Saturday, January 29, 2011

Single Stroller vs. Double Stroller: Advice for New Parents

Strollers, strollers, strollers... so many different brands, options, uses. My biggest regret from my first pregnancy was not researching strollers enough. I basically walked into Toys R Us one day after work, saw one that had Polka Dots on it and said 'that's the one I want'.  And 6 months later, my parents bought it for us as a gift for the baby.  It was a Graco travel system and worked well for us for E.  I love the snap and go travel system but it is bulky to load and unload and takes up a lot of space, and isn't the easiest thing to steer.  However, we love love love the car seat and its a bit oversized, so E had not problem using that car seat for his entire first year. He didn't grow out of it until he was over a year old (14 months to be exact), and the functionality of snapping the car seat into the stroller was awesome (and still is as I am using it with H now).

However... while the travel system was great for the newborn phase, when we stopped lugging the snap and go car seat around and started taking E in and out of his car seat, the stroller portion of that system wasn't as ideal. We soon went to the Baby Trend jogging stroller and I really love that stroller.  It was also a gift from PC's parents and we have definitely gotten a lot of use out of it, but again its fairly big to load and unload and takes up a good portion of the trunk.  Not ideal for long road trips if you have a lot of other luggage and baggage to use but is good for all terrains and was great for going to the park and just walking in general with it, such a smooth ride. 

In addition to those two strollers, we went out and bought a middle of the pack umbrella stroller... it was also a Graco and folded compactly but had a good recline on it and a nice size sun canopy... it was around $130 and we honestly used it a lot with E, especially between 9 and 18 months. I would say we wore that stroller down, the wheels are pretty beat up and over time the steering has become difficult, but because its so compact, its the stroller I love to take with me, because I can always have it in my car, if I need it, but can also SHOP SHOP SHOP without any problems.

SO... if you've kept count, we have 3 strollers, the travel system, a jogging stroller, and an umbrella stroller.  While all of these strollers have there uses, what each of them does not accommodate is a SECOND CHILD.  What was I thinking? I can tell you I wasn't thinking of a second child needing a stroller while my first child was still using one! If I had done my research and thought more about it, I would have put my money into a stroller that you could easily buy a second seat for or a car seat that was compatible with a double stroller, etc.

Our Baby Trend jogging stroller, now has a version with a matching car seat and then you can also buy the Sit N' Stand platform stroller that the car seat works with and it provides a place for your toddler to ride on.  It would have been an ideal purchase from the get-go, but now that we have all of these other strollers already in our possession it seems like a bit of a waste if we aren't having any more kids.

Now... that we have two kids, I am on the hunt for a double stroller, but I can't decide between a compact umbrella stroller (like the Maclaren Twin Techno), or sit n' stand platform type stroller.  E is at the point where he will most likely want to walk for a good part of our outings, which is great when PC and I are out together with them, but when its just me on my own I want something I know I can put them both in there seats and they'll be controlled and not running out to play in traffic!  I also am torn between having a spot for E to ride in vs. having a place for him to lay down and nap.  Take for example our trip to Florida, if we go out for the day, he is still napping and would most likely fall asleep but with a Sit N' Stand platform, he can only sit and ride not rest. A double umbrella stroller would allow him a place to sit and to rest. 

The other dilemma is that I am wondering how long E will be in the phase where he would actually sleep in a stroller. Do I buy the double umbrella stroller that's only good to use for a year or less, only to have to go out and get the platform stroller for the later years? I know it I buy a good double umbrella stroller, I can probably re-sell it, especially if we only use it for 9 months, but its the all the wondering if its even worth it to buy it in the first place.

Then... once E is old enough to not need a place to rest or ride, I will be back to needing a decent single umbrella stroller... which if you remember from above our single umbrella stroller is DONE.

Honestly, strollers are my worst nightmare lately. And reading online about traveling with a newborn and a toddler isn't helping either as many people are staying to put the baby in a carrier or a sling on you, and take a single umbrella stroller for your toddler - if he doesn't want to ride in it, you can use it for the newborn - which seems like a great plan, except I will want to get a new single umbrella stroller!

If you managed to stay engage this far down in the post, I would say my advice to new parents would be to invest in a decent multipurpose stroller that has room to grow with you.  You can upsize it when you have the need for two kids, and down size it when you only need it for one child. I think while big bulky strollers are comfy and very useful for your everyday neighborhood outings, they aren't good for long trips where cargo space is limited, so you will most likely need a good umbrella stroller too.

If you've had a similar experience with strollers or have found the perfect solution to not owning enough strollers to start my own store, please let me know. I would love some help in figuring out which investment to make before investing my life savings in strollers!

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