So it's been nearly six weeks since Rohan has been home, and it was surprising how easy it all became so normal again. Before we were discharged properly from hospital we were allowed to take Rohan out for little day trips, which meant we were finally able to use our pushchair. I don't know why this was such a momentous occasion, but the first time we laid him down in the carrycot and wheeled him through the hospital ward it all just suddenly felt better. We had our baby with us, and just pushing him along the street felt so momentous but so normal at the same time.
Since we've got home we've been getting used to having a baby around again, and that means re-adjusting to having all the equipment and paraphernalia that come with a baby. We generally keep the pushchair in the boot of the car where it fits in nicely (We don't have much space in our house even for a small pushchair!) Our boot is pretty spacious, but if we have more items to fit in the boot too we take off the back wheels and collapse the carry cot and it all condenses really well. I find it pretty easy to take it in and out of the boot, and can lift it with one hand as well as set it up. The beauty of the bugaboo is that you can just lift the handlebar and the frame folds out for you, it then locks into place when you put the carrycot/seat unit/car seat on the frame. Even though you then have to remove the seat to fold it again, it's so quick and easy it doesn't matter.
We've obviously not had a chance to try out the seat unit yet, but I love the fact the carrycot has four little feet which means you can place it on the ground when folding without worrying about the base getting dirty. The carrycot itself is really spacious and I can see Rohan having space to lie in it for a good few months more. I love that the handlebar attaches to it too, meaning that lifting it on and off is really easy and can be done with one hand. We have to use the underneath storage basket mainly to carry the oxygen tank around with us, but it fits that in well along with a few other items we need. The only problem we seem to have with the basket is that when you use the carrycot it's not very accessible. We have no problem when the car seat is attached, and I think it's more accessible with the seat unit. I love that it can be closed with the elastic tie so you don't have to worry about your items falling out.
We use the base with the car seat attachment often, sometimes for quick trips or outings where space might be a little more limited. I love the ease of just clipping the car adapters to the frame and slotting the car seat on top. It's so easy and can be done without any disturbance to a sleeping Rohan. We've found it really light to use and haul around, and Theo is able to push it too, which he loves doing! I have to say I was worried about having a slightly bigger pushchair in the city, but so far I've not had any problems or found myself wishing I had a smaller one. We've been on a few buses with it and found it fits in the designated space just fine.
We've used the pushchair on a variety of different surfaces so far, and I think it's handled really well. We've pushed it through smooth corridors of the hospital and found it easy to maneuver smoothly around corners and into lifts. We've taken it along pavements and cobbled streets and been able to steer it one handed to weave our way past obstacles, bumped it up and down steps and fitted through small doorways all without a problem. Other people who've pushed it have commented on how smoothly it pushes and how steady it feels. Our old pushchair used to buckle it's front wheels when it got caught on paving slabs or coming off the curb but we so far haven't had this problem. I think the front suspension really helps and I love how it is adjustable as the baby grows. We've ventured off road a few times, through forest paths, mud and sand and found that it handles just as well. We've used the moveable handlebar to change the larger wheels to the front so they can take more of the terrain, with Rob even managing to push it through mud and me through the sand! I also find that being able to flip the handlebar really helps with access to the baby or fitting into tighter spaces. We found that the height of the handlebar is really useful too, as it's so easy to switch between having it right down for Theo, middle height for me and fully extended for Rob. A good height handle bar was essential for us as Rob is so tall (6ft6!)
After a few muddy walks the pushchair was definitely in need of a wash, so we just took all the wheels off and cleaned them and the frame and it looked brand new once again. We've had to give the inside of the carrycot a wipe a few times because of a bit of sick, but a wet wipe or sometimes a spray and cloth seems to do the job as the material is pretty wipe clean. I do get a little worried that the silver frame with get scratches on it, with the amount of hauling in and out of the boot it does, but I'm not sure whether this would be worse than on any other buggy. Compared to our last pushchair I do feel like the build quality of the bugaboo is much better, and would be surprised if it broke easily as it just feels like it's built to last. The brake also works really well, and even though it's up on the handle bar instead of by the wheels it feels really secure. I always used to worry with previous pushchairs that it was on properly, but as it has to click into place you know that it's locked on. We've found though that it does need demonstrating to other people on how to use it, and whilst being securely locked into place it can be a little stiff to take off again.
I love how versatile the cameleon is, it's perfect for the city and for country walks, I love how the seat unit will sit on the same frame that the carry cot does, meaning it doesn't take up lots of space. The raincover fits every attachment, even the car seat, and we noticed it just has two larger air holes instead of lots of tiny holes which we found last time we perfect for little fingers to poke through and make bigger, eventually ripping the plastic! I'd say that even though this pushchair is definitely on the more expensive end, I love how everything is included in the price. You don't have to pay out further for a carrycot or raincover as it all comes in the price. I also think that they hold their value well, as when researching pushchairs we found that it was a really popular model to be picked up second hand, which shows how long they last.
We've really enjoyed using the Cameleon so much already. I love the way it looks, how easy it is to set up and steer and I really do feel like it's supportive and safe. I can't wait to use the seat unit and see how it grows with Rohan. It has some really great features such as the extendable hood for when it's sunny, the adjustable handlebar position, good handle bar height and sturdy suspension. I like how we could purchase tougher terrain front wheels to make it even smoother on rougher walks. I think it will last us a good few years and I can't wait to put it to the test even more!
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I received the Bugaboo Cameleon for the purpose of this review.