double BoB for our children- 9 month and 22 months. Glorious! Glorious! Worth every penny. I have yet to use it while I exercise but it is very nice for strolls up to the shopping center.

    We cast off a single Chicco Travel System (ugh) and the Options LT Tandem (ugh).

    For the RJUS we use http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Years-Stroller-City/dp/B002WB2G9I/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1421259659&sr=1-1 I am very happy with it.

  3. We’ve been very happy with the Britax B-Agile (Stroller) and B-Safe (Car seat) system for Baby #1. The stroller is easy enough for me to use one-handed (both pushing and collapsing). We got all the attachments, and really like the bassinet for walks when we first brought our preemie home (the car seat seemed huge!).

    Added Bonus, the car seat buckets fits into the upside-down high chair nicely (something we were not aware we would want when we purchased it). Our friends’ higher-end clamshells did not fit, and they were forever trying to find a place to safely and comfortably set baby down on the rare occasions we got out. Probably not a deal breaker, but something to consider.

    Now, of course, surprise Baby #2 is on the way, and I’m wondering what double stroller will be best for an 19-month old and a new born. (And we mistakenly thought you could add on to the B-Agile. Nope, just the B-Ready.)

    • We also have the Britax b-Safe and b-Agile for Baby #1. I’ve been thrilled. The carseat isn’t overly heavy, but is very heavy-duty. I’m able to manage the stroller by myself at the mall, getting it in and out of our van, and it seems to do well over gravel – although I’m waiting for summer weather to really test it out. I really love how easy it is to get the infant car seat in and out of the stroller, and I also appreciate – as HM mentioned – how easily it fits in restaurant booths, carseat slings, and so on.

      We haven’t made a decision on our next carseat, but Philanthropy Baby isn’t getting near a transition yet.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      I also had the B-Agile and B-Safe and loved them. Also have the BOB stroller – which was how I got the B-Safe to begin with. It’s the BOB series B-safe. I had always heard good things about hte Chicco KeyFit, but was really happy with the Britax stuff. Moved daughter up to a Britax Marathon, which I also really love. The B-Agile has been great for travel. One caveat though – the whole reason we got the B-Agile is because the B-Safe does NOT fit in the snap and go. It’s like the one carseat that doesn’t. The B-Agile was a WAY better investment though in the long run – it far outlived the usefulness of the snap and go and has been a breeze to use as an actual stroller.

    • POSITA says:

      We have this combo too and really liked it. I think the set is one of the best values out there. The stroller has the best features of the City Mini, but for way less. It is also easy to fold the stroller with the infant seat attachment because it is two clips instead of a big metal bar. Strongly recommend if you’re on a budget.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      We also used the Britax B-Agile and B-Safe combo (semi-urban, now suburban). I loved it; it was easy to snap the car seat in and out of the stroller and base, you could put up both sunshields and completely cover baby while walking in the stroller, and the infant bucket was easy to use as a car seat without a base and easy to pop into highchair slings and upside down highchairs. It was great for airplane travel; fit into the airplane seat easily, and then we could use it in taxis without dragging along the base.

      Plus, the infant bucket was bigger than the Graco I think, which was important for my 75th percentile kiddo (we would have had to switch out of the Graco much earlier, maybe before she was confidently sitting up on her own). The downsides to the B-Agile: I found that it was too hard to get my diaper bag into the basket, so I usually hold the bag or put it around the handle. Also, it takes up most of my trunk, so I’ve had to do some interesting car packing when taking the stroller on long trips. I definitely will be getting an umbrella stroller.

      And Kat, I really like this feature. I would also love it if you would do a “Tales from the Wallet” corrollary for family financial issues, like college saving, estate planning, life insurance, etc.

  4. pockets says:

    I would re-think a side-by-side double stroller in your case. I have one and it’s juuuuuuuuuust narrow enough to fit through a door. I think it’s the same width as a wheelchair, and virtually all doors fit wheelchairs (in new buildings I’m pretty sure they have to to be ADA compliant). I debated buying an in-line vs. side-by-side double, and the side-by-side was only like 3″ wider. Side-by-sides are also much easier to steer and maneuver.

    • Agree. I had a giant, cheap side by side (the Baby Trend jogger), and I only ever found one door it wouldn’t fit through (with 3 years of near constant use).

  5. Lizochka says:

    We have the Stokke Xplory as our main, big stroller. I love almost everything about it. It’s sturdy, it steers like a dream, it’s very comfortable for our son, and it’s nice and tall so my husband and I are comfortable. I don’t like that it’s a major pain to collapse, and it’s also incredibly heavy, making it impossible to take on the subway.

    We also bought the Uppababy G-Luxe as our knockaround subway stroller. It’s OK for what it is. It’s sturdier than other umbrella strollers, but it’s still very light. It’s fine to take on the subway, even if I am alone and also schlepping a diaper bag. But it SUCKS for winter weather, because there is no plastic rain cover that seems to fit appropriately without your kid’s feet hanging out and getting soaked. Major PITA.

    Our carseat has been the Britax Marathon 70 G3 from day one. I hate almost everything about it. It’s heavy. It’s really hard to install on a non-permanent basis (e.g., taking it in and out of cabs, rental cars, etc.). It’s bulky. You bring it on a plane and you get glares from the flight attendants because they don’t think it will fit (it does, and it’s FAA approved). Never in a million years would I buy this stupid car seat again. If we didn’t live in the city, I would already have gotten something else. We only keep it because it’s not worth switching for the few times per year we use it. Maybe if you just plonk it in your car and never move it, it’s great.

    • If you didn’t live in the city, you would probably never take it out of your car and therefore love it. We love our Britax seats, but I’m pretty sure if I had to install/uninstall it or carry it anywhere I would burn it.

    • T. McGill says:

      Live in the suburbs and HATE my Britax seat. I find it to be incredibly not-user friendly, particularly with respect to adjusting straps. It is in my car, so I use it daily to take my toddler to nursery school. Getting her in to it is one of the low points of my day. Have a Chicco Nextfit in my husband’s car, which is our weekend/family car, and that it is so much easier to use. Don’t feel like I have to squash my toddler in to it, plus it is much easier to adjust the straps. We keep debating if it is worth selling the Britax and buying another Nextfit for my car. Might just be partial to the Chicco brand though — very happy with the KeyFit, which we used for both kids.

  6. Katarina says:

    I had the Chicco Keyfit infant car seat, which I am pleased with. For convertible car seats, I have a Chicco Nextfit, which I love, and a Safety 1st Complete Air, which I really dislike, because it is hard to install rear facing, and takes up too much room.

    I have a Chicco Cortina stroller, which is okay, but if I could do it again I would get a snap n go or similar and an umbrella stroller instead. I originally wanted the Britax B-Agile stroller, with B-Safe car seat, but the handles are not adjustable, and they were to low for my 6’2″ husband. We only used the stroller much in the first 3 months, and mostly used a carrier (We love the Ergo!). I had a few instances of having to carry my son and push the stroller, which soured me on it, but maybe an umbrella stroller would be better. None of us (me, my husband, and my son) are stroller people. Now we do a combination of walking and carrying. We live in the suburbs, so this is manageable. The grandparents are the only ones who use the stroller.

  7. Stefanie says:

    Carseat: We went with the Nuna Pipa. It’s the lightest infant carrier (7.7 pounds without the base) and it has a European belt path that makes it super easy to buckle into cabs without the base. It takes less than 20 seconds. The huge draw for this carseat, though, was the Nuna “Dream Drape”, which I affectionately call the “don’t F-ing touch me” shield. It attaaches at the bottom with magnets, and no one can see in and touch the baby without my permission.

    Stroller(s): For our Manhattan workhorse, we got the Uppababy Vista. I can’t sing its praises highly enough, and I so love the extra-large storage basket beneath. For travel and portability, we got the Mountain Buggy Nano. It’s the only folding/umbrella-type stroller that takes ANY infant carrier without an adapter, and it folds down small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane.

  8. PregAnon says:

    I’m thinking of registering for the Chicco Keyfit carseat, the stroller that comes with it and the lightweight stroller that you can also put the carseat into, mostly based on Consumer Reports, and they seem affordable and practical…

    Anyone have any particular experience with those, either positive or negative? Is two strollers too much before I can asses my needs?

    • I’m pre-baby just like you, so no experience yet, but I did consider the Chicco Keyfit plus the Chicco Liteway. I didn’t like the Cortina (the one that comes in the standard Chicco travel system) and just felt like it was too bulky for us. I haven’t ruled out the Liteway yet but I am mostly thinking I am going to want something that is more durable/gives a smoother ride. I am a city dweller in a city with crap sidewalks and don’t have much room to store multiple strollers. I picked up a Chicco caddy carseat frame off Craigslist to use initially and hopefully help figure out what I like and don’t like about strollers once the kiddo is here.

    • My big negative on Chiccos as I recall is that they were generally too short for me and my husband. I’m 5’8″ but with long legs, and he’s 6’1″. But that’s old data. Definitely go to a store and push around anything you are considering if possible.

    • hoola hoopa says:

      IMO, just get the carseat and a snap and go. A stroller+carseat is just bulk and a smaller storage basket. Your ideal stroller is probably not either of those, so pick whatever you want when you’re ready to transition out of infant carrier mode.

    • anonymama says:

      The carseat is great, the snap-and-go frame stroller for the carseat is great, but don’t get the big stroller that comes with it – it’s heavy, a pain to fold and unfold, and the basket doesn’t fit much in it… we only used it a total of 2 or 3 times with our first, it was always easier to use the umbrella stroller, the BOB if there was offroading, or wear the baby.

  9. Baby Bargains is the best. Buy it.

    I had two sets of stuff, separated by both time and number of babies. Twins 7 years ago, single baby 16 months ago.

    Carseats have been constant. For infant seats, we had Graco Snugrides across the board (we sold the twins’ snugrides and bought a new one for the baby). I love the seat, it is always near the top for safety, and it served our needs well. It’s also popular enough that it’s easy to find strollers that will work with it. For convertibles, we had Britax. We started with 4 Boulevards (one per kid per car = 4). I was in a minor accident when they were two, and, even though Britax is the one brand that doesn’t have to be replaced after a minor accident, the other guy’s insurance company covered the replacement. At that point, we went with the newer Advocates. My youngest now uses the Advocates (one per car). We didn’t switch the twins to boosters until they were about 6, when the baby needed the convertibles. Boosters aren’t just about height and weight. They are about maturity and ability to sit in the seat. They are as safe as 5-point harnesses for a kiddo who can sit still; the 5-point harness is safer because it forces them to sit still. Anyway, PSA aside, we have Graco boosters that can be used with or without the back. We looked at them and Britax, but we couldn’t justify the cost difference based upon safety and comfort (like we could with the convertibles). By the time baby moves to a booster, the twins will likely be able to pass on theirs.

    Strollers are night and day. With my twins 7 years ago, we were limited in the world of double strollers. We ended up with a tandem (front to back rather than side by side) Graco nightmare. It was fine, but stupidly heavy and gigantic. There just weren’t the same options in double strollers that there are now, and the good ones were not available locally to us and were crazy expensive (by my judgment at the time, meaning they were the same that I spent on my single stroller this time around). We also bought a Baby Trend double jogging stroller (a side by side). That thing was only $200, and I loved it. We got years of use out of that thing. I’m sure I would have loved a BOB or Baby Jogger better, but I’m not sure it would have been $300+ more better. We sold off both of those strollers when the twins graduated out of them (which was late because there were two of them and I secretly didn’t want them to know they could walk in stores).

    Baby #3 has an UPPABaby Cruz. I did lots of pro/con lists, and it ticked the most boxes, although I kind of believe there is no such thing as a perfect stroller. As she gets older, we will probably get a G-Luxe or whatever their other light umbrella stroller is. Still, I really like the Cruz. It’s a whole different world from either of the strollers we had with the twins. Lighter, more maneuverable, better bells and whistles (although the cheapos from the twins had fabulous parent consoles). I would definitely buy another UPPABaby product.

    • Agreed. I like blogs and love this s i t e for tons of advice, but for this kind of stuff, I’m mostly turning to Baby Bargains.

    • Sophia says:

      I’ll second the Graco Snugride 30 and the Uppababy Cruz. The Snugride was easy to install (we use a base in our car — I haven’t tried it without the base yet). But we have a very tall four-month-old and are going to be graduating to a combination seat within a month or two I think and I’m on the lookout for a good one.

      The Cruz seemed to have a lot of the benefits of the Vista without as hefty a price tag. I didn’t feel we needed a bassinet, and although the option to convert to a double stroller was tempting, I didn’t want the extra weight of one of the convertible strollers. I was debating between this and the City Mini, and I’m not entirely sure I made the right decision but these were the selling points for me: you can take off the seat entirely to attach the infant carrier, making it much lighter; you can get an infant insert and use the stroller seat from day one rather than waiting six months; it has a huge storage basket underneath; it can stand up on its own when collapsed so we don’t have to lie it on its side when we go to restaurants, etc. (a huge bonus living in Brooklyn). The cons are that i find it awkward to collapse it, the latch that keeps it locked in the folded position is tricky to undo, and i find it heavy to heave into the trunk. I haven’t tried subway steps yet, which I dread since none of the subway stations in my neighborhood have an elevator. We’ve just avoided the subway entirely so far.

      • I third the Graco Snugride 30. So easy to install, and I used it several times without the base (in taxis, etc.) with no problem whatsoever. The light weight was also a factor for me since I am quite small and didn’t want to be carrying around a carseat that was any heavier than it needed to be. Finally, the handle is pretty comfortable when you carry it on your forearm, which is what I ended up doing all the time.

  10. I have nothing to contribute but am SO HAPPY to see this topic. I just found out that I’m pregnant (yesterday!!!!) and haven’t started freaking out about a registry yet. I actually hadn’t thought about it at all. And now that you have mentioned it, I am a smidge overwhelmed. All that to say– I would love it if you would talk about all of the items listed in the original post. I know nothing and need so much help. Thank you for doing this series!

    • Newly pregnant says:

      Congrats! Lots of people will recommend that you buy the Baby Bargains book. It really is very helpful at breaking down a lot of information about the major purchases (cribs, strollers, car seats, etc.).

      • Congratulations!

        It took me a while to actually have the mental fortitude to tackle Baby Bargains (or any of the multitudes of resources out there). What I realized later is that Baby Bargains has very helpful one to two page summaries of each category of gear, giving their recommendations based on budget. So you don’t have to read all the reviews until and unless you are ready.

    • I know I’m late, but on the off chance you come back… congrats! And check out Lucie’s List, which has a registry guide that is free when you sign up for her emails. I didn’t buy Baby Bargains and just used Lucie’s List as my bible.

  11. EB0220 says:

    Infant Seat: Chicco Keyfit 30. Currently on its 4th kiddo (between two families) and doing fine. We have 2 bases for ourselves and one for local grandparents. No complaints.

    Convertible Seat: Ricaro ProRide. We have one for each car and love them.

    Strollers: We had a cheap Snap N Go that was quickly retired. My tall husband bent the axle in <10 min of using it. We bought our Mountain Buggy Terrain jogging stroller two years ago and we LOVE it. We don't use it much for jogging, honestly, but its big wheels navigate any terrain nicely. You can lay the seat flat or remove it entirely and put on a frame for the infant seat. I refused to get a double stroller when we had our second because they are so huge, so I usually wear baby and let preschooler ride in the stroller, or baby rides in stroller and preschooler walks.

  12. Lucie’s List is a great online resource for registry suggestions
    With twins, the calculus is a bit difference because you have to buy two of everything rather than buying singles that you may re-use multiple times. That being said, the following items have proven to be favorites:
    1) Strollers:
    – For city life, a good side by side stroller. We have the Mountain Buggy Duet. Once I was able to find the basinettes off a list serve, it worked like a dream. The same thing got almost no use once we moved to the suburbs. There we used our double snap n go with graco snugrides all the time. In the city, we also made great use of woven wraps for baby wearing
    2) car seats. The snugrides are fine. Nothing great, but a good value. We have just outgrown them and moved up to the Diono Radians. These things are beasts. i also bought an inexpensive Cosco seat for travel but haven’t yet used it
    Other useful items:
    – Activity Mat
    – Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker (as an alternative to bouncers)
    – Rock N Plays (as an alternative to bassinets)
    – Ikea Gulliver Cribs
    – Ergo swaddles
    – Baby DeeDee sleepsacks (for when baby outgrows the swaddle)
    – Nursing apron
    – Hands free pumping bra

    Duds:
    – Bottle Warmer
    – Bottle sterilizer
    – Disposable nursing pads (I preferred the resuable bamboo ones)
    – Most nursing tanks (I liked my Ingrid and Isabel maternity ones without the shelf bra, which I found too constricting)

  13. Suburban mom of two with one on the way chiming in.

    Infant carseat: we have a Graco Snugride which for me is the right balance of cost and usefulness. I agree with the poster above who said it was ubiquitous enough to fit a lot of different carseats and snap-in contraptions.

    Convertible carseats: we were Team Britax for years until my son came along, and he’s an enormous beast who outgrew his carseat RF’ing way too early. So we bought him a Graco MyRide 65 and have been very pleased with it.

    High-back booster: Back to Team Britax, I think the Frontiers? Very happy with them, but they’re BIG so be forewarned!

    We have the following strollers:

    Chicco umbrella stroller — useless. Used it less than 10 times and I should probably get rid of it.

    Snap N Go — I loved this for ease of use when my babies were little, but it was a luxury item (i.e. we didn’t HAVE to have it). I’ve loaned it to a lot of friends so it’s gotten quite a bit of use in its lifetime.

    Single Stroller — BOB — We love love love this stroller, and the nice thing is that in a pinch a toddler or older kid can hitch a ride on the front. We use it all the time, indoors and out, running and otherwise. It has a smallish basket but that doesn’t bother me b/c I don’t tend to pack an enormous diaper bag. We’ve gate-checked it a handful of times with no issue, either.

    Double Stroller — Bumbleride Indie Twin — Also love! We considered a double BOB but the one thing I don’t like about that particular brand is the short canopy, so if you have a tall kid their head bumps the top sooner. After a ton of research and Craigslist stalking we went with the Indie Twin — and I have no idea why this isn’t a more popular stroller b/c I super duper HUGE pink puffy heart it. It has an enormous basket, I can steer it with one hand and it’s great for rough terrain (i.e. long walks) as well as indoors.

    • We also have a Bumbleride stroller (Indie). I also don’t know why this isn’t a more popular stroller. I love its manoeuverability, its thoughtful features (good back support but the ability to fully recline flat; fully adjustable footrest); excellent sun canopy; good tires; and huge basket. It is a bit heavier than other strollers, but its other features far outweigh (ha ha, just realized that pun) the weight factor.

      That being said, we came into possession of a free City Mini, which we keep in our car. I must admit that I love the way the City Mini folds and unfolds so easily – with basically just a snap of the wrist. It also has a pretty good canopy. It is the best free thing I’ve ever lucked into! However, I don’t like that the footrest isn’t adjustable, so whenever I put a blanket on my toddler, the moment she kicks her feet, it slides off (and yes, this is a real issue that interferes with my enjoyment of the stroller).

      I think that if you are someone who expects to need to fold/unfold your stroller all the time, the City Mini is great. But if you don’t foresee needing to do that a lot, the Bumbleride is absolutely fabulous (and for reference, it folds/unfolds just fine, but you do need both hands) and worth the money.

  14. Katala says:

    Great topic, I have so many car seat and stroller questions! It’s been hard to parse the recs for our situation: live in a city, mostly public transit, don’t own a car (but will probably do taxis/uber 1-2x/month).
    1. Is the “European beltpath” necessary if I will basically never use the car seat base?
    2. If I skip the infant bucket and get a convertible + stroller that can be used from birth, is this crazy? What do we do with the seat once we get to our destination by taxi (vs. click into stroller if we have the infant seat)?
    3. Stroller needs to work from birth, be light enough to carry up 2 flights of stairs while I carry baby, and small enough to maneuver in tiny stores/restaurants in the city. Recs? I checked out the Peg Perego book plus and fell in love – any thoughts on PP strollers?

    TIA! And sorry for the barrage of questions, I’ve been starting to get really anxious about all this stuff in the past week – my husband read that people wait until 7 months to buy anything so he says just don’t worry yet (easy to say when you don’t have hormones telling you otherwise!)

    • Stefanie says:

      1. I’d highly recommend the European belt path if you’re not going to be using the base. Installation is so much quicker.

      2. I love using my infant bucket as the stroller seat. At 3 months, she’s too small to fit into the stroller seat comfortably and the bassinet is useless (and she’d never tolerate it). I really have no idea what you’d do with the convertible when you got places, and a lot of them are not a piece-of-cake to properly install quickly and efficiently without the use of pool noodles and other tricks.

      3. I don’t know anything about the PP Book, but it looks awesome.

      • quailison says:

        Yes, I think the European belt path is specifically for times when you aren’t using the base. We got the Cybex Aton 2 for this reason (plus it fits in our compact car). Haven’t used it yet though as baby’s not here yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check out the Peg Perego Book Pop Up. It’s the newest of the PP Book series. It is amazing. It folds and opens so easily–it really does “pop up.” We also looked at the UB Vista but found this one was easier to maneuver.

      • Katala says:

        Oh wow. That’s amazing. It’s significantly more expensive, though, and as far as I can tell doesn’t come with the accessories (rain cover/foot muff). But might be worth the difference to get the bassinet? Would you really use it for sleeping until it’s time to move to the crib?

        • Anonymous says:

          True, it doesn’t come with those accessories. I live where it rarely rains, so that honestly wasn’t much of a consideration for me. I’m planning to have baby sleep in the bassinet (they sell a stand for it separately) until I transition her to a crib. The bassinet even has different positions if you want baby to sleep at a slight incline. And it collapses down really flat for storage purposes.

          I think PP in general is great. I really liked the book plus as well. YouTube has great videos showing the features of most of these strollers–including the plus and the pop up. I found those really helpful!

    • Regarding #2, you definitely want the infant bucket. Most buckets work with most strollers and the bucket is very handy for carrying around your baby. Carrying around a convertible car seat is not really practical.

      Can’t comment on PP, but in your situation I would have been very happy with my City Mini, which is light, not too big, and folds up super easily. You would definitely want to clip the bucket to it for the first few months though.

  15. Mrs. Jones says:

    We really used just one stroller, a sturdy umbrella that our baby seat snapped into. When son got older, we used it without a baby seat. They were Combi brand and worked great. I CANNOT WAIT until son is old enough for a booster instead of a car seat, which is a PITA.

  16. Tunnel says:

    I think the perfect stroller really depends on your circumstances. I am pregnant with my first and fully expect to have two under two (or something close to that). We live the suburbs, work in the city, and frequently visit family at the beach and in the mountains, so we deal with a variety of terrains. I was set on the UppaBaby Vista or City Select for the ability to convert into a double…until I tried to fold them and lift them as if I was putting them in a car! So heavy and awkward! Same thing with the BOB. After a lot of research and test drives, I’ve chosen the City Mini GT. It has the bigger forever-air tires to help in all different kinds of terrain and you cannot beat the one-handed easy fold to get it in and out of the car. The two main cons I have about the City Mini GT are 1) the basket isn’t the biggest and can be hard to reach with a kid sitting in the stroller, and 2) you can’t hand a bunch of heavy things off the back/handlebars since it’s a light stroller (which you really shouldn’t do this with any stroller anyway).

    • I love my City Mini GT. We used it from day one with a carseat adapter and took the adapter off around seven or eight months. I am newly pregnant with baby no. 2 and will likely get the double version after doing some research. Definite pros have been the one-hand easy fold, how smooth it is on all terrains, quality of the materials (I take off the seat and wash it pretty regularly), and the large canopy.

      For travel and quick trips we bought the UppaBaby G-Luxe umbrella stroller, which we love too. Light and easy!

      As for careats, we were very happy with the Chicco keyfit and now baby no. 1 is in a Britax Advocate.

      If we had to do it all over I would buy both strollers and both carseats again.

    • Unsolicited says:

      I know you didn’t ask for advice on this, but I strongly urge you to reconsider the “two under two” strategy. I recommend waiting until the older one is a bit more manageable and independent, especially in a family with two working parents because the first year or two are HE11 having two under two and I’ve seen many marriages crumble because of it.
      Go easier on yourself. Unless they are twins (which means it is out of your control and it may also mean some synergies), wait until the older one is three maybe. At that point, they’re largely eating, drinking, going potty and maybe sometimes sleeping on their own, and can even play by themselves for long periods.

  17. CPA Lady says:

    From my (admittedly tightwad) perspective, the only thing I have experience with is the graco snug ride and the snug ride elite stroller base that goes with it. And I’ve been perfectly happy with both of them. The stroller base folds really easily and stays folded in my trunk. The basket below the stroller could be a little bigger, but I really like the tray thing for me to put a drink in, etc. Basically, the stroller has been completely functional for what little use it gets. I just could not justify getting some big fancy stroller for the infant time frame. That said, I’m planning on getting a “real” stroller and a convertible car seat this spring, and I’m willing to spend more on something I know will be used for years.

    Something else related to car seats that I have that I love is the Jolly Jumper Arctic car seat cover. It’s perfect for this time of year. It fits over the top of the car seat like a shower cap, and is nice and fleecy and warm. You don’t have to take it off the car seat, since there’s a pair of zippers that zip down so you can put the baby in.

    I think its really interesting how varied opinions are based on situation. For instance, I live in an of a mid sized southern city and I have taken a cab maybe twice in my entire life, so ease of installation is basically meaningless to me… My sister lives in Europe and almost exclusively baby-wears when she is out and about and thinks all strollers but tiny umbrella strollers are pointless (because she carries her child everywhere!) I am so fascinated by how big-city urban many people on this blog are, too. It’s just a totally different lifestyle and set of requirements for baby gear.

  18. 1. I had Maxi Cosi infant car seats and convertible car seats for both of my kids and LOVED them.
    2. Quinny! Again, completely in love. They snapped in with the infant car seats and then became just normal strollers when they were no longer in infant car seats. I had the Zapp and loved it. We now have a boogie board on the back for my 4YO and I still love it. I run a lot and have a double BOB jogging stroller. It’s fantastic and I recommend BOBs to any runners asking about strollers to get.
    3. IKEA Gulliver crib for both kids and the Fisher Price Rock-N-Play where they slept next to me for about 6 months — loved both
    4. I loved the Halo swaddler, Woombie, and A & A blankets for swaddling.
    5. BIG fan of Baby K’Tan wrap for newborns to toddlers
    6. Skip Hop diaper bag — liked it enough to use for two kids
    7. I never really understood nursing clothes and just wore normal clothes, except I did have nursing bras I had to wear for my hands-free pump. I thought Target nursing bras were the best I’ve found.
    8. Loved Boppy for the 6 months and under crowd and Baby Balboa for the 6 month to 2 years stages.

  19. I’ve got the Chicco KeyFit 30 and the Chicco version of the snap-n-go. I kind of wish I had gotten the regular KeyFit, as baby girl will be more likely to outgrow it by length rather than weight, but oh well. It’s not too bad to install without the base, but I don’t do that regularly.

    Although some books said the snap-n-go carriers weren’t worth it for the short time you’d use them, I love mine. It was easy enough for me to use on my own shortly after a c-section and it’s just so much lighter and less bulky than using a “real” stroller as a base for an infant seat. Also, it has a bigger basket than a real stroller, so I used it for shopping before I was comfortable enough using a K-tan to carry baby girl.

    We haven’t gotten a “real” stroller yet — one other nice thing about the carrier is it’s let me/us think about how we’d use a stroller. I’m leaning towards the CityMini GT, but I’d like an option to have her face me, which you can’t do in that one.

    • hoola hoopa says:

      We also used the snap and go to postpone the ‘real’ stroller purchase – and so glad we did! I was much better informed about my own preferences at that point.

      • Meg Murry says:

        I also agree that the snap & go is great for postponing a “real” stroller – and because they dont have tons of bells and whistles there isn’t much to break – so they can easily be handed down or resold in like-new condition.

        No matter what you get, if you live in a car-centric place, I can not recommend getting an infant bucket seat and stroller that can hold it enough. The ability to transfer a sleeping baby in and out of car & stroller is so so so great. You can drive home, carry sleeping baby into the house still in the bucket seat, and if you are lucky they will stay asleep and you have a chance to catch a breath!

  20. hoola hoopa says:

    City dwellers who primarily walk or use personal (compact) car.

    Carseats: We’ve had many carseats. Some were fine (Britax Marathon, Chicco Keyfit, Evenflo Amp) others were adequate, but the only one that I – and my kids – have genuinely liked enough to recommend is the Britax Pioneer. Love that seat. Comfortable, great cupholders, straps don’t twist. My kids are small for their age so going up to the Frontier didn’t make sense, although I’d recommend it, too.

    Stroller: Snap and Go is fantastically useful. All that you need in the first months and a great basket. I’ve had more strollers than I’d like to admit, but CityMini (Single and double) are my favorites for day trips. Easy fold, maneuverable, great cover, bigger-but-not-too-big wheels. Single easily fit into the compact trunk. The cheapo umbrella stroller from Babies R Us has been extremely handy as well, and a favorite with our kids. We keep them in the car trunk for errands.

  21. Deckled Edges says:

    I drive a MINI Cooper and refuse to get a bigger car (yet). So we searched all over creation for an infant car seat that would fit behind the passenger seat and would adapt with a stroller that fit in my postage-sized trunk. I only came up with one option for each, but turns out they are both great. We love them and they have the added benefit of being really convenient and light.

    Car seat – Nuna Pipa. Another commenter mentioned the magnet drape, which is truly awesome. It is also super light and compact. Bonus points for the safety stability leg which is standard in Europe but appears on very few US car seats. Fit in MINI? The passenger seat has to be all the way up, so passengers are uncomfortable but can still fit.

    Stroller – Mamas & Papas Armadillo. Light, compact and easily folds/unfolds with one hand. Really large canopy, which is nice for sunny/rainy days. Maneuvers like a dream. The Pipa fits onto it with adaptors, which was great during the sleepy newborn days. Fit in MINI? Only stroller that fits into the trunk without needing the seats folded down or the trunk shield or wheels removed. It does take up the entire trunk, so keep that in mind.

    Highly recommend both of these for anyone who doesn’t want to throw their back out with heavy baby equipment or who has a smaller vehicle.

    • Nonny says:

      I also drive a Mini Cooper. We never installed our car seat in it for any lengthy period of time (we use my SO’s car for baby transport) because of car seat fit issues and, frankly, my safety concerns. (I’m just not comfortable with the tight fit and what that could mean in the event of an accident.) However, occasionally, when our big car has been at the mechanic, we have put the car seat in the Mini. We originally had a Graco SnugRide 30 and it did just work behind the passenger seat….and now we have a Britax Pavilion, which also works. But it isn’t comfortable and we’ve found as our daughter grows bigger it is more and more difficult to physically put her in the car seat. There just isn’t sufficient space to manoeuver, especially as the car seat is still rear-facing (and probably will be for another year).

      I love my Mini to death and don’t want to sell it. But sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that it just isn’t going to be workable for the next 3 or 4 years, so we are going to sell it this spring. However, I’ve put SO on notice that when we buy a second vehicle again, I want a Mini again. But I’m thinking the 4-door will be the way to go at that point….

      • Deckled Edges says:

        I hear you. It breaks my heart to think about selling my Mini, but it is getting harder and harder to get him into his seat. I’ve seen people put the other back seat down to go through the trunk to get to the car seat. I haven’t tried it yet, but it might buy me a few months. We hope to have more kids, so we definitely need a bigger car. But let me tell you – as soon as those kids are driving on their own, I’m getting another Mini faster than you can say ‘it was my first baby.’ :)

    • Samantha says:

      My dream is to get a Mini Cooper Countryman which seems like it would satisfy my Mini-craving while also accommodating potentially more than one kid.

  22. Just wanted to chime in on the umbrella stroller recs, since I don’t think anyone mentioned it. But we LOVE the McClaren Triumph. We were living in Brooklyn where everyone and their mother had the Uppa Baby G-Luxe or G-Lite and I tested them both and hated them both. Really wanted an umbrella stroller that reclined so scoured the earth reading all the reviews. Ended up with the Triumph and have loved it ever since. I often prefer it to our Citi Mini.

    Graco Snap and Go was great for the first year, but I was delighted when I got to throw it away. Too many alignment problems, but maybe we just need a different brand.

    We are no longer in an urban environment, and I’ll just go with a better snap and go and the Triumph from now one. City Mini was fine for urban living, and much cheaper than the high end alternatives. The only stroller I’ve lusted after is the Bob. Really easy to push over all kinds of terrain.

  23. Andrew says:

    I keep reading reviews of car seats and there’s all this discussion regarding ease of use etc and none around how it protects the infant. Being a passenger in a car is one of the most if not, the most dangerous thing it’ll do. Can someone point at safety reviews for car seats?

    • Stefanie says:

      All car seats — cheap, expensive, big, little, pretty, ugly — have to mee the same safety guidelines. For information on that, there’s good data at Consumer Reports, Car Seats for the Littles (www.csftl.org), and The Car Seat Lady (http://thecarseatlady.com/).

      Some seats have extra-special features, like load legs (Nuna Pipa and Cybed Aton 2/3/Q), but unsafe carseats cannot enter the market because of the rigorous testing.

  24. Hi Kat (and everyone)!

    Strollers are probably the most expensive investment parents make for their kid(s). Because I’m a stroller geek and after TONS of research on strollers, I went ahead with a more expensive option and picked out a BOB stroller. Definitely love it!

    There are obviously tons of other awesome strollers out there and finding these for parents is my my goal at http://www.MommyStroller.com!

    Feel free to drop by!

    Cheers!
    Evelyn

  25. Scandinavian says:

    I am surprised that there is so much love for Britax b agile. I hate it, it only works okay indoors in shopping centers where the floors are smooth. It is incerdibly heavy outdoors and is impossible to manouver over any bumps. With the winter wheels it’s even heavier and difficult to turn.

    Emmaljunga city cross is my favourite. It rolls with ease, snow is no obstacle, great in the woods. I think Emmaljunga city cross is the biggest seller in my area too. Mine has been in continuous use through three kids, its 10 years old, and we only had to tighten the screws a bit. The fabrics also come off and can be washed. It is roomy, so it’s great for bigger kids too, but takes up a lot of space in the car.

    We bought the car seat that won the yearly safety test. Be Safe IziKid Combi x4. The kid likes it too.

  26. Infant Seat: Chicco Keyfit 30. Currently on its 4th kiddo (between two families) and doing fine. We have 2 bases for ourselves and one for local grandparents. No complaints.

    Convertible Seat: Ricaro ProRide. We have one for each car and love them.

    Strollers: We had a cheap Snap N Go that was quickly retired. My tall husband bent the axle in <10 min of using it. We bought our Mountain Buggy Terrain jogging stroller two years ago and we LOVE it. We don't use it much for jogging, honestly, but its big wheels navigate any terrain nicely. You can lay the seat flat or remove it entirely and put on a frame for the infant seat. I refused to get a double stroller when we had our second because they are so huge, so I usually wear baby and let preschooler ride in the stroller, or baby rides in stroller and preschooler walks.

  27. My favorite is a convertible car seat. I usually travel with it and my daughter feels comfort during traveling.

  28. I found your website very interested and informative. I have read about this first time. By The way, I have learned new things from this post. Doing an experiment gives us the inspiration of new invention.

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