Out of all the baby products you need to pick out, choosing the best stroller can be one of the most difficult for a first time mom – it needs to be safe and comfortable for baby, easy to use for you and it’s one of the pricier items you’ll be buying. So of course you want to get it right.
To make this easy for you, here’s what you need to know about the different stroller options, and the best ones as reviewed and recommended by hundreds of moms who own them.
The stroller options for a newborn
Until your little one has developed neck strength and control at around 4-6 months of age, they need to lay flat which means a number of strollers that are awesome for babies 6 months + aren’t suitable as they don’t have the option to lay your newborn flat and provide the support their little body needs. That said, there are a number of different stroller options to choose from for newborns – here’s a pic to give you a quick idea of what you can choose from…(keep reading below the pic)
Ok! The pic should give you a good idea of the different combinations available for a newborn suitable stroller, now read on below for more detail about each option plus the best brands/models for each option.
A standard stroller which reclines to a flat position is the easiest you can pick as you only need to buy the one item without worrying about compatibility with a car seat or bassinet. The good thing though is that all of the best reclining strollers which we’ve recommended below also allow you to attach a car seat if you need to so you’re not without that functionality which can be helpful for short stroller trips.
A stroller seat doesn’t always look like the most comfortable place for your newborn – however there are infant inserts available for some models, or putting something like the Summer Infant Snuzzler is a good, in-expensive option to add extra comfort for your little one.
Pros Easy to use, the one purchase covers newborn to toddler age
Cons Seat not always the most comfortable looking for a newborn though infant inserts can be added.
Stroller + bassinet
A bassinet is the ideal place for a newborn to be while you’re strolling as they have a flat bottom and are often more comfortable than a reclined stroller seat. Bassinets also give you the added benefit of being able to take it off the stroller and use it as somewhere for baby to sleep when you’re out.
Some stroller models include the bassinet, while with others you will need to purchase the bassinet which goes with the stroller separately.
Pros Bassinet is the most suitable option for a newborn up to 4-6 months age. Bassinet can be used for sleeping when you’re out and about.
Cons Baby will outgrow the bassinet by around 6 months which means you won’t use it anymore. Two items to fit into the car if travelling.
Stroller frame + car seat
Using a stroller frame (also known as a car seat carrier) with a car seat is a good option when you’re making short trips, like running errands, popping into the store quickly etc. as you can leave baby in the car seat, snap the seat onto the stroller frame and go. The stroller frame is relatively light weight and easy to get in and out of the car and because there’s no extra seat, it takes up less room.
This option does have it’s downsides though – it’s not recommended to leave a baby in a car seat for any more than 2 hours at a time, so if you plan on ever going out for longer than that this isn’t the one and only option you should have available. Also, once your little one outgrows their infant car seat or is getting too heavy to lift in and out of the car in the car seat, the stroller frame becomes useless, though they are relatively in-expensive so it’s a price many are happy to pay.
Pros Stroller frame lightweight, leave baby in car seat when moving from the car to stroller.
Cons Should only be used for short trips in the stroller as it’s not recommended to leave baby in a car seat for longer than 2 hours. No use for stroller frame once baby outgrows the infant car seat.
The best stroller frame for you will largely depend on the car seat you get as many brands offer stroller frames that are compatible with their car seats. So head on over and read about our car seat recommendations!
While there are universal stroller frames available that are designed to work with a large range of car seats (and they’re quite a bit cheaper), they’re not always a great fit. How happy you are with a universal frame will partly depend on the car seat you choose and how well it fits with the frame. So if you do decide to go with a universal one like the Baby Trend Snap N Go EX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier, check that it will work well with the car seat you’ve chosen.
A travel system is essentially a stroller and infant car seat that are designed to go together and you buy them together as a package. They’re a really attractive option as you just buy the travel system and you’re done – you don’t need to worry about finding a car seat and stroller that are compatible or finding the right car seat adapter. But, it can limit you with being able to pick the BEST stroller that will truly be the best one throughout toddler years as well when you no longer need to use or attach the infant car seat.
The biggest complaint parents have about travel systems is the weight and bulkiness of the stroller.
About the weight – Travel system strollers generally weigh around 22-27 lbs which is on par with many of the super popular, high end strollers like the UPPABaby Vista which weighs 25.5 lbs and the Baby Jogger City Select which weighs 28lbs. The difference is with a travel system stroller, you get the weight but often without all the features and great handling that the regular strollers are popular for.
The bulkiness – The bulkiness of a travel system stroller can be an issue when you’re trying to fit in the car – if you don’t have alot of space in there, this is something to consider.
With all that said about the most common dislikes about travel systems, there are some good options out there that have many happy users. Read on to the recommendations below (there’s even a 16 lbs option in there which is awesome!)
Pros Buy everything together knowing they will fit. Relatively in-expensive packages available.
Cons Most common complaint is that travel systems are heavy and bulky. Stroller not always the best quality to take you through toddler years.
1. Britax B-Agile and B-Safe Travel system Around
Stroller + car seat
This is essentially like creating your own travel system, except you can choose the best stroller and car seat without being limited to the ones that come in a package. If you pick a stroller and car seat from the same brand, such as the UPPAbaby Vista stroller + UPPAbaby Mesa infant car seat, you won’t need to purchase a separate adapter. Generally if you’re using a stroller and car seat from different brands, you’ll need to buy an adapter. (Keep in mind that not all strollers and car seats are compatible, keep an eye out for our stroller and car seat compatibility chart coming soon!)
Pros Choose a great stroller that will last years + the benefit of being able to leave baby in the car seat when moving from car to stroller.
Cons May need to purchase separate car seat adapter, not all strollers/car seats are compatible, baby should not be left in a car seat for more than 2 hours so not a suitable option for long trips.