Friday, January 21, 2011


There are so many things to research when preparing for a baby, especially for the first time.

****Long Post Alert****

Me? I like to check out safety ratings and reviews of things online while at work in my free time; after asking friends, family, (women in Target) how they like their stroller, baby sling, car seat, whatever I happen to be obsessing about at that moment. (Wait, we have to buy one of those too?!? )

Of course a lot of baby items can be totally unnecessary, but easy for first time moms to fall prey to - hence why I ask everyone under the sun about what I really need. Don't think you are going to fool me baby industry tycoons! I will triumph! Unless of course it is really cute and I want it, which in that case, whatever, your marketing worked.

Anyway, most people agree that a stroller is something that we will need, though I plan to do my fair share of babywearing as well (I know, Wikipedia is not a legit source, and there are tribal boobies on there, but whatevs).

A and I perused a few strollers and travel systems while walking by the miniscule baby section at the Navy Exchange one day, and found ourselves completely overwhelmed. We could not figure out how to detach the baby carrier part from the stroller part. It took 20 minutes of pushing different buttons, etc. for us to figure it out. Not to mention this was the day before pay day, and the stroller section is conveniently located next to the main thoroughfare. So, we were "those" new parents that people smiled at and some even shook their heads indulgently. Ugh. Abandon ship!

So, this weekend, we headed to Babies R Us (grammatically I cannot get behind this store, but it is the only store that we knew of off hand that we could try out these things in person).  We tried every.kind if travel system and stroller that they had in stock. Except one.

Ugh. We missed out on trying the Peg Perego Si in person! I looked at it and thought, hmm, there is no price tag and I don't feel like I have heard of this brand. Plus, it was sort of over by the side by itself, so I was sketched, even though it looked super cute.

Imagine my shock and dismay when Google revealed to me that this was a "cool" stroller! Ack! I am way behind on the cool mom stuff. The one in-store at our Babies R Us was a return, which is why it was randomly placed etc. I plan on heading over on my lunch break to try it out to see if I like it.

Reviews are mixed, mostly because of the straps, rather than the lock in place convenience of most travel systems. But, it seems to be a good long term stroller for older kids and has saved some moms from having to go the travel system and then umbrella stroller route. Bonus? it's Italian. Ciao.

The system we liked the best in store was the Chicco Cortina Travel System.

We liked the "Discovery" just fine, but we LOVED the "Limonata" pattern.

Sadly, that one does not come in a Travel System so we would be out extra money buying everything separately = lame. It is so bright and cheery and fun though. We may have to go for it if we decide on this one.

Things we loved about this system: clearly the reviews are great, the system is safe and most people love the convenience, ease of use, etc. It was a little bulkier, but both A and I felt like it was the most solid system that we played with. More on the Graco systems later, but A was really concerned with how securely everything stayed in place.

The biggest complaint on the review boards is that the stroller itself is bulky and large for those who travel often (which is a problem that the Peg Perego Si is not known for). To me it didn't seem any larger than anything else we were trying. Clearly the super expensive UppaBaby Vistas and things of that nature fold down smaller, but to me this thing seemed solid and safe.

The other complaint to ponder is that the car seat doesn't sit on the seat part of some grocery carts, etc. Attention moms: how long before babies justs it in the carts? Doable to think I can sling Baby G until then while shopping? (Apparently it does fit on a Target cart, and that's where I spend most time anyway...) Or, am I totally naive? Clearly I may be opening Pandora's Box here, but COMMENT AWAY. I need halp pleaze.

Bonus factor: When we were playing with this thing Buble's version of "Save the Last Dance For Me" came on the store radio and we were able to dance about with the stroller. It moved smoothly and made tight turns, etc.

A close second in store for me was the Graco Alano FlipIt Travel System (in Wilko).

This was the print we saw in the store and loved, so cute and fresh for both genders. Yellow and gray, swoon. We played with this one first. And, it was nice. Now, people REALLY love Graco and all, which is totally cool, so that's why I went for it first. I LOVED the flipping handle feature so that you can face baby. Awesome. Also the system locked into place really easily, it folded down smaller than the Chicco (not by much) 

All in all, we liked this guy. But, A was really concerned that the bottom of the infant seat doesn't lock into the stroller (like where the baby's feet would be). I tried to convince him that no one is going to be trying to flip baby out of the stroller like that, but he was sort of adamant about it (all of the Gracos are like that). So there's that. Any Graco loving moms or dads who can chime in here and tell us if this is actually a big deal would be helpful.

Also, reviews seem to think that the system is harder to steer when you do use the system "flipped" because only one set of wheels actually pivots (the front ones) and then they are in the back. Lame. 

It's light and sporty and folds down with one hand. The handle motion is slightly awkward as you need to pull and twist the handle at the same time, but totally doable.

Everybody has pros and cons of course, so we will see where we end up. Of course there is the whole debate for not doing Travel Systems at all, but we will get there later.

Preliminary research, done. I need a drink.

17 weeks, 1 day along

...and last night I slept with my humidifier on, Breathe Right strips and Vick's and I could sort of breathe! Triumph! Too bad I can't walk around all day like that.


  1. Courtney-
    I used a Graco Travel System when Wyatt was little and LOVED it! The carrier piece locks into the stroller and we never felt that he would come loose or wasn't safe. Ultimately it is a personal decision. People love whichever they choose for personal reasons. As long as you and A are happy with it that is ALL that matters.
    As for them snapping into shopping carts, none of the carriers really fit well into carts. I always put Wyatt into the big part of the cart and stacked stuff around him, and tried to avoid going to the store with him when I needed LOTS of stuff.
    Baby Wearing will work for awhile, provided it is comfortable for you. I was able to wear Wyatt for a bit, but he got heavy and it was akward and more trouble than it was worth in my opinion. Again, it is all about personal decisions and feelings.
    Babies tend to be able to sit up well enough to sit in carts around 6 months. Some earlier, some later. Investing in a fun shopping cart cover is a must! The ones that have toys attached to them are the best! Another good but inexpensive investment are "lots of links" they connect to hold toys onto the stroller/carseat/cart and are lifesavers for not dropping toys!
    Anyways, enjoy this time and go with your gut!
    Good Luck!!!
    Shari R.

  2. Yay for your baby blog! I definitely went through a lot of the stuff you are going through too---and the worrying never gets better :) We had the Chicco and LOVED it. It lasted both kids in perfect condition. Super easy to install/take out, adjust etc. I used the travel system with Ava but switched to the snap and go with Cole. We had a sentra and had no problem getting it in and out of my trunk and it folded easily. It's a little bulky but not horrible---I carried both {huge} babies fine in it.

    The chicco is made to not fit in the top of the shopping cart because you aren't supposed to put car seats there. I either put the kids in the big part of the basket, used the basket in the travel system or strapped them to me when shopping. Both kids started sitting around 5 1/2-6 months in the cart but every kid is different.

    Good luck! Everything really comes down to personal preference and what works with your lifestyle. When Ava was around 7 months we ended up getting a jogger which I like even more than the Chicco and that was our main stroller {we've had a lot! :)} Everyone will give you a different answer on things they loved/hated/used etc but you have to use it so get what works for you :) Good luck!

  3. Because it's my personal mission to chime in on nearly everything on here....

    Megan took me to register when I was visiting her, so she might have more info for you. I think we are opting to NOT do the travel system thing. The main reason for this is that I find bucket car seats totally annoying. I was telling Megan I was seriously dreading the idea of carrying a car seat everywhere, so I figure, let's just not do it! We registered for one of the big car seats that fits newborn-whatever older baby I guess. It's not designed for carrying around, so it's going in the car and staying in the car. My hope is to wear the baby in places most of the time. We have two Bjorns, plus I'm going to get some slings and an Ergo so we will be set with lots of wearing options. It just seems SO much more appealing to me to get out of the car at Target and take the baby out of the car seat and put him in a carrier than to haul the whole seat into the store. Then my hands are free while I shop and I don't have to worry about wandering away from my cart to look at something because my baby will be on me, not in the cart. Added bonus, less weird people will touch him because he'll be on me! As a back up, I might borrow/get a used bucket seat to keep in the trunk if Jim nor I want to wear the baby for some reason but I don't see that happening often. But like someone else mentioned I wouldn't put the bucket seat in the little seat on the cart, I would put it down in the belly of the cart because they just look like they would easily fall off the cart up in the front. Having that back up bucket seat as an option (maybe along with this seems like it should give us lots of easy choices.

    This freed us up in terms of picking out a real stroller. We registered for I signed up for it on a whim but do need to do more advanced research and playing with it in the store. We only plan to use the stroller for walks around our neighborhood when the baby is older (past the wearing stage or if we just don't feel like wearing the baby). I'm not even going to store it in my car. So my main goal was something small and lightweight for pushing around the hood that had a little bar across the front with cupholders for snacks and toys.

    Obviously I haven't put any of this into practice yet, so this is all wishful thinking, and some moms might be reading this thinking "Boy is she delusional!!!" But hey isn't this all trial and error anyway?! Luckily I have some good local friends with babies who are willing to let us borrow or try out things, so if we encounter problems we might do that, then if we need to buy something else, we'll do it. Megan is a good inspiration though because they mostly wear their babies and it just seems more freeing to not have extra crap like plastic backbreaking car seats and huge strollers to jack with. Keep sharing your good finds!

  4. I have a Graco travel system. I never put Blair in the seat of the cart. I put her in the basket and didn't bring her with if I had tons of shopping to do. I think she was sitting up in the seat around 6 months but with one of these seat protectors

    We didn't use our stroller very much but when we did have it, it was awesome (Busch Gardens, the Boardwalk, the Zoo...). Someone I know had a frame that you strapped the car seat into.

    I wish that I had strapped Blair to me more. But I can imagine that as they get larger it's harder unless you have a great sling. I saw several that I thought about getting that could hold the baby in lots of different ways but I never did it because we got 2 baby carriers that just strapped on. If I didn't have those, I would have gotten a sling and liked it better. I think that carrier didn't feel that sturdy to use all of the time... This one looks nice but I didn't get one. Maybe I will with the next kiddo so that I can bake and breastfeed at the same time! HAHA!

  5. i fb messaged you my thoughts, as you know. I wanted to add that most people HATE sings. there are a few sling lovers, but most people don't care for them after the first few weeks.

    ergo ergo. good and comfortable for up to 40 pounds.

    and andria properly expressed my feelings on travel systems and infant seats. I just hate seeing little brand new babies being lugged around in a seat when they could be warm and cozy against their mamas. They are also less fussy in stores when you wear them.

  6. We went the jogger route since, living in a city, we have to use the stroller on a daily basis. We have the 2010 Baby Jogger City Elite and LOVE LOVE LOVE it (! Granted, it's not a travel system and we had to get a separate car seat (Maxi Cosi: and adaptor, but it was totally worth it. The stroller is bulky, yes, but it's such a smooth ride and so easy to fold (just pull up on the strap in the seat - you can do it one-handed). I love using it and Eliza loves sitting/riding in it. She was in the car seat part for the first month but is now enjoying the actual stroller seat at 2.5 m/o. The sun canopy is nice and big, thoroughly protecting her...even when it's lightly raining, we don't need a rain cover because it's so big. There's plenty of room at the bottom for bags, etc., too. All-in-all, we LOVE it and are so happy with our stroller. But like someone else said, it's ultimately up to what style you like (we wanted neutral, plain and nothing it's all black), what you'll use it for and how often (we knew that we'd need something durable, easily maneuverable and with good shocks since we're in London and have to walk everywhere on not-so-smooth roads and sidewalks). It's an overwhelming task finding the perfect stroller and I wish you the best of luck! And rest assured, Baby G won't know the difference in any of them, so long as he or she is comfortable :)

  7. I never put the carrier into the shopping cart, that made me way to nervous. I would carry Katherine using front carrier while shopping for the first few months, then I would take the bumbo and set it in the bottom of the shopping cart. It was funny the reactions I got from people, they thought it was genius. I would definitely go for the travel system. The convertible car seats that say they are from 5 lbs to 100 are very misleading. I just got one of the convertible car seats and the shoulder straps do not adjust anywhere close to the size of a newborn. The instruction manual for the convertible car seat even says to get an infant carrier. Also the infant carrier is more comfortable for the infant, they are able to lay back. The convertible car seat does not recline as much and as a newborn their airways are about the size of a straw and they need to recline to protect their airway.

  8. You're obviously gotten lots of wonderful advice here about the stroller issue so I will just say that there are lots of great baby slings out there but you need to try them out and find one that fits your body with a baby in it...hard to do before the baby gets here obviously! I'm a little bigger up top so the only one I ever found that worked for me was the ergo baby carrier which can be found at Good luck!

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