HAUL

HAUL

 

1. Stroller

I will start by saying that I think choosing a stroller is a super personal decision and highly depends on your particular needs. I encourage you to go to a store that carries lots of strollers and try a few options out before making your decision.

Since I only review items I tried and use myself, my stroller experience is limited. I will share my thinking process and decision, and suggest more options based on friends and family's experiences.
After tons of research and a major debate between the UPPAbaby Cruz and Bugaboo Chameleon (since then, the Chameleon model was discontinued, and replaced with the Lynx), I ended up going with the Cruz.

I am super happy with my decision. It rides like a dream, and is easy to navigate on the bumpy and narrow streets. The storage basket is HUGE and the wheels are nice and sturdy. I got it in Jordan (Charcoal Melange) and love it!

The main advantages I saw over the Bugaboo were:

  • height: the UPPAbaby seat is much higher, making it easier to pick up and put down baby, and also allows baby to sit closer to table level in the stroller when going out.

  • size: the UPPAbaby, especially with the newborn bassinet, is more compact than the Bugaboo, making it easier to navigate in tight spaces.

  • ease of use: the Bugaboo handle is annoying to adjust.

Another HUGE plus is UPPAbaby's amazing customer service (I don't have experience with Bugaboo's. but UPPAbaby's customer service is absolutely superb). My bassinet was broken during travel, so I contacted them and they sent me a new one within a few days, without charge!

I think they only cover travel damage if you purchase their travel bag, but it's definitely worth it!

As much as I love the Cruz, if you're planning on having two kids relatively close together, I would recommend checking out the UPPAbaby Vista model, which easily converts into a double stroller, and can even carry three children using the PiggyBack attachment. You'll notice a not-so-small price difference between the Cruz and the Vista, but note that the Vista comes with the newborn bassinet, while the Cruz does not (it costs a couple hundred dollars seperately).

Love​: navigation ease, height, storage size, outstanding customer service.

Could be better: bassinet attachment could sit even higher, more customization options (frame, wheel, and fabric colors, like Bugaboo), more accessories (I really want a parasol!), need to remove back wheels to put into travel bag which is a bit of a pain.

Since I purchased my stroller, a couple of years ago, many new models were released. Here's a complete list of strollers I'd consider:

Again, I highly recommend visiting a store and trying out several options before deciding which stroller to get. Some considerations may include:

  • Do you live in the city or the suburbs? If you will do a lot of walking, you'll probably want a stroller with big, sturdy wheels. If you live in a city with narrow streets, you'll prefer a narrower stroller, that can make sharp turns and as easy to maneuver.

  • Will you be running a lot of errands with your stroller? If so, you'll want a stroller with a large storage basket underneath.

  • Do you have a car? If so, make sure it's easy to fold and fits in your trunk.

  • Do you travel a lot? If so, will you be purchasing a separate travel stroller for travelling? Or do you prefer one stroller that relatively compact?

  • Are you or your partner particularly tall or short? If so, pay attention to handle height and adjustability.

All the strollers discussed above are full-size strollers. My favorite compact/travel stroller is the UPPAbaby Minu. Two other popular options are the Babyzen Yoyo and Bugaboo Ant. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive review in the upcoming TRAVEL section.

 

2. Stroller Accessories

Here are some of my favorite stroller accessories:

See more great stroller accessories in the blog post Jazz Up Your Stroller!

 

3. Car Seat

We live in the city and don't have a car. I wanted to find a car seat solution that would be easy to use in Ubers. I considered the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat which has great reviews and can easily be used with my UPPAbaby stroller. However, the thought of separating the stroller from the car seat and putting it in the trunk every time wasn't appealing to me.

Enter - the Doona car seat: a stroller that converts into a car seat in seconds, without extra parts or anything (this video shows exactly how it works).

It's super easy to install in any car with the seat belt, and can also be used with a base if you do have a car!

Love: ease-of-use, versatility, convenience.

Could be better: weight (the wheels make it heavier than traditional car seats), weight/size limit (32" and 35 lbs) - most babies outgrow the Doona by 12 months.

If you do have a car, a few options I'd consider are:

Make sure to get adapters if necessary, so you can connect your car seat to your stroller.

These car seats, as well as the Doona, are infant car seats, which are rear-facing (the AAP recommends that kids sit rear-facing until at least age 2), and usually outgrown by 12 months. If you're looking for a longer lasting product, you may want to go for a convertible car seat, which can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing and lasts well into the toddler years (some even longer!). Some leading convertible car seats include the Nuna RavaBritax Boulevard, and Britax One4Life (lasts until age 10!).

You may ask, why bother getting an infant car seat at all, if it lasts for such a short time. The main reason is that infant car seats are much lighter than convertible ones, are made to be moved around and can be attached to strollers (no need to wake baby up if they fall asleep in the car!). Convertible car seats are bulkier and heavier, and cannot be attached to strollers.

 

4. Carrier

This is one of my favorite baby products by far. I was looking for a carrier for the early days. I don't love the fabric wraps because they seem too complicated to put on, and I don't trust myself to do it right. I also didn't want one of the serious structured carriers because they seem too massive for a newborn. I came across the BabyBjorn Carrier Mini and I am IN LOVE with it. It's super easy to put on (a great plus when you're dealing with a crying baby). It's made out of soft jersey and seems really comfy for baby - Mia had reflux so she spent hours and hours upright in the carrier. You can throw the entire thing in the wash to clean spit up. blowouts, and other stains.

Love: ease-of-use, soft material, machine washable, good head support for newborns, price.

Could be better: back support (there is no lower back support so it may not be suitable once baby gets heavy).

It looks like Ergobaby noticed how successful the BabyBjorn Mini is, so they responded with their own newborn carrier, called the Ergobaby Embrace.
I haven't had a chance to try it, but it looks pretty good, and offers lower back support which the BabyBjorn doesn't.

Have you tried it? If so, please share your opinion in the comments!

Once Mia got heavier and I felt like I really needed more back support, I got the BabyBjorn Carrier One. I don't love it, because it's much harder to put on, but it provides awesome lower back support which is a must for carrying older and heavier babies.

I know a lot of people swear by the Ergobaby Omni 360, but I didn't love the design so I didn't even try it.

Another carrier worth mentioning, it's cult-favorite Artipoppe's Zeitgeist Baby Carrier. They are known for their uber chic designs, and truly are beautiful. These carriers have two main drawbacks. First, baby cannot be worn forward-facing, which makes it less versatile (and less suitable for older babies). Second, they are significantly more expensive that the other options (prices start at around $300).

Do you have a carrier that works for larger babies that you love? Please share in the comments!

Artipoppe.jpg
 

5. Carrier Accessories (YES, this is a thing)

Mia was a winter baby, so wearing her and making sure she was warm enough was a challenge. Sure, I could put her in a super warm snowsuit but a) they are super bulky, and b) they are hard to put on and off (which is often necessary when moving between the cold outdoors and heated indoors). The British maternity brand Seraphine has amazing outerwear to wear over baby carriers. They have a panel with a hood to cover baby, and it's removable so you can wear the outerwear with or without baby! I have both the sweatshirt and the coat and lived in them during Mia's first winter!

I can't even count the number of people who stopped me on the street to ask were these are from!
Use this link for 15% off you purchase on their website.

Love: keeps baby warm and cozy, can be worn with or without baby, and throughout pregnancy, looks great.

Could be better: price, more colors.

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I'd love to hear from you! Tell me about products YOU loved, more products you'd like me to discuss, or anything else!