12 things you need to know before you buy a pram
Shopping for a baby carriage may appear to be a walk in the park at a glance but don’t be fooled, it could very well be an extremely confusing venture unless you know exactly what you want beforehand.
I mentioned in my earlier post,the newborn baby essential checklist on a budget, the big things, that the big things, basically refer to those baby essentials that take up space, that are expensive and are one-time expenses.
Not a walk in a park
On the surface, a pram, a pushchair, a buggy, or a stroller is simply a four-wheel moble e device with a handle used to push babies around. Although in reality, they vary in feature, style, size, weight, and price, people sometimes refer to them co-terminously. As a result, they can be a little confusing to a first-time buyer.
Without a prior knowledge of the differences between them, you could be headed for a very frustrating shopping experience. As important as knowing the differences, is to know which is most suitable for you and your baby.
In a more general sense, not every new mum would need to use a pram or stroller to move baby around, typically because of her environment and cultural preferences.
But if you live in a society where pushchairs are a staple, then it’s important to be guided on how to go about getting them as they are not only a necessity but can be pricey too.
Before we talk about the 12 things you need to know before you buy any of them, let me tell you about my personal experience. And please note that I will be using the terms pram, buggy, pushchair and stroller interchangeably.
My Stroller Story…
I used to take my nephew, George, for a walk occasionally in a stroller when I was a teenager. In my part of the globe, there is no real necessity for strollers save for some expatriates and a few others who used to strut around the Government Reservation Area (GRA) pushing their babies in strollers or prams in the evenings, years and years ago. Otherwise, it isn’t really a common practice due to our town planning peculiarities.
I had no need for a pram or stroller for my first two children except when I went away on holidays. Even then, I was always offered one to use. I never really bothered to ask questions, because it served its purpose and was such a relief. After my visits, I would return to my town planning challenged city.
As expected, I was largely uneducated in matters of pushchairs affairs until I had my third baby. It was only then that; I was introduced into the mazy world of shopping for a stroller.
A Stroller Novice
Being a stroller novice, meant that I didn’t buy one until after my baby was born. Mainly because I was unaware of the differences in features and styles. I also had the erroneous belief that I could just pick up a baby moving device from a shop and be as happy as Larry.
But I remembered that the stroller had no extra accessories. It had no rain cover or a foot muff, nonetheless I was happy because it was light and easy to maneuver and could fold with ease. And I was consoled by the fact that mine was a walk in the park compared to my friend’s one.
The Red and Black Pushchair(TRBP)
My friend had a bulky red and black pushchair (TRBP) I wouldn’t forget in a hurry! It was big and heavy, and the wheels had a mind of their own. They would never go in the direction you wanted them to.
While mine was easy to use and was suitable for bus and train travel, the reverse was the case for TRBP.
It was a nightmare. It would hardly ever go through narrow doorways. It was bulky, difficult to maneuver and always on the way whenever she came over fo a visit.
Her pushchair was a battle for anyone else to use. Her husband had a tough time dealing with it. We all heaved a sigh of relief when she finally got rid of it. With this experience, you would think, I had learned my lesson but like they say, old habits never die!!!
Old habits never die!!!
10 years after that in 2010, I had my fourth and last baby. You would think I had learned my lesson, right? No!
This time, I was worse. Like the last time, I didn’t buy my stroller early. Thankfully, a good friend of mine, came to my rescue.
She got me a buggy. She got it from a friend, who got it from another friend. To be exact, we didn’t know how it came about. Anyway, I was desperate at that point and was willing to make do with anything. I was practically immobile, I needed something to move around, especially to attend my postnatal appointments.
As expected with this buggy, it was the same old story, an embarrassment, more or less.
The Buggy called Embarrassment
I named the buggy, Embarrassment. It was a bad buggy! It had the two terrible traits; difficult to use and a very cranky personality. One day, I would figure it out. The next day, we would act like strangers. We soon entered into a predictable pattern that continued for a while until one winter day.
One Winter Day
I went out to do some pre-Christmas shopping when Embarrassment decided to throw its usual tantrums. I had been patient and tolerant for a long time but on this particular occasion, something inside of me snapped. I had had enough.
Thankfully, I was in a shopping mall, so I walked into a shop and without a plan, budget, product knowledge or lifestyle considerations, I got myself a new stroller within a price range I could afford.
I wasn’t sure of the features or the extra accessories it had. I didn’t know what to ask for, neither did I have any particular preference. At that stage, anything but Embarrassment would do, I was desperate.
After I made the purchase,I politely asked the shop assistant, to kindly dispose of Embarrassment while I rolled out with my spanking new stroller in a victorious swag, my baby fast asleep in it.
I faced a fresh set of challenges with my new stroller. Despite that the price seemed right, I made the mistake of not checking to see what I was paying for.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t suitable for my six weeks old baby as the seat didn’t recline as far back as I had expected.
Not only that, it didn’t come with any additional accessories like a rain cover or a foot muff. As a result, I had to spend extra money for a rain cover and lost quite a few blankets along the way because my baby always kicked them off.
Another thing was that, although it was easy to maneuver, fold and move around in the city, the wheels started acting up. The brakes soon followed. They would be stiff one day, okay the next. The tires also began to eat away.
Lost and forgotten
To cut a long story short, I forgot the stroller in a busy airport one day. Although it served me for a while, I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would…
12 things to know before you buy…
Start early and don’t leave things till last minute
The first thing you must do as a new mum is to start early; have a plan, a budget and be strategic. Starting early gives you ample time to research, compare and try out brands in the shops.
Besides, it will be very inconvenient for you to shop around when you bump begins to protrude. This is why starting early is wise.
Make sure your preferred choice is easy to use by you and others
A difficult to use pram will be hard for both you and others especially if you have to take baby to a creche or a minder as it can be very frustrating.
Like buying a new car, test drive your choice before you buy
It is important that you feel comfortable with the brand you are looking to buy. Although pushchairs vary in price, you wouldn’t want to spend money on something you would regret later. So try it, before you buy it.
Consider your space
Avoid buying a pushchair that will take up a lot of space in you home or you car boot.
Check what you’re paying for
Before you pay, be sure of what you are buying. Ask to know if the pushchair comes with additional accessories, or if the basket at the bottom is large enough for you shopping. Checking will help you make an informed choice. This way, you won’t be disappointed or spend more on the long run.
Make sure it’s not very heavy
Heavy pushchairs are very inconveniencing and difficult to manage.
Hand me down or preowned
Based on my experience, be sure of the source of the pushchair. Make sure it’s in perfect condition and be clearly labeled to show they comply with the latest British Safety Standard BS EN 1888: 2018 or BS EN 1888: 2019 or the European Standard ECE R44/04 or R129 i-size.
You can request for them as a gift from your loved ones and friends
This is a very good way of managing the limited resources you have available and that’s what new mum, Roisin did.
She said: ‘’I just like it and I heard good things about the infababy buggies, so I got it as a gift actually but I told my mum that, that was the one I wanted and she got it for me.’’
Know the pushchair that’s most suitable for your baby
This is very important so that you would avoid buying something meant for a toddler for you newborn.
Go for bargains, get older models
Going for bargains is a good way to make you money go far for you. You could also opt for end of season sales were you can get older models or make use of discount deals from online shopping platforms like eBay and Amazon.
Make sure your preferred choice is easy to clean
You might want to pick a pushchair that is manageable and easy to clean. This is because pushchairs could be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Put your lifestyle into consideration
As new mums, our shopping decisions are always made in the best interest of our babies. When shopping for a pushchair, however, you needs and that of you baby should be equally considered.
According to Mamas and Papas: ‘’To find one that’s ideal, it’s recommended that you choose a pushchair that not only suits you baby’s needs but also you lifestyle, whether that’s bus-hopping on public transport, taking baby hiking or long car journeys with you brood.’’
In choosing a pushchair to match your lifestyle, they suggest that you choice has to be compatible with you unique needs.
For example, do you travel a lot by car, bus or train or do you do more walking? Are you more of a stay at home or an outdoorsy mum? Do you have to take the baby to a childminder or a creche? Your lifestyle parametres are very important, when choosing a pushchair for baby.
So, mums, you have read about my stroller story and hopefully learned 12 things you need to know before you shop for a pushchair.
In my next post, I shall tell you more about the differences between pushchairs, buggies, prams, strollers, and more. What to know before deciding on which one to buy.
Thank you and please leave you comment below.