Choosing a Baby/Toddler Stroller

However you call it: stroller, buggy, carriage, pushchair, baby buggy, pram, or perambulator, your choice of stroller purchase has a direct impact on your child’s language and brain development. Choosing a stroller that allows your child face you, referred to as toward-facing or face-to-face, is most beneficial. In the UK, there has been such a decline in linguistic abilities observed in British children, that many have wondered if forward-facing strollers are a contributing factor. According to this study conducted in Scotland, mothers spend 50% less time talking to their child when facing forward, away from the mom. In addition to the valuable interactions made through increased opportunities to interact and talk with your child whenever you are strolling, the study shows that children and mothers laugh more-together-in a parent-facing/face-to-face stroller.two strollers (720x540)

With my first born child, I knew right away that I wanted a stroller which allowed him to both face me, or face the world. Unfortunately, there aren’t many easily collapsible strollers that are affordable for all parents and face both ways. My first stroller purchase was the Bumbleride which is basically a cheaper version of the Bugaboo. I enjoyed my son facing me on all our outings however my Bumbleride was sometimes difficult to push and you really had to work with the brake system to push it around. It could be hard to maneuver, especially when compared to the Bugaboo. I was always envious of my European friends with their Bugaboos and my American friends with their Bobs as they effortlessly pushed their strollers. Also, with the cheaper version of the Bugaboo, the Bumbleride, my back and wrists paid the price. Still, I made the choice to buy a stroller within our budget just to get a parent-facing stroller.

Before getting pregnant with my next child, I started budgeting for the Bugaboo. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I knew I would purchase the Bugaboo for sure. As I am more of an observer than talker, I’m thankful to have purchased a stroller which encouraged me to talk more to my child. I would agree with the studies that my conversations and interactions with my children have increased by at least 50% due to the parent-facing stroller. I’m often pushing my children along when I notice that they are looking at me. This reminds me to ask them questions, start pointing out sounds, smells, colors and much more in our surrounding environment. Often I’m walking and strolling with another girlfriend and-again, my child is able to observe both his environment and the social interaction and conversation taking place in his parent-facing stroller. Developmental research and Neuroscience has shown that “if babies see the world unmediated with help from parents, then it’s just a blur to them” and healthy social interaction during the early years is extremely important for children’s brain development.

Given the facts from research linked in this post: A parent facing stroller was especially important for our family for two big reasons:
1) We are a 100% bilingual family. At home my husband only speaks German to our children and me. I only speak English. My husband is also not a huge talker so the parent-facing stroller has helped encourage my husband to interact/talk more with the children which has increased their bilingualism.
2) Having Twins: I knew that twins often have delays in speech and language. Twin talk is another concern that I had. So a parent-facing stroller helps twins with their language development.
* A third love of our stroller has been that our singleton is always facing the twins which has helped their relationship as siblings. The reasons being another post to explain, but it has helped!

I love just jumping on a train and going around the city...this can easily be done even in Dallas with the Bugaboo
I love just jumping on a train and going around the city…this can easily be done even in Dallas with the Bugaboo

From my experience of living in Europe, I was already familiar with the Bugaboo. Europeans use and love this stroller for several reasons, but mostly because it allows them to easily and quickly get around cities via public transportation. While I live in Dallas and don’t often use public transportation, I am a mom who likes to go and do. The Bugaboo has allowed me to do that and more.

Often parents have asked how my boys sit and stay so nicely in the stroller when they see me at the doctor’s office, dentist (getting my teeth cleaned), my older son’s baseball and soccer games, hours walking the mall, hours walking museums, crowded festivals, airports, trains, court to fight house taxes, hours in Home Depot getting supplies for houses that I manage and so much more. I really take my kids everywhere and always with me and the Bugaboo is the way that allows us to be an active and interactive family, and I partly attribute my boys sitting in the stroller so long because they have the regular interactions with me.So how has the bugaboo allowed me to do all of that compared to other strollers?

The twins are fast asleep even in this noisy restaurant while I have an enjoyable breakfast with my singleton.
The twins are fast asleep even in this noisy restaurant while I have an enjoyable breakfast with my singleton.

In addition to being able to use bassinets on the Bugaboo, the regular seats are adjustable to lean all the way back so children can comfortably sleep or all the way forward so they are sitting upright and everything in between. So my boys have always been very comfortable in their seats. Many parents complain that their child won’t sleep in their stroller, but maybe it is because they have not found the right stroller. As mentioned above, children can be moved to a level of comfort for sleeping in the Bugaboo but also, research shows that babies in face-to-face strollers have lower heart rates, probably due to feeling so relaxed and safe, helping them to fall asleep. Several other studies have shown that forward-facing strollers may actually harm children emotionally impart to lack of face and emotional contact with the parent who is pushing them. As a matter of fact, babies and toddlers are less likely to laugh or talk in forward-facing strollers compared to face-to-face strollers.

All that weight on the stroller and it is still easy to push around
All that weight on the stroller and it is still easy to push around

You can see my older son often standing on the wheeled board. In addition to being very easy to push, even with the extra weight of my older son on the board and store bought food or clothes on my stroller, I can effortlessly push the Bugaboo around. It practically glides over curbs and my child doesn’t get thrown off the wheeled board. It’s very easy and manageable to move and get around with the Bugaboo and all three of my boys, diaper bag and store bought goods in tote.

Additional Info for The Bugaboo Stroller:
1) Very simple and easy to change the direction of a child with a reversible seat
2) “Bugaboo increases freedom of movement and makes mobility flexible, simple and light with functional and innovative products”
3) Made with high-quality durable materials
4) Children can be toward-facing or forward-facing
5) Easy to push
6) Practically glides over curbs and bumps
7) “Explore and discover without sacrificing comfort, time, or convenience”
8) Has an expandable infant-to-toddler travel system for one child, two children of different ages or twins
9) Can purchase adapter for car seats such as Graco

The twins are fine staying in the stroller even when being toted around to older brother's games
The twins are fine staying in the stroller even when being toted around to older brother’s games

I can’t express enough how much I have enjoyed outings with my boys because of the Bugaboo stroller. The stroller is expensive, yes, but it has allowed and helped me to leave the house and manage all day outings with my boys all around town. I also feel good knowing I’ve spent all face-to-face time with my boys while strolling around which has benefited them with language and brain development. And honestly because I feel that I can’t get enough time with my boys, even though they are with me 24/7, I love to always have face-to-face time with them when out.  

What are your thoughts on forward-facing and parent-facing strollers? Are you familiar with the Bugaboo stroller?

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3 thoughts on “Choosing a Baby/Toddler Stroller

  1. Kindermusik by SoundSteps of Dallas Great post and something we encourage and agree with. The other question to consider with carriers and strollers: What visual input are you giving your child when he or she is facing away from you? Are they seeing a busy bustling world that… could be overwhelming and perhaps frightening or are they seeing their favorite face and comforting smile? Certainly there are times when a child should view the world around but often, the best choice is for a child to have mom in view.
    http://www.facebook.com/KindermusikDFW

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