Help me prevent Stroller Madness
April 29, 2005 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Strollers have become a source on contention between my wife and I. We have kid 1.0 coming in a few months and need to get one. She wants a Bugaboo and I think that is a crazy waste of cash. Does anyone have any experience with these "world famous, prize-winning, celebrity-favorite" strollers? Or recommendations for something else?

We do not live in a walking city, to go to most stores and restaurants we will need to drive. She does walk around the neighborhood a lot though but does not jog so we will not need a jogging stroller.
She likes it because we will not need to get a bassinet, it can be rolled right up to tables at restaurants (when the kid gets older), it seems very sturdy and "should" be useable until we are done with strollers.
That is where I waver in my anti-bugaboo stance. If it really will last as long as we have kids who ride in strollers and it saves us from having to buy a jogger and a bassinet then it might be a good value in the end.
The people i meet who have them make it seem like the greatest thing ever and i cannot tell if it really is that great or if it is just people justifying that extravagant of a purchase.
Anyway, any pros, cons or suggestions would be appreciated. There are a lot of opinions out there and i am having trouble filtering them...
posted by GrumpyMonkey to Shopping (46 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
As someone with three kids let me remind you of something important: she's the one that's going to go through labour. My advice is to buy whatever stroller that she wants and take her to dinner for it ever having been an issue.
posted by jperkins at 8:32 AM on April 29, 2005 [1 favorite]

If I had it to do over again, I would get a baby jogger. . one of those strollers with bike wheels. . .but you may need another, more comfortable one for those long slow strolls.
posted by Danf at 8:36 AM on April 29, 2005

My advice would be to let her get whatever she wants. If you convince her to get something cheaper she will likely never be happy with it, even if it is just as reliable and serviceable. Guess where her resentment will be directed?

I don't know this one, but your primary concerns should be long life, light weight and easy folding. The Bugaboo seems pretty heavy at "only 17 lbs." You might let your wife compare stroller weights, but if she is fine with the extra weight you should probably let her get the Bugaboo.

We had an Aprica and it was quite nice. It wore out somewhere after the second kid, but they gave us a brand new one. I think it was frightfully expensive as my wife essentially refused to tell me how much she spent on it.
posted by caddis at 8:38 AM on April 29, 2005

OH. . you already addressed the jogging stroller issue. . .although I would counter by saying that it would be used on unpaved walking surfaces with effectiveness, even if she does not run.
posted by Danf at 8:38 AM on April 29, 2005

As a jogger, pedestrian and user of subways, I urge you to get a modest-sized stroller that collapses easily. Or a backpack for the baby. Approximately 40% of all sidewalk space in my city is currently taken up by white suburban women pushing big baby strollers with fat tires.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:40 AM on April 29, 2005

Yeah, I second letting her get whatever she wants. I've found with *certain* baby accessories (a car seat would also be a good example)- you should err on the side of extravagance. To make yourself feel better, a lot of the cheaper strollers like, Graco, etc. are servicable but often get recalled and will end up breaking. You generally throw them out or give them away when done, with something like this you can actually resell it and get some money back.
posted by jeremias at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2005

The snarky side of my would say "Don't forget to put an R-Type sticker on it."

Complete overkill. A stroller is only useful for six-eight months out of the year and for 1.5 years of a child's life. (Checks profile - Atlanta? Okay, year-round then.) Restaurants all privide booster seats, high chairs, you name it.

My daughter (now 3) never liked her bassinet and we never used it. She'd cry if placed in it. She slept between us for three months and then in her crib next to us.

Get a cheap Graco that collapses down to nothing and tell her to "Man up, Nancy". (Or "Grace" or it's probably better just to substitute her name)
posted by unixrat at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2005

No trendy stroller discussion is complete without a link to the Stokke Xplory.
posted by Bezbozhnik at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2005

In my extensive experience: Go with Graco. Graco makes medium-grade, not-too-expensive baby gear that actually WORKS and lasts. A lot of the cheaper gear really sucks. Graco strollers are easy to fold, easy to push, not too hideous, and won't break the bank. Granted, any heads that turn as you walk down the sidewalk are going to be admiring your baby and not your stroller, but that might be a good thing.
posted by bonheur at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2005

Welcome to parenthood, where if you don't buy the absolute best for your child (or at least, the best you can afford, where "best" is often defined by someone else, likely the manufacturer, but sometimes a magazine or other parents you know) you are a bad parent! Resist. Just remember, kids were raised successfully before all the overpriced crap that is available today even existed.
posted by kindall at 8:50 AM on April 29, 2005

Not a suggestion, but something to ponder: If you purchase a so-called "Travel System" you are able to transer a sleeping baby from the car to the stroller without taking them out of the infant carseat (and possibly waking them up). Of course when they are to old to be in the infant car seat this will be a moot point. At that point you will have to put the kid in a different car seat that requires moving them from car to outdoors and back. Then I would say that storage space is key. This one doesn't look like it has much although they mention an under seat storage bag.

Functionality is another. We have a travel system type stroller (from Graco) that worked quite well. That didn't stop us from getting an umbrella stroller when visiting relatives in Europe and finding out how hard it was maneouvering the beast in a busy city. As well, we purchased a running stroller second hand that we use a lot when roller blading, running or going for a walk in the forest.

Now with 2 kids, we just bought a double jogging stroller that we are using as a one stop solution: shopping, walking in the neighbourhood, jogging/roller blading etc...

Finally, style does factor into it. It may sound childish and petty but some strollers just look dumpy and I would prefer to push something that looks cool/sytlish. The Bugaboo certainly has a certain flair to it.

Hope that helps a bit.
posted by smcniven at 8:51 AM on April 29, 2005

You're on the right track in terms of avoiding multiple strollers.

When my wife was pregnant, I was trying to sell her on the Frog, mainly from a "it's a cool design!" viewpoint and she didn't bite.

So for the infant we got the Graco Universal thing that the car seat drops into (the Frog does that) and a MacLaren Global that is the "default" stroller, except it's (unlike the Frog) utter shite in snow (we're in Boston) so we ended up with the jogging stroller (whose chief advantage is the larger pneumatic wheels that, you guessed it, the Frog has) for the winter months.

With our now 14-month old daughter and three strollers (though the jogger was a freebie, it must be admitted), my wife's tune is now "Why didn't you sell it harder? I can't believe we didn't get the Frog!"

There's much baby gear that's over-priced and unnecessary. From the reports of our friends, and our own non-Frog experiences, the Bugaboo is not in that category. Had we paid for the jogger we'd have ended up paying more for three items that one could replace. Get the Frog!
posted by jalexei at 8:51 AM on April 29, 2005

We had a Peg Perego and a couple of Gracos, and a couple of cheapie umbrellas, too. We bought the cheapie umbrellas when the airlines lost/damaged our more expensive strollers (always on the way out, never on the way home ...). I didn't really care for any of them more than any other, but if I'd spent a lot on one I'd have been even more pissed when it was destroyed (and gate-checked items are less likely to be replaced by the airlines).

unixrat, are you really saying your daughter didn't use a stroller after 1.5 years? My son was using one until he was nearly five, for very long walks. Sure beats carrying them all the way home when they conk out on the way back from the restaurant.

My off-topic recommendation: get a baby sling. Really the best baby-gear thing we bought. Carrying my son in it, I could type, wash dishes, do laundry ... you name it, and the whole time he was as happy as a clam, and safe next to me.
posted by esperluette at 9:02 AM on April 29, 2005

BTW, you might also want to check out Mountain Buggy. They have some similarly flexible/rugged products that are a good bit cheaper -
posted by jalexei at 9:08 AM on April 29, 2005

My wife and I have one of the higer-end (for Graco) Graco Travel systems, and we really like it. The travel system was especially nice for the first few months before baby graduated to a real car seat. The stroller is a little on the large size once it collapses, but the extra storage space in the stroller has been really nice. Once you get a diaper bag, snacks, etc together it can be a lot of extra stuff.

We looked at some higher-end strollers, but decided that they didn't seem "nice enough" to justify the cost. And even if the Graco broke down once a year and needed to be replaced we would still be ahead.

Our friends bought a Graco one step down from ours, and it did break after a year. Ours is still holding together nicely.

Also, I am kinda tall (who could guess with a nickname like mine!?) and the Graco we chose was the only stroller we were able to test drive where I didn't have to stoop to push it. Of course, I am sure there are several very expensive Nothern European strollers that I didn't test drive that probably would have worked as well.
posted by Tallguy at 9:10 AM on April 29, 2005

unixrat, are you really saying your daughter didn't use a stroller after 1.5 years? My son was using one until he was nearly five, for very long walks. Sure beats carrying them all the way home when they conk out on the way back from the restaurant.

The usefulness of it went wa-a-a-ay down to the point where we didn't bother bringing it along. If we really needed one, many places have stroller rental. OTOH, we didn't do things like "very long walks" with her. If it was more than .5 miles, we'd bike it. I don't know if that's an option for everyone.

Somethings to consider - if your stroller is *too* nice, they might not *want* to walk. There's been some concern that kids aren't walking (and interacting) enough.
posted by unixrat at 9:12 AM on April 29, 2005

A friend swears by the stroller she got, which she was able to open and close with one hand (presumably with the baby in the other arm). Not sure if that is the same as the umbrella stroller mentioned above, but it's a feature worth thinking about. Sorry that I don't have the brand info for you.
posted by vignettist at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2005

It would be helpful if you could actually try pushing a few with at least 30 pounds of stuff in it before you make up your mind.

The lie down option is good for small babies. Since you are considering using it as a basinette, I assume you are living in a one-story home. Lugging the thing up and down, in addition to all of your other duties as a new parent, would be a real drag. The baby may end up in your bed, or your playyard may come with one of those basinette options, so the point may be moot.

Jogging strollers are good for tall parents (I was constantly accidentally kicking the back axle on our big stroller), plus they can handle all kinds of terrain, including stairs, well. Refer to the point above, about lugging the stroller up and down stairs, but add in a baby and all their stuff. In this situation, you either want something light, or big tires with good shock absorbers for dragging the thing up the stairs without jiggling the baby too much.

Once our kids could sit up well, we went for the umbrella stroller--light, compact, can hook on a bus rail, etc. In most circumstances, however, we opted to carry our kids in a front pack. They learn a lot that way, anyway.

Despite what the retail world wants you to believe, you don't have to have "all the best" for your little one, with everything new and shiny. The reason you buy something like this is for your convenience, which makes your new job as a parent easier, which therefore makes you a little happier, which therefore can leave you better able to parent.
posted by whatnot at 9:55 AM on April 29, 2005

You can probably find a used Bugaboo for a lot less. If she balks at that, then you know it's a status issue rather than a functionality issue, and you can try to persuade her that status is the wrong way to go. You may or may not be successful with that, but I don't think you have to cave on every baby-related purchase just because you're not the one going through labor. Otherwise, you're going to be spending additional tens of thousands of dollars over the lives of your children just trying to keep up with the Joneses.

For a stroller, the important things are collapsibility (for putting in the car), handle reversibility (to go in either direction), a good canopy (protection against sunlight), a long enough handle (depending on how tall you are, and some are adjustable), and adequate space to stow the baby bag.

I believe we had an Aprica, which was fairly expensive, and an umbrella stroller for air travel, which we bought used. I can't remember anyone ever commenting about the stroller we had; people mostly want to look at the kid.
posted by anapestic at 10:10 AM on April 29, 2005

The Atlanta Craig's list is awash with baby strollers of various sorts. Perhaps you can appeal to your wife's sense of environmentalism.
posted by anapestic at 10:14 AM on April 29, 2005

I live in Dekalb County and I walk almost every day for exercise. Very few of the sidewalks are in good enough shape to make a stroller ride pleasant for a baby unless she plans to walk in the street.

OTOH, you're the one who has to sleep with her, Grumpy.
posted by mischief at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2005

While you're spending big bucks on a Frog, might as well go all out for the Recaro car seat (with integrated audio!).
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2005

We have three kids (including twins). We've used four different strollers, ranging from the light, portable and flimsy to a behemoth bus-sized twin model. In hindsight we wouldn't have purchased or accepted any stroller whatsoever, since all our needs were better met by baby slings, in particular the very simple ones from Maya Wrap. Hands down, they're more portable, cheaper, and just more useful. That being said, with the benefit of hindsight I'd also recommend that you buy whatever your wife wants. When in doubt, it's usually the best choice.
posted by heymarcel at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2005

Response by poster: We are planning to get a sling as well as a stroller and now that i am reading some of the responses, this would have been a good thing to mention earlier.

I am sensing that I should plan on getting whatever she wants. Normally, this would be exactly what I do in this situation but the problem here is that I think that she really will not want this in the end. It does not collapse down to a very small size and it is heavy. I worry mostly that she will regret it after lifting it in and out of the car a few times and/or finding that we can't fill the trunk up with groceries because the stroller takes up the whole space. And my, that will be an expesive regret...
posted by GrumpyMonkey at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2005

You could start out with a collapsible umbrella stoller and if it doesn't work, then upgrade. You can leave the cheap one at grandma's (or the sitter's) as a spare.

I used a cheap umbrella stroller through two kids. I didn't have a car and walked everywhere! The only disadvantage was that the kid was at eye-level with every dog who walked up to him on the street - got licked in the face a lot.

Also, though you didn't ask, bassinettes are utterly useless.
posted by tizzie at 11:20 AM on April 29, 2005

I must strongly second Tallguy. We also had a Graco with a removable infant carrier/seat for which you can buy a base (or two) and install in your car(s).

Here is the one. Obviously the carrier and base are separate purchases.

Very sturdy, longlasting, easy to open and close, lots of storage, and again, compatible with Graco infant carrier which then also plugs in as a car seat
posted by poppo at 12:15 PM on April 29, 2005

Here's another perspective:

What happens if baby won't be put down without crying? Ask a few parents and you'll hear that one of the kids typically has a totally different temperament. He/she may sleep easily and be calm from the get-go or need a near-constant level of parental contact in order to calm themselves. I see this all the time in practice and it isn't due to parental inexperience, imo.

So I would suggest waiting a bit. The best thing we ever purchased was a fifteen dollar sling from WalMart. It allowed me to do the dishes, clean the house, etc. while calming our first. More importantly, I wouldn't take an infant out in public in a stroller for the simple fact that when people see babies they turn into intrusive idiots. If you want to have him/her out for public inspection in a restaurant or anywhere else for that matter then expect it with a stroller.

Call it what you will, your spouse has gone through a long stretch and wants a status symbol. Volvo makes great cars as well, but so does Subaru. And you should offer an opinion, contrary to previous comments. This is a slippery slope you are on and most people spend way too much on things they hardly use in order to assuage their own insecurities.

On preview, slings are awesome, and I'm no crunchy-type. I loved the comfort, convenience, and privacy it afforded. I can't remember anyone even figuring out we were carrying a baby around most of the time, and I loved being close to our baby girl.
posted by docpops at 12:44 PM on April 29, 2005

And on a possibly more contentious note:

The public seems to have been unwittingly sold on car seats that are removable because they can be carried into shops, etc. For Christ's sake, get a sling or a front pack. The carriers are bad for backs, shoulders, and are an unnecessary barrier to carrying your soon-to-be-too-big-to-carry child.

*steps off soapbox*
posted by docpops at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2005

Bugaboo users strike me as hapless twits and fashion victims. (Not that this is an argument to use with your wife, of course, but a motivation for you to find other arguments which are going to persuade her.)

Before our first child was born, we bought an Inglesina, which was by a half-dozen pounds the lightest of all of the heavy-duty strollers (paired-wheel suspesion, fully-reclines for sleeping child, etc.), and highly recommended. Light-weight is terrific for your wife lifting it into and out of her car. We also took it in the park, hiking on modestly challenging day-hike trails, etc., and it held up like a charm.

We also have a nice high-end umbrella stroller, a little heavier than the cheapo ones, but very sturdy, which became our preferred stroller once he was old enough to use it. Very good for navigating airports, trains, and other places where a full-sized stroller is annoying.
posted by MattD at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2005

Instead of a sling, how about winging it with a bedsheet? Women in west africa do it all the time with no adverse effects.
posted by ramix at 1:10 PM on April 29, 2005

Also, though you didn't ask, bassinettes are utterly useless.

Like the one my daughter slept in at our bedside until she was 6 months old? I'd avoid blanket statements like that.

I worry mostly that she will regret it after lifting it in and out of the car a few times

Given their popularity, I don't think you'd have any trouble recouping a significant portion of your outlay via Craigslist/new parent mailing list if it turned out not to be the right one for you.

I might also see if you could go to a retailer that carries one and get your hands on it. Lifting may not be the best thing for your wife at this moment, but you should be able to get at least an idea of how she'd cope with throwing it around once the bundle of joy arrives. I agree that 17 pounds isn't exactly light...

Bugaboo users strike me as hapless twits and fashion victims.

Not buying something for what others think it says about you is nearly as stupid as buying things for what others think it says about you. Make an educated purchase and get whatever works best for you.

So I would suggest waiting a bit. The best thing we ever purchased was a fifteen dollar sling from WalMart

We carry gear (diaper bag, snacks, a toy or three, extra layers, water bottles, etc.) in our strollers as well. I think slings are awesome (though we never used one with our daughter, she hated the ones we tried) but everyone I know that has one has it in addition to a stroller. Not saying everyone needs both, but he did indicate they're planning on getting a sling and a stroller.
posted by jalexei at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2005

I third (or whatever) the Graco Quattro Tour. Folds in a split second, has loads of storage, and accepts the matching infant car seat. It ain't light, but pretty much none of the non-umbrella strollers are.

And when it's time to carry the kiddo around rather than stroll her, my wife and I like the Baby Bjorn.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2005

Not buying something for what others think it says about you is nearly as stupid as buying things for what others think it says about you. Make an educated purchase and get whatever works best for you.

Maybe. But buying a 700 dollar stroller might just be an exception. If money wasn't an issue
posted by docpops at 1:28 PM on April 29, 2005

How does the Frog fold? Can you fold it with one hand while holding the baby in your other arm? This is a really nice feature of many strollers. I can't tell how the Frog worked from your link, but the way the wheels are positioned in the folded position makes it look like folding is not a one handed operation.
posted by caddis at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2005

I work on the Upper East Side which is completely overrun with nannies pushing Bugaboos. I'm shopping for strollers these days myself, and as nice as the Bugaboo seems, I find it difficult to justify the $729 price tag. That being said, if my wife decides that she really wants one...
posted by mds35 at 1:45 PM on April 29, 2005

700 dollars? Whoa. I had no idea. You could contribute that money to a 529 plan instead and start the college savings plan off right. At that price, you'd be lucky to recover a third of your investment from craig's list.
posted by anapestic at 1:50 PM on April 29, 2005

$729 would buy a shitload of diapers. You do realize how much those are going to run, I hope. Not to mention all the other expenses associated with an infant.
posted by mischief at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2005

(me) Not buying something for what others think it says about you... (docpops) Maybe. But buying a 700 dollar stroller might just be an exception. If money wasn't an issue

To put it another way, not buying something because it costs $700 is perfectly reasonable. Not buying it because you're concerned about what others will think of you spending $700 is less so - that's all.

Not to mention all the other expenses associated with an infant.

I realize I may look at things in an ass-backwards manner, but (while we didn't end up getting one) it was precisely those other expenses that made $700+ on a stroller seem like a drop in the bucket. But then I'm not the guy you'd want as a financial advisor...
posted by jalexei at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2005

it was precisely those other expenses that made $700+ on a stroller seem like a drop in the bucket

The thing is that with almost all kid-related expenses, there are more and less expensive options, and people who will try to get you to take more expensive options that are often not discernibly better than the less expensive options.

So if you look at $729 in comparison with what you're going to spend on having kids, then, yeah, it's nothing. But if you look at spending $729 as opposed to spending, say, $250 for a perfectly acceptable new stroller or $100 for a good used stroller, then you can see how that will add up over time, if you make similar choices on a lot of different purchases.

That said, if you do live on the upper east side, you likely have enough money not to worry about $700 here or $5000 there. I don't think that Grumpy is in that tax bracket, though.
posted by anapestic at 2:27 PM on April 29, 2005

I've been a nanny the past 5 years and I have some experience with the Bugaboo. I can tell you it "seemed" extremely lightweight, no problem pushing it up huge hills or over a curb, no problem with my extremely skinny arms lifting it into the trunk. It had an excellent turning radius that wasn't clumsy at all, and was very smooth even pushing it over bad sidewalks or gravel. It had plenty of room for everything, and the material it was made out of was VERY sturdy and so easy to clean.

The only really nasty incident we had with it was in the Bahamas. It's pretty compact, so easy enough to travel with, but less than 6 months after we bought it, one of the tires basically had a blow out although we don't know what caused it. NO ONE on the entire island had a replacement tire so we couldn't use it the two weeks we were there. We realized the frame for the tire also somehow got bent which complicated things even more. When we got back, I had to take the stroller to an auto shop to have it repaired and if memory serves me, it was an obscene $85. However, I don't think their tires have a history of doing this, I really just think it was a freak accident.

That said, last night I went to a softball game with my best friend and her 3 week old daughter. She had a Graco Travel Stroller which I was just as impressed with, and i'm sure it was much less than $700. It had a compartment on top to hold keys and wallets, 2 seperate cup holders, and a gillion little spaces for purses, blankets, diaper bags, etc. We had to go over a gravel parking lot and it had no trouble, but the Bugaboo did seem to be a little smoother in regard to jarring the baby to death. The Graco did seem to be less wide though which is a god-send when you're trying to maneuver them in store aisles. Hope that helps.
posted by Ugh at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2005

Bugaboos aren't the only nice high-end strollers out there, you know. Even if you don't jog, some of Phil & Ted's strollers look really nice (they even have one especially for commuters, though it wouldn't be good for long walks).

I've never seen one in the flesh (and I don't think you can buy them in North Amercia) but Micralites look amazing.

Quinny strollers (the Zapp and the Buzz) are supposed to be good.

I think someone already mentioned Mountain Buggy . People who have them rave about them.

Why buy a boring Bugaboo, where there are so many neat-o strollers available?

Actually, I think Bugaboos are kind of cool too. Although you have to take them apart (in two pieces) to collapse them, and I hear that's a hassle.

I have spent way too much time thinking about strollers.
posted by Badmichelle at 3:40 PM on April 29, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks all.
It really has nothing to do whatsoever with status and absolutely nothing to do with what the trendy thing is. She really has looked at it from the "if we get this we will not need to get these 3 other things" as well as the "is seems very sturdy and versatile" perspective. Many of the other strollers (high end or no) did not seem to do as much nor did they seem as well built for walking on not so well kept up sidewalks. We have taken our friends Graco out and it's hard plastic wheels become difficult to push and jar the kid over every bump.
We certainly do not have money to burn but do want to get the best option for my wife and kid. I appreciate all your input and guess i will spend some more time thinking about it.
posted by GrumpyMonkey at 10:36 PM on April 29, 2005

The Graco and most of the other Baby-R-Us low end brands are really, really low end. On the other hand, you only need it for a few months, until the baby's old enough to sit in one of those Maclaren folding things, which is all you'll ever need after that. My advice would be to get whatever is cheap and easy now, and then spring for the Maclaren somewhere around the end of the year to cover the remaining couple of years of stroller use.

The Bugaboo is indeed a crazy waste of cash. Don't bother.

"might as well go all out for the Recaro car seat (with integrated audio!)."

Hey, I got one of those for my daughter this year. I started out thinking the idea of a $400 kid's chair is patently absurd. Turns out she's slightly too tall to sit in just about anything else but those plastic booster seats, and the lack of depth of the plastic booster seat makes her perch her feet on the edge of the car's seat -- which is bad for safety -- and she's still under the mass requirement for going without a booster of some kind. After a few months of serious hunting for a more reasonable option, it turns out that because of her height to mass ratio, the Recaro's the only other option apart from that plastic lump on the market that lets her comply with California's 2004 & 2005 seating laws.

The integrated audio sucks, though. It really needs a headphone amp for many devices.

Overall, she seems to like it. I think it's overkill if you don't actually need one to comply with the law, but a pretty nice way to ride.
posted by majick at 7:38 AM on April 30, 2005

GrumpyMonkey, our 17-month-old has loved his Baby Bjorn front carrier (pricey, but worth it), his Kelty backpack (also pricey and worth it) and the fabric sling I bought at a county fair for about $20.

The Baby Bjorn was wonderful, once Small Monkey could hold his head up; I was even able to wash the car with him in it. The Kelty's been great because SM gets to look at people's faces, as opposed to their kneecaps (as with many strollers). Not so great in cramped spaces, however. The advantages to both of these have been that I have my hands free, that I get exercise and SM gets to ride close to me. As he craves closeness, these carriers have been godsends.

The sling? Fabulous. Takes up no space, ensures maximum portability and is super handy in many different settings.

What works for us is having a number of carrying modalities, combined with having a baby that enjoys being toted around. YMMV. Good luck!
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:11 AM on April 30, 2005

Let her buy the ridiculous stroller if that's what she wants. You can re-sell it when you're finised with it.

Then buy an umbrella stroller, and hack the shit out of it. You can make telescoping handles, replace the wheels, add bizzaro suspension, and end up with no original parts when you are done. It'll be unique, light, awesome, and yours.
posted by blasdelf at 10:52 AM on April 30, 2005

$729 would buy a shitload of diapers.

Oh, come on. *nobody* laughed at that one?

OK, my two cents. It seems that individual preference here is highly varied, from my friends and my own experience. Here's my humble data points:

The sling worked well for us, as did the Baby Bjorn Carrier. I found the latter easier on my back and neck. We had a travel system, too--yes doc, they are heavy. I probably had similar injuries from the sling and carrier, though, and the carrier is designed to be plopped in a stroller most of the time, anyway.

I personally prefer the maneuverability of strollerlessness, but there are other factors. Naptime was one. There was a time where he was too big to sleep in a sling but fit fine in a stroller. A more active child also may be at times rather difficult to carry but can be strapped into a stroller.

I regret to say that we currently own four (4!) strollers. I will admit that what works best changes rather rapidly with a small child, and if you're trying to go out and, say, run errands having the right equipment can make the difference between an aborted trip and a successful one. I do prefer the Maclaren strollers generally small and light design philosophy. The "sit and stand" type strollers seem to get rave reviews from people with a baby and toddler.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:34 PM on May 13, 2005

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