When I heard the good news that my husband Johnny Jet and I were expecting our first child last year, I couldn’t have been happier and like most new moms, my brain went into overdrive, trying to figure out all the things I’d need to get our home ready for our new addition.
The truth is, babies don’t actually need a lot of stuff, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. But what I did learn is that there’s plenty of stuff babies do need and all you need to do is plan and choose carefully.
The first big-ticket item I set my sights on was a baby car seat and stroller. This was an essential I knew I’d need immediately to get our brand new bundle of joy home safely from the hospital. There are lots of brands to choose from and it can get overwhelming trying to decide what you need and what will serve you best. After plenty of research, I decided on Stokke, a Norwegian brand that seemed to have earned top marks for style, safety and ergonomics.
The car seat was the most important component here and I stressed out about it a fair bit. But the Stokke Pipa by Nuna car seat and base is a great choice. It was pretty easy to install (so my husband says – we left it until the last minute and he had to leave the hospital after Jack was born to get it all set up.) TIP: Make an appointment with a local fire or police station and they can check to make sure that your seat is installed correctly. You’d be surprised how many people think they’ve done it correctly only to discover they haven’t. Don’t take the chance!
The car seat is ergonomically designed and relatively lightweight, weighing 10.5 lbs. When Jack was born, he weighed a mere 4 lbs 10 oz so it was pretty easy to tote him around. Now that he’s about 15 lbs (and growing steadily), it’s definitely more of a challenge. But that could be said of any growing child!
From a safety standpoint, the car seat has an adjustable five-point safety harness, side impact protection for maximum safety and an SPF 50 sun canopy. Infants up to 32 lbs can ride in this seat. I also love that when Jack has a blow-out diaper (yep, it happens!), the car seat cover can be easily removed and washed. No matter how big the mess, it always comes out of the washing machine like new.
The car seat snaps into any of the Stokke strollers and I opted for the Stokke Trailz, which is a seriously plush ride for Baby Jack. It’s got large tires that work great on the sand in LA or can maneuver on icy terrains, like when we head back to the East Coast during the winter months. By comparison to other strollers, it’s reasonably compact, although it takes up most of the room in our trunk. Again, this is something I hear from most moms, regardless of the brand of stroller they’ve got.
The stroller itself drives like a boss, something I appreciate. The big tires and streamlined shape make it pretty easy to get around and even when I go over bumps or up and down curbs, Jack sleeps blissfully through all of it, which is a sure sign that he’s having a smooth ride. And I love that this stroller has a spacious waterproof shopping basket below, where I can store Jack’s diaper bag or any light shopping I’m doing.
Practical features aside, this stroller is engineered to bring baby almost to eye level so that when you’re walking together, you can make eye contact and chat easily with baby, keep him engaged, entertained and connected. When you switch baby from the car seat to the carry cot that comes with the stroller, you’ll have multiple positions to choose from, so baby can be parent-facing at various degrees of recline as well as forward facing so they can enjoy the view.
The car seat retails for $349 and the Stokke Trailz is $1,149.