Predictably one of the areas Ste really wanted to get involved with when preparing for Hector’s arrival was in the choosing and testing of various pushchairs and travel systems. Perhaps it’s a man thing since so many of my friends reported similar behaviour when they were expecting. Have you experienced the same?
Regardless it’s a bewildering and confusing world out there…Which model to go for? Does it have suspension? How big do you really need your basket to be? And how many seconds does it take to put the damn thing away in your boot after a day’s shopping? Over the next few months the Rock My Family team will be sharing their experiences of their own pushchairs and buggies, their likes and dislikes in the hopes of helping you navigate your way through to travel system paradise.
We started looking at pushchairs and prams quite early on in my pregnancy, mainly because I wanted to investigate as many of the options on offer before the bump got too big for me to trial and test to my satisfaction. Given that I’d be using it 80% of the time it was important to me that it was suited to my ergonomic needs; I didn’t want to struggle along with a pram that looked great but which was too cumbersome and unwieldy for me to deal with on a day to day basis.
I wouldn’t have said I was a difficult customer; in that I mean I didn’t have a huge wish list per se. We didn’t know what we were having so I wanted a pushchair that was fairly neutral in colour. I was also keen to purchase a fully inclusive travel system (without the need for additional and costly converters) that would grow with the baby i.e. one that came with a car seat, a pram and pushchair component which I could flip around depending on whether he wanted to face me or face out, lie down or sit up.
50% of my friends own Bugaboos and rate them highly but I just found them positioned too low down for comfort; we also looked at Stokke which I loved from an aesthetic perspective but which I found unbearably heavy and that was without a growing baby strapped in. One of the first travel systems we looked at was the Silver Cross Surf 2 which was a box ticker in many ways but was just a bit on the small side for me; looking back I think the storage basket underneath just wasn’t big enough.
It was actually a very lovely salesman in John Lewis that clarified things for us when it seemed like it was all about to get too much. He suggested that we focus on our lives right now, what we did and didn’t do. There was no need he said to have ‘all-terrain wheels and suspension’ if we didn’t go off-road now because we sure as hell weren’t going to with a baby in tow. And he was right. Sometimes I think we get suckered into the marketing gimmicks especially when it comes to all things baby; after all we want to give them the very best we can afford don’t we.
Once we’d taken a step back and re-evaluated we landed on The Silver Cross Wayfarer which not only met my requirements from a weight perspective but also came with a separate carrycot (perfect for newborns) and pushchair seat unit supplied as standard. All we needed was to purchase the Simplicity car seat which incidentally slots easily onto the pushchair chassis if you want to take baby from car to shops without the faff of strapping and unstrapping from car seat to pushchair.
Anthony is a real stickler for research. He likes to know all he details so he can make an informed choice. Whereas I am a bit more if-it-does-the-job-im-happy kind of girl. I guess that’s why we work so well together.
Cue needing to buy a travel system for the then impending arrival of Leo. Anthony took charge, reading reviews, checking Which to find out what was best recommended for our situation. Which at the time was a city centre apartment. A mom without a car and a large dog to walk a minimum of two times a day. Therefore we needed something compact that would easily fit in the apartment, that had good wheels for all the walking and that would be super comfortable to take Leo from birth to where we are now.
Enter the Sola from Mamas & Papas. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl and I didn’t want anything too boring so we went for the purple option. We got the car seat and the main ‘chair’. We didn’t go for the carry cot as at the time it felt like an unnecessary spend when the main chair could lie virtually flat and he could go in it from birth if we didn’t want to use the car seat too much.
It comes with some really lovely choices of liners, foot muffs and parasols.
I have been thrilled with it. And the thing that makes me most happy is that he can still get great use out of it. Leo is a big toddler, he is 2 and a half but currently wears clothes for between the ages of 3 to 5 and so the fact that he can still sit, and lie comfortably in it is an absolute winner.
There has been a newer version launched since we got ours with some good improvements. The two major differences are that the rear wheels have been given added bearings for a smoother ride and makes it easier to push with the option to upgrade to the multi terrain wheels if you like and the basket has been made bigger too. These things can only be a bonus.
The full travel system is currently on offer at £329.
I also purchased a buggy buddy to help with carrying shopping as there are no ‘handles’ as such on the sola.
Are any of you currently in the process of choosing your pram or pushchair? What have you found interesting/difficult/frustrating about the whole process? Why not tell us all about it in the comments box below…
Images by Little Beanies