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The Perfect Stroller Does Not Exist

Dear new mama,

So the time has come to look for a stroller to cart your precious new baby around.

Maybe you live in the city and will be using it all day, every day. Maybe you live in the suburbs and you'll be using it only here and there at the mall or in your neighborhood or while you travel.

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You don't want to spend a ton of money, obviously. And also, you'd like it to be lightweight and fold down easily so you can put it in your trunk or cart it through the subway. Of course, you need some good storage space: a big basket underneath, a cup holder and somewhere to stash your keys and phone. And preferably it's solid enough to not fall over the moment a child gets out.

Oh, bonus points if your car seat can clip in and if it's possible to turn into a double stroller for when you have a second child. Plus, wouldn't it be great if it worked as a jogging stroller too? That baby weight won't lose itself!

If you've spent any time at all looking at strollers and reviews, you might suddenly understand why I have three children and own five strollers.

I'm sorry to be the one to break the news to you: Such a stroller doesn't exist.

You can definitely find a stroller that's light and compact. But it probably won't fit your car seat or let you add a second seat eventually. And the storage? Forget about it.

You can find one that works for daily use and also jogging, but it's going to be bulkier. And heavy.

And if you opt for a super cheap stroller, it almost certainly won't be as smooth and stylish as a more expensive one.

So if you've spent any time at all looking at strollers and reviews, you might suddenly understand why I have three children and own five strollers. And if you don't have children, this all probably sounds ridiculous. Because if I'd known five years ago that I'd have almost twice as many strollers as I had children, I'd have thought it was ridiculous, too.

But if you're a mom, especially with more than one child, you're probably nodding your head along and mentally cataloging your own stroller inventory.

Good luck on your stroller search. And if you do happen to find the perfect stroller, there's a whole army of mamas that will be thrilled to hear about it. Myself included.

Meanwhile, there are some less-than-ideal but still great options out there. I haven't tested all the strollers in the universe (although I've certainly tried out a LOT), but the two that are the best choices in my opinion are the Britax B-Ready and any of the Graco Travel System strollers.

The B-Ready holds a car seat, and you can add a second seat if you have a second child. It pushes beautifully, the front seat can flip toward or away from you, and it's just a dream stroller all around. It's definitely not the cheapest stroller on the market (it runs about $500 without the second seat), but it's not outrageous either.

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And the Graco Travel Systems are really reasonable, with a stroller and car seat set available for well under $200. The car seat snaps right in, they handle quite well, and they don't weigh too much. The seat also reclines flat so your baby can sleep (and I might happen to know that with the seat reclined, you can fit two small children in and use it as a double stroller in a pinch).

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