The stroller that had made it to our registry was the Inglesina Zippy, a stylish, light-weight umbrella stroller made in Italy.
Well, it's very difficult to actually find any Inglesina stroller in a store. So, I was left to do some extra research. So, I referenced a book a friend had given us, Baby Bargains.
This book provides grades (A-F) for the leading brands in everything from breast pumps to strollers. It also features a few money-saving tips for first-time parents. What I liked about their Stroller Review section was that they offered information about each major company, details about their major models and the pros and cons of each. Their grades are based on their own test drives and the feedback received from readers.
While the book was really helpful (I found myself referencing it quite a bit), I didn't want to rely on it as my only resource. (Some of the grades were questionable even after reading the explanations.) So, I also peeked at what parents were saying on BabiesRUs.com, Diapers.com and Amazon.com.
I first heard about Diapers.com from a friend who created a baby registry on the site. Their inventory tends to be a bit bigger than, say, Babies R Us (and some of their prices are lower, too!). They tend to carry more of the chic newer brands, and offer more models or accessories for major brands.
As one might expect, sorting through consumer reviews can be exhausting and frustrating. Even the most popular strollers still feature a few 1-star reviews. No product is perfect! But going through the process of cross-referencing also gave me insight into the strollers I was most interested in. For instance, the Inglesina Zippy (priced at a high $399), my front-runner in the race of light-weight strollers, was too short for many of the tall consumers who bought it. That wasn't something mentioned on the store sites. Since my husband is 6'4", those repetitive comments automatically zipped the Zippy out of the race!
My husband's choice, the Baby Jogger City Mini is consistently ranked really high in customer satisfaction across all references. On the company's site, there's a page dedicated to all the celebrities who've chosen it for their own. Offered at about $240, it's a strong choice. The only rip was that the baby seat was too big for infants and didn't recline enough for bigger babes. Apparently, the 2011 model features a better seat...
The other stroller I really liked was one I got to test drive at my local baby boutique, Tot Tank. The Bumbleride Flyer ($399) was instantly appealing to the eye. It's sleek, features a button that instantly switches the direction of baby from forward-facing to rear-facing in seconds (without having to detach the seat), has an adjustable hand bar and other whistle-worthy perks. Unfortunately, when I tried folding it, the process was slightly more cumbersome than I liked (and it would take up at least half of my trunk). That alone knocked it down the ladder a bit. Still, the sweet design tugs and my heartstrings....
For no apparent reason at all, I decided to check out stroller frames. These are literally frames that you snap your car seat into.
What I like about this option is that it's extremely light (it lacks all those bells and whistles that add weight to a traditional stroller), it's compact and (hopefully) folds easily. The rub is that most of the brands that make these require you to buy their car seats.
What I found, however, was one in particular that got AMAZING reviews across all of my references and was CHEAP! The brand is Chicco (which I always thought was pronounced "cheek-o," but is actually pronounced "keek-o."
The product is called the KeyFit Caddy, and it's a light-weight umbrella frame that features a large cargo bin and a one-hand fold and set up. It's a mere 11 lbs, making it the lightest option I've seen yet. Because the only seat is a car seat (a Chicco one at that), this stroller has a weight capacity of 30 lbs.
Ideally, you want your stroller to last you at least to 50 lbs, but what's nice is that once baby grows out of the stroller frame, we can move on to another umbrella stroller.
So, I find myself in a familiar situation (once again). I think I've found "the one." Since I have roughly 5 months to go, I could easily see myself changing my mind 7-10 more times. However, I'm suddenly reminded of something I learned when crafting my wedding - there are always lots of ideas out there. Find what you like and stick with it. Don't stress yourself out!