Once the first trimester passes and the icky sickly feeling and exhaustion lifts, if you are anything like me your mind will turn to the excitement of organising the house, decorating the nursery and buying everything that your little bundle of squishy cuteness could possibly need. So one thing you need to know about me is I am a super organised person, who loves a tick list! BUT even i’ve got to admit, this task was very daunting and a little over whelming!
Who new preparing for your first baby would be such a mammoth task of navigating what you REALLY need, what are considered new mum essentials, which brands are the best, and what are really newborn must haves! I spent hours researching the brands I recommend, and took a trip to the baby show to road test prams and carseats and hit the high street to see whats out there.
So with all that said I wanted to create an easy to follow buying guide that takes all the shopping stress out of becoming a new mummy.
I’m starting with my shortlist of prams and car seats as these are the two biggest and most expensive decisions, I will also be doing an easy shopping list to follow on from this so check back next week for that!
MY TOP 4 PRAMS...
Who knew it would be easier to choose a brand-new car last year than it was to choose a pram? I can imagine that many parents to be, especially during the pandemic have really struggled with this decision particularly with nowhere open to road to road test all the many options available and see them in person. Luckily for Tony and I, a few weeks prior to lockdown we took a trip to London to the baby show where we got to see and handle so many different types, we spoke to the experts and even got to try them out on different terrain on the buggy obstacle course! We also had a one to one at Mama’s & Papa’s which really helped too. So, with that said here is my mini guide / top 4 prams list.
Here are my top 4:
1: BABY ZEN YO-YO: £359.60
This pram is the perfect city stroller, a great fit for those who travel a lot on public transport, it's a must have for those who regularly travel abroad as it fits within an overhead cabin locker, its lightweight enough for the grandparents to handle and its super easy to carry when folded down, and its compact enough for those with smaller vehicles. The only downside I could find is, it's so lightweight that even something such as a heavy handbag on the handlebars could tip it backwards with small baby inside. So, with that said I would only recommend this one for when your baby is over 6 months old and I wouldn't put anything too heavy on the handle bars. Secondly the seat is not parent facing, so for those parents wishing to chat to their baby and pull faces whilst on the daily walk this isn't the one for you.
* score card 9/10*
2: STOKKE BABY BEAT: £520.00
This pram is fairly new to the market and is a nice mix between a compact city stroller and a traditional more heavy-duty pram. The design is pretty slick and it's not too heavy for lifting in and out of the car. It is also a great ride so to speak with shock absorbing tyres and easy smooth turning. It is compatible with most car seats and the seat flips to be both parent facing and outward facing which was a big bonus for me as it is great for baby's development.
* score card 8/10*
3: BUGGABOO FOX 2: £1,029.
Now this is one of the most popular prams on the market, it is more expensive than the previous two options but you do get everything you could possibly need included in the package for the price. This pushchair is suitable for all terrains, so it is great for those who enjoy long walks in the countryside, or for those parents who live where there is cobbled or uneven streets. It is a similar weight to the Stokke baby beat so not super lightweight but light enough to lift into the car. It also comes in five colours.
* score card 8/10*
4: ICANDY PEACH DESIGNER COLLECTION CERIUM: £1,300.
The I candy peach is a great option to consider, there is a couple of different versions of the peach so check out all of them. However, the designer collection cerium version is the smartest looking with premium fabric, and a slick black on black colour code. This is definitely one that the Daddy's will enjoy pushing down the street, it is a smidge heavier than the other two prams above, but it is still manageable, particular with its easy carry strap you can just pop it on your shoulder like you are carrying a sports bag. Again, the price includes everything you could possibly need to get baby from new-born to 4 years old. This one has the bonus feature that the bassinet is approved for overnight sleeping so great for a night away, it also has a very useful large matching rucksack / changing bag, large enough to store everything you need for an overnight stay for bubba. It also has the multi-facing seat which is important to me for those long walks.
* score card 9.5/10*
WHAT DID I CHOOSE?
In the end Tony made the final choice on the pram, first reason being I am the most indecisive person ever, and secondly, he majorly preferred the design and look of the Cerium and the unisex changing bag was the cherry on top for him. I also really liked the Baby Zen Yo-Yo particularly for trips into London and for travel abroad. We won't buy it until baby is 6 months old, but it's definitely on our shopping list before we go on holiday to Thailand next year.
Full disclosure; We were gifted the I Candy Peach designer collection cerium, but only after we had committed to buy it anyway. (Ad - Gifted)
MY TOP 3 CAR SEATS...
Let's talk car seats.... this is going to feel like the most important decision you have made, especially when you strap your brand-new bubba in for that first drive home from the hospital (I am certain we will be doing like 10mph the entire drive home Lol)
Car seats are such an important thing to really do your research on before you buy, firstly you need to find one that is compatible with your chosen pram so do check compatibility before buying, secondly you need to research safety features, and it's also worth paying attention to how long your baby will actually fit into that particular seat choice verses the cost of it.
What took us by surprise was the fact that the first car seat tends to only fit baby for between 12-18 months. I mean bloody hell, it's a lot of money for something they outgrow so quickly, but we've rapidly learnt that that rule of thumb tends to pretty much go for everything. Baby stuff is expensive and nothing lasts longer than a year! Get used to it folks!
Here are my top 3:
1: CYBEX Z CLOUD ISIZE: £224.00 ( Plus base £189.00)
Age: 0 - 24 months
Let's kick off with something that is top of the range and has two very special features, the first being the fact that it rotates on the base 180 degrees, meaning that it is so much easier to place baby in and out of the car seat without straining your back which you will be thankful for when your tiny baby rapidly becomes a bigger heavier baby. Secondly it is one of the only seats on the market with an ergonomic lie flat position, this means that when baby is asleep you do not need to disturb them and remove them from the seat when you get out of the car. You can flat lay the seat easily and leave baby to sleep for as long as he / she wants without worrying about the usual 2-hour rule. Many car seat manufacturers do not recommend that babies should be in a car seat for more than 2 hours within a 24-hour time frame as to not cause damage to their developing spines. However, with this seat having the ability to open out and lay flat this massively reduces that risk. This seat also has a one base two seat plan, so when baby outgrows this one you can keep your original 180 degree rotating base and buy the next size seat up which is the Cybex Sirona Z I size (£260), this seat will see you through from new-born to 18kg or approximately 4 years old (however it is a fixed car seat that you cannot remove or place on a pram and it does not flat lay (hence why you might wish to purchase the Cloud z first). If that wasn't enough the Cloud Z also comes with a new-born removable inlay for extra snug comfort, an extra-large sun canopy at UPF 50+ so when you transfer baby onto the buggy in the lie flat position to continue their nap you can protect them from strong winds or sunshine. It comes in a range of colours but I personally love the black as it goes well with our pram. It is also suitable for strapping into a car without the base for when you travel, take a taxi or the grandparents take little one for the weekend however remember that size means the seat has been safety tested up to 70mph, the child can be rear facing which is 75% safer than forward facing, however as soon as you use the seat without the base, the seat is only safety assured up to 30mph. This one may be a little pricier than others on the market, but it will last you longer as a first car seat option than the standard 0-12 months. I love the fact that the flat lay feature means no disturbing baby when you get out of the car, it has a smarter look than most designs and it has an extra safety feature of L.S.P which is optimised linear side impact protection.
* score card: 10/10*
2: MAXI COSI PEBBLE PLUS: £199.00 - (Plus base £199.00)
Age: 0 - 12 months.
I had heard that Maxi Cosi was the most popular brand on the market for car seats prior to visiting the baby show, so I was keen to check out what they had to offer, after all apparently they have transported over 50 million babies home from the hospital worldwide, ! The pebble plus was recommended by the expert we spoke too, and it is a part of their ‘2-way family range’ and it appears to be compatible with most major pram manufacturers. We liked it because it is compatible to place onto a pram base, taking baby direct from car to pram, it is I size (tested to 70mph, 75% safer when rear facing), it has an base for ease of use but it can also be simply strapped into the car for when grandparents or friends have the baby. This seat has an adjustable head rest which is great for comfort as your child grows taller, and it has machine washable covers which will 100% come in handy when baby throws up everywhere. It has a hidden UV sun protector hood which is perfect for when baby is in the seat and on the pram however remember with this car seat the baby should only be kept in there for 2 hours in 24-hour period anyway. The design for this one is a classic, with multiple colour options. As long as it is registered within 3 weeks, Maxi Cosi gives you a life time warranty and it is one of those brands that keeps a good resale value. The price point was definitely appealing but then again it only lasts 12 months before you have to shell out for the next one which would be the Maxi Cosi Pearl (£123.20) which is a fixed option that goes all the way to 4 years old.
* score card 7/10*
3: MAXI COSI MICA 360: £299.00
Age: 0 - 4 years old
Now the price point on this one is brilliant, it is perfect for parents only looking to make one purchase that will last as it will take you from new-born to 4 years, and believe it or not the price actually includes the base and it has a new born inlay for when baby is little. This one like the Cybex also has my favourite feature, the rotating 360 features to save your back from lots of trips to the chiropractor, it doesn’t flat lay, but when your little one is a big bigger it does have a recline function to aid in car naps. This one only comes in 3 colours, Black, Graphite & Authentic grey (dove grey). It also is a fixed car seat, so it is difficult and a bit of a fuss to transfer it from one vehicle to another, it cannot be used without the base and will not slot onto your pram, so with this baby will need to be disturbed every time when moving them from the car to the pram. The base has a cool beeping sound feature to let you know it is safely installed which is helpful, and again all the materials are machine washable which with a toddler and snacks will be needed. In terms of safety it ticks all the boxes, I size, and it has a special shell developed for maximum side impact protection.
* score card 8/10*
WHAT DID WE CHOOSE?
So, there you have it guys, my personal buying guide when it comes to prams and car seats. I hope it helps! Please be sure to do your own research on each of these before making a decision as i’m not an expert, mearly a Mummy to be, just like you. We chose the pram & carseat that we feel will work for us as parents, but that might not be what works for you!
Don’t forget to check back here next week when I will be sharing my full shopping check list that any first time parents will not want to miss.
Shanie & Bump xXx