With the impending birth of the second 'only' child (yes, if you have a decade between your children they are both onlies, sibling rivalry is odd with that time span) I have been researching stuff. And by stuff I mean hardware. You would not believe the things they have out there for parents to throw their money at like it's growing on trees. There are parenting websites that have specific sections dedicated to crap. Stuff that's just ridiculous and no one needs. Apparently not only is there a sucker born everyday but there are just a few more breeding too. Since this is not my first child I do have some experience with some hardware so I knew where my research would begin.
I am very well known as a car seat safety freak. I'm totally obsessive with it and the hubby used to blow me off until he figured out is was way easier to just keep me placated with following my lead and letting me get the type of car seat I thought necessary. And go to the car seat safety inspection clinic to have them show us how to properly install a car seat. Something like 90+% of all car seats in the US are installed incorrectly. I have a friend who is registered with SafeKids.org, she runs car seat installation clinics through children's hospital in San Diego. She's the only other person I know that is just as crazy as me about car seats, if not more. I contacted her first about where to start my search. The question was answered exactly how I needed it answered "If I were to need a new car seat for my new baby right now I'd get a .." and I think the phone conversation last somewhere between 2 and 3 hours. Yup, it's bad.
For simplicity sakes I'll tell y'all this, if you need a car seat get a European one. The brand she suggested as being the best all around was Radian (Sunshine Kids) because the seat can go from rear facing to front and the weight range is 5lbs-80lbs on some models. If I wanted a bucket seat (infants only) then go with the Chicco Key fit. I won't bore y'all with the details of the rest of the phone conversation, I know not every one is as obsessive as me about car seats.
Here's the deal though, I am also buying a stroller yes? The hubby prefers baby wearing and he used the Bjorn last time around. I had a c-section and there was no way my back could take the strain of the Bjorn. This time around I'm planning, just in case, that I will have the same issue. So I did some research on baby carriers and decided on the Ergo would be a better choice. The hubby is skeptical but he always is, change is not always a good thing in his book and the Bjorn worked fine for him last time. My back can't take it though so he was game. Also we lucked out. Costco had them for sale for $79.99, it's regular retail is something like $115. I was all over that, but back to that stroller car seat thing...
When we had the first kid we did the same thing most new parents do and registered a Graco travel system thingy thinking that it was the most practical, had everything we needed and it all matched. Lame. Graco is trash, totally disposable plastic that fell apart very quickly. I also found I'm not a huge fan of the bucket car seat that snaps into a high stroller. It's top heavy and easy to knock over. With your infant in it. Not cool. I am going to make a wild assumption here though and point out that this may not be true of all travel systems and there could be ones out there with a better design. Of course this would translate to more expensive though right? Right. On to the insane price of strollers and infant car seats....
Fair warning here childless ones, this synapsis of strollers may send you into a cardiac arrest. There are strollers and car seats that, by themselves, will rival your mortgage payment. Maybe even your mortgage and car payment combined. No shit. And don't get me wrong, I'm sure these products are very nice products but really, why put so much money into something that you really just aren't going to use that much? The Ergo carrier I had no problem spending $80 on. I know for a proven fact that this child will practically live in it. The hubby will probably even wear her inside the house in it. It's easier than carrying a baby in your arms because you don't have to keep picking them up and down, they're just a part of your torso. The stroller, eh, I'll probably be the one using it most. After 9 months of being mama alien and the subsequent birth I just do not have the physical strength left to carry the baby around. I just can't. This is why the hubby and I are at odds about the stroller. He's not going to use it much. I am. Here began the hunt for the practical stroller...
First, we owned 3 strollers with the first child. The pos Graco that quickly fell apart, the jogging stroller whose front wheel was never true and so it constantly steered left, and the Zooper which was like an expensive umbrella stroller. The Zooper was ok but only when the kid was at toddler/past 6 months stage. I want something that will take us from infant through to 4 years. After that I expect the kid to be running around. I am not the mom with the 7 year old in a stroller with their legs dragging behind them. That's so lame.
Have you seen the high dollar strollers they have out there? WHOA. These ones are just plain old singles, there are more expensive models too...
Baby Jogger, high end $499 (this one is cheap)
Bumbleride Queen B $599 (I love this one)
Bugaboo Chameleon $879 (another fav of mine)
Orbit Baby $750 (WTF?)
Peg Perego Skate $699.99
Phil & Ted's Vibe (apparently this one is super trendy, I don't get it) $699.99
Stokke Xplory Basic $849.99 (Basic? I swear it looks like you're only getting a partial stroller for $850)
Teutonia Chassis T 250 $500 (this is just the chassis for $500 ?!)
Uppa Baby Vista $699 (I like these models that come with a bassinet)
Note, most of these images and prices came from Albeebaby.com, you can probably get a better price somewhere. Like China.
Now here's the deal, these are nice strollers. Many come with attachments (for a price) that will connect some models of infant car seats to the frame of the stroller. That way you can either put the car seat in, put the baby in the bassinet, or when they get older attach the toddler seat in. This is really nifty but not necessary in my book. I'd love all those features but really, $600 + ? Dude really? I have found some that are less. I like the Maxi Cosi Foray and if you get it from Albeebaby.com it comes as a travel system with the infant car seat for $309.99. Now keep in mind that the Maxi Cosi car seat alone is $130. I haven't even gotten into the cost of these car seats yet have I? Maybe later, suffice to say the one I want is under $300. Barely...
There are a few things I'm looking for in a stroller, I really would like air filled tires. I know it doesn't make a difference to most people but I have carpel tunnel after my 7th month of pregnancy. It hurts. The less vibration I get from stroller tires the less pain I have. And how much is the lessening of pain worth to me? A lot. Maybe not $600 but possibly $300. I'd like to only buy one stroller. I want one that isn't going to fall apart after 6 uses. I want one that will last from infant through 4 years. Ultimately this is asking a lot, I know. And really the only ones that fit within these parameters are the stupid expensive ones. My answer to this conundrum? Craig's List. Used is totally acceptable to me. I found the perfect stroller but when I was supposed to pick it up the guy told me he sold it to someone else. Yes, I had talked to him 3 days prior and we had set up a meet day but I guess he was just an ass hole. Craig's List, sadly, has lots of them. I have a few months yet though so I continue to look. Wish me luck with the putzes that show up on CL....