There are so many prams on the market today, it can sometimes get very confusing!
Here is my guide, as an experienced mother of 3, on how to buy your first pram without breaking the bank!
MY OWN PERSONAL 'PRAM NIGHTMARE!' - So many new parents fall into the marketing trap (myself included with my first child!). I wanted the best of everything, which I thought at the time meant the most expensive. NOT TRUE!!!!
I used to be known amongst my friends as the 'Pram Queen'. I have bought and sold over 20 prams & strollers, new & second hand over the last few years. That's fine if I was in in the business of buying & selling, however I wasn't. This was simply a personal quest to find my perfect pram! You see, I never thought about my needs before I rushed out and bought a pram, I simply liked the way it looked and then handed over the cash! i would then get the pram home, use it for a week & realise that it was totally wrong for me. I would then buy another one (same scenario followed once again) and sell the old one for a fraction of the price I paid only a week ago. I dread to think how much money I have lost over the years!!!
I believe this makes me qualified to write this guide to ensure that you NEVER do what I did. You may never find your perfect pram, but if you read on, I can get you pretty close!
A PRAM is often the most exciting thing to buy! It is important to remember that buying a pram is like buying a new car. It has to suit your family's needs, your lifestyle, and of course, your budget. For example, there is no point buying a bulky 3-wheel jogger pram when you have a little hatchback car. It will not fit, and if somehow you make it fit, you won't have room for anything else.
These are the factors to consider when buying a pram -
- Size of your car - refer back to the example given above.
- Lifestyle & needs - Do you need a pram to withstand lot's of use (walking & fitness, rough terrain etc) or do you just need something to zip around the shops with?
- Your health - It's no good buying a bulky heavy pram if you have a back condition or other related health condition as lifting it in & out of a car can be a serious problem.
- Your budget - Lay-by can be a trap! If you start looking for a pram early, and decide to lay-by a $1000 pram over a 3 month period, you probably think that this is manageable. This might be the case for some of us, however sometimes our eyes are bigger than our bellies and we get caught up in the myth that expensive is better! TRUST ME IT ISN'T!!! A $300 pram can be just as good as a $1000 one. Personally, I would rather buy a used car for this price!
Here are the important features your pram should have.
- Multiple Seating Positions - It is important that your pram has no less than 3 seating positions. The most important position is 'flat lay-back' for newborns. Newborn babies need to lie flat until they are at least 4-5 months old. They can then be raised up to a semi-recline position until they can sit up fully by 6-8 months old. 3 seating positions is good, 5 positions is excellent!
- Easy To Fold Up - There have been many times when I've left the supermarket, strapped the baby in his seat, unlocked my car boot, and....'uh oh - I can't for the life of me remember how to fold down the pram'. I've usually made 6 attempts at it, until some kind man steps in and offers his mechanical expertise. How embarrassing! Have a go at folding down the pram/stroller in the shop before you buy it - trust me, you'll thank yourself later!
- Good Size Basket - Big baskets are a must! It's amazing how much baby stuff you'll need to fit in it when you are out & about.
- Adjustable Handle - Adjustable handles are essential as you need the pram handle to be at a comfortable height for you and your partner. Dad usually likes the handle higher when he pushes the pram!
- 5-Point Harness - Australian Standards require all prams to have a 5-point safety harness.
Just a few more points to remember.....
- It's ok to buy 2nd hand! Just check for a label that tells you the pram meets Australian Standards. Also, make sure the pram/stroller is clean and in good working order. You can often find a 2nd hand pram that has only been used for a short time and is 'as new'. People like myself make the same mistakes as I'm trying to help you avoid, and end up selling the pram at a very low price!
- Most prams/strollers come with accessories like a boot cover. Try to find one with as many extras as possible. It will save you money in the long run.
- Good accessories I strongly recommend buying are: Storm/Rain Cover (ideal for winter months), Sunshade/Mosquito Net (great for summer), Lambswool Pram Liner ( keeps baby snug in winter, & cool in summer) and a pram-sized blanket to keep in the pram. A cute yet inexpensive toy is nice to hang on the hood of the pram too.
- If you plan to have another baby soon after your first, it's a good idea to invest in a pram that can fit a toddler seat for later. Talk to a specialist store about the right one to buy.
- Make sure the pram is padded and comfortable (a lambswool is great for this). Baby will sleep in it quite a lot (even when you are at home). I remember many nights where I chose the pram over the bassinet as I was able to walk around the house and rock baby off to sleep.
- Make sure the pram is easy to steer.
- It doesn't matter what your friends are pushing or even the Hollywood stars! Choose what you like, not the latest fashion in prams!
- And last but most importantly - TAKE YOUR TIME WHEN CHOOSING YOUR PRAM!!! You've got 9 months!