The Pram. The pushchair, the buggy, whatever you want to call it, WILL be one of the most important purchases you make for your little bundle. For me, personally, it's one of the most exciting parts of becoming a new parent. Some people get excited about going shopping for cars, some people get excited about going shopping for an outfit for a night out. Me, I am a pram FREAK!!
It's a bloody good job I haven't won the lottery in my life, I would have a garage just for prams! One for everyday of the week!
When your looking for your first pram, there are a few considerations you need to think about before you even set foot into the shop. One, budget. Prams can range from anything from £100 for an entire travel system, to around £2000 for the latest carbon-fibre design. You need to work out a budget that is suitable for you. Secondly, do you want a travel system? This basically consists of a pram/pushchair with a compatible car seat that, can some how, attach itself to the either the bare chassis, or the seat unit. A lot of models have a removable seat unit and the car seat can just 'click' into place. This is especially useful for very short journeys, such as a quick trip to the supermarket, as baby does not need to be disturbed or woken in the transfer from the car to the pram.
When you first take that anxious step into the pram shop, it can seem very overwhelming. The different models, different colours and the enthusiastic sales women throwing themselves at you in the vain hope of sales commision. It can be very daunting. If you go in just to browse, tell them so. Say your just getting a general idea of what styles you like, and that you are not ready to make a decision. But, on the other hand, if you want thier advice, ask for it. Don't be afraid to ask about all the different functions, and the companies track record for customer service. Some companies are notorious for being known as having bad customer service, some are the exact opposite.
So, your standing there, completely clueless about what you need. What can you invisage yourself doing on a daily basis when baby is born?? Will you be taking casual trips into town to meet friends and go shopping? If so, you may need something fairly lightweight and manouverable, swivel wheels are a good feature for this purpose. If your planning on taking trips out into the countryside, or frequent activities such as dog walking, you will need a pram that can cope with off-road terrain, and maybe something fairly robust. You can get a lot of pushchairs that have extra suspension and inflatable tyres that can help with this. A nippy little buggy is probably not the best idea for these types of activities, as the small wheels can get stuck between rocks and in mud. Perhaps you want something ultra-comfy for baby, and would like to use the pram for basic trips to the shop and round to friends? There are a lot of traditional style chassis' that are compatible with a large carrycot, these tend to be sprung quite well, well padded and are ideal for use in the home as a napper, as well as outside. All carrycots are very useful as it is more comfortable to lie a newborn flat, and they do tend to be well padded. Some pushchairs profess to lay flat but in actual fact, most of them lay at a minimum 10 degree angle.
My personal experiences with prams have been as followed. During my pregnancy with Erica, we decided to purchase a Mamas and Papas o3 sport pushchair, with a matching car seat that can be used as a travel system. Its sporty design and cool black chassis looked fairly modern, and as it was a 3 wheeled pram with air-filled tyres, it was going to be very useful for our planned weekend walks. It also pushed like a dream! So smooth and manouverable. In reality, I hadn't prepared for the fact that it was heavy and quite long, and did tend to take the skin off the back of peoples legs if they walked in front of me and I couldn't stop in time. It wasn't ideal for what I actually needed it for. Yes, I had previously thought about our country walks, but i hadnt considered how it would move round a very busy Boots!
So, I bought a Silver Cross 3d Pramette. It was still fairly heavy, but I loved the fact that Erica could lay flat and I could still see her. It manouvered well, and was uber-stylish, and the pushchair was well padded. I loved it. Ericas dad, however, did not. He much preffered the sporty, 'manly' design of the o3 sport. But with both of our needs covered, we were happy.
That was until, Erica became about a year old, and pushing a heavy pram and a small toddler was a little bit of a challenge. So, we decided to buy a lightweight buggy. And after being so happy with the performance of the Silver Cross, we bought the Silver Cross Pop buggy. We were stood there in Babies 'r' us, talking over how to fold it up and down with an assistant, when Erica dramatically wriggles out of her pram straps and falls out, and her head hit the floor with a stomach-curdling thud. Baby head on marble does NOT sound nice! So, I scoop her up, shes fine, but screaming. Im terribly embarrased, and the assistant just looks on in sheer horror! Needless to say we paid for the buggy and left pretty sharpish! Kids really do know the exact times to do these things!
Handy hint, If your child is figuring out how to wriggle out of thier straps, try crossing them over in an X shape and its pretty damn impossible!
My most recent purchase when it comes to prams, is the latest model from the british company, iCandy. The peach. I chose this purely because I needed something with a carrycot, and a compatible car seat, and also because I'm able to push it one handed (a vital feature with a toddler!). Ive fallen in love with its super cool chrome design and bright colours. For me, its the Porsche of prams!
The most important rule, is just to put a lot of time and effort into your pram choice. You do not want to spend your babys first year dreading every outing. You WILL get what you need out of a pram on any budget too, it can sometimes take some searching, but you're pram is out there. Have a great time looking for it!