As far as I know, there are no serious ethical or political debates surrounding your stroller selection. Nobody makes a stroller out of recycled kitty litter and cornstarch, nor one that belts “Keep the Christ in Christmas!” from Halloween to the New Year. No, when it comes to picking a stroller, you’ll have to stick to the old-fashioned questions of, “How much do you want to spend on a stroller?” and “How much do you want to spend on the stroller you will buy after you realize that you cheaped-out on your first stroller and it’s a useless piece of crap taking up space in your mud room?”
It is an undeniable truth that you will own more than one stroller over the next 2-3 years. There is no single stroller that meets all of your child-transportation needs from birth to whenever you give up on preventing your precious cherub from emptying all the shelves at Barnes & Noble. You may tell yourself that back in the day your mom piled all seven of her kids into a buggy made from rusty pipes and a burlap sack and that’s good enough for your kid, too, but sooner or later you will crack and find yourself stalking other mothers at the zoo, peppering them with questions about their UPPAbaby Vistas while your heart fills with lust and envy. Do your soul-searching and your homework now and you will save yourself the heartache and a potential restraining order down the road.
In the beginning, you will need some sort of stroller that your infant carrier snaps into with relative ease. Baby-wearing is all well and good unless your newborn bundle of happiness is asleep in his car seat after 17 straight hours of crying and you’ve just arrived at CVS to buy adult diapers because you are still bleeding like a busted fire hydrant six weeks after delivery. When you are faced with the choice of disturbing your slumbering lovebug and triggering another four-day “witching hour” or drowning in your own postpartum sludge, you will appreciate being able to move the car seat from the car to the snap-n-go so that you can trot inside for your crotch pillows and a bag of Cheetos without disturbing baby's snuggly dreamland.
Depending on where you live and how active you pretend you will be during your maternity leave, you may also need an all-terrain or jog stroller. This is where I got duped by Big Stroller, believing I could navigate my urban, Craftsman-era neighborhood with a lightweight, easily collapsible Baby Jogger City Mini GT. Our house has exterior stairs to the front door and I have the upper arm-strength of a 98 year-old woman, so something under 15 lbs seemed a logical choice. It turns out that due to my neighborhood’s charm and strict tree-removal ordinances, our sidewalks look like a set from the movie Tremors, and the City Mini with a car seat attached is as stable as a double-decker bus in a hurricane. After a few stubborn months of carefully navigating around pinecones and acorns, I broke down and bought the BOB Revolution. The BOB is built on the same chassis as the M1 Abrams battle tank. It’s made of industrial steel and ox bone and it weighs as much as a Hyundai, but costs a little bit more. The BOB can scale the exploded ruins of post-apocalypse Manhattan or the curb at the botanical gardens without breaking your gait. Resistance is futile for all of you re-gentrified urban oasis dwellers. If your ZIP code has more than two independent coffee houses with free WiFi or one “public house” that brews beer on-premises and doesn’t serve nachos, you will be buying a BOB before your baby’s six-month photo shoot.
Finally, there are the pipe-and-burlap umbrella strollers of our youth. No frills, no brakes, no actual use, because by the time your kid is old enough to sit in one without sliding under the single-strap seat-belt, you’ll be on your iPhone ordering a double BOB from your hospital bed in Labor & Delivery while your husband sits by your side, mentally calculating the projected cost of college tuition for two and browsing suburban real estate listings on Trulia.
Written by: Kathleen