July 24, 2014

Many, Many Words About Strollers


This isn't a sponsored post. I asked Britax to send me a stroller for Europe this fall and I'd include it in our Instagram photos while we were traveling and they kindly agreed, but I love this stroller so much, I just want to tell you all about it in more than an Instagram caption. Also, ignore how crabby my children look in all these photos. 

Bart and I like to joke that we like a 3:1 stroller to child ratio.

Sadly, it's not all that much of a joke.

We have the carseat/stroller combo-type stroller (which we bought for the princely sum of $20 from some friends in Boston before Ella was born), the umbrella stroller we bought at a garage sale (after a year or so, I said something about how we paid $8 for it and Bart said that we grossly overpaid. I agree - it's a pretty pathetic stroller), and the Craigslist jogging stroller.

When Ani was born, we bought a double jogging stroller. For the last 18 months, that's been our primary stroller and we've gotten a lot of use out of it, but it's hard to put in the car (unless you hook the wheel over the back seat, it rolls around while you drive), it's a little too wide for some doors (the first time I walked to storytime in Texas, Ani had to sleep in the hallway outside the storytime room because I couldn't get it through the doors), and then in the early spring, it fell over in the garage and I ran over it with the car. It was miraculously unharmed except for the little plastic piece that locks it shut, so it was even MORE hard to transport or store.

When we went to Chicago, we ended up just taking the travel system stroller because we could snap the carseat into it around the airport and if we put the seat back all the way flat, both girls could sit in it (which sometimes worked like a charm, and sometimes resulted in them fighting like cats and dogs because neither of them wanted the other to sit in front of them and they couldn't avoid touching each other).

We knew we needed to get a new stroller before we went to Europe this fall. We absolutely had to have a double stroller, and we needed one that wasn't side-by-side. So, after four years of avoiding stroller research at all costs, I finally started looking into what double strollers would fit our needs.

Basically all our friends in Durham have the City Select stroller (at MBA family events, there is always a half dozen or more identical black strollers all lined up in a row), and Merrick has that one too, but I knew you had to break it down into multiple pieces to fold it down, and with all the traveling we have this fall, I just didn't think that would work well for me.

I was sold on the Britax B-Ready for several reasons.



First, it's basically the size of a decent single stroller (in fact, you can just buy it as a single stroller and then add the second seat on when you have a second child). It's not too wide for any doors and I knew in Europe, where the streets tend to be narrow, I'd need something thin.

Second, the seats can both lay almost completely flat (without touching the other seat). Since I'm guessing we'll have a lot of early morning/late nights/long days while we're traveling, I really wanted it to be possible for both the girls to sleep simultaneously. Assuming Ani decides to be a stroller sleeper. Cross your fingers on that one.

Third, it can collapse flat with both seats in place. This was the biggest selling point for me. You just lay the bottom seat flat and then fold it up and snap the lock in place. Done.

Fourth, I love that you can get an attachment so your infant carseat can snap in. I love the convenience of the stroller/carseat combo (no finagling a sleeping, boneless infant out of the carseat and into the stroller for a 5 minute errand). When we have another baby, I'll buy that attachment and a compatible carseat. Then I won't constantly have to be deciding between taking the stroller that can fit both a child and an infant and one where I can snap the baby in and out of the car and stroller without waking it up or dealing with buckles and what-have-you.  (I was constantly making that decision when Ani was born, and it was exhausting (and I basically always chose wrong)).

Fifth, and this is a totally stupid tiny thing, but I love that the brake on this is a push pedal (you just push down on it to lock it and then push down again to release). All my other strollers have had a brake where you had to put your foot UNDER the brake level to release it and since we've always lived somewhere where I wear sandals 90% of the year, this was always super painful when I had to pop the brake up with the bare top of my foot. (Of course, I'm guessing I won't be wearing a lot of sandals in London from September to December, but. . . it's the principle of the thing).

The day after my Britax B-Ready shipped, I happened to see a mom at the grocery store parking lot loading the same stroller into her car, and I asked her how she liked it. She said, "This is my second baby and third stroller and it's the best stroller I ever have used. You will LOVE IT SO MUCH." She was not wrong.

My main concern was that my girls would hate being sort of underneath. But actually, neither of them minds it at all. They switch back and forth, sometimes requesting one or the other, but with no real preference. When we were in California for the Fourth of July, Merrick also mentioned that she thought her boys wouldn't like that setup, but when we took only our stroller down to the beach one morning and made the older kids walk, her little guy happily sat in the bottom seat with no complaints.

And my girls can climb in and out of the bottom seat on their own, which I find really convenient because then I only have to snap them in. And Ella can get in the front one by herself too - I'm not sure about Ani, although she probably could because if she sees Ella do something, she's convinced she can do it too. And she's usually right.



I also like that, because the second seat is below, the stroller isn't particularly long. Some double strollers are like pushing a boat - they are SO long.

Also, it's really amusing to take it on in public and have someone comment on the child in the front seat and then, as we pass, do a double-take and say something like "There's ANOTHER one down there!" That's probably not necessarily a selling point, but it does make life and outings a little more fun.

I really wish we'd just gotten this stroller to start with, since it would have been perfect for one child and then we'd only have to have bought a second seat when Ani was born instead of a complete second stroller.

Of course, when Ella was born, we had about $5 of disposable income, so any stroller not from a garage sale was pretty much out of our budget.

But after buying four strollers before this one, we should have just gone with the B-Ready.

16 comments:

  1. I live in downtown Chicago so it's imperative that we, and all our neighbors, make smart investments in strollers. (I'm actually the reader who saw you walking down State Street and did a double take in a moment of "Hey, I think that's Janssen. I guess she's kind of famous." and tweeted you about it, but I digress..)

    We don't really drive much so our stroller gets some serious use, like all day everyday. We, and a good portion of the rest of downtown residents with kids, have the City Select that Merrick and all your MBA friends have because we had the same concern about the bottom seat being tucked away. It's almost a joke when we go to the park to see all the matching strollers. For many us, lugging it in and out the car isn't really an issue because we don't drive enough. But I do have to do that on occasion and it's a pain and kind of heavy, so I second your concern. I think your stroller is second in line in popularity at the park! Lots of people love it and it's slightly more compact than our City Select I think. I am sure you'll love it London. Thanks for sharing the feedback.

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  2. I got the b-ready when Avonlea was born and LOVED it until my kids decided that the back seat was the "baby seat" and refused to sit there. Luckily, there is an excellent resale market for them!

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  3. When M was born I bought the B-Ready for all the same reasons you've posted about. The ability to make it into a double stroller without it getting any bigger was a huge selling point.

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  4. You forgot about the GINORMOUS basket underneath! We had a Bugaboo for our first and just bought the B-Ready since we're expecting our second. I love my Bugaboo, but the basket on it is just pitiful.

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  5. That stroller looks pretty much amazing!

    But whew, that price tag gives me heart palpitations. =\

    Runt
    runtspickins@yahoo.com
    www.runtspickins.wordpress.com
    (If responding, please email or comment a blog post of mine.)

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  6. I've seen a few strollers with the top and bottom thing like yours! Do you girls tend to care either way who is on top and who is on bottom? Or are they both pretty content either way?

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  7. oh the things to look forward to :)

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  8. I have a Phil and Teds Vibe with basically the same set-up (except that you have to remove the second seat for folding, which doesn't bother me at all) and I LOVE it! I still wonder why I didn't just get this stroller to begin with. And the "ooohhh, there's another one back there" comment always makes me smile, I get it daily! Looking forward to hearing about your European adventures!

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  9. Yep, yep, yep, and yep. I have this stroller, and this is exactly what I would have written about it. It opened up the world for us when we got it since we live near D.C. and wanted to be able to tour. All of my friends who are down on this stroller or any stacked stroller talk about how bad they feel for the child underneath. But, in my experience, there is no reason to feel sorry for the bottom-sitter. He is happy.

    I think that the ability to fold the stroller down with the bottom seat attached will be hugely useful when you are in Europe and getting on and off trains and buses. Welcome to the Britax B-Ready world!

    Our Britax B-Ready in action:
    http://joleeandnate.blogspot.com/2013/03/philadelphia-day-1-in-more-detail.html
    http://joleeandnate.blogspot.com/2013/07/funk-family-tours-smithsonian-highlights.html

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  10. I HATE stroller research, but it's inevitable. :( Sigh.

    I've had my eye on this one for a while -- http://www.amazon.com/Phil-Navigator-Stroller-Doubles-Black/dp/B008Z3TW12/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1406250846&sr=8-3&keywords=phil+n+teds+navigator -- and I'd be interested how it compares with the Britax. I was running last summer and knew I'd want to get pregnant with a second kid soon, so I was thinking about double strollers (I know, the fact that I'm daydreaming about strollers while running is pitiful) and I saw a girl running with her two kids in this stroller. I flagged her down like a maniac and said, "I have to know what kind of stroller that is!" She said I was the third person on that run to ask her about it, and she loved the stroller.

    The huge problem in all of this is $$$.

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  11. Dude, I toootally get you about the brake pedal! I thought I was the only one bothered by having to push it up with the top of my foot...like maybe I just had weak feet or something.

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  12. Have you ever done any jogging with this stroller? I'm desperately searching for a jogging stroller that's not big and bulky and just plain hard to maneuver. I love the look of this one and would love to know if it works well as a jogger. And I can totally relate to you on the whole brake pedal thing... I always bend down and use my hands because it hurts to bad. But bending down is a pain, too! Ha ha!

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  13. I was absolutely convinced that this type of stroller was what I wanted with 2 since it wasn't double wide or double long, but the reality at the time was that we weren't willing to pay for it! The only one I could find on craigslist you had to take the seat off to fold it up and if you had a kid on the bottom you had no basket storage and the seat stuck out further than the handle bar so going downhill you would hit your shins- all deal breakers. This looks awesome though, glad you like it, and how amazing that they just sent one to you!

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  14. Question -can you attach the glider board when you have a kiddo down below? So you could make it a three kiddo? Thanks!!

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  15. OK I know this post was like.... a year ago? But I've been saving your recommendation for when I have two kids. With kid number 2 on the way, I'm looking at the B-Ready but the sunshade looks kinda puny compared with the B-Agile (Which I have and love) Your thoughts? Does the sunshade come down far enough for your girls?

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  16. Nice stroller. B-ready is the best stroller I've used. I tried all stroller and car seat Chicco, Graco, Evenflo,... and finally, I landed on Britax. It's a bit expensive but worth for safety of my baby.

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