When you find out you’re pregnant, there are so many things that cross your mind. Will I have a boy or a girl? What should I name my baby? Which hospital should I have my baby at? In some cases, which country should I have my baby in? What pushchair should I buy? Will I used cloth diapers or disposable?
Funnily enough, after speaking to many friends, one of the toughest decisions is deciding on a pushchair. There are so many great ones out there at the moment. I always had a name I loved but when deciding on a pushchair, I spent countless hours researching, reading reviews, watching Youtube demos and visiting stores to see how each and every one worked. Quite honestly I drove myself mad and in the end I don’t even think I made the right choice!!
So to help you along a little, here are some tips on picking the right pushchair. For me, the three most important things were:
1. It had to face both ways as I wanted to be able to see S when I was pushing him along.
2. It needed to be lightweight.
3. I needed to be able to fold it easily.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on a pushchair:
1. What sort of terrain will I be using it on?
2. How important is it for me to have a bassinet/carrycot with my pushchair?
3. Will I be on my own a lot or will there always be someone to help me with it?
4. Do I have a lift or will I need to be able to lift the pushchair up stairs?
5. Do I want it to be compatible with my car seat?
6. Do I want it to be able to convert into a double in the future?
7. Is it important to me that my baby is parent facing for the first few months?
8. Will I be travelling frequently?
9. How big is my car? Will the pushchair of my choice fit in my booth?
10. Do I want to be able to jog with it? Suspension then is very important.
Now you see how complicated it can get? I used to think maybe I am overthinking things but having spoken to a few mummy friends about it, I think the dilemma of finding the perfect pushchair is on all mama’s minds and funnily enough, I’ve read that a) most people make the wrong choice the first time round and b) the average number of pushchairs owned by a family is apparently 4!!
Here is a round up of some of the best pushchairs (in no particular order) and why:
1. Maclaren – The good ol’ Maclaren, almost every parent has one. Even if it wasn’t their first pushchair, it becomes one that they buy later on as their child grows and they want something lightweight or if they are travelling and want one that folds down umbrella style. The Quest and the Volo are the two popular lightweight choices, followed by the Techno XT and the Techno XLR. I always thought of Maclaren’s as only being forward facing and so a great option for when your child is 6 months+ and not before that (at least for me). Until I discovered the carrycot for the Techno XLR. This can be bought separately and it fits onto the seat of your pram, leaving your child parent facing. Suitable from birth, this pram most definitely grows with your child. Maclaren’s don’t break the bank and they are quite reliable as far as pushchairs go. The Techno XLR retails for approx. £230 but the carrycot needs to be bought separately. It comes with a rain cover, has an extended sun cover, a foot muff, a pram liner and comes in a variety of fab colours.
2. Bugaboo – Bugaboo’s are relatively new to the pushchair market and now they are all the rage. Almost every second pram in a mall in London is a Bugaboo. The most popular being the Bee, given it’s urban chicness. It’s lightweight, easy to steer, grows with your child, is suitable from birth and comes in a range of colours. The seat can face both ways, the pram folds down quite compactly and can be done one handed. The Bee retails at approx. £500 and you’ll also need to buy the cocoon to make it suitable from birth. This retails for approx. £70. It comes in a variety of pretty colours and designers like Missoni and Andy Warhol have also teamed up with Bugaboo to come out with limited edition Bee’s. Other options are the Chameleon (if you’d like the carrycot option), the Donkey (if you’re having twins or would just like the option of more basket space) and the Buffalo (an all terrain pushchair).
3. Baby Jogger City Mini – Funnily enough, in all my research, I never came across this one!! Go figure?! The BJCM is sturdy, easy to steer, super easy to fold (again, one handed) and good value for money. The only thing that would have put me off is the forward facing only position. But if you think that is something you can compromise on and you live in the city then this is the pushchair for you.
4. Uppababy – A bit like the Bugaboo, the Uppababy range of pushchairs have become quite popular in recent years. When I was pregnant with S, the one I had my heart set on was the Vista. However, after much deliberation, I realised it would be quite big for Hong Kong and so changed my mind. If I lived in London at the time, I think I definitely would have gone for that. The Vista has won several awards since it came out a few years ago. It comes with a carry cot, 2 raincovers, 2 SPF 50 sunshades, 2 insect nets and Maxi Cosi car seat adaptors. All this retails for approx. £630 which is good value considering how much you’re getting. The carry cot mattress is good enough for your child to use as a stand alone bassinet at home as well as out and about. When S was a few months old, Uppababy came out with the CRUZ pushchair. It’s a compact stroller solution that doesn’t compromise on the features of it’s big brother the VISTA. It’s suitable from birth (with a carrycot), compatible with a Maxi Cosi car seat, has a great canopy for those sunny days and their USP is most definitely the size of their basket.
5. Mama’s & Papa’s – M&P’s carry a huge range of pushchairs, I could go on forever if I had to go into each individual one. Essentially I found that many of their pushchairs were inspired by existing models in the market. The Mylo reminded me of the Stokke and the new Armadillo is very similar to the Bee. M&P’s thrive on great products at decent prices. I actually ended up buying a Sola, used it a few times before I realised I wouldn’t be able to manage it alone in Hong Kong without any help. Although the seat faces both ways, the pram only folds down with the seat forward facing which gets annoying very quickly. The sola retails for approx. £340 but look out for deals because M&P’s are always adding on their Aton car seat at a bargain.
6. The BABYZEN Yoyo Stroller – Why oh why was this not available when S was born? The BABYZEN Yoyo was created by 5 French individuals who probably thought “Why on earth are we carrying our babies around in big, bulky, difficult to fold pushchairs?” It is a lightweight stroller that offers spectacular folding, a smooth ride and a sleek design. It is the perfect pushchair for city dwellers and frequent travellers. If I’m not mistaken, it is the only pushchair you can actually take on a flight with you because it closes down small enough to fit in the overhead compartment. Now that is small!!
There are lots more pushchairs out there – Graco, Quinny, Icandy, Stokke, etc but I think the line needs to be drawn somewhere and above are my top choices.
For my readers who live in Hong Kong, the Combi is a great option. To be perfectly honest, I was never a fan initially but having lived in Hong Kong and realising how un-pram-friendly it is, the combi is super super lightweight, folds down one handed, steers easily and the new ones even face both ways. My only reservation would be the small (and somewhat un-sturdy) wheels but many Combi users reassure me that this isn’t an issue.
What pushchair do you use and are you happy with it?