buying your first pushchair
Baby basics

What to consider before buying your first pushchair

Buying your first pushchair or pram is a major decision and investment. Follow this advice to help you make an informed choice.

Shopping for your new baby is an exciting, but also daunting experience – there is so much equipment to buy with so many different products to choose from. One of the biggest purchases you will make for your baby are the pram or/and pushchair. Make sure that you do your homework before you hit the shops, as it will really help if you know exactly what types/brands you’re looking for. These pointers below will be helpful for first-time parents or those wishing to upgrade.

Prams and pushchairs

The pram or stroller is probably one of the most essential pieces of baby equipment you will buy. There are many factors to consider before you make that all important purchase. Narrow down your choices with the following advice. Being able to differentiate between the options will make it easier for you to make a decision.

A pushchair is generally a sturdy model. The seat should be able to fully recline and be either forward facing or facing you. Suitable for both newborns and older babies, some can also fold flat.

A pram is similar to a pushchair and usually designed for newborns and younger babies, when they are also lying down. Prams are quite sturdy too but cannot be folded down flat.

A stroller is lightweight and usually collapsible. They are suited to older babies.

A buggy can be a pushchair or a stroller, depending on the manufacturer.

According to Which?, the best three options for a newborn are:

  1. From-birth seat – this is a pushchair seat that reclines to 150° or more.
  2. Pram format – some pushchair seats can convert to a pram format by unclipping or unzipping the fabrics.
  3. Carrycot – it’s best for babies to sleep on a firm horizontal base, so if you’re expecting to use the pushchair for lengthy daytime naps, or whole afternoons in the park, choose one that can take a carrycot. Most pushchairs come with a carrycot option, attached either straight onto the seat or by adaptors.

It’s best to wait until babies are around six-months old, or when they start to sit up on their own, before you use a pushchair seat in its most upright position. Travel systems, with multiple seat recline positions, can be used from birth with the seat in its lowest position (or a carrycot). Older babies and toddlers can then use the seat in its most upright position.

buying your first pushchair

Strollers, or buggies, are a lightweight and basic version of a pushchair. Some can only be used with older babies and toddlers, from six-months old, as they don’t recline far enough to be used from birth. Some models can be used with an accessory pack to turn them into a from-birth pram.

Consider

  • Handlebar height: Make sure that the handlebar height is easily adjustable so that it is comfortable for all who use the pushchair.
  • Folding: It’s really important that the pushchair can be easily folded – if you drive a car you’ll be doing this every day to get it into the boot so make sure it’s easy to do. Try it out in the store before you buy.
  • Shopping basket size: It’s always good to have a big shopping basket underneath the pushchair that allows easy access and features strong sides.
  • Is it comfortable for baby? Is the pushchair or pram padded? Will my baby be secure?
  • Is it easy to use? This is an essential point. Make sure that it is easy to push and manoeuvre. Check the brake pedals are easy to find and to apply.
  • Is it travel seat compatible? If you are a regular car user, then it’s worth being able to transfer your baby from the pushchair to the car without waking them up. You can purchase adaptors that can fit your car seat onto certain models of pushchairs. However, babies should not be confined to their car seat for long periods of time as it can increase the risk of SIDS.

Newborn safety

It is really important that your pram or pushchair can facilitate the needs of your newborn. Newborn babies need to lie back and not be sitting upright. The pram or pushchair must have a lie back facility.

Mum’s tip

“As someone who is tall, I needed a pram that was comfortable for me to push and was sturdy as I walk a lot. I also needed a pram that would serve me until baby no longer needed to be pushed around. I love my pram still to this day.”

  • Kacy Downes

More like this:

Self folding pram? Yes, please!
Choosing the right pushchair for you and baby
Top information for using public transport with baby

ASK LUCY

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….

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Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

A
In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.