The right pushchair to suit your lifestyle and your baby
It's hard not to feel like a beginner when you're shopping for that first pushchair. But we all feel like that when we're starting out, just keep in mind that lifestyle plays a big part in determining the right pushchair for you and your little one.
So first things first, what do you actually even need - if you're fully stumped head over to our beginners guide.
But hopefully our little explanation below will help you decipher the meaning of the words 'pushchair, pram, buggy & stroller' - so many words that all mean sort of the same thing. And you thought Eskimos went overkill with variations on 'snow'. Thankfully, we're here to simplify everything and focus on what matters - helping you find the pushchair which is best for your baby, your budget and your lifestyle, whether you like to hit the shops or tackle tougher terrains.
From the moment you bring your baby home, to the point where they're running around and climbing the furniture, a pushchair is an essential accessory when out and about. New and expectant parents often ask the same thing: “what’s the difference between a pram, a buggy and a pushchair?”. If we're being honest, these terms are often used interchangeably, but for clarity's sake there are key differences between them:
Traditionally, a pram (also known as a perambulator if you live life like it's 1920) is a four wheeled carriage designed especially for newborn babies, usually while they are lying flat. You can easily turn a pushchair into a pram if it has a lie-flat seat, or with the addition of a carrycot.
A folding chair with wheels, designed for a baby or small child to be pushed around while seated.
A stroller is a lightweight collapsable chair with wheels, most suited to toddlers and young children.
A pushchair with the ability to attach a car seat and/or a carrycot, usually the pieces are bought together.
With hundreds of pushchair brands, styles and features to choose from, finding the perfect pushchair can feel like a never-ending task, but don't despair, with so much choice, you're more likely to find one that's just right. To find one that's ideal, it’s recommended that you choose a pushchair that not only suits your baby’s needs but also your lifestyle, whether that's bus-hopping on public transport, taking baby hiking or long car journeys with your brood.
Manoeuvring a pushchair on and off a train, tube or bus can be a struggle, and an absolute nightmare for yourself and everyone around you, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If public transport is a part of your daily life, consider picking a pushchair that:
Is lightweight and foldable - making it easy to lift on and off public transport
Is small enough to push on a bus or train
Has large enough wheels so they won’t get stuck in gaps between the pavement or the platform
Fits in designated pushchair spaces and aisles on buses and trains
Although it’s important to choose a lightweight pushchair so it's easier to use on public transport, you need to remember that some buggies can only be used when your baby is able to sit unsupported (around the 6 months mark). Ever the demanding divas, newborn babies must travel in a laid back position for total comfort and support - meaning a pram or pushchair with a flat lying seat.
If your time is spent getting from A to B in a car, then a travel-system is the thing for you. Pushchair travel systems include an infant carrier (carrycot), a pushchair and a car seat, or a convertible pushchair and car seat. It's the best way to transport your baby from the car to your next destination without waking them. You simply click the car seat out, attach it to your pushchair chassis and off you go. It's worth looking out for pushchairs that:
Are car seat (and carrycot) compatible
Are light enough to lift in and out of a boot often
Can fold down to a compact size to take up as little boot space as possible
Before you go splashing your cash, remember to measure your boot to make sure your pushchair of choice can be accommodated without any hassle, and won’t up take up too much room when you do a big shop. Also, if you do decide to purchase a travel system, make sure that your baby car seat adheres to safety regulations. Follow our guide to choosing the perfect car seat.
If you live life in the fast lane, well, the bumpy lane, you'll need an all-terrain pushchair. All-terrain pushchairs are great for frequent strolls in the park, walking the dog, or a trip to the woods. They offer stability and adaptable handlebars for travelling in complete comfort. It's best to look out for pushchairs that include:
Large wheels to comfortably navigate different surfaces (three wheelers are a great choice)
Great suspension that can keep up with the twists and turns on a brisk morning jog or a hike
Adjustable handlebars to offer you greater comfort as you push
If you walk or hike a lot it’s best to avoid pushchairs with swivel wheels. Lockable wheels will make manoeuvring a pushchair a lot simpler regardless of a smooth pavement or rough ground. For full adaptability, you can go for a model that offers swivel and fixed wheel options.
If you’re already bringing up a little one and planning on adding a new edition to your family (we know, baby steps...) thinking about which pushchair you choose can save you time and money down the line. A pushchair that can be converted into a multi-child pushchair, or can adapt to additional features like an extra seat or stroller platform (so the big kid can come along for the ride) is ideal. Then you're ready to go as soon as your new arrival makes an appearance.
If you are expecting twins, you won't get far without a double, tandem or convertible pushchair. Each one breaks down like this:
Twin pushchairs allow your babies to sit side by side
Tandem pushchairs place one child in-front of the next for a narrow, longer frame
Convertible pushchairs let you add an additional seat on at a later date (some even replace a seat with a shopping basket)
Twin or double pushchairs allow your little ones sit next to each other making the pushchair carriage much wider (though the best ones still manage to be quite compact). If this is an issue for getting around in daily life, tandem pushchairs allow you to travel with your little ones sitting one behind the other. With new pushchair innovations, there are a number of styles that allow for your child to face you, look out to the world or have a combination of both.
Hopefully we've given you some different options to consider, and make a mountain of information not seem so, well, mountainous. At Mamas & Papas we stock over 400 pushchairs, strollers and buggies, from trusted quality brands like Bugaboo and Maxi-Cosi to our own brand pushchairs which combine practicality and style to match your lifestyle. And if your choice is dictated by budget alone, then have you considered second hand?