28 answers

Stroller Help? Umbrella or Bigger?

I'm a new mom and in the midst of massive stroller research. Here's the deal… I really don't want a big huge stroller. I was thinking about getting the frame to put my car seat in for the first few months. Then, moving to a Maclaren or somesort of nice umbrella stroller. My one concern is that in this type, there are no snack trays! My sister says I'm crazy to not have something without a snack tray, because she's constantly putting cheerios in there to keep the baby happy while out shopping. My other option is the Metrolite, but I'd really like to just have something smaller.

Ideas and suggestions!?! Do you love your Maclaren? Do you miss the snack tray or do I really need it? THANKS!

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I borrowed by friends Baby Trend travel system- so heavy, and it wouldn't fit in the trunk of my car (at the time I had a Mustand covertible). After doing some research on umbrellas (they don't have the snack tray, it can be very difficult to put things in and out of the basket on the bottom, and if you have a diaper bag on the handles- it tips over if you have to get baby out). I went with the Peg Perego Aria- it is lite weight (under 10 pounds), folds up small enough (it fit in my Mustang trunk), and it comes with an attachment strap that fits most infant seats. I use it with the infant seat now and have no problems. When my son is older it has the snack tray and everything else.

Good luck!

I would NEVER get a stroller w/ out a snack tray and one that they can lay down and sleep in comfortably. If you think you need something small get a chep umbrella stoller to have in the garage in case you need a small on for somewhere like short walks, etc. Just my opinion, hope it helps!

I used front carrier until my first was too big then used a koolcraft?? umbrella stroller, or my Kelty jogger. all worked well -I preferred the jogger based on the terrain I used it on. A friend, however, got an incredible stroller from Pottery Barn - she is using it now to carry the car seat with second, but it also is good for older child with a bar that you can snap on a tray for toys/snack, and it lies down for on-the-go naps - awesome!! It came with bug/sun and a rain shield - Not exyremely huge, but larger than an umbrella - if I would have had foresight, I would have bought for my first - who knows, maybe I'll get for the second:)

More Answers

Hi B....
I have a Peg Perego which is very light and is not bulky.
I love this stroller, it also has a removable snack tray which makes it very convenient. The canopy pops on and off easily, so again that gives you less bulk for those quick trips to the mall.

I also have a Maclaren....I really don't use it that much. The seat doesn't recline and the handles are not adjustable. My Peg is only 3 pounds heavier than the Maclaren.....

Happy shoppping.

Best of luck!

Hi B.,
I can sympathize with you wanting to use a small stroller, but I really agree with your sister about needing a snack tray! One alternative is to use those "Snack Traps," cups that have a slitted lid so that kids can get the snacks out without making such a mess, but they don't work for all foods and can still be messy. Good luck!

J.

I have an eleven-month old. We had the big stroller with the carseat attachment, but several months ago we bought a BabyTrend at Babies-r-Us. It was recommended to us: super light, has lots of underneath storage, two cupholders for mom/dad, and has a great tray across the front for snacks, etc. We LOVE it!! Everywhere we go, people ask us where we got it. Just yesterday, at the arboretum, we got stopped by several people.

We love it, would highly recommend it. It opens with one hand and folds super flat.

Good luck to you!!

What a huge pain deciding on a stroller was for us! We just didn't know what kind of personality our baby would have to make the best decision. After A LOT of research and second guessing ourselves, we went with the Graco combo stoller & car seat. This turned out the be a great decision because when our daughter was younger and we went out somewhere we could just put her car seat in the stoller and be off. Many times she would be asleep already when we got to our destination, and being able to get her to the stoller without disturbing her was a blessing. If we went for a walk she could lie down in the stoller and enjoy the ride. As she got older and could sit up well, she was able to sit very comfortably in her stoller and watch the world go by. We don't fly much, but at Christmas we flew to visit family and at that point we got an umbrella stroller for the trip. At 13 months, she LOVES her big stoller, we call it the SUV because it can go anywhere I want to take it while on a walk. She loves to sit up straight, hold on to the tray and, yes, eat snacks from it. She is okay with the umbrella stoller, but she seems to prefer her big one. I keep it in the trunk of my older model Nissan Altima along with the umbrella stoller which we use when we go somewhere like the mall or other department store with limited space to move around. Although we are no longer using the infant car seat that goes with it, the stoller is still very much in use by our family. Good luck with your stoller decision & congratualtions on your baby!
~M.

I would NEVER get a stroller w/ out a snack tray and one that they can lay down and sleep in comfortably. If you think you need something small get a chep umbrella stoller to have in the garage in case you need a small on for somewhere like short walks, etc. Just my opinion, hope it helps!

I never used a Maclaren, although they do look nice. I love, love, LOVE my Combi Savvy Z! It was hands down the best piece of baby equipment I ever purchased (and living down the street from Babies R Us, I purchased a LOT :-)). It's especially great for traveling on airplanes since you can lock the wheels in a forward position and zoom right down the center aisle of the plane. Strollers with swivel wheels want to go in and out of every single row...very annoying! We never missed a snack tray.

I actually recommend a fleet of strollers for different needs since no one will suit them all. For instance, most normal strollers will have you kicking the wheels if you want to do any serious walking or running so a jogging stroller is essential, but way too big for shopping, etc.

Good luck with the new baby!

M.
www.GoodHealthMadeSimple.com

Hi B.!

Ok here is my view on strollers!! Girl, I have never bought a umbrella stroller and never will. They are useless for me since my son has always been a big boy and you would not believe how much a stroller is a big help to carry other things besides your baby!! I bought the GRACO one (he is about to turn 4) and he is just now getting too big for it. I love it and miss it now when we are out anywhere. No place to put him or any shopping bags, my purse, snacks, his backpack and various other things.

If you really want to go smaller, but have some room too, go to Burlington Coat Factory (Baby Depot) and you can find the Combi stroller and other ones that aren't so big, but they are roomy and have some storage space. You will definitely need it when taking a baby out anywhere!

I don't know about the other strollers you mentioned simply because I had the Graco and did buy 2 other ones (used them when traveling by plane), but I haven't heard of them before. There are so many choices out there, that you will have to look and find the one that fits your lifestyle and your baby's comfort too.

Good Luck!

G. B.

B.,
I've got two kids (ages 3 and 1) and 4 strollers. My favorite and the one that I keep in my car is my Chico single stroller. I think they are about $50 at Babies R Us. I've never used the snack tray because I bought the AWESOME snack cups from One Step Ahead (they sell them at Babies R Us now too - which is great!). They have a plastic type lid on the cups with room for you child to put their hand in and grad some snack to eat.
I use my double side by side Maclaren for trips to the zoo or places like that but my 3 year old likes to walk most of the time when we're out and about around town.
Hope that helps!
D.

I used front carrier until my first was too big then used a koolcraft?? umbrella stroller, or my Kelty jogger. all worked well -I preferred the jogger based on the terrain I used it on. A friend, however, got an incredible stroller from Pottery Barn - she is using it now to carry the car seat with second, but it also is good for older child with a bar that you can snap on a tray for toys/snack, and it lies down for on-the-go naps - awesome!! It came with bug/sun and a rain shield - Not exyremely huge, but larger than an umbrella - if I would have had foresight, I would have bought for my first - who knows, maybe I'll get for the second:)

Hi B.! Bigger is not always better (sorry-couldn't resist). My husband searched high and low to find a stroller that wasn't 100lbs or so, that was important because I had twins and needed a bigger stroller. He found and bought the "Snap N Go" and we LOVED it. It was very light and the baby car seats snapped right into it. We found it online. You may have to do a google search to find one. Highly recommend it. A friend of mine who also had twins gave me one of her tandem strollers by Graco(?), Graco is a great brand, but it was so heavy and cumbersome I didn't use it much. As far as the snack trays, I think you can always buy various accessories that will fit almost any stroller. Check out Babies R Us, or the cataloge "One Step Ahead" or the like.I never had a snack tray and still don't and never missed it. I would also hit garage sales or consignment shops, or even Craigslist so you can get a bargain.So if you buy something you hate, you won't be out as much. I bought my Graco side by side stroller when the girls were able to sit up on their own at a garage sale for $25 which usually sells for $125 and LOVED it and used it until it broke apart. I then went out and bought another one! It too is very light. Good luck!

I have a 3 year old and am the owner of FOUR strollers! I think you are asking good questions. I started with the Graco Metrolite combo..it was a big investment and great for about 4 months. I've been thinking for my next that I would just do the frame stroller for car seat carrier...that looks really practical and easy. I have a Maclaren now (it goes up to 55 lbs) and I love it. I just got it 6 months ago...mainly because we travel and we needed it to get through airports, etc. Your sister is right about a snack tray. Look at the Combi strollers. They collapse down small, they are lightweight, they have a snack tray, infants and babies can sleep well in them. You can do the frame/carrier for four to five months ...and then switch to the Combi. Be in it till 18 months. Then think about a Maclaren umbrella. (That would be a about a cost of $300 all together...less if you were able to find one or all on consignmnet.) The metrolite combo runs $200.

I went with the big ol' Graco and got a freebie Kolcraft umbrella stroller from a promotion through Amazon. You'll find plenty of deals with the free cheapies so don't buy one of those. It really depends on your lifestyle and what you plan on doing as to whether to go for a nicer umbrella stroller or not. I love my Graco for going shopping. I was never much of a shopper before I had a baby, but now I find myself at the mall (and other activties) so much, I need my stroller to have 1)extra storage for bags (diaper bag as well as shopping) 2) a cup holder for my Starbucks... and 3) yes, the snack tray as you mentioned. I am not big on letting my son snack between meals, but the snack tray is also good for holding his sippy cup, which he does keep with him - and if you can't find a clean high chair while you are out, he can sit in the stroller and eat lunch with that tray. If you've taken a look at food court/fast food high chairs, you will understand what I mean. I do have one of those chair covers, but again, it's not convenient to take it into malls and such with you, especially without that extra storage on your stroller.

One other thing, I love that my Graco reclines completely. I rarely have my son out at nap time, but there have been times it was unavoidable, and I was able to simply recline the seat the whole way and he was able to lay down and take his nap practically undisturbed. I have even done this recently while he is a little older. He never would have been able to do that in a smaller stroller.

So basically I would say go for the bigger one, but I agree it can be a little cumbersome. I have an SUV so size isn't an issue for me, but with a smaller car it would be a pain. You just need to think about your particular lifestyle and what you plan on doing with it. Good luck. This is such an exciting time for you. Enjoythese decisions and don't stress about anything! Either kind is going to be fine in the end.

B. H,

With my daughter, I didn't want a big stroller either. A friend of mine had one of those frames for the car seat that she loaned me. LOVED it! I found most of my shopping was done at stores that had their own carts. While my daughter was still small enough to be in the car seat, I'd just set her in the shopping cart. I hardly ever used a stroller. The snap in kind was just right for those few times I needed one. When she was too heavy to carry in the car seat, she was able to sit up on her own well enough for her to just sit in the shopping carts. I do have an umbrella stroller, but hardly ever use it either.

Hope this helps.

You can buy snack traps (One Step Ahead) to hold snacks-- little cups with lids they can reach into. Buy some rings to attach them to the stroller of your choice-- from Discover Toys or toy stores. YOu can also buy something called a "Drink Deputy"-- I bought mine on-line and I don't remember where. It has a velcro strap holster that you put a bottle or sippy cup in and then attaches to the stroller. I know this is not what you asked about, but I wanted to let you know there are solutions. When I went from a single to a double stroller, I GREATLY missed the accessories for Mommy--like a cup holder! That is something else to consider. It is really nice with the bigger strollers for Mommy to have a place to put her cell phone, keys, a drink, etc. Lots of choices out there! Good luck!

My 6 1/2 month old son will ride in the car seat in the car...but since he can sit up with help and see things, that is it. So, now that he wants to sit up with some help, we have needed the support of the big stroller. Plus, the Graco has over the shoulder straps so it helps him sit up easier. As for the umbrella stroller...it is good for toddlers who are tired of walking or at an amusement park, or grandparents who don't want to pay for a big one...but for the day to day, go with the big one. We love our Graco carseat/stroller combo. It fits in my Honda Accord trunk with ease and is very user friendly. And one last thing, you will find that the stoller is more for you than the baby!!!

Add another vote for the GRACO. They just cant be beat! I loved the fact that it was so easy to open and close, by the time my oldest was six months, I could take her out, close it down and lift it into the SUV all while holding her. The basket below is what I miss the most. I hate shopping without my stroller these days. I did not use the food tray very often. My oldest was a thrower and nothing would stay on the tray, by the time the little one came around, I had adapted and didnt even think to put it on.

My youngest is almost three and since she was about two she has loved the umbrella stroller, but there are a lot of downsides. It is short, my husband and I arent, it can be uncomfortable to push, no storage, and if you try to put bags on the back it will just tip over the second she gets out.

Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory in Grapevine has a HUGE selection to choose from. We did so much baby shopping there, almost more there than Babies R US.

Hope that helps, Happy Shopping!~
P.

Hi B.,
The Combi strollers are really awesome. I have a double stroller for my girls, and it's so lightweight and not bulky at all, even for a double, and it has all the convenient features. So I'm sure the single strollers are even smaller and better, too. They are slightly pricier than some of the other lines, but really really worth it.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!
Take care,
K.

It really depends on what you plan on using it for. I have two kids and so far I have 4 strollers. :-) WE got a Graco stroller/carseat combo, which I love and have used a lot. I used that for most things: walks, going to the mall, going to the park, etc. Then we got an umbrella stroller when we flew from TX to WA. I wanted a light-weight stroller that I wouldn't have to lug around with already having so much other stuff when traveling with a baby. Then my friend gave me a jogging stroller that she didn't have use for. I loved that for going on walks, but not much more because it doesn't fit in my car very well. Now I have two kids and I have a double Graco stroller. I love it and it is actually less cumbersome than the single Graco. All in all, I say go with Graco or something like that. You won't regret it. The thing with a lighter stroller like an umbrella stroller, unless you are really short, it isn't the most comfortable to push around for awhile because the handles are not as high.

if you shop online there are a lot more choices that are in between a large stroller & an umbrella...like walmart online & they will ship your order to a store near you & then you just pick it up...that way you can get a stroller thats a little bigger than an umbrella & it will have a snack tray & a basket underneath! i have found that online stores often offer several more options than just what they carry on the shelves.

I actually have both. The Metrolite was great for the newborn stage because the car seat will snap in with disturbing them. Now that my baby can sit up, he loves the snack tray for Cherrios like you said. He also likes to prop up his feet on it. Also the seat reclines for naps!!!! But wait there's more, it has drink holders for you too, did you think of that???? And it has a larger spot underneath for packages. This all is great for a longer trip to the mall, etc. But, I also have a umbrella stoller for short trips or places where it might be a tight fit.

I love my Metrolite, it's actually being used by baby number 2. It's been going stong for over 3 years now! :)

Good luck!!!!

I don't know much about the umbrella strollers, but we bought the frame stroller for the car seat. I love it! We also have the great big stroller, but I would much rather use the frame. The big stroller is so heavy, but I feel guilty not using it after how expensive it was.

So I had the metrolite and used the carrier for quite sometime. But the metrolite is heavy. It's actually really easy to close with one hand, but it takes some strength to get it into the trunk with one hand. I then purchased the Peg Perego Aria later and it's light weight, easy to maneuver, easy to close, looks pretty but not terribly sturdy. It's a lot of money for something that you constantly have to fix.

PS: I need the snack tray!

I'll just add to the great stroller debate:) I currently have 5 strollers but in the process of selling one. So, I am keeping 4. A Graco metrolite, Jeep sinle umbrella, double jogger, Joovy sit n stand. Just sold the Graco tandem double. I have a 3 1/2 yr old and almost 2 yr old. The Graco metrolite has lasted through both my BIG boys. Absolutely no complaints. This is better for going shopping than the umbrella because of the same reasons the other mom's listed..storage, reclines, snack tray. One additional comment is about the handle/push bar (I don't know what else to call it). The Graco is straight across so it's easier to push with one hand than the umbrella (Jeep & Maclaren's are set with two handles instead of a single bar. This doesn't seem too important until you are having to get some crazy shopping done and your having to carry something that doesn't fit in the storage bin (like a cookie cake...just for example). Also great for when you have a second child and the first/oldest child is WHINNING like crazy to be held instead of walking. It's great to be able to pull off a one-handed stroller push & keep some sanity. Just FYI...no complaints on the Graco tandem double. Just don't need it anymore. Sit n stand is my newest favorite but I've only had it for one week. The jury is still out on it!

I had the Graco stroller/car seat combo. Loved it! It allowed us to move from car to stroller with relative ease. There was lots of storage space underneath for diaper bag and any shopping bags too.

When I had my second child, we bought the Graco double stroller. It also allowed for the car seat for the baby to be transfered over and offered more storage space.

The snack tray is a plus! It is great to have a place for snacks, sippy cup/bottle, and toys. My Graco had a place to attach two toys. It also had a cup holder for mom and a closed compartment (to put keys or a spare pacifier).

The umbrella strollers don't offer as much back support. You will want to check that out before purchasing one. As the kids got older and stayed in the stroller less, we did purchase the umbrella stroller. I switched to carrying a backpack at that point since there was no place to store my things.

Good luck to you!

B.,

We bought one of the travel systems before our son was born. He was only in the carrier for 5 months and the stroller for about 7 months. We found the stroller to be to heavy, big, and cumbersome in stores. I did quite a bit of research before we decided on one. We didn't want our new stroller to be just an umbrella stroller, but we didn't want to spend $179 bucks either. We got our Kolcraft Contours™ Lite Plus Stroller at Sears for $70 bucks and it has been great. We wish we would of thought about this before Trenton was born. It has great storage, 1 adult cup holder, and a snack tray. It takes up about a quarter of the space our big stroller did in my Jeep Liberty which is a big plus.

I think the carrier frame stroller would be a good idea for a few months and them a light weight stroller for after that.

I hope this helps.

Good luck and congrats,
J.

Hi B.. I loved my universal stroller frame and used it until my little ones would no longer sit comfortably in their carseat. I had a Graco stroller after that and never got around to purchasing a Maclaren. Used my Graco all the time. What I use the most is the storage basket under the stroller. Makes it easier than carrying around a diaper bag on your shoulders. I agree with your sister, the kids tray was always in use with my girls. Not sure that it would be a deal breaker though. I know Maclaren boasts their easy fold system but... most of the time you already have your child in the car by the time you have to fold the stroller. Maybe if you're doing a lot of travel, the Maclaren would be a better choice. I would still get the one with a storage basket.

Good luck!
Oti
Shopping For Your Baby

I have an Evenflo Travel system, which I love and use frequently. I like the fact that it has a place for me to put my water bottle, keys, cell phone, purse, diaper bag, and can completely shield my son from mosquitos and sun. It is large and heavy but I only lift it in and out of the my vehicle which is an SUV.

I also have a small Baby trend stroller that the car seat/carrier is easily placed in. That one is small and light and only has a compartment at the bottom for storing items. I use it for short trips to the store. I think having both is very helpful.

I also have an unbrella stroller that I will use when my son is older. The umbrella stroller does not support the neck and head and does not shield my son from the elements. Once he has outgrown the carrier car seat and can support his head and neck, I will use it in place of the Baby Trend stroller. I will continue to use my Evenflo stroller (which I refer to as the limosine stroller).

I borrowed by friends Baby Trend travel system- so heavy, and it wouldn't fit in the trunk of my car (at the time I had a Mustand covertible). After doing some research on umbrellas (they don't have the snack tray, it can be very difficult to put things in and out of the basket on the bottom, and if you have a diaper bag on the handles- it tips over if you have to get baby out). I went with the Peg Perego Aria- it is lite weight (under 10 pounds), folds up small enough (it fit in my Mustang trunk), and it comes with an attachment strap that fits most infant seats. I use it with the infant seat now and have no problems. When my son is older it has the snack tray and everything else.

Good luck!

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