Archive for the ‘Baby Gear’ Category

Woven Wraps: An Exhausting But Not At All Exhaustive Guide

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

In case you hadn’t noticed (because you don’t actually read my blog or look at the pictures) I’ve become slightly obsessed with babywearing. I’ve ALWAYS been a fan of babywearing – my PR page has said I love baby carriers for the last 4 years – but my interest has exploded into obsession since Linc was born.

I’ve actually gotten more questions about my wraps than I’ve ever gotten about anything on the blog ever, so I’m going to write a really long post about it, answering some of the basic questions and tracing the path that lead me from someone with an Ergo and a ring sling to someone who has a different carrier for every day of the month. There will be a LOT of links, a LOT of pictures, and a LOT of stuff I miss. I’ve only been doing this for 6 months and would not call myself an experienced wrapper at all. But I have spent sort of a ridiculous amount of time and energy (*cough* and money *cough cough*) in the babywearing world in those 6 months, so I am confident I can at least point you in the right direction.

woven wraps graphic

(Disclaimer! Because I feel like I have to! I am not an expert!  I’ve only been doing this a short time and I’m still learning, which is why I am including lots of links to lots of places where you can get information from people who have been doing it longer. I actually took down my old babywearing posts a while ago, since some snotty jerks in a forum made fun of me for…following the directions on my carriers. Despite the fact that I literally said “I AM NOT AN EXPERT” they acted super offended I even MENTIONED babywearing without a certificate from the organization that makes you an official expert. So in case you’re one of those people, kindly go screw yourself. If you really just want to know why I keep wearing all these tablecloths, this post might be interesting.)

When I talk about “wraps” what I am talking about is woven wraps, which are long pieces of material you use to tie a baby to your body. There are other wraps, like the Moby wrap and Wrapsody brand which are stretchy or made out of things like jersey or gauze. There are also ways to DIY baby wraps, using a specific kind of fabric or 100% cotton tablecloths. There’s a whole group on Facebook called DIY Babywearing that can help and is full of ideas. But for this post, when I say “wrap” I mean woven wrap. And since I just typed 400 words just as the intro to this, I’m going to divide it up as easily as I can.

WHO…Uses Them: Anyone who wants or needs to carry a baby without their hands. Which means YOU! You can use wraps! Most of the people I know who wrap as a hobby are women but plenty of dads babywear.

WHO…Do I Wear: All the babies! And the toddlers. And the preschoolers. And possibly your big kids if they really need a ride and you’re up for the workout.

WHO…Makes Them: There are bunch of companies in a bunch of different countries who make both machine woven (MW) and handwoven (HW) wraps. There are also weavers who either work as part of a collective or individually to make wraps. There is a (probably incomplete) list of HW weavers here and MW companies here. After 6 months of hard study, I can name about 85% of the MW companies and probably 35% of the individual weavers. It seems crazy overwhelming at first but if you enjoy looking at wraps it gets easy fast.

WHAT…Are They Made Of: Cotton, linen, wool, hemp, silk, tencel, repreve, bamboo, alpaca, baby camel (for real), and other fibers both natural and man-made. Different blends feel very different, get softer at different rates, are more or less supportive and are beloved by different people. I LOVE hemp. It is not everyone’s favorite. My friend Sarah LOVES wool. It makes me itch just thinking about it.

Weave macro shots girasol vanamo pavo didymos tekhini kokadi cloth of kin

Brands top row: Girasol, Vanamo, Pavo, Didymos. Bottom row: Tekhni, Kokadi, Pavo, Cloth of Kin. These blends include cotton, wool, hemp and repreve.

WHAT…Do I Do With Them: You use them to hold your baby. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways to use a wrap to carry a baby of almost any size. I can use the same wrap to wear Linc as I can to wear Evan. You can do front carries, back carries and hip carries. The best way to learn how to use a woven wrap is to find some people in person who know how and make them show you. I hounded my friends who babywear into agreeing to come to my house every week just so I could learn from them. If you don’t know anyone who wraps in your area – or you’re not a pushy as I am- there are YouTube videos and websites. If you like hearing an explanation while you wrap, Babywearing Faith is great. If you want closed captions while you watch someone wrap, Wrap You In Love does that. And if you don’t like videos, the Wearing Wiki has all the how-tos written out(plus TONS more info on wraps – it basically makes this post pointless).

WHAT…Do All These Numbers Mean: Wraps come in sizes, generally 2 through 7 although technically there are size 1s and size 8s. Those sizes corespond to meters (or centimeters), which are how woven wraps are measured. But they don’t correspond directly – a size 7 wrap is not 7 meters. Here is a chart to explain the sizes in detail. Your “base size” is the size in which you can do a Front Cross Carry. I actually HATE Front Cross Carry, so I only own one wrap in my “base size”. Instead, I bought wraps I liked in a variety of sizes and learned lots of different carries. If you plan to only buy ONE wrap total, a size 6 (4.6 meters) is a good bet. Sometimes wraps also list their weight, which is written as grams per sqaure meter (290 g/m²). Often the fiber content is included too, which means then you have a lot of numbers all in a row. For example, a wrap will say “Size 5, 4.5 meters, 50% cotton 45% linen 5% silk, 290 g/m²”. I won’t say those are unimportant numbers, but if you just want a wrap to hold your baby, figure out your base size and buy something 100% cotton.

WHEN…Do I Use Them: Anytime it would be useful to have your baby attached to you, starting from birth. When Linc was tiny it was super nice for outings with the kids – we went to the fair and I wore him on my front and zipped right on and off the (baby-friendly) rides. I could keep a hand on Caroline on the carousel while still holding on myself and know Linc was secure. Now that he’s a little bigger I can put him on my back when it is inconvenient to hold him, like while I’m trying to make dinner or at the big kids’ swim class. If you’re going somewhere and think “Ugh, it will be such a pain to take the stroller”, that is the perfect time! You can also wear just because you and your baby like it. Wraps are pretty and make me feel pretty, even in my yoga pants.

Tekhni Arche Peacock

Pretty colors in a pretty finish and I don’t even WANT to wear a coat over this one. (Tekhni Arche Peacock – it’s just visiting and is going to a new home Monday.)

WHERE…Do I Get Them: This is the most complicated part of this post. You can buy wraps in lots of places, but probably not at Target or Walmart or the local mall. You might have a fancy boutique baby store near you, which would be an ideal place for you to go and see them before you buy. If you’re interested in borrowing a wrap to see if you like it (a good idea!) there are babywearing lending libraries where you can check-out or rent carriers. You can google to find one in your area or check out the Babywearing International list of national chapters, since many of those groups have libraries. There are lots of retailers online that sell in-stock wraps. I’ve ordered from PaxBaby5 Minute Recess, Mom’s Milk Boutique, and Wrap Your Baby. Some wraps you can buy directly from the companies that make them or the boutiques that had exclusives made. Those are usually sold during “stockings”, which means you have to click and buy them really really fast before everyone else does. But if you want to learn about what’s for sale and what they cost, the best, most overwhelming, most interesting, most complete, most time consuming way is to join some of the Facebook buy/sell/trade groups. The largest is The Babywearing Swap. You’ll have to request to join the group, but that doesn’t commit you to anything. You can join and just stare at the posts for months feeling overwhelmed or join and jump right in to buying. Essentially it is a garage sale and you are buying from strangers on the internet. There is a feedback system to help you feel more comfortable that people are trustworthy and admins you can report sketchy or scammy stuff to and all purchases are made through Paypal, which provides buyer protection in case your wrap doesn’t show up. Esentially it’s as easy and safe as Ebay. There are other groups too, including Babywearing on a Budget where everything is under $100 and the High End Babywearing FSOT where everything is…NOT under $100. When you join any of those groups, be sure to find and read the rules. And be prepared to spend way, way too much time browsing.

WHY…Do These Tablecloths Cost So Much: If you have never looked at a wrap before, the prices are going to shock you. You will have exactly the same reaction I (and probably almost every person who now wraps) did: OMG I AM NOT PAYING $150 FOR A PIECE OF FABRIC. Maybe you will stick with that belief and never even want to wrap and that is totally fine. I wear $17 yoga pants from Target with my $250 wrap and that works for me. Unlike almost anything else, wraps don’t depreciate once you open them so even if the thought of paying $200 for a piece of fabric may be hard to swallow, you can get at least half of that back when you sell, if not almost all of it. Some of them are very affordable because they are woven in bulk by machines. Some are affordable because they are made in Guatamala where handweaving labor is cheaper. Some are mid-priced because they’re made in the USA at small factories who specialize in fancy textiles but can produce a medium sized run of a particular pattern or color. Some are expensive because they are one person who weaves by hand on a loom and dedicates hours and hours and years of experience to each wrap. And some are really really really REALLY expensive because they are very famous, very highly sought after, and some people have a lot of money to throw around. Think of wrapss like purses. You can buy one at Target or you can buy a Birkin. Both will hold your stuff, some people just like the fancy one.

babywearing woven wrap stash shot

If you make a bunch of babywearing friends, you can try ALL THE WRAPS without having to buy them yourself. This is from our meetup.

WHY…Do You Even Bother My Stroller Works Fine And You Seem Crazy: I won’t lie, I might be crazy. But like I said before, this has become a hobby. I fall somewhere between very interested and completely bananas on the wrapping scale. I’ve spent way more money on wraps than I should have ever imagined. I have a couple that I am almost scared to use because of what they are worth. I have fallen madly in love with a pattern or wrap and stalked it online and dedicated hours and hours to aquiring it…only to turn right around and sell it as soon as it shows up because it’s just not love. (That’s actually pretty common, it’s called “churning” in the wrap groups.) But in the end I mostly just love wearing my baby.

And now I am going to make some suggestions! These are suggestions, not rules or even guidelines. Just some stuff I’ve learned.

– When you join any of the babywearing Facebook groups, READ THE RULES. They all have pinned posts at the top and files full of information. The buy/sell/trade sites are JUST for B/S/T. If you need advice, you want to join one of the other groups, like Everyday Babywearing or Babywearing 102. Some of these Facebook groups are huge. HUGE. Like 70,000 members huge. If you follow the rules you make everyone’s life easier and your post won’t get deleted. Please please please read the rules.

– There is a huge learning curve to wrapping, but it gets easier. I practiced wrapping on Caroline a lot since although she’s heavy she can also follow directions and she’s patient enough to let me mess around with the wrap to get it right. With Linc I learned ONE carry – the kangaroo carry – and just did that over and over and over until he was a little bigger and I was more confident. I have only just started back-wrapping him out of the house and in public. The more you do it the better you get, so practice practice practice.

– People who love wraps also love things made out of wraps. There are lots of shops that cut them up and turn them into other things. This seems crazy too, but you will learn to accept it.

– Babywearing, especially wrapping, leads to a lot of selfies.

Action shots

I do not own all of these right now. I buy, I sell, I buy, I sell, I look at my pictures and think “Wow, I totally forgot I even had that one!”

– Before Facebook, most of this stuff happened on TheBabywearer.com. They still have a ton of info and B/S/T forum, but it’s pretty old school. I’m actually boycotting creating an account because I do NOT need another way to waste time. That’s what Facebook is for. But if you like things at a slower pace and want ALL THE INFORMATION that is an amazing resource and the people there are super knowledgable.

– Used wraps are easier to wrap with than new wraps because they’ve been broken in, so buying used is not a bad idea. That’s what the Facebook groups are for and as long as you’re following the rules and ask questions politely, people are SUPER happy to help.

– It’s also not a bad idea to have someone you can ask “Is this a good deal?” or “Do you think this would be a good wrap to start with?” I can be your person if you need one – email me or message me on FB. Plus having someone to talk to wraps about makes the whole thing more fun.

– Girasol is a brand handwoven in Guatamala. They’re known for their rainbows, but they make lots of different wraps in lots of colors and they’re afforable. If you need one wrap to convince you wrapping is fun and easy and useful, buy a Girasol. (Absolutely a debatable opinion, there are other brands that would be just as good, but Girasol was my gateway drug wrap so I like recommending them.)

Girasol rainbows

Top to bottom: Rainbow herringbone, Snow Flame, Fireworks, Starlight Reflections

– You do not have to have more than one wrap. Do not feel bad or like you are doing something wrong if you don’t have a whole collection worth more than most people’s cars. And you know what? If you try wrapping and don’t really like it and decide to just use an Ergo or a ring sling or *gasp* a stroller? You do you. It’s fine. Different families, different choices. But if I see you in public and you’re wearing a wrap, don’t be surprised when I squee and leap at you to talk alllll about how I just learned a HJBC with a CCCB with my Pavo shortie.

Aaaaaaand I think that’s it?? If you’re an expert and want to fix something, feel free to let me know. If you still have NO idea what I’m talking about and have questions, leave a comment and I (or one of my super awesome real life friends who I absolutely blame for this whole obsession) can help. If you want to tell me I’m totally, completely nuts and you’re never reading my blog again because CLEARLY I’m a terrible person who thinks of her children as accessories and will prevent them from ever walking because of this child abuse I call babywearing…cool story, bro. I’ll be over here snuggling my baby in a wrap.

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Brooklyn Baby Expo 2013

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The kids and I trekked down to Brooklyn on Sunday for the A Child Grows in Brooklyn Baby Expo and had a really great time. I was invited as a blogger, which meant I got a cool “Press” badge and a chance to hang out in the media lounge while the kids made crafts and Caroline got a sparkle tattoo. The gingers did GREAT for a couple of preschoolers in a very hot, very crowded, slightly boring-for-kids event. Well, besides all the times Caroline disappeared. At least the place was totally full of moms and moms-to-be who were happy to point her back in my direction.

Since I was visiting from out of town, not everything at the Expo applied to me (Although it did make me super jealous of how much stuff is in/close to Brooklyn – why aren’t there any rock & roll toddler party locations in Connecticut?!)  but I still got to check out some super cool brands, learn some new stuff and came home with a sweet swag bag. Caroline ate more than her share of Ella’s Kitchen pouches and Sabra hummus and cried because she only got two samples of Happy Baby crisps. In case you couldn’t tell, the food was her favorite part.

Thanks so much to Melissa for inviting me and the ladies at A Child Grows in Brooklyn for putting such a fantastic day together! If you’re a parent in the NYC area I’d recommend signing up for their newsletter so you don’t miss next year’s event – besides the great information, I saw probably a hundred people leave with awesome strollers, playpens, bikes, high chairs and more. Seriously, the raffles and giveaways were bananas.

1-Brooklyn Baby Expo Web brooklyn baby expo 2013-3

The expo was in the International School of Brooklyn. I’m suffering from a severe case of school envy.

brooklyn baby expo 2013-4

brooklyn baby expo 2013-6

Food by Fairway. Another thing I wish we had in Connecticut.

brooklyn baby expo 2013-5

Sparkle tattoo courtesy of Dazzle Divaz, who were so sweet with her.

brooklyn baby expo 2013-8 1-Brooklyn Baby Expo Web1 brooklyn baby expo 2013-10

Caroline’s new friend is from Yellow Sneaker Productions. Like I’ve said, she’s not afraid of anything, from the balloon-animal making clowns to hand puppets.

brooklyn baby expo 2013-11

I spy with my little eye…a book I already love!

brooklyn baby expo 2013-12

The guy from Dapple Baby really knew his stuff, and I’m excited to start washing Evan’s disgusting milk cups in their Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid.

brooklyn baby expo 2013-13

How adorable are these personalized prints from StrangeBirdy Studios?? The cutest.

brooklyn baby expo 2013-14

Kidville had a great child play area with sitters available so I could attend the photography seminar without any little people climbing on me.

brooklyn baby expo 2013-15

Sensory tubs: not for the faint of heart.  THE MESS, MY GOD, THE MESS.

After the expo we met up with my friend Sara, who showed us around. We walked doooown Park Slope to a very busy playground, found some Italian Ice and then walked back uuuuup Park Slope. The gingers walked the whole thing (besides a few short piggy back rides) and slept in the car the whole way home. They both went to be at 6 pm on Monday too. Good job Brooklyn!

1-Brooklyn Baby Expo Web2 brooklyn baby expo 2013-19 1-Brooklyn Baby Expo Web3

Disclosure: I was given free passes & the media swag bag as a thank you for attending, but wasn’t required to post/share anything. I just had a really great time!

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TeetheMe!

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

I love getting mail. More specifically, I love getting some of the coolest new products for babies and moms delivered to my door in an adorable box.

teetheme box

TeetheMe is a subscription service and community for moms to help us wade through the zillions of baby products flooding the market. Every month, 4 or 5 of the hottest items are shipped right to your door, hand picked by in-the-know moms and tailored to your child’s age (anywhere from newborn to 3 years).  Then you can log in to their online community to rate and give feedback on your items and discuss everything kid and baby related with other Teethers. At $24 a month, it would be a fantastic shower gift!

But I know what you really want to know is – WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

teetheme box

teetheme box may

teetheme box may contents

Here’s the full scoop on what I got (for the record, this box was specifically for Caroline):

Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm – a company I already love and trust and perfect for Caroline’s super sore bottom.

NurturMe organic, gluten-free dried fruits and veggies – Four packets of NurturMe dried organic baby food (2 peas and 2 apples). Since we’re past the pureed food stage I mixed the apples with yogurt and the peas with mac’n’cheese and the kids LOVED it.

Dr. Bloom Chewable Jewels – Rectangle pendent necklace and a bracelet that are 100% safe for teething babies to chew on. Caroline LOVES these sort of a ridiculous amount, especially with her canines coming through.

Dr. Robin for kids – Samples of their all-natural, chemical free lotion, baby shampoo and sunscreen.

Bridgewater Candle Company – a votive sized spring-scented candle from a company that is working to end child hunger.

Greenleaf Scented Envelope Sachet – OH MY GOD, the whole box smelled FANTASTIC thanks to the classic linen sachet. They suggest putting it in the bottom of a trash can, diaper pail or hamper but I tucked mine into a bookcase and shake it every couple of days to refresh the scent.

Since the Chewable Jewels on their own retail for about $20, I’d say this was a great deal. I also loved learning about new products – I never would have known about NurturMe baby food and now I can’t wait to sneak more peas into the kids. And if you get something in your box you really really love, you can visit TeetheMe.com to buy more!

Here’s Caroline checking out some of our haul:

teethe me review nurturme baby food

Uh, maybe we should open that before you try to eat it?

teethe me review chewable jewels

That's much better for biting!

If you’re ready to be a Teether too, sign up on the TeetheMe website! If you buy a six month membership you get 1 month free and if you buy a whole year’s membership you get 2 months free! Like I said, this would be a GREAT shower gift – what new mom doesn’t want to try out all the hottest baby stuff?

Disclaimer: I was provided with a 1 month trial of TeetheMe free of charge for review purposes, but no other compensation was provided.  All opinions and photos are my own.

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Leading Lady Review and Giveaway

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

There’s been a rash of bra-fitting revelations on the internet recently (for a really good laugh check out Mandy’s), where everyone realized wearing a bra in the right size is SO MUCH BETTER. I’ve been thinking about getting fitted for a long time – it’s one of those things I’ve got on my “To Do Now That I’m A Real Grown Up And Stuff” list. But because I’m still nursing I figured I’d have to suffer through a few more months of horrible saggy chesticles before I could upgrade.

And THEN I got an email from Leading Lady that said even though they knew I was weaning Caroline, they loved my blog and thought might enjoy their nursing bras and would I be interested in doing a review?

How about “Yes” and “Hell Yes” and “HOLY COW this might be the best opportunity I’ve ever gotten from blogging.”

I used the size calculator on the Leading Lady site to figure out my size (they even have a cool printable tape measure in case your kids ran off with yours months ago) and told them if we were going for function I could really use something for Stroller Strides but with Valentine’s Day coming up it sure would be nice to have something that wasn’t hideous, pokey, and ripped.

They sent me a Sport Wirefree Nursing Bra and a Lace-Cup Wirefree Nursing Bra. I love them both SO MUCH I actually took pictures of myself wearing them to show you. Then I thought better than to post topless pictures of myself on my baby blog and deleted them. You’re welcome. But I can assure you they make my boobs look awesome. The sport bra really helped control the, uh, bouncing problem I had when it came to jumping jacks at Stroller Strides. It’s the first bra with a full sling (meaning even when you fold the outer part down there’s still fabric across your boob) that I’ve EVER liked – the opening is large enough to nurse without having to yank it all over the place. The lace bra is GORGEOUS and not even the tiniest bit scratchy. It blows the horrible “sexy” underwire nursing bra I bought at a cheap big-box store out of the water. It was so comfortable I even slept in it. I sort of can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Leading Lady before, but will absolutely be ordering from them again.

Leading Lady is a family owned company that’s been selling nursing, maternity and full-figured bras for more than 70 YEARS so they really know their stuff. Their nursing bras range in size from 34B to 48F and their full-figured bras are available from 34A to 56G – which if you ask me includes a lot of women that wouldn’t really like to be considered “full-figured” *ahem ME ahem*. The site offers bras, tanks and sleepwear. They have a great selection – how clever is a nursing bra with a hidden pattern for the baby? You can search by size, type and category, including specialty categories like latex-free and organic. They even have a Breastfeeding A-Z Guide on their site full of really great information. And if you were wondering, I think their prices are extremely reasonable, especially considering what nursing bras from other companies cost. And right now new Facebook fans will receive 10% off by liking Leading Lady between now & Feb. 14, while all fans of Leading Lady can tweet “I Love @LeadingLadyBras” on Feb. 14 and receive a special 10% off code.

Yes, I’m gushing. I promise there was no gushing required when they offered to send me a bra to try (they’re probably super embarrassed by me right now), but I truly can’t help it. I’m so excited to find a company I like so much, has such a great product AND agreed to let me give YOU a free bra!

That’s right, you could win an e-certificate good for one free bra from the Leading Lady collection PLUS free shipping.

Just leave a comment on this post telling me why you NEED a new bra.

For extra entries, you can follow @LeadingLadyBras on Twitter and like Leading Lady on Facebook or you can follow me on Twitter or like bebehblog on Facebook . Just leave a comment telling me what you did (or what you already do). So if you did all five things it would be five comments.

Right now they only ship to the US and can’t ship to P.O. boxes so giveaway is limited to those who qualify (sorry Canadians!) No duplicate comments or cheating of any kind. I’ll draw a winner using Random.org sometime this weekend.

 Disclaimer: Leading Lady provided me with 2 bras so I could give an honest review for my post, all opinions are my own. No other compensation was provided. They didn’t even ask me to include product links or make you like them for the giveaway. Leading Lady is good people.

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What’s Black and Red and Loved All Over?

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Today I’m going to write a love note to my stroller.

Dear Baby Jogger City Select,

Can I just call you BJ? I feel like we’re definitely close enough for nicknames, since we spend so much time together.  I just wanted you to know I love you and appreciate you. You were a wise choice.

xoxo
Suzanne

Right now my husband is wondering why I don’t ever write HIM such nice love notes. Usually they just say “Make sure you watch when the dog poops. I think he ate a sock.” We’re super romantic.

Back when I was pregnant with Caroline, I decided that this time around I was going to shell out for a good quality stroller even if the price sent me into early labor. Because holy CRAP do you know what a “mid-range” stroller costs? I could practically buy a BABY for that much money (disclaimer: I do not actually support or condone baby buying). But I was never crazy about the stroller(ssssssss) I bought for Little Evan and figured I could put all the money I was saving with hand-me-downs towards something nice. E practically choked to death when he saw what I wanted to spend, but I think he agrees now it was a good purchase.

After much debating and ordering and cancelling and blog posting, I eventually settled on the Baby Jogger City Select with the doubles kit. I loved it the second I took it out of the box, I loved it when I was using it as a single stroller for Little Evan, but I love it even more now that it’s been 6 months and I’m ready to recommend it.

My little monkey in the CS as a single while Caroline was still an inside baby

PROS:
– Can be a single stroller or double stroller (with kit)
– HUGE sun canopy
– Easy to steer
– HUGE basket under seats
– Adjustable handle height for tall or short people
– Folds with (one) seat attached in either position
– Has an adapter for my Chicco car seat
– Folds with seat attached in lower position & car seat adapter in upper position
– Disassembles really easily & quickly to fit in small spaces
– Hand brake on the side is easier to use than a foot brake (especially in flip flops)
– My diaper bag hangs easily from the handle (which it says VERY CLEARLY you shouldn’t do, but I’m a rebel)
– Toddler likes it
– Baby likes it
– Good telephone customer service
– Parts are easy to replace (I replaced a broken brake/rear axle myself in less than 2 minutes)
– Straps are easy to adjust
– I think it looks nice and stylish (totally an important factor)
– Super easy to reconfigure seats
– Seats can be assembled a zillion different ways

I was CONVINCED having all the different seating arrangements was SUPER IMPORTANT in a double stroller, as if forcing my children to just sit facing forward was some sort of parenting travesty. When obviously the parenting travesty is that I’m using a stroller at all instead of wearing them in an organic cotton and hemp wrap I wove myself (I LOVE my babies. Why would I want to PUSH them away from me?). And even though I’m sure everyone would survive perfectly well in a standard side-by-side, we use the different seat configurations ALL the time.

 

Infant seat and forward facing full sized seat
Infant seat and full sized seat facing backwards
Two full sized seats facing forwards (also, cool whale picture, right?)
Caroline in full sized seat at 5 1/2 months
Seats facing each other – of course, THIS happens, but sometimes THIS helps calm down a fussy baby.
Both seats backwards – works great at the end of a busy day when everyone needs quiet time
Two full sized seats facing away from each other – will be useful in the future to separate squabling siblings

CONS:
– In some of the positions, the seats only fit if they’re not reclined/have the footrest down
– Seats don’t recline very far
– Brake sometimes doesn’t fully disengage
– My brake broke after only 4 months of use (covered under warranty)*
– Email customer service wasn’t great*
– Everything costs extra (the bars across each seat, cup holders, rain canopy, etc)
– A little front heavy, which means it takes a little effort to get it up onto a curb (but not INCREDIBLY HARD, which some reviews I read online seemed to imply)
– Sometimes the folding mechanism sticks and I struggle to get it closed
– The seat is a LITTLE on the smaller side, so if you have a very tall toddler they might be kind of crowded (but I think that would be a problem with ANY stroller)

Wow, my list of negative stuff sounds REALLY negative, but I swear I really do love this stroller. I use it 4 times a week at Stroller Strides (including sometimes jogging), walking around my hilly neighborhood, at the crowded aquarium, on the gravel paths at the Seaport, and at the mall. I had no trouble hauling it in and out of the van when I was 9 months pregnant or when I was 4 weeks post partum. I’m planning to buy the ride-on glider attachment soon, so the toddler can stand during the kind of mostly-running-around-but-he-might-get-tired outings we often take during the summer. It also makes it a TRIPLE stroller, so if we have another baby we’re already all set.

I don’t miss the snack tray and cup holder from my old travel system stroller, but I DO recommend buying the belly bars. It keeps Little Evan in the stroller even when I *ahem* don’t buckle the straps and is perfect for attaching toys.

I purchased my stroller (the 2011 version) from PishPoshBaby and was very happy with them – good customer service, very fast free shipping, and no sales tax. I also tracked down a teeny tiny discount code after a few minutes Googling, although it was only applied to the accessories and not the stroller.

So was that EVERYTHING YOU EVER DREAMED OF? Are you jealous? Are you bored to death? Are you going to buy one of your very own right this minute?

*So the story with the brake is one tiny spring somehow got twisted and it locked up my wheels. I called to ask if I could get just that ONE piece replaced and the person I talked to asked me to email a picture. I did, waited, emailed again, waited, emailed again and then gave up and called back. Second customer service rep just said “Give me your serial number right now. A whole new rear axle is on its way.” I had it within 2 days at zero cost. Eventually CS rep #1 emailed me back that she was still checking on sending me just a spring and I told her the problem was fixed. I did NOT say “WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST SEND ME THE WHOLE THING SINCE IT WAS OBVIOUSLY NOT THAT HARD??” But I wanted to.

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