They don’t call them pushchairs…

I always knew motherhood would have its challenges. Sleepless nights, lack of spontaneity, passport gathering dust (I’m stopping here before I depress myself). What I didn’t realise was that I’d wish I had a degree in mechanical engineering as well.

After procrastinating for weeks, and pretending that ripping pages out of magazines counted as research, it was finally time to take on the challenge of the travel system. Yes, part 1 was the realisation that it’s not just about a pushchair or buggy, it’s about finding one which will work with a car seat and a carrycot – unless it can also go flat – plus several seating positions, plus fitting into the boot of our compact car, plus being able to fold it up in less than an hour without using a diagram.

Given that I’m the kind of person who weeps in frustration over flat-pack furniture instructions, this doesn’t bode well. But ignoring it wasn’t about to make it go away, so I set aside an evening, cornered my husband, and settled down for some intensive research. This, of course, is only for the everyday one. I haven’t even begun to think about travel versions apart from harbouring a vague unspecified nagging dread.

My husband, incidentally, knows every specification and detail of every car ever. Really, I’m not exaggerating. But when I rattled through the list of what we needed to consider, the blood drained from his face, his eyes glazed over and he looked plaintively at me as if I was talking an obscure Mongolian dialect. Bringing out a file of ripped out magazine pages and printed-off useful information from the internet may not have helped, admittedly. Nor did the discovery of what it’s going to cost.

First stop, Which? who thankfully have tested over 160 different options and give you all the facts and figures along with helpful tips on whether you can use flip-flops to flip the brake on and off, or if stairs or buses are the kind of thing you can even hope to contemplate. With 30+ best buys, there were still more than enough options to give us a shopping list of nine to test in real life. Advance warning – I suspect this may be the first of many buggy-related posts.

So far, the grand testing day, where I push a string of buggies round and round a shop before being led gently away for restorative cake, has been put off. But what I have discovered is that I’m eyeing up every buggy I see in a mildly-crazed way. Twice today, I was on the verge of going up to strangers, accosting them and asking if they rated theirs. So far, I’ve restrained myself but I suspect it’s only a matter of time. I’ve also discovered that if you live in the W4 postcode (I don’t), a Bugaboo is apparently essential after seeing the logo on around 90% of the buggies sweeping past.

It’s got me wondering though – what’s the etiquette of accosting people to ask about their buggy? And does anyone have any suggestions for an urban weakling, who intermittently wears flipflops and drives an unhelpfully small car?

8 thoughts on “They don’t call them pushchairs…

  1. If you want to travel with a baby, I would advise a sling, not a pushchair. We live in a first floor flat in London and so have a very light pushchair (Baby Jogger, suitable from birth, folds easily, is brilliant), however we soon abandoned it when trying to tackle public transport and now almost always use a sling. We’ve taken our daughter to the US and Europe in her sling and it’s so convenient. We used a Baby Bjorn at first, but they soon start to hurt your neck and back when the baby gets heavier, so now we use an Ergo and I can’t recommend it enough. My daughter now weighs 22lbs and it’s so comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, a pushchair is useful too, especially for local trips, but I would be lost without the sling. Congratulations on your pregnancy by the way!

    • Thanks – good point. Friends have lent us a sling and a Baby Bjorn so I’ll definitely be trying both of those out as well. But we’ll definitely need a car seat, and guessing I’ll need a buggy at least sometimes, so the hunt goes on… (And thanks for the congratulations as well!)

  2. I know markedly less about push chairs than you do, but a quick straw-poll round the parents in my office produced the following:

    1. Buy a cheap, second-hand collapsible pram on eBay. Flog it again after 6 months.
    2. But a very cheap collapsible buggy, as small and light as possible, for use around town/in shops/chucking in the car.
    3. If you’re going to do any serious walking anywhere, consider an expensive push chair with proper inflatable tyres, etc.

  3. Thanks – does seem the one-option-fits-all solution I was looking for may not exist (although the fewer things I have to buy, the better!). I suspect I shall be on eBay a lot over the coming months…

  4. I lived in a tiny condo in downtown Vancouver, the sidewalks are horrific, I used a BOB. Might be big, but I never folded it, just brought it right into our sons room. The thing is genius, the wheels are big and have shocks, so I never had problems with uneven sidewalks. The turning radius is brilliant! I actually use one had to push, the other leading our dog. I got in and out of lifts much better than friends with the bugaboo. I also have an Ergo, brilliant, but once your child wants to eat solids, you need a stroller. Plus, when they nap you can shop and run errands. I also have a small stroller for travel.

  5. After looking at the various complicated options in mothercare etc we went for the mothercare move- quite easy with a car seat that sits on the buggy frame, folds easily and light to push and manoeuvre. You can just stop using the carseat bit when they get too big and use it as pushchaiir (although we’re still in carseat mode!)

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