How to choose a stroller (or system)? (and a deal on a travel system/swing)

KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
I'll be a first-time mom next year, and a friend sent over a link to this deal at They have a Graco travel system marked down from $199.99 to $149.99, and when you buy it, you can use the coupon code TGTXBAP5 and get the matching swing for free. (Here's the link if you're interested--deal is good through 12/17: graco melbourne at Target)

I checked with some friends with babies, and they say it's a good deal. But now I'm researching, and I'm not sure if I want a travel system or a lighter weight (and smaller) stroller. So I'm trying to figure out--if I go with the lighter weight stroller, what do I use while the baby is still a newborn? A carseat + stroller frame?

To be honest, I don't have a lot of babies in my family, and I'm kind of out of my depth here. Do any of you have any suggestions or opinions on what I should be looking for in a stroller or travel system? Pros and cons of each? Please keep in mind, we don't make a ton of money, so price does matter.

Oh, I have a friend who is going to pass down a jogging stroller to me...can that be used as a regular stroller (and if so, starting at what age)?

Thanks in advance!


  • SpiderSpider Posts: 3,380Registered Users
    I just had #3 and have never had a travel system. I find them big and cumbersome and my vehicle isn't big enough.
    For home, I have a jogging stroller , more stable and easy to push when I want to go for a walk/ run.

    For the car/ shopping, I just got a Chicco Orion stroller, lightweight, easy to put in trunk, 5 point harness and fullly reclines for newborn.

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  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users
    I rarely used the stroller part of my travel system. It was big and bulkly and a pain. I had a love/hate relationship with the car seat part. I could never get my boys out of the car seat without waking them. So having it detach from a base was nice. They easily napped or ate in it while visiting. The downside, there is no comfortable way to carry it, and it gets heavy. It doesn't seem like a lot before you have a baby. When you add the 10-20 lb baby that you've already been carrying all day, then have to lug it around at an awkward angle, you feel it.

    When they're old enough, those cheap umbrella strollers are actually pretty good. My $20 one lasted me through 2 kids who occasionally rode in it when they were "too big" for some people's tastes.

    For swings, I would get one that plugs in the wall. Those things can eat through batteries like crazy.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    Those travel systems kinda suck. They stroller is just too bulky, and they're usually awkward to push. It won't last you a year, let alone through more than one kid.

    I always suggest a regular stroller (chicco recommended above is nice, or a Milano, or, if you're looking for umbrella type, then MacLaren is great), and a separate carseat. Some people love infant carseats...I call them Baby Buckets and I'm not a fan. They don't last past 20-ish pounds and if you have a big baby, s/he could potentially outgrow it injust a few months (all 3 of my boys were way over 20 pounds by 4 girl was smaller). And babies tend to spend too much time in the infant carseats...people seem to think since they have the Baby Bucket, they should keep the Baby in it. It's better for them to be taken out when not traveling. Personally, I prefer convertable carseats. They can rearface up to 20-30 pounds, then when you turn them around at a year, they can go up to 40 (or sometimes 60 pounds). You get a lot more bang for your buck with them...newborn through age 2-4, depending on the particular seat's weight limit and the size of your child.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    As for the swing...

    I'd hold off on that purchase until you see what kind of baby you get. You'll know when s/he arrives whether they're the cranky kind that likes constant movement. Some babies hate it, and you'll have a useless item taking up a lot of space in your house if you get one of those babies. Swings are pretty easy to get after the baby is born. Take a look at the swing aisle in Babies R Us'll see lots of new babies and tired-looking parents buying a swing or vibrating seat.
  • cosmicflycosmicfly Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    I also never used a travel system for the reasons mentioned above. I did use a baby bucket for the convenience factor while my babies were small; and I think some of them last up to 30 lbs now (Chicco Keyfit 30 is what I'm thinking of), which would have been useful for 2 out of my 3 kids. I liked the bucket because it snaps off the base when baby is sleeping and also because if you have more than one base, it is easy to transfer between vehicles. I do agree with RCW about babies spending way too much time in the bucket, but mine didn't.

    As for strollers, I preferred a jogging stroller for home. I purchased a snap n go frame to use with the bucket for baby #3 and I loved it for when I was not carrying or wearing him (such as when we arrived at an event for an older sibling and he was asleep in the bucket). He was a summer baby though and a third baby; I didn't use a stroller nearly as much with my older 2 when they were tiny. When he outgrew it, I kept an umbrella stroller in the car.
  • KikapooKikapoo Posts: 1,087Registered Users
    Thanks ladies--this is exactly the info I was looking for! I was leaning away from the travel system mostly because of the weight/size, and I read somewhere that babies shouldn't spend more than an hour or two at a time in a carseat, in which case having the option to just leave them in the seat seems counter-productive.

    SIGH. Too many choices! I'll have to research convertably carseats...+ stroller frame? + lightweight stroller...and swing later.
  • rileybrileyb Posts: 1,975Registered Users
    Yes, I would not do the travel system either, they are big and bulky and difficult to navigate. We did the baby bucket (ours is good to 32 lbs and she is still in it at 11 mos, although we need to get a convertible carseat soon) and the snap and go stroller frame for the beginning, and then I bought a jogging stroller when she was a little older and a friend gave me a used bugaboo for errands/shopping.

    My baby was a swing addict for the first 3 mos and then didn't like it - but it was worth its weight in gold for those first three months when nothing else would calm her down.
    I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but I still keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.
  • SpiderSpider Posts: 3,380Registered Users
    I got a fisher price rock n play sleeper for baby, he wasn't sleeping well in bassinet; it's only been a few days but he's sleeping more soundly, steadily and I'm getting a few hours rest at a time.

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  • JLRcurlyJLRcurly Posts: 245Registered Users
    I didn't want the bulky travel system either. I got a infant car seat and the snap n go base. Then had the baby and she hated the infant seat. At 3 months old I sold the whole system and moved her to a convertible car seat which she loves. I gave to carry her or wear her in a sling when I go to the store etc since she's too little to sit in a cart yet but I also have the chicco Orion someone mentioned. It was around 100 bucks, very nice and I'll use it for years to come.

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  • inheritedcurlsinheritedcurls Posts: 2,954Registered Users
    I had a travel system...but it was the Graco Metrolite travel system...very lightweight... I still have the's made it through 2 kiddos. I now have a McClaren for my 3 year old...5 year old doesn't need a stroller.

    I think it would depend on the type of travel system it is. I used the Graco Carseat for both my popped in and out of the stroller very easily.