The perfect ride for baby largely depends on her age. Here's a rundown of the types of strollers and features you'll need (and want) as your child grows.
Let's face it – a stroller is a significant investment. Unlike the adorable onesies you might receive at your baby shower, a good stroller is designed to last well beyond a few months. So, how do you ensure that you invest in a stroller (or maybe two, but not four or five) that meets all your needs throughout every stage of your child's growth? Read on.
At this point, your main concern is keeping baby stable, supported and comfortable. Look for a sturdy, structured stroller with a good suspension system that can absorb bounces and prevent jostling. Another must-have feature: a comfy seat that fully reclines, so your newborn can lie flat on his back.
Opting for a travel system or a stroller that accommodates an infant car seat allows you to avoid waking the baby every time you transition in and out of the car. Some moms choose an economical stroller frame during this stage, designed for the car seat to snap right in. Later on, they invest in a more expensive full-sized stroller once the baby can sit up on her own.
For city moms or those who don't drive frequently, opt for a stroller with a bassinet attachment instead of a travel system. This allows you to lay your little one down and go without dealing with attachments, adaptors, or snaps – a convenience you'll especially appreciate during the early sleep-deprived days of being a new mom. Additionally, the bassinet can serve as a mini crib when needed.
As your baby is now sitting upright, the importance of your stroller's seat becomes even more pronounced. It should provide ample room, substantial support, and cushioning. Look for an adjustable seat with multiple recline positions to accommodate your growing child. Additionally, ensure it comes equipped with a five-point harness to keep your child snug and secure while you're out strolling.
As you get the hang of this mom thing and feel more confident taking your baby out and about, strolling becomes a perfect opportunity to chat (read: bond!) with your little one, especially when they can see your face. An often-overlooked feature that comes in handy now is a seat that can face forward or backward.
Now is the time you might consider buying a specialty stroller to complement your original one—once your baby has good head and neck control, of course. To determine which type is right for you, think about your lifestyle. If you're an avid runner who wants to exercise with your baby, look for a lightweight jogging stroller that handles both sidewalks and trails. If you're a mom on the go, consider picking up an ultra-portable umbrella stroller that's easy to stash in the trunk.
As your kid becomes more independent and curious, showing a keen interest in the world around them, they may want to hop out of the stroller frequently. To accommodate this, opt for a lightweight model with a quick and easy fold—especially if you find yourself carrying it often. If you have to choose between lightweight and easy folding, prioritize the one that's a cinch to fold. At this stage, ensure the stroller still features a five-point harness to keep your lively explorer secure. Also, check for potential pinch points where the canopy opens and closes, as kids often rest their hands there when walking, and you want to prevent any accidents.
Look for a set of wheels that is easy to navigate. When your toddler is walking beside you, holding your hand, you'll need to steer the stroller with your other hand. This becomes much more manageable with certain strollers, making the overall experience more convenient for you and your toddler.
A ride-on board can be a lifesaver on those days when your child wants to act like a big kid and walk instead of being pushed in the stroller. Because, let's face it, she'll soon be complaining about tired feet after a few blocks; in that case, she can simply hop on the board. Crisis averted.
Whether your baby is 2 days or 2 years old, certain baby stroller features will always come in handy. When shopping for a stroller, look for these essential perks:
• Sun protection: While a blanket can work in a pinch to shield your newborn from the sun, as your baby becomes more active, you'll appreciate a stroller with a large canopy that offers UV protection.
• Storage space: The amount of room you need depends on your preferences and lifestyle. Consider whether you prefer to carry a lot or travel light. Do you do your grocery shopping on foot or by car? Decide whether you'd like to stow your diaper bag in the stroller or carry it.
• Adjustable handlebar: If you and your partner have different heights, make sure the stroller's handlebar is adjustable to accommodate both of you comfortably. Consider the height and leg span of the primary caregiver who will be pushing the stroller.
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