An Ode to the Doona
Potentially the best product recommendation a fellow parent ever gave to me was the Doona Car Seat and Stroller. In my opinion, there are just two key things you need to know about why the Doona is worth the money:
- The Doona is massively convenient; it serves as your all-in-one car seat and stroller. It will save you time and space. It will make frequent car trips with an infant less chaotic.
- The Doona is high-quality. This car seat/stroller combo has been designed to make your life easier, and it serves that purpose effectively.
How does the Doona work?
The Doona Car Seat and Stroller has only two main components: the base and the car seat/stroller combo. Like any other car seat, you install the base in your car, and it stays there for as long as you use the Doona. The car seat/stroller combo has two configurations (can you guess?): a) the car seat and b) the stroller. In the car seat configuration, the Doona clicks into the base and serves as a typical rear-facing car seat. With a few simple movements, the car seat turns into the stroller. You can make the switch with your baby in the seat – no baby removal needed. It’s simple to change the Doona back and forth between the configurations; I got the hang of it after using it just a few times. Here’s a video from the Doona YouTube channel that shows the car-seat-to-stroller transition:
(I have a sweet spot for parenting brands that have straightforward how-to product videos on their YouTube channel, especially when it comes to strollers)
The Doona also has a variety of typical stroller accessories like a rain cover, storage bag, and a new alert solution called “SensAlert” designed to detect when a child has been left unattended in the car.
How long can my child use the Doona?
The Doona is designed for babies up to 32 inches or 35 pounds – whichever comes first. So, depending on how fast your kiddo grows, you might be able to use the Doona as your primary car seat and stroller for the entire first year.
My son is almost 10 months old and just reached 30 inches long/tall, so we’re putting our Doona away for now (he’s in the 96th percentile for height). We just bought a new car seat after many weeks of research and comparing price points, so I’m looking forward to reviewing that car seat in a few months.
Is Doona worth the money?
The Doona retails for $550-$650 depending on whether you get the “Midnight Edition” which comes with a few extra accessories. While the Doona can only be used up to a certain point, typically the first year of a child’s life, it also fulfills the need for both a car seat and a stroller (and you could use it again if you have additional children). Whereas if you didn’t buy the Doona, you might purchase a stroller, an infant car seat, and eventually a convertible car seat. Whereas with the Doona, you would skip the need for an infant car seat. You would have to buy a longer-term stroller and car seat eventually, but in my mind there’s a huge advantage to waiting nearly a year before you choose a car seat/stroller system – especially if you are a first-time parent.
If you’re like me, you didn’t know what you needed/wanted in a car seat/stroller until you actually logged some parent experience of your own. Before you have your first baby, you may not know that you’re too tall to comfortably install a baby/toddler in a car seat on a regular basis (this is me; they make car seats that swivel! This makes it easier). Or, you may realize you prefer a stroller that makes room for your long stride (also me; also height related). Or, you may realize that you want to go ahead and invest in a double stroller!
There are so many brands on the market with so many different products with different functions and price points. It’s way easier to make what is undoubtedly a hefty investment after you have some experience toting your baby around. The Doona gives you that time while also being an extremely convenient tool for the first year of baby travel.
No product is perfect; so even though I’m clearly a huge Doona fan, let’s talk about some of the inevitable disadvantages of the Doona. First of all, the Doona is small. This could be an advantage in some ways, but its size may also make it less ergonomically efficient than other full-size strollers (again, my height is impacting this observation). There isn’t any extra storage for bags or cups or cell phones built into the Doona. The design focus on being compact affects the overall sturdiness of the stroller configuration; you would likely have a bit of a bumpier ride with the Doona than with a full-size stroller alternative. Lastly, unlike some infant car seats, the Doona does not fit well into a grocery cart.
Lastly, though I do believe in what I wrote under “Is Doona worth the money?” – the reality is that $550-$650 is a substantial price to pay for a small, minimalist stroller that you’re likely not going to use longer than one year per child – and maybe not even that long.
Should you buy the Doona?
What you need to consider when deciding on whether to Doona or not to Doona is how important the convenience factor is for you – because that’s where Doona really shines. The Doona may be right for you if:
- The price point is worth it for you to make baby travel markedly better
- You anticipate traveling a lot in the baby’s first year
- You take your baby to daycare on a regular basis
- You’re totally overwhelmed by the volume of strollers and car seats on the market, and you don’t know what you really want right now
Consider your budget and what your lifestyle will be like during the time that you’d be using the Doona. And then make your choice!
P.S. I got a new-to-me Doona on Facebook Marketplace for $350