So it may have taken 3 months…. but I have finally made a decision on what double buggy to get! I can’t believe how indecisive I’ve been. It’s been so much harder than choosing a pram for just one baby. I think my baby brain hasn’t helped, but also there are so many more factors to consider. Perhaps the fact that I work at a nursery shop and have so many options and opinions available to me has meant I have procrastinated far more than is healthy! Anyway, I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag straight away (you’ll have to stick with me and read to the end of this blog for that) but I thought I’d walk you through my thought process and what I’ve learnt.
Firstly I’d like to thank everyone that responded to my original post back in September asking what doubles you used and loved or hated. I was blown away by the response (here is a link for anyone that wants to see the comments on that post again …. Facebook double buggy post) What really came across is how there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Your opinions were so varied, some loved the versatility of the Bugaboo Donkey going from mono to double, others disliked it, some love the narrowness of the Phil and Ted’s, others hated it. And this is what we say to customers in the shop all day long, there is no double buggy that does everything. It’s all about compromise and working out what is best for you and your lifestyle. You need to think about how you will use your buggy with two; Will you be walking a lot, or using public transport? Are you in and out of cafes and shops and if so width is a big consideration? Do you use the car a lot so having something that folds in one piece and goes in the boot easily might be your priority? And so the list goes on! Now I’m used to explaining this to people in the shop and working out what will best suit their needs, but as soon as I was the customer I couldn’t think straight and couldn’t seem to work out what my priorities were!
I started out by talking to the other ladies in the shop. They treated me like I was a customer and asked about what my set up was and how I thought I’d use a double. We decided to focus on the Mountain Buggy Duet, Bugaboo Donkey, Phil and Teds Dot, and iCandy Orange. I thought I wanted a side by side, but wanted to look at other options too. Choosing a buggy is such a big decision, you use it every day for years, and so I wanted to make sure that I made the right choice.
First we looked at the Mountain Buggy Duet. This was the obvious choice for me as it is side-by-side but is also very narrow (only 63cm – no bigger than lots of singles prams.) Although the seats are quite narrow, Olive actually fitted in it really well. I love the fold – so easy for getting in and out of the car – much less hassle than other prams where you have to take each element off to collapse. The other thing that really appealed was the cocoon or carrycot for baby. The seats themselves are suitable from birth, but most people purchase a carrycot or cocoon for when baby is small. It’s much more snuggly for a tiny baby and also means they can be parent facing. I personally love the cocoon option – its lighter weight than the carrycot and can be easily lifted off if you arrive somewhere and want to move sleeping baby. Plus its half the price of the carrycot! Winner.
Pros: Side-by-side. Narrow. Carrycot or cocoon option. Easy one piece fold (not with carrycot on)
Cons: Once baby is out of carrycot/cocoon, children can only face out. All fabric needs to be removed to make compatible with carseats – not just a click on and off option.
Next up the new Bugaboo Donkey2. (The Donkey in the photo is the old model – when I was trying Olive in all the buggies the new Donkey2 wasn’t in – but it is now!)
I think a part of me had always wanted a Bugaboo, and having not gone for one first time round I saw this as my opportunity. Plus the Donkey2 has literally only just been released and there are some great improvements from the previous model (new colour options, side basket cover, new wheels.) The Donkey2 can be used as a single (mono they call it) or double, and both children can face either way. There is a huge storage basket underneath, and when in mono mode a swanky side basket too. I put Olive in the Donkey and I must admit it was a dream to push! But it is wide in double mode and won’t fit though lots of doors. I wouldn’t fancy manoeuvring around busy shops or trying to squeeze on a bus.
Pros: converts mono to double very easily. Children can face parent or out. Lots of storage. Big sun hoods.
Cons: Very wide and lets face it – expensive.
Now for the in-line options as opposed to side my side. I live in south west London and I see Phil and Ted’s everywhere. Lots of my friends have them and love them. They are no bigger than a standard single buggy and are perfect for around town, narrow hallways etc. We have the DOT on the shop floor (but can also order in the larger models.) The baby has to go in the lower seat until they are 6 months, but like the mountain buggy, you can also get a cocoon – which is great for convenience and lifting baby in and out and having somewhere they can sleep. One of my friends had this and used the cocoon all the time, for example lifting baby out in the cocoon when we got to a music class with our toddlers. I tried Olive in the top seat (where she would need to go until baby was 6 months) and unfortunately, she was just too big for it. But she is particularly tall for her age – so this wouldn’t be the case for most people. I also felt that with two children in-line, the buggy was too heavy going up and down curbs, but again this is mainly because my age gap will be 2.5yrs and Olive is big. Some people don’t like the idea of one child being under the other and not being able to look out and see the view – but I personally don’t think this is too much of an issue. When babies are tiny they tend to like being all cosy in the underneath bit – but it’s all a personal preference.
Pros: very small footprint, narrow, cocoon good feature. Can convert to single easily.
Cons: can be heavy going up and down curbs with weight not spread like on a side by side. Some people wouldn’t like that one child is underneath with a restricted view. Children can only be forward facing when in double mode.
The iCandy Orange was a last-minute contender. I hadn’t really considered it for me, but we have had great feedback from customers and so I thought I’d take a better look. It’s iCandy’s new twin or double pushchair and it really is quite impressive. They also do the Peach blossom, but I know the second seat would be too small for Olive on that one, where as with the Orange all of the elements are full sized. It’s inline – but the children don’t feel squished together, and there are 30 different configurations! The two children can face in, out, facing you, facing each other, with carseat, carrycot, seat unit, and even a built in buggy board! It really does do everything.
Pros: 30 different configurations. In-line but spacious. Single or double. Build in buggy board. Easy to attach car seat.
Cons: Not many cons really! It is big – but that’s in-line so not wide, and I think the size makes it more comfortable for children.
So I have deliberated for months over this……but what did I go for in the end…. The Bugaboo Donkey2! And why? The main reason was that it is so easy to convert from double to single. This means I can be in double mode, drop Olive at nursery, leave the second seat there, and then have a single pram for the whole day until I pick her up again. I also love the bugaboo buggy board with seat, and think I’ll use this a lot for shorter walks. And then there are the new colours and the side basket. I’ve gone for the grey mélange and ruby red sun canopies. I know you should chose on practicality and not look – but it’s hard! The mountain buggy Duet was also close contender, but I think Olive will only be in the buggy for another 6 months, so I wanted something that I will love in single mode for the next 2 years too.