There are many ways to get out and about with your baby. How do you choose from the overwhelming range of travel-related products on the market?
To help you get started, here is an overview of the different types of pushchairs you can buy. There is also some useful information about prams, car seats and baby carriers.
You will need a pushchair (often called a buggy), and you will use it until your child is at least three years old. (This depends on how much your child likes walking and how much walking you are doing.)
Pushchairs vary in price, style, comfort and accessories. It is worth shopping around before buying. Above all else, look for a pushchair that enables your baby to lie flat, which is essential for newborns.
Here is a basic overview of your options:
A coach built pram is the most luxurious, comfortable and stylish way for a newborn baby to travel. But in today's society, it is not the most practical. Coach built prams don't fold up to fit in the car, and are too bulky and heavy to lift up and down steps. They can be difficult to take on public transport and fit through shop doorways. They are also expensive and only useful for about six months.
Your baby must travel in a secure car seat for car journeys, including when you take him home from the hospital. Make sure you have the car seat ready before the birth, and practice fitting it in the car. Do not buy a second hand car seat, because you can't be certain it hasn't suffered damage in a road accident.
A newborn should travel in a rear-facing infant carrier. (Also called a Group 0+, stage 1 or first stage car seat.) This is secured with a seat belt on the front or back seat (the back seat is usually safer). Group 0+ car seats are suitable for babies from birth to 13kg (around 15 months). Then they can travel in a forward-facing Group 1 car seat until four years of age. As mentioned above, infant carriers are often included as part of a travel system.
Another option is a combination car seat that starts off as a rear-facing Group 0+ car seat. It then converts to a forward-facing Group 1 car seat.
Some newborn babies hate travelling in a pram or pushchair, and are happier in a baby carrier or sling. You can carry your baby when you are out walking and visiting places that are awkward for pushchairs. The downside is you may also have to carry changing bag items and other things you need.
A baby carrier may save you the cost of buying a double pushchair if you have more than one child. If possible, try on the baby carrier or sling before you buy, to make sure it's comfortable.