Thursday, 21 June 2012

10 things to consider when choosing a pushchair

Choosing the right pushchair for you and your baby is a very personal decision and there is a lot to consider.

I love my Bugaboo Bee.  I love that I have the All Black Limited Edition which makes it a little different to other Bee's out there.  And I love that I changed the black hood for a limited edition purple one (purple is my favourite colour).  I love that it is light, really easy to manoeuvre and compact so it can get around shops and crowds easily.

Apart from on a couple of very hot days Baby M sits or lies down in the Baby Cocoon which is lovely and cosy.  In fact in the early days when she was reluctant to sleep in her moses basket I took the Cocoon off the Bee and she slept in there. So it saddens me to say that at nearly 9 months she has almost outgrown the Cocoon and I have some decisions to make about what to do next.

But first I'll go back to the beginning: choosing a pushchair for your new arrival.

1. How big are the doors in your house and how big is your car boot?
  • I wanted the pushchair to fit through the doors in my house (always useful).
  • I wanted the pushchair to fit in my car boot without having to completely take it apart (I have a Ford Fiesta)
2. Do you want a travel system?

I wanted a pushchair that I could attach my car seat to (although I didn't initially know which car seat to buy either)

3. Do you want to use the pushchair from newborn ?
  • I wanted a pushchair where my baby would lay flat initially, but would allow her to sit up as well lasting her until she no longer wanted to sit in a buggy.
  • I wanted it to be rear facing so I could easily see my baby, and so she could see me (the Bugaboo Bee can be forward or rear facing)


4. How much are you prepared to spend?


I ruled out quite a few on cost.  I wanted the whole travel system for under £1000 and the cost quickly adds up.


5. What's your personal style?
  • There were a few I ruled out because I didn't like their appearance, although quite a few of my friends have got these makes so I'm staying schtum on the makes.
  • Do you want the ability to personalise your pushchair? A lot of companies allow you to pick the colour of the seat and accessories to make the pushchair more you.  There are a few limited edition and designer accessories as well.

6. Are you planning on having more children?

For a while I was considering getting a pushchair that converted in to a double.  That way if/ when we had a second child we wouldn't need to buy a new pushchair.  I eventually decided against this because of the cost and a lot of the models I looked at felt big and heavy. It's quite brave to buy something that can be a double before your first one is born: you have to be confident you are going to have another while your first is still going to be happy to sit in the pushchair.

7. Where do you live and where will you be using your pushchair?


Where you live will influence: what type of wheels to get (and how many), what sort of terrain you are using it on and how often you will you need to pick it up.  I live on the edge of London so I wouldn't be walking across fields with it, but I would need to get it on and off buses and trains and up and down steps.

8. Who will be using your pushchair?

My husband and I are a similar height so I knew that if it was comfortable for me to push it should be ok for him.  If your partner, or anyone else who might push the buggy regularly, is a different height to you make sure the pushchair is easily adjustable.  Anyone much shorter or taller than average might not find all pushchairs handle bars are comfortable for them

9. Try a wide range of styles

I viewed and pushed around some pushchairs at the Baby Show, John Lewis and Mothercare.
I also tried some of my friends' pushchairs with their little ones to see what I liked and didn't like

I considered a couple of Britax designs for a while.  I was particularly influenced by their full lay flat car seat so I wanted a pushchair that I could use with that.  Newborns shouldn't be in a seated position for more than a few hours at a time and I was worried that if we wanted to visit the in laws in Leeds she would be sitting for too long.  I eventually decided against the Britax because it felt too wide for me and I decided I probably wouldn't be going on any long journeys early on.

Eventually I decided on my Bugaboo, an extra hood, the bamboo baby cocoon and the Maxi Cosi Pebble carseat (with Isofix and adapters so it fits on the Bee).  It came to £930, but you could save a bit by going for the non limited edition items.  Shop around on the Maxi Cosi as there are good savings on RRP available.

 I have been very happy with this decision, but I'm now wondering...

10. What next?


As your baby becomes more mobile you might want to review your pushchair choice.  I'm currently wondering should I:

Stay with the Bugaboo Bee? If I keep using the Bee, and the British Summer continues the way it is I will need to replace the Cocoon with a footmuff.  I would love a Bugaboo footmuff, but at £95 they are expensive.  A cheaper alternative would be to get a universal non Bugaboo design.  John Lewis do some lovely footmuffs for only £25, although obviously it wont fit quite as well. If the Summer is going to stop being so miserable I could get a seat liner instead to keep the seat clean.  These cost £40.


Babywear more?  I can use the Bugaboo when I want a pushchair and use a baby carrier the rest of the time.  These fold up far smaller than the most compact stroller.   The more I babywear the more I love the convenience and the closeness.  I think carrying the extra weight is making me fitter as well (not that I can really feel the weight in a well designed carrier).


Get a lightweight, umbrella stroller?  The weight of the Bee doesn't worry me. At 8.5kg the Bee weighs in at the lighter end of the pushchair scale.  In comparison Silver Cross Surf weighs 7.5kg (chassis only, it's unclear what the comparative option weight is), iCandy Peach 10kg, Britax B Smart 12kg and Phil & Ted's Vibe V2 12kg.  The Maclaren Techno XLR which is at the heavier end of the lightweight stroller market weighs 7.5kg, but their most basic stroller (Volo) weighs only 4kg.
The reason a stroller appeals to me is to have something that will fold (like an umbrella) and take up as small a space as possible.  It would be particularly useful when we go on holiday so we have more space in the car for essentials like toys and shoes for me.

I don't think I'm ready to give up my beloved Bugaboo yet.  Does everyone have a bond with their first pushchair? Or is just me?


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