My adventures into Motherhood
My best friend is embarking on that crazy descent into Motherhood, currently she is at 16 weeks and looking for a pram. She emailed me to ask my advice and because she lives in Australia, I had to think long and hard about what I should tell her. Upon a little net-vestigation, I discovered that there are a whole bunch of different brands available in Oz, and the ones that seem to be popular in the UK are at the ludicrous end of the price scale. $1500AUD for a Bugaboo??!?!?! A pram is, of course, a major investment and a key piece of baby equipment that needs to withstand daily brutal use. If there’s anything that annoys you about your pram, it will drive you crazy because it’ll be in your face giving you buyers remorse every time you take it out. Luckily I still love my Bugaboo Bee, despite its wobbly wheel syndrome, (it didn’t need to have it’s wheels recalled though) and I simply keep some stuff in the under-basket to adjust the wheel balance weight. Not a problem considering that in London, you always need to take your rain cover out with you – just in case.
So, no matter what climate you live in, here is my refined set of considerations for thorough pram road-testing before you make that all important purchase:
Where are you going with your pram? I live in London, cobblestones are a real concern for me, hence all wheel individual suspension is handy. But if you like long walks through nature’s tough terrain, then bigger wheels and a wide stable pram chassis are probably going to better. Also, I’m pro-rubber wheels – ain’t nothing worse than the horrible clacking of plastic wheels on the pavement.
How will you get where you’re going with your pram? In the course of a normal Mummy-day, I usually only venture to the local shops, play groups, or to friends houses who live nearby. And I don’t own a car, so I have a small public transport pram. I can even fit the whole pram in the back of a black cab without needing to disturb Sofia and fold the pram down. But most people have a car, and so your folded pram needs to fit in the car boot, and hopefully leave you enough room for shopping, luggage, emergency supplies, spare tire etc.
How and where will you store your pram? If you have limited storage space, you may need to store your pram folded down. Does this mean you have to completely unpack it and take it apart, or can it still fold down with some things in the basket? A lot of London flats have stairs (not everyone can have a ground floor flat), so you might have to lift the seat or bassinet part off, and carry the baby up while the chassis part stays downstairs by the front door.
Know how to use your pram by yourself? Is it easy for you to fold it up and down, change the seat position, recline it, adjust the straps, re-attach the hood, clip on the accessories, put up the rain/sun cover, steer with one hand, foot brake or hand brake, reach into the basket with your child’s dangling legs in the way…..
How does it handle fully-packed? When you test-drive your pram choices in the store, take along a full backpack and/or some shopping, because a fully-loaded pram handles quite differently to an empty one. This will give you a real feel for what it will be like trying to manuevere, dodge, turn and lift your chosen pram with a growing baby and all it’s associated kit, without capsizing the pram or tripping over the shopping. Also, what about your change bag? Check out whether you’ll be able to hang your pram bag (does it have pram clips?) on the handles because no-one wants to be the mule who has to carry that portable kitchen sink around. And get your partner/husband to try out the different handle heights and stride space. It’s important that Daddy feels good about pushing the pram too, if we want them to do it often.
Bassinet and car seat required? If you’re using a car seat often, then perhaps having a pram that has car seat adaptors to clip the seat on will be handy and means less baby-handling (read: sleep disturbing) for you. Likewise, some of the pram seats can only be used from 6 months onwards because they don’t lie flat, meaning you’ll need a bassinet attachment as well. These all singing, all dancing prams are called ‘Travel systems’.
What to do with number two? If you’re thinking about having another while your first is still in ‘I need to be pushed around’ territory, then consider whether your pram can adapt to take another seat. Or perhaps you can add on a buggy board for older toddlers. Or maybe you’ll trade-up when the time comes, so perhaps you want a first pram that will hold it’s value for resale.
Accessories? Is it hot or cold where you live? If it’s hot, then you’re looking for UV sun protection in your sun cover or parasol, and mesh panels for air flow. If it’s cold, then consider the cost of snuggly footmuffs (much better than blankets which they can kick off), and rain cover. Then there’s space for toy attachment, phone holder, cup holder……..Some of these are included in the price but it pays to check what you’ll need because this could be a price leveller between some different pram models.
Happy pram-hunting Kylie! Can’t wait to see what you get 🙂