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Beautiful pregnant woman stroller shopping, considering how many strollers do I really need
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How Many Strollers Do You Really Need?

Here’s a handy checklist of what to consider.

Originally Published: 

The stroller is one of the most important items expecting parents will add to a baby registry because the stakes are high: It’s one of the most expensive items you’re going to add and you’re going to use it all the time. It’s also one of the most stressful baby items to decide on because there are just so many options to choose from and the anxiety of getting it right is real. But it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to make a sound decision when it comes to deciding how many strollers you will need and which ones are best for you.

The truth is, there isn’t one single stroller out there that will completely satisfy every single one of your wishes. Where they thrive at one task, they may come up short in others. Your all-in-one stroller might be great for everyday use and even travel, but unable to handle the unpaved terrain of the countryside your family frequents throughout the year. You might love using a jogging stroller for neighborhood and park strolls but find that it takes up 90% of precious trunk space. Not everybody realizes that stroller needs are actually highly personal, and only you can decide which features are most important to you and your lifestyle.

How many strollers do you actually need?

At the bare minimum, you’re going to want an everyday stroller to use, well, daily. Then you can consider what type of ‘specialty’ stroller you can choose to get in addition to the everyday stroller or in lieu of.

“I recommend 1-2 strollers to parents depending on their activity level and where they live,” says Brandi Jordan, a doula of over 20 years and who’s worked with high profile clients like Mandy Moore. “For example an avid runner might really want a daily stroller and one that they can comfortably take their little ones on the trail with them. If you live in a city like New York versus the suburb of Houston, it might require you to have a ‘city’ stroller that is sleek and easy to go up and down stairs to a brownstone.”

In some cases, the specialty stroller will overlap nicely as your everyday stroller. It depends on your lifestyle and where you live. To help you navigate how many strollers are right for your family, and consequentially which specific one or ones, here are some things expecting parents should keep mind.

What to consider when stroller shopping

You might assume that asking a trusted parent, like your BFF or older sister, or looking at the highest rated strollers on Amazon is enough research on your end, but you really shouldn’t stop there. What might be a convenience for one person might be a nightmare for someone else, and a dealbreaker feature (or lack of) to one, completely irrelevant to another. I was the first of my childhood besties to become a parent, and my stroller needs for New York City living were completely different from that of my girlfriends in the suburbs of California.

Budget aside, these are the most important conveniences Jordan looks for when stroller shopping:

  • It folds down with one hand
  • It fully reclines (handy when they are a little older and you want them to be able to comfortably snooze in it)
  • It’s easy to clean. “(i.e You don’t need to be an engineer to take it apart.)”
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Beyond that, think about even more specific features and what you expect from your stroller. “Weight is important particularly if one if the parents is petite, or they will have to it load in and out of a car or use stairs often. You also want to think about the long game. Are there 1-2 strollers where, say, 75%+ of your need are met, versus having to get a new stroller for every stage of your little one’s transitions? Some families I work with have 5-7 strollers for this reason... yikes. You’ll also want to think about your car and make sure what you have is practical for the space and trunk size.”

Here’s a checklist to run down:

  • The price tag. Make sure you’re aware of the cost of the stroller itself, and additional accessories you might have to pay for (bassinet, newborn insert, trays, travel bags, kick boards, rain covers, cupholders etc).
  • Size and weight. How heavy is it, will you have to carry it up and down stairs, and can you lift it in and out of the car’s trunk? How much space does it take up while folded and expanded and do you have the space for one, let alone two, strollers in your home?
  • How many children it can accommodate. If you’re expecting multiples or plan to have another another stroller-riding child at the same time (either via car seat, toddler seat, or kickboard), can it carry your whole clan?
  • Your home. Do you live in the heart of a busy metropolis with tiny sidewalks and stairs you have to walk up and down to get to your front door? Do you have a long gravel driveway you will have to push the stroller through to get your street for a neighborhood stroll?
  • The push-feel. Does it feel smooth and sturdy when you push it? Do the handles sit at the right height? Can you maneuver it with one hand?
  • How it folds. These days most strollers (usually the more lightweight ones) can collapse and expand with one hand, which is convenient for most parents.
  • Your lifestyle. If you’re a jetsetter, can you fit it in a rental car along with your other luggage? If you are a jogger can the wheels handle the terrain you prefer and to run on and is it easy to push?
  • Basket space. Some strollers have generously-sized baskets, some will barely fit a standard-sized diaper bag.
  • Aesthetics. Do you like the way it looks and the colors it is available in?
  • The wheels. If you don’t live in or frequently visit areas with more rugged terrain, pay extra attention to the wheels and what they can handle. Small wheels will get easily stuck in muddy and gravely paths.
  • The canopy. The bigger the better and it should have a peekaboo hole so you can check on your baby while you’re pushing the stroller. A lot of canopies these days also use fabric with UPF sun protection
  • Built-in storage. Beyond the undercarriage basket, where else can you tuck things you might want to access frequently (your phone, coffee, etc). You could always buy a separate carrier to carrier strap to the handlebars, but they will need to be removed or at the very least, emptied, before you can fold down the stroller.
  • Your baby’s comfort. How plush is the back cushion, does it have an expandable footrest to keep their feet elevated, is there a crossbar you can strap toys onto and your child can hold onto? Does it recline deeply so your child can sleep comfortably in it?
  • How to clean it. Blow-outs, spit-ups, and spills will happen. How easy is it get your stroller clean enough for your comfort? can you strip it down and throw everything in the washer and dryer? Is the material wipe-off only? And then how complicated is it to put it all back together.
  • The assembly. This might not be high on someone’s list, as, theoretically you should only have to fully assemble it once, but you might find yourself repeating the practice (at least partially) for cleaning. Some strollers arrive in the box basically assembled and don’t require much more than clicking the wheels in place.

The point is, there is no one-size-fits-all stroller for every single family and scenario, so it’s up to you to decide what is best for you and whether that means you get one stroller that can do the majority of the things you want it to, or two or more options for each and every occasion and stage of your child’s life.


Brandi Jordan, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (ICBLC), pediatric sleep consultant, doula, and advisor to Swehl's Motherboard

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