Absolutely Mama explains how to choose the right baby products for your lifestyle – from prams, strollers and car seats to nursery furniture.
Shopping for your new arrival is exciting, but with a long list of essentials to buy it can be hard to know where to begin. As with anything in life, a little bit of thought and planning is key. It will stop you from buying things you don’t need, cause less waste and benefit the environment too.
When it comes to investing in the big things such as a pram and a car seat, buying everything as a bundle will save you money and also ensures that all of your items work together (and look good together too!). Shopping in one place is also so much easier and takes the stress out of baby shopping.
But before you flex that credit card, the biggest thing to take into account is your lifestyle. Making sure the items you buy for your little one cater to your needs will save you from having to upgrade your stroller, or their bedroom furniture down the line. For the most important things to think about, read our handy guide…
Life in the city with kids might be busy but there’s lots of opportunities to get out and about as there’s so much on your doorstep to explore. Space can also be a challenge, so you’ll need to choose items that are practical, compact and innovative.
When choosing the best pram, a travel system will give you the most flexibility. Even if you’re only taking the occasional Uber, the option to attach a car seat to your stroller frame is really useful in those first few months. Being able to unclip it and fold your stroller frame down on tube escalators is a lifesaver and so is being able let your baby sleep in the seat in busy cafes, whilst you stash the frame underneath your chair. The main things to look out for are a travel system that is lightweight, has a one hand fold action and is easy to store. Especially if you’ll be lugging it up and down the stairs of your flat and there’s not a lot of space to stow it away.
One of our favourites is the best selling Wayfarer 2020 from Silver Cross – which is suitable from birth as it has both carrycot and seat options. Inline wheels make it simple to manoeuvre on pavements and up and down curbs, the one hand fold is super easy and the design has been updated so it’s now even lighter. You can purchase it as part of one of Silver Cross’s bundles, so you get the Simplicity Plus or Dream i-Size carrier with it as well as other essential accessories including a matching changing bag and footmuff.
Storage is also a key consideration when it comes to choosing nursery furniture. Sleek, minimalist designs are best for compact city spaces and a set where you get a wardrobe and a chest of drawers (plus a cot) will give you plenty of room to store baby essentials as well as all of their little outfits. The Marylebone nursery set from Silver Cross is a good option because the dresser has an integrated changing top (saving you the need to buy a separate changing table) and both the dresser and the wardrobe have extra shelves for storing and displaying toys.
Space, freedom and proximity to nature are big ticks for raising kids in the countryside. Life in the great outdoors can be messy though(!), so practicality and sturdiness should factor in when you’re choosing items for your little one.
A travel system is again the smartest option when it comes to choosing a pram. You’ll be using your car seat a lot and in those first few months, it’s handy to be able to attach it to your stroller frame when you’re nipping to the shops or popping to a friend’s house, especially if your baby has nodded off on the way. Sturdy wheels and good suspension are also crucial when you live in the country and you’ll be navigating different terrains.
The stylish Pacific Autograph from Silver Cross is a great option because it has multi-terrain tyres – so it’s just as easy to navigate on a woodland walk as it is around town. It’s suitable from birth with the carrycot and converts into a stroller for when your little one is able to sit up. You can also purchase it as part of one of Silver Cross’s bundles, so again you’ll get the Simplicity Plus or Dream i-Size carrier with it as well as all of the essential accessories.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a period property, classic and timeless nursery furniture will work beautifully. Designed to stand the test of time, we love the Nostalgia nursery set from Silver Cross. The three piece set includes a classic sleigh bed which grows with your baby, a dresser with a removable magnetic changing top, and a wardrobe with plenty of storage space.
LIFE’S AN ADVENTURE
Whether you’re globe-trotting or trekking up and down the country visiting family, how much you like to travel as a family is a key thing to think about when choosing the right kit for your baby.
If you travel abroad a lot, a lightweight, compact stroller that folds down easily and fits into the overhead storage on a plane can be a good option for toddlers – such as the Silver Cross Jet. However, if you have a baby in tow, a travel system is a must. We love the Silver Cross Pioneer 2020 because you can attach the Simplicity Plus or Dream i-Size carrier to the frame (a real lifesaver on long haul flights when your baby needs to sleep). Make sure to check with the airline when you book the flight about any restrictions on car seats. Available as part of Silver Cross’s bundles, the Pioneer 2020 is also very lightweight with robust suspension and large wheels for a comfortable ride on any terrain – whether you’re navigating cobbled streets in Europe or exploring the Cotswolds countryside.
GROWING YOUR FAMILY
If you’re expecting and you have a toddler (or even if you’re on your first but are planning to have another later down the line) you’ll need to choose products that are designed to accommodate your growing family.
When it comes to selecting a pram or stroller, a double is a must. However, a single that converts to a double is the smartest option as you can use it before your second arrives, and then once your toddler insists on walking everywhere. We’re big fans of the Silver Cross Wave 2020 as not only is it a single to double, it’s also a travel system, so it gives you maximum flexibility – offering an impressive 30 different configurations with options to attach the carry cot, seat and car seat. Growing your family can be expensive, so purchasing the Wave 2020 as part of one of Silver Cross’s bundles will help you stretch your baby budget a little further!
Clever furniture design can also save you money (not to mention being better for the environment). The Brighton nursery set from Silver Cross is a brilliant option for growing families as the cot can convert into a toddler bed and the sleek, minimal design is gender neutral and will look just as stylish as they get older (and don’t want their space to look baby-ish anymore).
Finally, it’s important to choose baby clothes that are beautifully made and wash and wear well so that you can pass them down to younger siblings. We love the Silver Cross range – which starts from newborn up to 24 months. The pieces are classic (so won’t date) and they have everything from basics to special occasion wear. It also takes the stress out of making your newborn wishlist when you can shop everything from the perfect pram to nursery furniture, bedding and clothing all in one place.