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What do I do after my baby grows out of the Doona and I need a travel stroller?

Stroller

One of the scariest moments of being a city mom is when your little one grows out of their Doona Infant Car Seat. I have had so many conversations with my mom friends about what to do when this day comes. Since Charlie is in the 98th percentile for height and weight, this day came sooner for me than I would have hoped.

I crowdsourced from hundreds of New York City moms, personally tested options out, and did a hours and hours of additional research. I have some solutions for you, but first a quick lesson on car seats.

Types of Car Seats

  1. Infant Car Seats: Your Doona fits into this category. These are made specifically for infants or smaller babies and are rear facing. You can use these from birth until they reach the weight or height limit on the seat. You might hear people saying they are good until the baby is 1 year old – but age has nothing to do with it, so check the guidelines on the seat. Usually infant car seats attach to a base; this is why the Doona is so unique. You can use it with or without the base to make getting around the city in cabs so much easier, and then convert it into a stroller.
  2. Convertible Car Seats: Once your child no longer fits safely in their infant car seat, you’ll move onto a convertible car seat. Depending on the size, they can either be used as rear-facing or forward facing. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer. Once they hit the limit, you can use the same seat but facing forward. Convertible car seats will be installed using a seat belt or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system in your car. Typically, because of the size, convertible car seats don’t attach to a stroller – but that’s where I come in to help!
  3. Booster Seats:  All children whose weight or height exceeds the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat. Typically, kids are in booster seats until they are 4 feet 9 inches in height and 8-12 years old.

If you are looking for more information on car seat safety, I recommend reading: Car Seats: Information for Families on healthychildren.org

Car seat & stroller solutions for the family on the go

My 3 assumptions about you:

  1. You either don’t own a car, or your own a car but mostly take cabs or Ubers around the city.
  2. You want a stroller that is light, easy to carry and easy fold.
  3. You have a love/hate relationship with your Uppababy Vista – it’s the best stroller to walk around the city, but extremely hard to travel with due to its size and weight.

Let’s get into it…

You’ve probably heard about “travel systems”, but the problem is that these work with other infant car seats. If your little one has grown out of the Doona, it doesn’t make sense to spend money on another infant car seat. Here are the solutions I have found through crowdsourcing from hundreds of New York City’s most savvy moms, personal experience, and hours of additional research:

If you take Ubers/travel and want a travel stroller that works with a convertible car seat…
If you take taxis or Ubers regularly, you know just how valuable the Doona is. I remember the sense of freedom I felt, the first time I strolled my little guy outside, folded the Doona into car seat mode, strapped him in and went on our way. It is a sad day when your little one no longer fits in the Doona and you need to start looking for new options. There are a few great options and hacks if you want to go the travel stroller + car seat route. Here we go:

Cosco Scenera Next Car Seat – This is by far the crowd favorite for convertible cars seat to travel with. Its light, inexpensive and can be “hacked” onto so many strollers. It is widely recommended by moms as a travel car seat that is easily used in cabs, Ubers and to take on planes.  This website has a full database of Stroller Hacks! Below are the combos that I recommend:

BabyZen YOYO2 + Cosco Scenera Next car seat – First a little about the BabyZen YOYO2. I will be honest, when I first got it, I wasn’t entirely sure what all of the hype was about, but it has completely won me over. I was so obsessed with my Vista and my Doona, that my next stroller was really going to have to pull out all of the stops. The YOYO2 is pretty expensive and my son, who was 9-month-old at the time, didn’t seem to look comfortable in it at first. I purchased the Stroller Leg Rest (which isn’t included) and it made a big difference adding to the comfort. Also, make sure you have adjusted the back to its upright position using the straps. The stroller folds up to the size of a tote bag! This is a huge plus when traveling and trying to fit a bunch of things into the trunk of the car.

 Some other info about the YOYO:

  • Super lightweight (6.7 pounds)
  • Super compact
  • Canopy with a little peek-a-boo window
  • Anti-UV (UPF 50+) fabric treated with waterproofing
  • Can hold a child up to 48.5 pounds (this is important)
  • Folded up, can be carried on shoulder with its padded shoulder strap
  • Folded up, can be carried on a plane and fits in overhead compartments on most airlines

So what do you do with the car seat after you get out of a cab or off a plane, you ask? You can hack the car seat right onto the stroller with luggage straps one of two ways:

  1. Attach the car seat directly onto the seat of the stroller using luggage straps. Simply insert it through the forward-facing seatbelt loops on the car seat.
  2. Using these hooks (make sure you get a pack of two), its easy to hang your car seat onto the back of the stroller. It might hit your legs a bit, but it is doable when necessary.

Definitely use this database of Stroller Hacks as your guide.

Another crowd-favorite combo:

Mountain Buggy Nano StrollerCosco Scenera Next car seat – This stroller is also a top favorite among NYC moms. It is less than half the price of the YOYO. Its not as light as the YOYO, but still considered a very lightweight stroller. The Nano folds up to a similar size as the YOYO and is perfect for families on the go.

Some details about the Mountain Buggy Nano:

  • Lightweight (13 pounds)
  • Super compact
  • Canopy with flip-out visor and a mesh peekaboo back window
  • Can hold a child up to 45 pounds
  • Folded, can be carried with a shoulder strap to carry hands-free
  • Folded, can fit in overhead carry-on luggage compartments

The Cosco Scenera Next car seat can also be hacked onto the Mountain Buggy Nano. This video shows just how to do it.

If you want to keep it a little simpler
Many people just opt to use Uber Car Seat when traveling around the city. This keeps it simple and then a car seat is out of the picture. The BabyZen YOYO2 and the Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller are so easy to quickly fold up and stick in the trunk of a cab.

If you and your Uppababy Vista are in an exclusive relationship…
A friend of mine who wasn’t into the idea of buying another stroller wanted to figure out a way to make her Vista work while traveling around the city. She uses the Cosco Scenera Next car seat in Ubers or cabs, puts the Vista in the trunk, and when they get to their destination the Cosco Scenera Next is light enough and can fit beneath the Vista in the basket. Brilliant!

If you are only interested in a good travel stroller…
If you are only interested in the best travel strollers out there, you may still consider the BabyZen YOYO2 and the Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller. These are the crowd favorites. The other two that moms really loves are the Minu by Uppababy and the GB Pockit+ .

Some details about the Uppababy Minu:

  • Weight of 15.2 pounds
  • Canopy with vented window and UPF 50+ extendable sunshade
  • Suitable for children 3 months up to 50 pounds
  • One-handed action fold with should strap

Some details about the GB Pockit+ All-City

  • Weight of 13.2 pounds
  • Suitable for children up to 55 pounds
  • Canopy with sun visor

In the end, there are so many different options for traveling with a baby or toddler, but you have to go with what works best for your lifestyle. I hope this rundown gave you the information that you need to do that! If you have any questions, let me know!

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