When I was pregnant with my first baby a good friend of mine said the hardest thing we'd have to do, apart from choosing a name, is choose a stroller. Pah - yeah right!
But she wasn't far wrong. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what sort of pram I wanted. Stylish, smallish and easily manoeuvrable, and something I could take into shops and cafes easily, without knocking over tables and banging into doorways.
Pretty straightforward, I thought.
Then we went shopping.
We spent an hour in a baby store looking at all the prams, and the prices! We couldn't understand why some were $300 and others were $1200! Why the big price difference? What exactly are you paying for and what were WE prepared to pay? I knew that Gwen Stefani and Gwyneth Paltrow liked the Bugaboo Cameleon, Matthew McConaughey liked the City Jogger, Halle Berry liked the Baby Jogger and Jennifer Garner the MacLaren, but they were GIVEN these strollers. We would be paying for our's!
After our shopping excursion we were even more confused than when we started, so I decided to do some online research. I read lots of blogs like productreview.com.au and other baby forums where other parents had helpfully written honest reviews of their strollers. And I quickly learned why some strollers were over $1000 and some were $15! So with a few brands in mind we went back to the baby shop. Armed with our new knowledge, we were soon so impressed with the suspension, handling and quality of the Bugaboo, we decided on the smallest (and most affordable) of the range: the Bugaboo Bee.
Not only is it a great looking stroller, but so functional as well - it really is a stroller that you can use from birth to the toddler and pre-school years. It is so light and compact, easy to turn, easy to fold up, to pick up and to push, as well as so many features that appealed to me, and our urban lifestyle.
With an (almost) fully reclining seat for horizontal sleeping, it has three different back rest positions so grows with your child.
The handlebar is fully adjustable, so it suits parents of different heights and has plenty of room for your walking legs. And the one step foot break (red to meet Australian safety standards) is very easy to step on and flip off.
Apart from it's stylish, compact design, my husband was most impressed with the all-wheel suspension, which absorbs more bumps, and 360 degree rotation of the wheels that means it manoeuvres so easily, and swivels, turns, and handles curbs and stairs with ease. I can even pick it up and lift up an escalator!
It has loads of storage capacity in the carry basket, it's actually deceptively large. The seat can be forward or rear facing, you can purchase a toddler board for a second child (we did) and you can purchase as many or as few accessories as you need.
We bought the stroller chasis which comes with the rain cover, the cocoon which works like a carry-cot and attaches to the seat harness when it's fully reclined, the cup holder (a must have!), the sun canopy, and - once we had our baby, a girl - a pink canopy cover.
In 2010 it was a lot of money for us to spend on a stroller: $900 with all the accessories. But it certainly has proven to be a worthwhile investment as we still use it now, some five year and three children later. And of course since Bugaboo have updated it several times with improvements such as a wider seat, improved suspension, bigger carry basket, and a 3-year warranty on all strollers registered online.
When other mums ask me what I like about it most, I usually say how small and lightweight it is. Purchasing a stroller that suits you and your lifestyle is so important though, and should be your main consideration above brand, price, what your best friend has and so on.
I wanted a stroller that would still be light and compact, even with my baby in it, groceries in the bottom, and a full nappy bag on the handle. And at 7kg the Bee was the lightest fully reclining stroller on the market at the time. There were other light strollers - like the Maclaren, but they didn't fully recline and allow your baby to have a full sleep while laying horizontally.
And as we live close to cafes, shops and parks I wanted a stroller that I could get around easily with, wheel into a cafe easily, push through a supermarket aisle easily and get though doorways and negotiate stairs easily. It does all that.
When they grow out of the newborn stage and want to sit up more to look around you can easily remove the cocoon attachment, which fits to the harness of the Bee. But I used the cocoon well into the baby stage too, for warmth and comfort for cold days and a secure and cosy place to sleep for day naps. With a removable head support, which is handy for washing too, it will last as long as your baby fits into it. I think my baby Marnie was about 8 months of age before I removed the cocoon completely.
Between babies we have removed all the covers, washed them in the washing machine, then put them back on and it looks like a brand new pram. The fabric washes up that well - and believe me, with daily use including snacks, drinks and feeds, it was dirty! If you're looking for a lightweight, compact and stylish stroller, and like the Bugaboo brand, then I can really recommend the Bugaboo Bee - I love it.
- Strong, durable and easily removable fabric in a range of colours
- Suitable from birth
- Compact and easy to fold
- Reversible seat unit with 3 tilt positions
- Wheel swivel through 360 degree for easy manoeuvrability
- Height adjustable handlebar
- Travel system compatible (car seat and adaptors sold separately)
- Stroller weight: 8.5kg
- Extendable Sun Canopy: UPF50+ protection, adjustable coverage from the sun
- 5-point Harness: easy in-out, easy to adjust
- Folded dimensions: D69 xW53 x H79cm
- Bugaboo now offers a 3 year manufacturer's warranty on all pushchairs registered online. To receive this additional year of warranty customers must register their product with Bugaboo online within 3 months after purchase.