I’m legitimately stressed.

 

strollerOver the last week and a half I’ve spent a solid three hours discussing baby strollers and car seats. As first time parents, we know there is a lot to be learned about parenting, and a million different opinions on how to parent the best.

Whatever.

The only thing that causes me to lose sleep at night, thus far, is the thought of having to buy a car seat and a stroller.

There are arguably no two supplies more important than these. They’ll be used on a daily basis for years and years. They both come in a million different shapes, sizes, styles, and price points.

I’m suffering from analysis paralysis.Β 

What if I buy a stroller that I realize, six months down the road, isn’t the most efficient to collapse.

…Or is too heavy.

…Or doesn’t fit well in our trunk.

…Or isn’t compatible with our car seat.

…Or can’t handle a variety of environments (bumpy sidewalks, narrow shopping mall aisles, gravel parking lots).

…Or can’t hold two kids (assuming we have another a few years from now).

And don’t get me started on car seats.

…Do I need to buy two of the same seat (one for each car)?

…Does it need to work for both newborns and one year olds?

…Why do car seats expire?

…Does my car seat need to fit in my stroller?

…How many car seats will I have to buy for each kid?

Ugh.Β 

I feel defeated and I’m not even a dad yet. I seriously fear buying a stroller, and six months down the road realizing there was a different stroller I should have bought that would have been a better fit for our lifestyle.

I seriously don’t want to mess these two purchases up, but everyone I ask has a different opinion.

I’m annoyed.

#firstworldproblems

37 thoughts on “I’m legitimately stressed.

  1. Truly first world problems. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve wasted money on this or that. In fact, I have too much junk to show for it. I cannot imagine the price of a stroller and car seat being significant to ruin your future. We all do the best we can and have to take comfort in that. I suffer from perfectionism too by the way. If you really want to look at a severe case of analysis paralysis, it took me 41 years to start up a 401k and I still have doubts about my fund choices let alone trusting that the markets will be higher by the time I retire (I like how that rhymed).

  2. Ninja, I would recommend using Consumer Reports; if you don’t have or want to buy a subscription, you have my e-mail.

    Cash, in your case I would suggest posting a query to the Bogleheads forums; you will find a number of knowledgeable people ready to help you. In brief, however, I would suggest looking for maximum diversity (domestic and international stocks, plus some bonds) and the lowest possible expense ratios (such as found in Vanguard index funds or Fidelity Spartan funds, my top choices).

    • dude, all baby needs is food and a place to sleep. buy a basic car seat, and buy everything else as you go. You will realize after having the baby for the first couple days what you really need and don’t need. PS. the car seat/stroller systems that click into each other weight a million pounds. Look into a “BOB” stroller or similar light weight ones.

    • Yes, yes, yes! Consumer Reports has a lot of great baby product tests. It is the first place I go. That’s where we found our crib (cheapest and highest rated!) and car seat.

      As for a car seat. The Graco Key Fit 30 is what you need. It’s the best on the market for a relatively inexpensive price. You will need 1 base for each car. Trust me on this, 1 base per car is worth it.

      As for a stroller, go to Baby’s R Us or any baby store and try out the strollers. Let me just say you want one that is light weight and easy to fold. We ended up buying the Graco stroller for the Key Fit, but I hate it, it’s way too big and heavy. Almost all strollers have universal conversion kits to hold just about any car seat.

  3. Don’t forget about the baby showers! Your parents or GN’s parents might get you what you register for.

    We got a Graco infant seat with a base – then you only need to purchase an additional base for the other car. It’s $30-40 instead of another $200+. Those seats will fit up to 20-25 lbs depending on the model, that may or may not get you thru the first year. The bonus of this type is that you can put the baby in the car seat in the house, and carry it out to the car. If the baby is sleeping when you get to where you are going, then you just pop the carrier out and take it in the house with you.

    And if you get the travel system – it fits in the stroller. And the strollers go up to about 40-45 lbs. (technically my daughter would still fit in hers if we still had it, she’s just managed to maintain 41 lbs.)

    My daughter will be FIVE tomorrow. It’s amazing how the time flies.

  4. A infant car seat is the best for when little. I urge against buying the combo ones that come with the stroller. I find that stroller bulky. We have a used snap and go, which you can put the infant carrier in. We then had a heavy duty umbrella stroller for trips. I mostly used an Ergo carrier when we went places due to crowds.
    Once baby outgrew the infant seat (about 8 months) we went with a convert able car seat, britax boulevard. My 4 year old is still in!
    Now for two kids that’s an entire different beast!

  5. Don’t be like me and end up with every possible stroller there is… Just because I read this one was good or my family read this one was the best. Your parenting skills are not going to be judge on the style of stroller or car seat you buy.Just buy what is safe and meets your state law. My son’s car seat had more cup holders it was insane. Remember that he/she is going to grow and fast so stick with something that is safe and will adapt to his/her growing. I didn’t think of this and wasted so much money. I have 3 car seats and 4 strollers in my basement and a 3y/o and a 13 month old…

  6. I get that the car seat is necessary from day 1, but why do you need to buy a stroller before the baby arrives? Can’t you just wear your baby for a while before you figure out which stroller will fit your lifestyle? (I’m not a parent – I don’t know the answer to this question. But it is one I’ve been thinking about since I heard multiple parents admit that they own 3 strollers.)

  7. For ease-ability….having a stroller that you can use your infant seat with is a nice feature. You can just take the “bucket” seat out and it snaps into the stroller. Once baby is a little bigger, you can then just put baby in the main part of the stroller.

    Car seats….they expire because the plastic and foam that make them up deteriorate over time from heat and cold exposure (from sitting in your car). While you may not see it, structurely they can become less sound, and if you were ever in an accident….this is what is protecting little one.

    Typically you will be in an infant seat for a minimum of a year, rear facing. Once baby is a little bigger, you will move to a larger seat (rear facing for as long as possible). There is a new one out now that actually converts to a booster seat down the line that is well rated.

    As for number of seats….part of it will depend on how close together you have your kids. If you have them spaced out….you will probably be buying 2 carseat per child. (you can just put a base in a second vehicle when they are infants. But once they are out of there, you may consider a car seat for each car if baby is riding equally in the cars. I wouldn’t advocate taking them out….if you have them installed by your local police, then you know they have been installed properly, and once you take them out, you have negated that).

    Hope some of that helps.

  8. I remember trying to register for baby stuff with my husband and he was legitimately stressed out by it, and didn’t see the need for any of it! The best thing for us was for me to take the reigns and get advice from good friends who were also new moms.

    And the next best thing was to buy the baby stuff at consignment sales. Seriously. A Snap-n-Go stroller is $15 and you can delay your stroller decision until baby is 6 months old and you know what kind of stroller you’ll “need.” You’ll also find Baby Bjorns for $5 and Moby wraps for $10. So, there are 3 ways to transport baby — all for less than the price of 1 Snap N Go stroller.

    As for the carseat — just get something that’s easy to install. They’re all safe. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  9. My wife and I went with the travel system – a car seat that also snaps into the stroller.

    The downfall is that the stroller is beefy and the car seat is heavy, especially with my 8 month old daughter in it. But for the first few months it was great. We didn’t have to wake her just to get her in and out of the car. The stroller takes up my entire trunk (4 door Toyota Yaris hatchback). We have two additional bases, one for my wife’s vehicle, and one for my in-laws who are retired and provide free daycare.

    The car seat fits in the stroller (and the top portion of shopping carts), though lately we have been taking my daughter out of the seat and putting her directly in the stroller or cart. This is because she is finally able to sit up on her own and she enjoys watching everything happening around her – the car seat leaves her staring at the ceiling.

    Now though we are looking at car seats again because our daughter’s legs are getting too long for the seat.

  10. We’ve found the book Baby Bargains invaluable for making these decisions. Advice based on price, safety, and usefulness. Updated yearly.

    The kind of stroller you want will depend on what you’re using it for and where. Will you mostly be on nice sidewalks and inside stores? Then the Snap-and-Go stroller someone mentioned above is perfect. If you spend a lot of time on trails or live where the sidewalks/streets are all torn up, you’ll want something with sturdier wheels.

    Everyone I talked to said that it’s better to get an infant seat because you can let the baby continue to sleep AND because it’s cheaper to get an infant seat and a car seat for older kids than to get one of the convertible seats anyway.

    Something else that made me feel more comfortable is the fact that baby stuff is really really regulated. So any baby item will be decent, though you can certainly check things like Consumer Reports to find the best.

  11. The advice to get an infant car seat is right. Being able to bring the baby into the house without waking him or her up is critical. Sadly, it only lasts until 6 months (if you’re lucky). 20-25 lbs. is a lie. My baby is 17 pounds at most and he’s already getting too big for the infant car seat. But the first six months will be a LOT easier if you have one of these.

    Getting a stroller the car seat clicks into is very useful. Unlike some of the other commenters, we have one that isn’t big. The car seat is the Britax B-safe and the stroller is the Britax Blink. This is an umbrella stroller that’s super lightweight. Since we have a 3 year old also, we also have a big stroller, the Britax B-ready, which is modular and can fit two kids of basically any size with various attachments. downside: all this stuff is expensive. But this combination works really well for two kids, so if you’re planning on that, it might be worth starting out with some of these. Amazon has sales on them a couple of times a year, so keep your eyes open…

  12. If I had to re-do being a first-time parent 6 years ago, I’d have waited much later to get a stroller (Phil&Teds). This is because we were mostly house bound in the beginning, but your family life may be more active than mine. What helped us was having a baby front pack as it allowed for flexibility that strollers don’t offer. My baby loved the feeling of being cuddled in the front pack and he slept longer in there too. As for car seats, there are the convertible ones that you may want to look at as they can be used rear and front facing. What I’ve learned over the years as a parent is to prepare ahead of time but to also be flexible to respond to what each moment needs. We did use our stroller but not as much as other families did because our baby wanted nothing to do with it that by the time he was 2, we had no use of it anymore. We played into this happening because we wanted the stroller out of lives too! πŸ™‚

  13. Hi πŸ™‚ I’ve been visiting for a while but never commented.

    I’m in exactly the same boat as you and have to buy one in the next few months. With so many options and costs it’s exhausting and stressful. I have found that talking with friends who have babies and reading forums has helped me narrow down my search for strollers so at least when I go into the store to purchase I know what I want as well as what I don’t.

    As for car seats, that’s a little off, fortunately we have a capsule hire in Australia for six months at $50, which gives us the option of holding off with the car seat until baby gets a little bigger and then hopefully we can buy one that will be from 6months to 4 years at the very least and then can also be used for the second if we decide to have one.
    All the best with finding one that suits you!

  14. I can’t tell you what to buy… but I can tell you what not to buy! Make sure it’s not one of those midgets strollers that you have to lean over to push. That was a biggie for my hubby with kid #1. We wised up with kid #2 and bought one of those Graco travel systems. That was awesome, until we got the brilliant idea to take the stroller on the beach. Don’t do that, EVER, unless you have one of those jogger strollers with the giant wheels. We had one of said strollers also, but the dog ate the seat. Not cool. Ok, let’s recap, 1. No Midgets, 2. Amphibious, 3. Dogs eat babies.

    Best of luck to you!

  15. Most car seats are actually a seat with a base and you can get a spare base for the car seat, no need to buy two seats. Also just have a single child stroller, the doubles are too bulky and even we rarely use the double (which we were given). Just make sure it can fit in the car if you are going to be driving around to a lot of places.

    Also you are in Seattle and can get Consumer Reports digitally through the library, no need to spend a dime.

    Don’t worry, they won’t care (or if they do they won’t remember for the first couple of years) πŸ™‚

  16. One good thing to remember is to buy a pram with decent wheels not tiny wheels. We had no footpaths and when I tried to push the pram on the road it nearly shook apart.
    I also had 2 prams, one I left in the car and one I left at home – it is annoying having to get the pram out of the car every time you want to use it at home.
    They don’t make it easy – they should give you 4 to choose from and not 400!
    It also depends on what sort of person you are or how big your car is. My friend had a jogging pram as she jogged everywhere and the inside lifted out and fit into her car as the car capsule. I was NOT into jogging, just wanted a pram that was easy to put up/down and not heavy.
    My parents bought my pram and my husbands parents bought the car seat which was great as both can be expensive purchases. Just make sure you test them out in the shop first.

  17. My son is 9months old, and we are excessive researchers when it comes to buying anything. We bought a month of consumer reports online, and I think it mainly told us what to avoid rather than helping with what to buy.
    Our research brought us to the conclusion that infant seats are safer – we got the Chico Keyfit30 and it fit well in our Mazda3. Around 7 months we switched to the Chico NextFit. We rarely took the infant seat out of the car because we would carry him in the Boba baby carrier (loved it – it was the only thing that stopped him from crying sometimes). If he was going to stay sleeping he would sleep through us taking him out of the carseat.
    We went with BOB Revolution SE stroller. Thought it was a good fit after reading the reviews.
    I always checked amazon reviews before we bought just to see what people didn’t like, and if it applied to us or not.

  18. Get a jogging stroller. You can take it anywhere and the big tires make it so much easier to push. We put our daughter in the jogging stroller right away but didn’t jog with it until she was about six months. The strollers that you can snap the infant seat into are bulky. You will use the stroller long after all the other baby stuff is put away.

  19. Now that we have 4 kids it is interesting to look back and see how we did it the first time around (it was a little crazy since we started out with twins). Looking back I would get the good stuff the first time. I had so many people offering me hand me downs (crib, changing table, maternity clothes) and at the time I thought what a great way to save money. But then we had another kid and another and I wished I had just bought a nice whatever the first time and really gotten our money out of it. As for your specific first world problem of car seat and stroller…my experience is one cart seat will be enough (how many times will you really drop the kid off somewhere and GN picks up). Strollers, I’m not gonna lie, you will end up with more than one. the jogger is my favorite, regular stroller for mall/inside places, snap-n-go are awesome for travel (they only work with infant seats), and an umbrella stroller once the baby is 8 months or so. Also, both of your families sounds awesome and I think you have referenced having friends…people will buy you these things. Register, relax and go schedule GN a mani/pedi πŸ˜‰

  20. You need to examine your lifestyle… We bought two convertible car seats that go from newborn to 4 years, one for each car. We did this because I drop our son at daycare and my hubby picks him up in the afternoon. If we had only one seat we couldn’t do this. As a family we used my husbands larger car more often so we spent a little more on that seat.

    As for the stroller – again for longevity we bought one which had a push bar that flipped over. As a newborn we needed to keep an eye on our son, but as he got bigger he wanted to be able to look around and see where we were going. It also made life easier for keeping the sun out of his eyes – if we were walking into the sun we could flip the push bar over so that he was facing us and away from the sun. Babies get very upset by the sun in their faces! Biggest thing is storage… You can’t push a shopping cart and a stroller. GN is going to want a big stroller that is sturdy, can hang shopping bags off, hold the diaper bag, her purse etc… At about age 2 we bought a cheap little $20 stroller that was lightweight and easy to fold/carry as the little man wanted to get out and walk a lot more, or even push the stroller along himself.

    Good luck! Don’t let it stress you too much. As long as you have something you will make it work, but I hope our experience has helped a little! πŸ™‚

  21. I researched the heck out of strollers before my daughter was born (she is 4 months old, so this was pretty recent). I went with a stroller-carseat combo, making it so much easier to move baby from car to stroller when we are out and about. I get comments on the stroller literally every time we are out. It’s hands down one of my favorite purchases we made. Here is the link if you want to check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Graco-FastAction-Jogger-Connect-System-Piazza/dp/B00C9VUTVS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1390920978&sr=8-3&keywords=graco+jogger+travel+system. I was worried at first because of the iffy reviews on Amazon, but I can tell you first hand it is amazing. It does have a bigger footprint than most strollers, but it is so sturdy and has such a smooth ride that I don’t mind at all. And it’s super easy to fold up (you literally pull the handle in the seat and it folds in half) so you don’t have to waste time messing around getting it back in the car. Love, love, love it. Although every parent is different and has different needs. Just thought I would pass along my good experience with this one. (It was the one item that took me the longest to purchase, since I spent so much time trying to decide on it. My sister was actually supposed to buy it for us as a shower gift, but since I took so long to make up my mind, she got us something else – lol.)

  22. Others have already said it here but a car seat with two bases is key…great to be able to use in two cars and you don’t have to fork out for two seats. I also bought the snap in for my stroller which was great – if baby was sleeping from the car ride (which happens all the time) I could just easily move the car seat on to the stroller without having to wake baby. KEY!!!

    I think strollers depend on your intended use. I bought a pricier stroller (Uppababy) which I love for a few reasons – it converts to a double (fabulous since baby number 2 is due in a couple of months), it has nice big rubber wheels so walks in the dog park or in woods (ie not on paved roads) have been nice (also in snow which has been key for winter use as I’m in Canada), and best of all I’m tall and I don’t kick the stroller (and can adjust the handle up which for some crazy reason some strollers don’t do). We do have a really cheap small stroller for travel but I can tell you my son only lasts about 10 minutes in it without getting uncomfortable and I have to bend down/kick the wheels when we use it so it’s only for vacations when we don’t want to haul the big one. Really it’s up to how you think you’re going to end up using the stroller as my choice wouldn’t have much bearing for others. You can also find tons of strollers on kijiji if you are comfortable with used.

  23. Well, my kids are 18-23 so my advice on what to buy would be really out of date.

    However, I do have some general advice…..there is no ONE right way to do things and no ONE right item to buy. Just like all your other decisions – buying a car, buying a house, etc you just have to think about what your needs are and get the equipment that works for you at the time. Your needs are going to change over the next few years and that’s ok! If your car seat, stroller, high chair, etc need to be updated in a few years it’s not the end of the world…..

    I think more importantly than stressing over every detail is for you and GN to work together – there will be a million decisions that you will make over the course of your baby(s) life and the two of you need to be able to work thru them all with honesty. Who cares what stroller/car seat/preschool/college the “Jones” buy – you will always be best served when you make a decision that’s best for your family.

    OK – end of lecture:) I’m already impressed how you two work together on your decision making so this is just the next life phase for you – enjoy the ride!

  24. We went with Britax. It was recommended to us by a former safety commissioner. Britax was also having a promotion where we got a free convertible car seat (infant to 2 years). We had to purchase or be gifted three Britax products, so our registry came in handy for that. We were gifted a carrier and an infant car seat, and we bought the stroller ourselves. Get a carrier! So much more useful than a stroller while baby is small. Britax accidentally sent us two free car seats, and let us keep the second one.
    Babies R Us let us try fitting things into our car, car seat and stroller. It was really helpful to do this because they also teach you how to install the seat and fold up the stroller.

  25. Look into your local resources… families in the church or co-workers who are a few years ahead of you and willing to sell their castoffs, local consignment stores, even second-hand thrift stores. Find a resource that will work with your schedule. There is so much out there to choose from that it makes no sense to pay retail, only to find something better for your situation.

  26. When my wife and I searched for a car seat for my first child, I spent hours and hours doing research and not knowing what features or options we needed to get.

    We had 12 different options that we were looking at. At the end of the day, they were all safe and were made by reputable brands.

    We ended up picking one that was easy to carry (had an interesting z-shaped handle) and would fit in our cars. Keep in mind that some car seats require that the handles are in the down position for safety reasons. This eliminated many seats because of our smallish vehicles.

    Other than those criteria, we ended up buying one that was reasonably priced and somewhat stylish.

  27. We had our first baby almost 5 months ago and I also majorly stressed about the same things. I am thrifty and have thrifty and generous friends & family. One thing everyone was unanimous and adamant on – NEVER use hand-me-down or used car seats, strollers, or cribs. The potential safety issues are not worth it. And also, seriously, the manufacturers make the products better, safer, and easier to use every year.

    We decided to go with Britax B-safe for the infant car seat for their awesome safety ratings as well as numerous reviews for being lighter weight and ease of use compared to the Uppa-baby Mesa (also an excellent car seat). It’s not expensive and they offer awesome promotions. We got a free convertible car seat.

    The B-Ready stroller fit our lifestyle. It has large rubber no-flat tires. Assembles and folds up very easily. Adjustable height handles. Very durable. And most importantly, expands to a double stroller.

    Look at some mommy websites/blogs for suggestions. My favorite is lucieslist.com.

  28. We used the book Baby Bargains – they did all the research for you on all sorts of things you need. It basically breaks down the best quality options in three different price categories.

  29. It’s hard to really know if your stroller is the right one until it’s time to use it. You can’t know if it’s the best, it’s like phones and laptops and all the rest, new stuff is always coming out. Just look for the one you think best suits you, mothers forums are great for reviews and make sure you have a really good play with it at the store. Fold and unfold a few times, of you are going for a clip in car seat try doing that a few times too. We ended up with a baby jogger gt because it’s so easy to fold up just yank one strap and it closes. Fits easily in my car and is quite light. The handles are adjustable, which for me was a must because I’m quite short and my husband is taller. Also very maneuverable as it is a three wheeler. We bought adaptor clips so the infant capsule clip into it and we just rented the capsule. We didn’t opt to buy one as it’s so much cheaper to rent in australia.

  30. We bought a baby trend stroller that came with the car seat and base then picked up an extra base for the other car. Then it didn’t matter which car we took there was no switching anything over.
    The stroller we bought was the 3 wheeled one with larger wheels, made it easy to go anywhere on or off road and the front wheel could lock to be used as a jogging stroller as well.
    Once we had our second daughter we went through a few different double strollers to find one we liked. It didn’t happen, They were all big and bulky and harder to maneuver, fit through doors ect. We just kept using the single, my older daughter wanted to walk most of the time anyway.
    We eventually ended up with a chariot double we got on Kijiji, Great stroller and it converts to a bike trailer, jogging stroller, regular stroller, ect. all with seperate attachments of course. It is still very bulky and I have a hard time fitting it in my car but we use it mainly around town as a bike trailer since they always want to walk now anyways when we are out.
    But since we got it used for a good price we should be able to sell it and get most of our money back out of it when we are done.

  31. I really like the image you attached in your article. HAHA. That is really true how people’s mind sets works when they owned expensive stuffs. Well, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Love reading it.

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