Baby Equipment: The Big Stuff

Sorry that this post has taken so long to appear – I kept adding to it as I used the products more and more. I’m sure that I’ll have more to say again in a month or so!

I’ve had lots of people asking me what I went for in terms of cot, pram and car seat – the main, big baby purchases that tend to cost the most money. They also take the most researching – I spent hours and hours looking at pushchairs and moses baskets and various sleeping solutions. But here’s what I chose in the end; thank you to the many readers who passed on their own experiences with various brands and products – you’ll see that I did listen, and your prior knowledge was invaluable!

uppababy vista review

The Pram

After approximately fifty-five thousand hours of online research and in-store testing, I narrowed my pram choices down to two: the Uppababy Vista and the Bugaboo Bee 3. So many twitter followers championed the Uppababy* – I hadn’t heard of this brand before then. When I tested both prams in town I found that I loved the Uppababy for its chunkiness and all-round brilliant design, and I loved the Bugaboo because it was so incredibly light. However, after much thought I decided that the Uppababy would be more suited to my needs – more rugged, with bigger wheels and a more substantial cot part. (Bassinet? What’s the pram bit called?) The Bugaboo would not have survived my off-roading craziness (I’ve done fields and all sorts with the Vista!) and I also didn’t like that the newborn baby part (a kind of soft bassinet) was quite unstructured and required the baby to be strapped in. I preferred the bigger, more solid bassinet on the Uppababy and I often use it to pop Baby A down for a nap during the day. It’s one of the only pram bassinets to be approved for overnight sleeping, apparently, and it has a proper ventilated base and nice mattress as well as a hood with a built-in pull-down UV shield, which I’ve only just discovered and think is genius!

Obviously I haven’t tried the buggy part yet, because Angelica isn’t old enough for it yet, but it looks really well-designed and feels equally as robust. As for the frame that the seats click onto, it’s very strong and it has the most enormous storage basket that’s easy to access. You could almost fit an adult into it! (Almost. I won’t be trying that again.)

The Uppababy comes with everything you need – insect nets, waterproof covers and so on – and even has the adaptors for clicking a car seat into place, which I think is a nice touch. The only downside with the Vista is that the frame is pretty heavy – nine kilos for the frame and another four for the carrycot. However, in comparison to some of the slightly lighter prams (the iCandy or the Oyster for example) the manoeuvrability is excellent – it feels as light as a feather, accomplishing 360 turns and complicated supermarket aisle-weaving! It’s kind of like a sumo-ballerina – massive heavy chassis, but incredibly light on its feet. My sister, who has the Oyster, was incredibly impressed when she pushed the Vista. We both also loved the fact that the seat or carrycot was quite high up, whereas with the Bugaboo Bee the baby feels very far away from you and close to the floor. Overall, I love the Vista for its chunkiness and robust build. If I was on and off buses all day long then I would probably go for something a bit lighter, but for my walks it’s perfect.

You can find the Uppababy Vista at John Lewis – it’s £699.95 and the colour that I have is exclusive to them. I’ll be doing a more in-depth review with lots of photos very soon!

cybex aton q car seat review

The Car Seat

I left the car seat research up to my husband, mainly to give him something to do because he was moping about. He did lots of online research, but in the end (ironically!) he went with the suggestion from the lady in Mothercare who recommended the Cybex Aton Q. It had a brilliant design that laid a newborn baby as flat as possible, which we both thought was great, and my husband was won over by the weird stabiliser shock absorber things that pulled out of the sides. A definite unexpected bonus was that when we pulled the sunshade out for the first time, we saw that the car seat was probably the most stylish one you can find – it’s like a HR Geiger design! You would never know it from most of the online images because they all show the canopy down – if I were Cybex I’d be pimping that canopied picture out left right and centre, because I’ve never seen a nicer seat! Obviously I went all black with my colour choice – very Karl Lagerfeld, dahling. This seat has been specially designed to cocoon tiny or premature babies and then adjusts so that it fits babies up to the age of about 18 months.

You can get the Cybex Aton Q for £179 at Mothercare.com – we also bought the Isofix base (here), which slots into your car seat (check your make and model for compatibility) so that you can just click your baby seat in and out without having to faff around with seatbelts.

co-sleeping cot review

The Cot

See here for a full review of the Snuzpod. This was the most controversial decision because my cot was going to be a present from my Mum and so there was – how do I phrase this? – helpful outside input. I wanted a bedside crib, which I think is kind of a new concept – they attach to the side of your own, adult bed, and have a removable side so that the baby is almost sleeping with you, but has her own space. (The idea is that you can relax knowing that your baby is right next to you, but if you’re absolutely comatose with tiredness you don’t have to worry that you’ve got the baby out of the way of the duvet or that your pillows aren’t going to flop down over them or something!)

co-sleeping bedside crib

Mum bought me a Snuzpod, which was my favourite of the bedside cribs. It had a great range of heights that you could adjust it to, which I needed because we were moving between holiday lets and my cousin’s flat and my Mum’s house, so all of the beds were different, and I really liked that the side panel of the cot could be easily rolled up or down, creating a more secure cot for the baby if you wanted to leave it unattended. Not that a newborn can roll anywhere, but these things do cross your sleep-deprived mind!

The Snuzpod is available at The Little Green Sheep – it’s £169 and can be used up to about 6 months. I use my Sleepyhead “baby pod” inside it, which I think has been my most-used baby item so far. It’s amazing! I’m doing a separate post on it, but if you want to read more then they have it at John Lewis, or just Google for about a million rave reviews!

*Uppababy very kindly sent me the Vista above for review purposes. I was intending to get a “comparison” pram and do a video, but life has taken over and I haven’t got around to it yet!

*© 2017 The Uphill®: *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. All opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. "The Uphill" and "Ruth Crilly" are registered trademarks.

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30 Comments

  1. Alex
    October 4, 2015 / 1:17 pm

    You do know that Bugaboo also do a chunky, sturdy, big wheeled bassinet buggy in addition to the light one you reviewed, right?

    Just thought I’d mention because you’re comparing the Uppababy travel system to the Bugaboo stroller rather than their Bugaboo Cameleon travel system

    • Rachel
      October 11, 2015 / 1:35 pm

      Yes I thought this! You cannot compare these two, totally different prams for different needs x

      • March 14, 2016 / 12:54 pm

        Yep, sorry, maybe I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t quite sure which needs I needed it for, if you know what I mean. Whether to get a really light one or chunky one. Though have had a few friends with Chameleon who didn’t like it, so didn’t look at that in great depth! x

  2. October 4, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    I finally decided against a pram and used a buggy which the car seat would click into if I needed to lay Little Bean down, but most of the time I carried her in a baby sling, as I preferred having my hands free and being able to go anywhere. But then again I live in the midst of the city, with stairs and bus drives galore compared to a rural English countryside.

  3. Deirdre
    October 4, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    Hi Ruth I’m so happy to read your review of the vista buggy. I have the deposit paid on one and will be collecting from the shop soon. (baby due in November) Can’t wait! Thanks for the info and love this blog.

  4. Rii
    October 4, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    Ruth, would you say these things are the 3 most expensive and absolutely necessary things a new parent needs for the baby or would there also be other big expenses? I’m a future momma and am thinking are there any other huge expenses that maybe I’m not aware of or can’t think of right now? Or maybe you would consider a blog post about the must-haves for new parents? Or if these 3 are the only big splurges, then never mind my comment 🙂 Thanks! And I really like the car seat, already found out where to buy it in my country, he hee 😀

    • October 12, 2015 / 10:16 pm

      We bought a second hand Bugaboo but def don’t buy a secondhand car seat.

      Second hand cots are fine but you have to have a new mattress for the baby.

      The car seat, the nursery furniture, the pram were big purchases but so was the bottle steriliser and kit and we also got a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep for making milks quickly.

  5. Stella
    October 4, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    Uppababy is amazing isn’t it 🙂 just a little pointer and I hope you don’t mind, I only know as I went to a road safety roadshow but the carrying handle of the infant car seat should be kept up when the car seat is in the car not clicked back… Works as an extra protection in case of crash x

  6. Lauren
    October 5, 2015 / 9:19 am

    I haven’t tried the Uppababy but I have a Bee3 and its amazing! mostly for shopping and quick walks but my almost 4 year old still fits comfortably (and loves her purple hood 🙂 )

  7. October 5, 2015 / 10:56 am

    I love that Snuzbod. It seems like such a perfect compromiser between co-sleeping while still letting the baby have their space (and you get to have yours!). And it’s so minimalistic. Love the design.

  8. Zoe
    October 5, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    We love our vista, and just about still fit in it with a very tall 2.5 year old.

    I found it really hard (in a London townhouse) putting the carrycot on and off, and a giant pain in the bum putting it in the car, so we bought the uppababy newborn insert for the buggy part and it was brilliant. Used it from about 3 months, and they’re lovely and snug and still lay flat.

  9. Lynsey
    October 5, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    Oooh I can’t wait to see your post on the baby pod! I saw them in John Lewis the other day and have never seen anything else like that before. It looks great. This is first baby too and trying not to get ahead of myself haha. Been following your blog for a while and love how honest and frank you are about everything. There is a lot that these books don’t tell you so it’s nice to get the low down on what actually happens after! I’m eyeing up the iCandy travel system and have an idea of which car seat…just have to wait to get the seal of approval from the other half…bless. X

  10. Helen
    October 6, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been waiting for it for so long!! It is great and really helpful.

    xx

  11. Shakira
    October 6, 2015 / 4:54 pm

    These are all things we looked at for our little one who is due at the end of the year. We were lucky enough to be given a travel system ( Mamas & Papas Zoom)by friends but have bought a new car seat and mattress for it. We bought the Cybex Cloud Q car seat as you can lay it completely flat on the pram frame – we won’t get to try it out properly until our little one arrives, but it is well worth a look! You can get the isofix Base to go with it also and it has the same huge, very cool looking hood, as the Aton Q. It seems very well built and robust, but light.

  12. Claire L
    October 7, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    I think the pram bit’s called a carrycot. I had an old hand-me-down travel system from a friend, it was very sturdy but also very heavy! I used the car seat all the time, it was easier to carry around than the carry cot which was very heavy, especially with baby inside! Eventually my parents bought us a Mamas and Papas Pulse collapsible buggy which worked out much better for me, living in a second floor flat with nowhere to store a fully assembled pram downstairs. I store it in the car boot and it’s so light and easy to put up and down, the travel system’s been taken to my parents’ as it’s more useful there, being in a more rural setting!

  13. lili
    October 15, 2015 / 6:44 pm

    I have a baby of the same age and size (big!) and she has outgrown her baby nest and I am on the hunt for something similar for babies over 4 months, I am curious about the Sleepyhead, but want to know if I should go straight to the larger size. How is the sizing currently for your little one? Has she got much room left?

    • October 17, 2015 / 9:02 pm

      No, and in fact I have a post this week about this very thing! She’s almost too big for it really. Apparently the next size up is huge, and I want to get that one but it won’t fit the Snuzpod so I’d have to put her into a big cot. I’m researching this as I type!! x

  14. October 17, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    the Uppababy shopping basket is worth the money alone! i’ve literally done weekly shops and put all the shopping in the basket then pushed it a mile home. we have the Cruz which is a bit smaller as i wanted something suitable for public transport though in retrospect i wish we’d gone for the Vista as the Cruz is still too big for the aisles of some london buses! enjoying reading your new blog x

    • October 17, 2015 / 9:00 pm

      Haha! It is enormous isn’t it? So funny, everyone with a Vista raves about the Vista! x

  15. Katie
    October 18, 2015 / 7:40 pm

    Ruth, I just love your blog. No baby here yet, but the hubby and I will start trying soon. *g*

    What’s that lovely pouch with the dots hanging from the pram’s handlebar? I’m sure you’ve already mentioned it before but Incannot seem to find that post. ☺️

  16. Emily Bennett
    October 22, 2015 / 5:35 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    Hope you don’t mind me asking, but I am looking at exactly the same options as you. When we tried out the uppababy, they said that the cybex car seat had not been tested for it? How did you get round this or were you not bothered?
    Thanks for advice
    X

    • October 23, 2015 / 10:02 pm

      In what way do you mean tested for it? In that they don’t know whether it fits on? It does. With the adaptors that they give with the pram. Just slots straight on. (The Cybex Aton Q.) x

      • Emily
        October 25, 2015 / 6:42 am

        Ok that’s great. I’ve probably just got confused. The lady in john Lewis said that the only car seats they recommended with the uppababy were BeSafe and maxicosi? its all a bit of a mind field. X

        • October 25, 2015 / 9:54 pm

          Yeah they probably have to say that.. It fits fine. x

  17. Lottie
    October 31, 2015 / 11:18 am

    I have the uppababy cruz and love it. It’s perfect for London, I’ve not found it too big for any buses so far. Am increasingly using it with the car seat or the main seat with newborn insert as my little boy loves being able to look around him, and the deep sides of the bassinet don’t really allow this. And the basket has been fab since the introduction of the 5p bag charge.

  18. Gem
    November 19, 2015 / 8:13 pm

    I was torn between the exact same two buggies but the Bee 3 won out as I don’t have much need for off roading in Hong Kong.

    Great review but the Bee 3 does actually have a bassinet option which doesn’t require the baby to be strapped in. We bought it last year and it lasted until six months. Worked brilliantly for us and my son found it very comfortable.

    Even though I love our pram, without a doubt, I’d have bought the Vista if we were back in the UK (or anywhere that doesn’t have a zillion steps, narrow doors and small lifts).

  19. Vero
    December 3, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    Hi Ruth, I’m in love with Uppababy Vista and have heard about it from your youtube channel for the first time. Unfortunatelly they’re not selling in Slovakia 🙁 probably I’ll have to go for another option.

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