The beginner's guide to buying a pushchair - from birth
Choosing the right pushchair is not as simple as it sounds. There's an array of different options out there from 3-in-1s to off-roaders and it's worth taking a bit of time considering the right one for you.
- Forward facing pushchair. Can have a lie back facility suitable for newborn. Four wheels, lightweight and manoeuvrable, though some are lighter and more manoeuvrable than others.
- Two-in-one. Can be used as an upright buggy or lie flat like a pram. Some give you the option of having your child facing you (which is a bonus in the first few months).
- Three-in-one. As above, but with a separate detachable carrycot.
- Travel System. A regular pram/pushchair, sometimes with carrycot option, but also with a clip-on car seat. Great for keeping a baby asleep when transferring from or to the car - but remember that newborns should not spend too much time in a car seat and watch out for weight, portability, manoeuvrability and cost.
- Three wheeler. Looks cool and great if you live near countryside or the beach. Easy to steer with one hand. Not usually recommended from birth - although attachments are available to overcome this - and may be heavy and too bulky for some car boots when folded.
- Old-fashioned upright pram. Comfy for baby and keeps the grandparents happy - but how long before your child outgrows it (as early as three months babies are very keen to look out and about) and where the heck are you going to store it?
- The stroller or buggy. Lightweight and robust, many of them are not suitable from birth, but a few are. The best ones have easy one-hand fold mechanisms. Watch out for tiny, inaccessible, or non-existent shopping baskets and lack of comfort - suspension and padding - particularly for winter babies.
Things to consider when choosing a from-birth pushchair
Some of these may seem obvious, but it's worth really thinking about your needs and lifestyle before you buy. If you regularly use public transport or live up or down stairs, weight and portability will probably be key for you. Some makes weight in at around 5kgs - so even the most petite of users should manage to lift them - while others seem to weigh a ton. If you think you'll need to hop on and off a bus, think hard before investing in anything that can't be folded one-handed and/or can't fit into a decidedly stingy space. Equally if you drive, you need a pushchair that fits easily in the boot of your car. If you walk a lot you'll be doing a lot of shopping with your pushchair, so look for roomy and sturdy shopping baskets.
New babies need to be able to lie flat for at least the first three months. Until they can support their heads fully (around six months) they won't be fantastically comfortable being bolt upright, so look out for multiple seat positions and comfort ratings. Here's one reviewer's take on the comfort issue: "There is a theory that you can keep a baby in a sling for the first three months, then you don't need to buy a 'from birth' pushchair and can move straight to an umbrella-fold lightweight. That may work for some but for me the reality was that my son was soon too heavy to carry around, but still too young to sit up."
These include hoods, rain covers, cosytoes (sleeping bag-type things that attach to the pushchair straps and stay on better than blankets), additional shopping baskets, matching changing bags etc. Extras that aren't included can push up the price considerably (and be warned: if a pushchair is eye-wateringly pricey, chances are its optional extras are eye-wateringly expensive too). According to mumsnet reviewers some are more worthwhile than others. A cosytoes for a winter baby seems to be a must, as is a raincover that's easy to attach (summer or winter babies sadly). We have our doubts about the necessity of a changing bag that matches the pram cover - but you might feel differently!
Last updated: over 1 year ago