New mum Eleanor James shares her experience roaming the footpaths and supermarket aisles of her maternity leave pushing the new Mountain Buggy Swift.
Midway through my pregnancy I bit the bullet and hesitantly set foot in a baby store, committed to commence my search for the perfect pram.
I'd be the first to admit I'm not your typical mothering type - I'd prefer to dress my newborn daughter in a blue that matches her eyes, or better yet, a mini black raglan t-shirt like her Dad. So I had two stringent requirements when it came to the ultimate public statement of my style of motherhood: a quality ride with a simple design.
As this was my first baby, I didn't have many preconceptions about what was on offer, but I knew I wasn't keen to push a 12-wheel SUV through aisles and along suburban footpaths on my maternity leave.
Imperatives such as 'compact', 'manoeuvrable' and 'reliable' seemed like a good place to start, and after a fair amount of in-store aisle-testing, trawling of internet forums and comparison tools, it was the new Mountain Buggy Swift that fit the bill perfectly.
The Mountain Buggy Swift is not the cheapest pram out there, but ever since I've been propelling it through the real world, with a real baby inside, I'm convinced it's going to prove itself to be a great investment.
As per its name, the stand-out attribute of the nifty three-wheeler Swift is its manoeuvrability. It's not a road hog, and it handles like a dream. In fact, it's so easy to steer that even a bumbler like me can precision-control it with one hand (clearly they saw me coming and included a wrist strap as a standard safety precaution). The Mountain Buggy Swift's front wheel locks for greater off-road stability, making my husband's parkland hooning a lot easier to witness.
But don't let its swiftness fool you; The Mountain Buggy Swift is as sturdy as any paranoid new mum could desire. While it is on the lighter side (9.5kgs) and has a narrower wheelbase than, say, its sister buggy the Mountain Buggy Urban, it is reassuringly solid. As its width roughly corresponds to my own body width, I feel confident piloting it around as an extension of myself.
The Mountain Buggy Swift satisfyingly unfolds using just one hand and one foot, and folds in a two-step, two-handed action. It fits easily into my sedan boot as it folds quite flat, but certainly requires two hands and decent core strength to lift. The quick-release wheels reduce its size quite remarkably, so perhaps I didn't need to trade-in my hatchback after all.
When you become a mum, the finely-honed multi-tasking skills you already possess as a woman are really put to the test. Thankfully the Mountain Buggy Swift has been sensibly designed with this in mind. Its generous under-carriage basket can hold up to 5kgs of groceries/baby paraphernalia, which was a key deciding factor for me. The robust tray is easily accessed from day one, with my newborn in the fully-reclined position.
The Mountain Buggy Swift is suitable for newborns, infants and toddlers, safely accommodating a child weighing up to 35 kg. Your little passenger faces the front and can be monitored on the go through the sun hood's viewing window. MB retails both a very decent sun cover and storm cover, but you'll need to purchase these accessories separately. Included, however, is a handle-height drink bottle holder.
An easily-operated foot brake is located on both sides of the rear axle, complemented by the safety wrist strap. The Mountain Buggy Swift's 10-inch air-filled tyres add to the smooth ride, but require some maintenance with a bicycle tyre pump. Easier to maintain is the removable fabric set available in chilli, lime or flint, which can be washed, prolonging the life of the pram.
The Mountain Buggy Swift's longevity is a concern when you purchase a quality pram at the high end of the market. Its potential for reuse and resale are important considerations. But this pram's simple yet attractive design, eschewing an excessive number of wheels or a trendy but quickly outmoded appearance, indicate that it will prove to be a worthwhile investment, serving us well in the years to come.
As we're counting on getting through our first-born through toddlerhood before she acquires a sibling, the problem presented by the Mountain Buggy Swift not having an additional toddler seat hopefully won't affect us. Famous last words!
The Mountain Buggy Swift really does go everywhere. Pounding pavements or negotiating shopping aisles (I haven't yet found an aisle that I can't fit through), I credit it with prompting me to get out of the house with my newborn in a bid to hasten my post-natal recovery. Hubby looks very smart pushing it too and it helps that the handle is height-adjustable.
In an area where you're a complete newbie, it's hard to get such a significant purchase right from the start. I didn't want to work my way through multiple prams as I hear some mums do over a short period of time. But when I'm out and about, confidently manoeuvering my newborn in the Mountain Buggy Swift and mums and mums-to-be stop me to ask which pram it is I'm pushing, I know I've made the right choice.