Baby in a buggy

Stuff: Buggy / pushchair / pram / stroller

Buggies come in all shapes and sizes; work out carefully what you need, if you need one at all. 

What is it?

A seat that you can push your baby around in, sitting or lying down, facing you or facing out into the world.

Do I need one?

Not necessarily. Depending on your situation, you can probably just use a sling as they are easier 95% of the time – your baby is closer and therefore happier, you’re hands-free, and you don’t feel like you’re trying to manoeuvre a tank. That said, I’m not against buggies as such – I have one and have used one, though I was very lucky in that I was lent one by a dear friend. Some of my favourite small people have sepnt a lot of time in that buggy and it’s dear to my heart. However, I think that, in my situation, I’d have regretted having paid for one.

What about multiple children?

Personally, I think this is where the sling/buggy combo comes into its own, but that’s because double buggies scare me. But double buggies and even triple buggies are available. You can have your kids side by side,behidn each other, on top of one another, or even facing each other. Here’s an article on Stroller Envy discussing the different kinds.

How do I get one?

First work out what you need from a buggy. For example:
  • Do you have stairs and need one that will cope with them?
  • Do you need a lot of storage space inside it?
  • Does it need to fold up tiny for a small car?
  • Are you concerned about how heavy it will be?
  • Do you need it to be fitted to a wheelchair or any other kind of adaptation?
Think about what you really need then research some models, then you can start to look around. There’s no reason not to buy a second hand buggy, but I’d advise somewhere where you can test drive it, rather than buying one sight unseen: Is it a smooth ride? Does it adjust to your height ok? (A tiny adjustment can influence the effect is has on your back – here’s an article from Luck’s Yard that discusses correct posture when pushing a buggy.)

How much are they?

Not to be cliched, but how long is a piece of string? Buggy prices vary madly. If you’re definitely getting a buggy, I’d say it’s worth getting the best you can afford. Having one that you can manoeuvre easily and that your baby’s comfy in is well worth it – and it’s more likely to hold resale value, once you’ve washed the banana off it.

What makes some more expensive?

Manoeuvrability is a big one. Mine had a great little kick switch thing at the bottom that turned it into a single-wheeled device that was *much* easier for taking up and down stairs. It’s also about the way they carry and distribute the weight and therefore how smoothly they push along.

Some buggies are part of travel systems that hook up into car seats easily, and many are like transformer robots – changing shape to carry up steps, like mine, slotting up particularly small for transportation, moving to face forward or backwards (Preliminary research seems to suggest it’s better for babies to face their parents, at least when they’re very small.)

 Decent lightweight ones can be pricier than a heavier alternative. Then there’s the comfort of the seat itself – fabric quality, softness and suspension – and what accessories come included.

What are the safety considerations?

They’re similar to the ones for cots etc – it’s basically all about making sure your baby won’t get smothered or stuck. Make sure you’re using a newborn insert when your baby is small, and read the instructions carefully.

What’s the alternative?

Wear your baby in a sling. If you’re going to practice lazy parenting, you’ll need one anyway – so avoiding having a buggy means one less piece of clutter.

Accessories

Oh there are loads. I was quite taken with the cup holder and umbrella/parasol holder on mine. The big things you’ll want to think about, though, are a raincover and buggy muffle, and/or sunshade, depending on your climate. You also get lots of toys and books that clip on.
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