Like fashionistas await Fashion Week each season, new mamas look forward to a new crop of strollers each year. The Bugaboo Donkey may be the most talked about new pushchair this year, but it isn't the only buzzworthy one to hit the streets. I've rounded up seven hot strollers worth keeping an eye out for this year – several of which are scheduled to make their way into stores over the next few weeks. Check them out!
Putting newborns on their stomachs for tummy time can rank as high as washing out the diaper pail on a mama's list of activities because lil ones fuss. Creating a stimulating environment for tots to work their neck and shoulder muscles is a nice distraction. We've rounded up a handful of fun ones.
Clockwise from top left: Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym ($75, available mid-October), Mamas and Papas Lotty Ladybird Deluxe Playmat & Gym ($100), Infantino Surfboard Tummy Time Mat ($20), Giggle Organic Jungle Play Mat ($80), Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym ($40).
Bounce around! Following our introduction to Mamas and Papas strollers last month, we were excited to get our hands on the British import's adorably sleek Astro Magic Bouncer ($200). The bouncy seat can be used with MP3 players or one of four different entertainment packs ($30 each). With kick-activated light shows and three vibration settings, we were eager to put the chair to the test when the company sent us one to review.
Who is this product designed for? Though it says it is designed for newborns through 6 month olds, it seems more appropriate for infants of at least 4 months who can hold their heads steadily on their own.
Is it practical? The Astro Magic Bouncer isn't a necessity, but it is fun!. Larger than the standard bouncy seat, it is not as portable as its competitors which can easily be moved from room-to-room.
What sets it apart? The extra-large plush seat is like a luxurious easy chair for infants! Its positioning also places tots higher than other seats, allowing curious babies to see the world around them. Best of all, it connects to your iPod, allowing mama to choose the music her lil one listens to, while giving the wee ones the ability to make the music play by kicking their feet on an interactive kick pad. The seat's Toy Bar features a light show that mesmerized our lil tester.
What could be better? The size/portability could be better. It takes up a lot of room, does not fold for travel, and isn't very portable. The seat's height is not adjustable, making it hard to use with newborns. And while it is built with bells and whistles, it is rather pricey for a toy that will only last until a tot can sit up on his own (around six months).
Did it make baby happy? Yes, very happy! Our 5-month-old tester spent a good 30 minutes in the seat and was never bored. In fact, we felt the need to remove him before he did!
Would I buy it? Probably not. It isn't practical, it takes up a lot of room, and it is expensive. However, I wouldn't return it if someone gifted one to me! The Astro Magic Bouncer has awesome features that will entertain a baby, but the chair isn't a necessary addition to the nursery.
The British know how babies should ride! When Mamas and Papas gave us a sneak peek of its popular stroller and baby gear line, we were drawn to the eye-catching designs. With the first of its pushchairs set to hit Babies R Us stores next month (and currently available for preorder), the company sent us its award-winning Luna Mix ($300) to put to the test.
Who is this product designed for? Since the Luna Mix is for babies from birth to 50 pounds, it's great for on-the-go families who need a full-sized stroller that easily folds up to stash in a small car trunk or can be carried onto public transportation. With its mix and match fabric styling (buyers can select from four seat colors and eight hood designs), it's ideal for moms who want to have a hand in the design.
Is it practical? Given the stroller's lightweight design (it weighs in at 20 pounds), it was easy to use. It handled bumpy, torn-up city streets and sidewalk aprons without a hitch, quickly maneuvered over a grassy field, and rolled smoothly on slick mall floors. I had it set up and ready to roll in 20 minutes (despite less-than-descriptive instructions), and folding it took under a minute.
What sets it apart? The stroller's plush fabric and one-handed steering ability (thanks to lockable front swivel wheels) are similar to those of pricey travel systems, but its one-piece, easy-to-fold design makes it more flexible. An adjustable handlebar and foot-operated brake are parent-friendly, while a floating five-point harness (that isn't attached) allows baby a bit more freedom in the seat.
What could be better? The stroller's adjustable seat does allow a tot to sit straight or lie flat without any preset heights, but it almost requires a third hand to set it into place when the child is in the seat. The buggy's basket is rather small and open so it doesn't provide much in the way of storage space. The bumper bar's gate-like design is great for getting bigger kids in and out but is placed rather low for little ones who need to lean forward to play with attached toys.
Did it make baby happy? Yes! My lil one loved sitting forward and seeing the world, and when he was tired, he quickly fell asleep in the pushchair's comfortable seat.
Would I buy it? Yes! As a city dweller, space is at a premium. Having a stroller that easily folds for storage and that can collapse in a matter of seconds as I board a bus makes it a winner.
To see more details on the Luna Mix, read more
British baby rides get ready to roll in the US! Fresh off our list of international baby products we wished we could buy, Mamas and Papas, announced plans to enter the American market in August. The family-owned and operated company, known for their stylish strollers, plush toys, and design-oriented baby products first caught our attention when Gwen Stefani pushed Kingston in one of their gold buggies a while back.
We were invited to a sneak peek of the line yesterday, and found it to be functional, unobtrusive and full of mom-friendly features. With nine strollers running from the traditional travel umbrella version to the hip, industrial-looking Urbo and the luxurious (yet easy to close) Mylo. The makers also offer an extremely comfortable-looking baby carrier and an array of bouncers, high chairs and rockers. Mamas and Papas founder Luisa Scachetti, and her daughter Amanda (one of the only female stroller designers in the world) was on hand to walk us through the products. When we asked what features they consider when designing a carriage, Luisa explained. She said:
It has to begin with safety. All our strollers are tested for six months before they reach the consumer so we understand every single environment our strollers will encounter. Comfort for baby is paramount and that is why all our strollers feature additional padding using the best fabrics. Style is always high on my design agenda. We review and improve our strollers every season.
To see the rest of the line, read more