Choosing a stroller for a newborn
How to choose?! The first point of call is to make yourself familiar with a newborn babies unique needs. There are a few key messages that we all heard loud and clear from our midwives when the mums on our team all had their babies (which wasn’t too long ago!) An important message that’s relayed from health professionals, is that newborns should lay flat on their back for optimal spinal and muscle development. To ensure their chin is off their chest, keeping their airway open (read more about why here). It’s not recommended that a newborn sit completely upright in a stroller seat, until they have the required head and neck control to sit up unaided and stop their head falling forward. When you're able to begin using a stroller seat will vary greatly from child to child, and is ultimately at the discretion of you, the parents.
Why you may need a bassinet
A pram bassinet is a safe, secure and comfortable way to transport your newborn. Most strollers will either include the bassinet (like our Comet or Comet plus) or have one that you can purchase separately and attach (like our Rover) Several stroller seats recline flat, but do not offer the enclosed, comfortable benefits of a bassinet. Some parents choose to use a car capsule instead of a bassinet, however, a bassinet is specifically designed to suit the needs of babies from newborn up to approximately 6 months. They are firm and flat, which is important for their development, also allowing them to stretch out and move around when they feel the need to. As this article by Dr Jane Williams outlines, “Extension of the muscles is important to develop healthy muscle tone and enables the inhibition of a reflex that enables babies to move forward on their tummies.” In simple terms? When babies stretch and shuffle around, their muscles strengthen and learn, helping them to reach their milestones (rolling over, holding their head up, sitting up, etc) A flat position is also most comfortable for bub to sleep in, but keep in mind that pram bassinets are not recommended for overnight or unsupervised sleep – cots are specifically designed to have more airflow which is why they are recommended for overnight / long sleeping and should be used whenever you’re at home.
What about capsules?
Another great feature of most prams is the ability to connect a compatible capsule for quick trips in and out of the car. This is something you may have already considered whilst looking at choosing a stroller for your baby. We’ve overviewed the differences between capsules and care seats in this blog post, if you aren’t familiar with how it all works. Capsules are mostly designed for car trips and quick trips out and about (picking up older siblings from kindy or school, or picking up that bottle of milk you realised you need asap!) As this article from Dr Jane Williams outlines, extensive research shows that capsules can be dangerous for infants when used for lengthy periods or outside of the car for sleep purposes. They’re such a convenient option for transporting your newborn without the need to take them in and out of their car seat all the time. If you plan on taking log, leisurely strolls (which I think you should! Fresh air works wonders for everyone 😉) a bassinet will be the way to go.
When is it ok to use a stroller seat instead of a bassinet?
As I’ve outlined above, in the first six months, your little one’s head and neck strength is still developing. At approximately six months of age you’ll be thrilled to see they can sit up on their own (the exact age this happens will vary from child to child). Once they can sit up un-aided you can safely use a stroller seat. It is quite important to wait until your baby is ready to move from bassinet to a full sized stroller seat. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission/Product Safety Australia alerts all consumers on their website: Do not place a baby under six months old in a stroller until they can sit in an upright position and hold their head up on their own. From newborn to six months of age, your baby’s precious little head needs to be adequately supported, and a bassinet stops their head from falling forward, which restricts their airway. If you do choose a stroller which has a seat that can lay flat, a head support would be a great option to make your little one feel safe and protected.
Choosing a stroller for your newborn is an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming experience with the endless options available. Got more questions or want to chat about pram safety with one of our pram experts? There’s no such thing as a silly question, and we’re always happy to help. Just send us an email or message us on Facebook.