Choosing the right baby gear is really a hard job. Most of the bigger stuff is pricey and if you end up with something that doesn't function the way you expect it isn't always easy to find the money to replace the product, plus your out that chunk of cash! Picking a Stroller is one of the hardest things because they market stroller with cute fabric which always grabs my eye. However, function is sometimes overlooked. Twice I've bought a stroller I never used because it looked great but ultimately didn't work for my situation. Hopefully I can help you avoid my mistake!
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I'm not going to cover carseats in this post - just the actual stroller. So if your going for a combo set, you can still use these tips because it is two products you are purchasing and you want to be happy with both.
While I don't cover carseats in this post, keep in mind that combo sets (carseat/stroller) are great options for having a newborn. Most of the time they do not fit well in the regular stroller so you keep them in the carseat to travel. I've used a combo and I've had the infant seat with a caddy style (I liked this better with the infant seat as it is much more compact.) My suggestion is to try it all out at the store and see what fits your liking.
Go to the store and try them out
You really need to go to the store and take the stroller out on the floor and play with it. Maybe the wheels don't turn the way you like. Maybe the handle is too high or too low for you to comfortable push. Take it for a stroll in the store! Really get a feel for it. Try more than one style. Do you like a jogger, compact or full sized model.
Practice opening and shutting it
If you cannot open and shut it in the store with ease then how can you expect to do it with a crying baby or in the rain! Every model and make has different mechanisms to fold their strollers - so make sure you pick one that is easy for you. Do this several times. Make sure you can lift it too. Sometimes they make them so heavy that they are only good for keeping in the garage and strolling the neighborhood.
Does it Fit in Your Trunk?
We made this mistake with our first son. The stroller was perfect had all the features I loved. However it didn't fit in my car trunk! It was HUGE! I never even thought about that when I was picking out this monster! I ended up leaving it at my mother in law's house for her to use and bought a smaller stroller for us. It was a complete waste of money.
Does it have a cup holder for Mom? A tray for baby? Is it a 5 strap harness to keep baby locked in - can you undo and hook that 5 point harness easily? Does it have a plush padded seat, will baby be comfortable with the padding? These are good questions to ask. What about a basket underneath?
Does the stroller have a recline? How many levels? Will baby be able to sleep comfortably? This is a big deal to me. I like the recline to feel sturdy and to go back most of the way. Some only have two levels which don't work for me. I found out the hard way that one of our strollers was only padded with fabric for the recline and I never felt comfortable with baby sleeping in it.
I hope these tips have helped you! I'd love to hear some tips you have for picking the right stroller - leave a comment to let me know!