When we were kids (depressing isn't it, how like our mums we sound when we become mums?) there was none of this messing around between strollers, car-seat/ stroller combos or travel systems which have a rocker, car-seat, baby carrier, sleeping bag (and presumably a tent and spirit stove to go with it).
So here's the deal: every time we ventured out to look at stuff while I was pregnant, I would come back and look for a corner to have quiet hysterics at the prices and the sheer ridiculousness of a lot of the products. Each one of them was tailored to the leader in the gullible target audience segment: viz: first time parents. I knew there was some stuff that I wouldn't compromise on, like a car seat (which in any case, got given to me) but the rest of the stuff, particularly clothes was totally insane.
We also knew that we needed a pram or stroller (I still am unsure of the difference) so we toddled across to the store. "Maydum," said the salesman with the greasy wannabe spikes, "Please look at this travel system: all in one" and he proceeded to do bewildering things with a rather monstrous-looking contraption, pulling up hoods, switching around handles, swivelling wheels, removing things, adding things, all the while in full flow. I tried to look intelligent and ask informed questions.
The moment Paranoid Papa was out of hearing, (our thoughts on finance diverge drastically - he spends, I faint - and it was best not to have to hiss at each other in public) I cleared my throat and asked, "So what's the price?" You have to grant me this - I did NOT faint or shriek or anything of the sort even when he quoted a price higher than what I had sold my trusty Matiz for, some years ago.
I asked him brightly "So, where are the, you know, gears, fuel tank and such-like? Good design job hiding it all so well." He gave me a strange look. In retrospect, that should have tipped me off. I haughtily stated that it did not meet my personal requirements and looked for a place to sit down while I collected my thoughts.
Was there the teeniest possibility that we were being a tad, well, overenthusiastic? Of course we were. Unfortunately the marketing spiel for parents hits where it hurts. You don't want your child to have some horrific deformity of the spine because you bought him the wrong pram. Guess what? He won't. It's just marketing spiel and you can ignore it after a while.
In any case, I figured, baby would be happy in a sling or baby carrier for the first few months. Another friend later gifted me a much-loved Maya Wrap though you don't really need even a commercial sling. You can just use a sturdy fabric and wrap it according to instructions or even make your own. It supports the baby's spine in the curvature that it is meant to, is breathable and far better than a structured baby-carrier. I've used it quite often with K.
All things turn for the best as it happens, and K was happy enough in the sling when it came by. We also started popping her into a desi pram that Nani got. It did not have a fancy brand name but it did have a few tricks, notably the reversible handle which meant that I could make an ass of myself while walking K to her general amusement.
Oh, and we use it inside the house as well to parade her up and down when she is cranky. Sometimes, you just need a break from all the rocking and carrying for a colicky baby.