Best buys: Lightweight pushchairs for newborns
It's a common but expensive mistake for new parents entering the world of pushchair purchasing for the first time: you cough up a not-so-small fortune for a sturdy chariot of a pram to keep your newborn cosseted and cosy, only to find just months later, you'd prefer something that doesn't weigh half a ton and take up most of your hallway.
But shop cleverly and this is one pitfall that's easily-avoided. The five lightweight pushchairs here are both comfortable for newborns and practical for the toddler years.
Things to consider when shopping:
Think particularly about how you travel and where you'll go with the pushchair:
If you use public transport a lot, look for a model which folds down easily into one piece (i.e. doesn't have a separate carrycot). If you're often in and out of the car, you might want a travel system. This allows you to attach your baby's car seat to the pushchair, so you can move them between their different sets of wheels with minimal disturbance.
If you have a smaller car, ensure the pushchair will fit in the boot, and avoid separate carrycots as you might struggle to find space for it.
If you live in the country or frequently walk over rough ground, look for wheels which can cope with challenging terrain – larger air-filled ones are normally better for this than small plastic. 'Swivel' wheels make life easier round town - lockable swivel wheels provide flexibility depending on where you are.
Also look for:
A reversible seat if you'd like a choice of your baby facing you or outwards.
A comfortable, supportive seat with a decent recline – even if you'll use a carrycot for the newborn months, this will still be useful later on for naps.
Storage space – limited on most lightweights compared to heftier prams as shopping baskets tend to be small.
Handles which are either adjustable or at an appropriate height for you and your partner
A decent, sturdy brake that's easy to engage.
MICRALITE SUPER-LITE, £149.95 plus £140 for the carrycot, www.micralite.com
Brilliant all-rounders, Micralite pushchairs have been quietly winning fans for a while now and the Super-Lite is their new, improved model, weighing just 6.2kg. Large rear wheels eat up rough terrain, yet it's highly manoeuverable round town, can be pushed one-handed and is freestanding when folded.
Make things snug for tiny ones with the detachable carrycot (it can be used for overnight sleeping, so no need to buy a moses basket too), or add a Maxi-Cosi Pebble car seat to create a travel system. Once your baby's confidently sitting up, switch to the mesh seat (at around six months) and you've got one funky-looking buggy to last you until they're confidently walking everywhere.
Good for: Almost everything!
Not so good for: Carrying tons of shopping - the basket is small and hanging bags on the back can make it tip over as it's so light. And you might need a liner or sheepskin to add comfort to the seat.
MACLAREN TECHNO XT, £195, www.maclarenbaby.com
It might not be the most exciting to look at but the Techno XT is a pushchair classic which has deservedly netted many awards over the years. It's especially good for public transport, weighing only 6.8kg and with no need for a separate carrycot as the 'suitable from birth' seat reclines flat. When it's time to get on that bus, it folds down with one hand and the compact umbrella design means it won't get in everyone's way.
Good for: Public transport users and those with small car boots.
Not so good for: Parents wanting a travel system option – there isn't one.
PHIL AND TED SMART,£160, plus PEANUT CARRYCOT, £99, www.philandteds.co.uk
New pushchair on the block, the recently-launched Smart is a nippy and adaptable little 7kg number. Use the 'Peanut' carrycot or a compatible car seat until your baby graduates to the 'tub' seat. It's at this stage when the Smart really stands out from the crowd, with its innovative lightweight and ventilated 'Aerocore' seat. It's waterproof too – a bonus in case of little accidents at the potty training stage!
Good for: Its compactness and '3-in-1' versatility.
Not so good for: The tub seat isn't quite so comfy for younger babies and although it's officially suitable from four months, you might want to wait an extra few weeks before switching from the carrycot.
BABYJOGGER CITY MINI, £199, www.babyjogger.co.uk
A dream to push whether you're at the shops or on a country stroll thanks to the front swivel wheel which can be locked in position over rougher ground. The seat reclines back well (although not fully flat, it's still 'suitable from birth') and at just 6.9kg you won't break your back when lifting it in and out of the car boot or up and down stairs.
Good for: Coping with different terrain.
Not so good for: The shopping basket is small and that seat doesn't go quite flat.
BUGABOO BEE, £459, www.bugaboo.com
It's been around a few years (although this is the updated 2010 version) but the Bee still turns heads on high streets with its quirky styling. This well-designed lie-flat model can be used from birth without a carrycot and you can add the optional soft 'cocoon' (£67) to keep tiny babies cosy in Winter. It's also compatible with the Pebble car seat and toddlers can enjoy facing in or out in their reversible seat. Weighs in at 8.5kg so a little heftier than others but still considerably less than some of the hevier chariots.
Good for: Yummy mummy kudos.
Not so good for: The price and the fact it's not the absolute lightest around.
Liat Hughes Joshi is a parenting journalist and author of What to Buy for Your Baby, published by White Ladder Press.