Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote this post about buggies. I stated I didn’t want a black three wheeler one (which is a pretty accurate description of my sporty buggy, see below). As our friends predicted, we DID end up wanting a lighter one and we DID end up buying not one but three more – well, I say “we”, but really mean “I”. As expected, I picked up a couple of secondhand ones as well as another Baby Show bargain.
I also really like slings, and have three of those, but I use a buggy every day without fail. The fact they can be combined as shopping trolleys is fantastic for me as I have a persistent habit of finding myself in shops, and somehow end up buying something that needs to be carried… or not, if you can stash it in the shopping basket or hook it over a handlebar. For us another major advantage of using a buggy is that Pip usually naps in it. When I need to get him to sleep I take him out in the buggy, wait until he has dropped off, then come home, park the buggy and get on with housewife duty. He also sleeps in the sling but would wake as soon as I tried to offload him, and he’s a bit too heavy these days to wear around the house as well as outside! Although not as ideal as the ability to be put down awake into a cot and fall asleep there, I’m grateful that at least we do have the buggy option for napping – and pounding the streets (and shops) is certainly one way to shed the baby weight.
Unsurprisingly, I have been roundly mocked for possessing four buggies, so would like to present my case for the defence and explain my reasoning behind each purchase.
The starter buggy
Like a starter marriage, this Graco (similar here) helped me learn what I want from a buggy: “could the experience actually improve the relationships you have afterwards?” Yes. Also like a first wedding can be, it was dead cheap, so no guilt when we stopped using it after a few months. We don’t regret this buggy at all though, as it provided two enormous positives: a car seat and a lovely soft white carrycot that was actually Pip’s bed for at least the first month of his life. If we ever resell this buggy, it will have to be as a stroller only as we’re keeping the carrycot for next time! We also wanted a travel system initially but as it turns out we have never ONCE used the car seat on the buggy, only in the car itself. Round here it’s just walking, walking, walking with the occasional jaunt on a bus or train.
When Pip was tiny, I felt secure pushing him around in this great thing (and it was also a sturdy support for me at the post-birth wobbly stage). But as he and I both grew stronger, I began to crave something smaller and lighter. Rain or shine, I go out every day, and was getting put off going into shops. Even if I was able to negotiate any small steps, once in there it was a challenge to manoeuvre. Steering around any obstacles en route was also a trial. As the Baby Show rolled round again in October, we decided to visit with the main purpose of purchasing a small stroller – perhaps a Maclaren as that’s what everyone seemed to recommend… which brings me to…
The shopping buggy
Our Cosatto Supa pushchair is basically very similar to a Maclaren or any light stroller. It is narrow enough to fit through normal ticket barriers (no need to queue for the wide gate!) and folds up umbrella style, so is ideal for travelling and has so far survived two flights in the hold unscathed. As expected, it is great for shopping, and also things like swimming as the buggy parking space at the leisure centre is very limited.
I do need to be careful not to overload the handles with shopping bags. One embarrassing memory is when I took Pip to the walk-in medical centre. Upon removing him from the buggy it promptly toppled over in front of the doctor. Bad mother alert!
The sporty buggy
I’ve been trying to go to Buggyfit and we also joined a class which entails walking across the common to get there. Thanks to the recent wet weather, any grass has been an absolute sea of mud… I was getting fed up of small wheels getting stuck and visited Fara Kids for some inspiration. Lo and behold, a Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle became mine for the princely sum of £80. It was already authentically muddy and lived in looking. My fears about three wheelers being unsteady were unfounded. This buggy is a dream to push, practically silent, with amazing suspension and manoeuvrability. It’s perfect for the big outdoors and I love it.
However, it is wider and longer than my shopping buggy, and while it can deck the biggest steps and kerbs it is not so great for small shops. It’s also quite big when folded.
Since Pip outgrew his carrycot he had always then faced away from me. Both my shopping and sporty buggies have windows in their hoods which I can lift up and peer through to check he is ok. So far, all fine. But recently, he has started becoming quite chatty and I decided I wanted the option of facing him too so we can communicate with each other. What else could I do but add to my buggy collection?
The stylish buggy
Although I didn’t say this directly in my original buggy post, I was also adamant I didn’t want a Bugaboo for the simple reason that EVERYONE round here seems to have a Bee or Cameleon, with a few Donkeys too. Why should I follow the crowd?
A few months down the line, however, I found myself gazing rather longingly at the millions of Bugaboo Bees around me, the reason being that they are small, light strollers that you can easily switch from front-facing to rear-facing and back again. Their nippy little wheels and low centre of gravity appealed to me and I started to look out for one of my very own. Sure enough, one came up for sale on a local secondhand website, and having managed to knock £50 off the asking price, the Bee was mine all mine.
If it’s good enough for Harper Beckham, it’s good enough for Pip.
With the exception of the starter buggy, I use all my buggies frequently and rotate them depending on which
outfit I am wearing activity I am doing and whether Pip needs to sleep or would prefer interaction with Mummy. I feel like I have four buggies for the price of one (in total I have spent roughly what a new Bugaboo Bee with carseat would cost). The main problem, as you can imagine, is space: our dining room has become a buggy park!
If just one buggy encapsulated everything I wanted then of course I would prefer that, but I don’t think one exists that has all of the following:
- big enough wheels for off-roading but still light and narrow enough to take shopping;
- an umbrella fold for easy transport;
- a newborn carrycot/cocoon and a stroller seat that can flip back and forth.
It seems as if there is a niche in the market for the perfect all-rounder buggy! Any budding buggy designers out there?