Buying for Baby: Where to start with Prams

Tuesday, 7 April 2009  |  Admin

There's no doubt about it, having a baby is probably the most life-changing thing you'll ever do. One day you're part of a couple with a cool back catalogue on your ipod, no cares in the world and the ability to just pop to the pub whenever you want (oh those heady days!).
One pink line later and you're trying to get your head around the fact that you're going to become a family of three. Now, I'm not even going to consider the emotional impact of that momentous change, or give any advice about mentally preparing for baby (well not at the moment anyway!) I thought I would start my new blog by sharing some of my tips on buying for baby - whilst minimising cost and your environmental impact too!
Lots of the big high street retailers publish baby buying lists which are as long as your arm and mostly unnecessary. As someone who has been there and done that (3 children later) I've made my fair share of mistakes in buying things which are completely inappropriate for us as a family either because of size or because I impulse bought.
Remember, the best way to save money (and the planet) is to use pre-loved baby equipment. Unfortunately we were the first amongst our friends to have babies, so we didn't get much handed down, but baby girl is the proud receiver of many, many bags of lovely girly clothes which I'm very grateful for. Obviously some things aren't suitable for passing on, but generally with a bit of a scrub and TLC most goods can be used again.
I'm going to kick off with the bigger bits of kit that you'll need to get the baby home from hospital: car seat and some sort of pram. We were very lucky when it came to our pram because my husbands lovely uncle (who is a design connoisseur) bought us a bugaboo frog when they were still very new in the UK. Although there's no denying it was expensive, it's now being used by no3 child 4 years later, so on a 'cost per use' basis, it's probably been relatively good value. I have friends who bought cheaper versions, but because of their weight and bulk they ended up not using them much and trading down to a maclaren type buggy fairly swiftly. On that note, most people do end up buying this sort of buggy at some stage, so if you're looking to economise, why not just go straight for a buggy suitable from birth immediately?
The first thing to consider when you're buying a buggy is how you're going to use it? Are you likely to be doing a lot of walking with it and want a light, easy to push model with pneumatic tyres? Is it going to be in and out of the car a lot? Is storage space an issue and you'd prefer an umbrella folding model? Other things to consider are:
How light and easy is it to push?How easily does it fold down for storage ?Where will you store it when it's folded?Will it fit in the car boot?If it's a double buggy, will it fit through the front door (and is it a problem if it doesn't?)
We've now also got an Out and About double buggy for using with the troublesome toddler and baby girl. It's VERY light and easy to push because of the pneumatic tyres but it's an absolute monster to store in the house as it's MASSIVE! It's also just a fraction too wide to push out of the house when it's open which means that I have to lift it out of the house, open it up and then set the children into it outside the house. It's a bit of a hassle, but I really wish I'd measured the front door before I bought it.
On a side note, if you're an urban fox bobbing about on the tube and buses, you might be better of with a sling or baby carrier. I'll talk about slings in another post, but it's worth considering.

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