A modern, versatile pram, the Mamas & Papas Herbie, offers good value with its 3-in-1 pram/pushchair/car seat options and quirky colourways. The Herbie is a three-in-one travel system that converts from pram/carrycot mode into pushchair mode once your baby is ready to sit up simply with the attachment of new fabrics. The folding chassis can also be combined with the Mamas & Papas Pro-Sleep IP car seat (available separately), which can be reclined for baby’s comfort when in use outside of the car.It comes with various accessories including a matching changing bag, parasol, raincover and footmuff, and one of its big USPs is that the pushchair can be configured to be either forward or rearward facing. The Herbie gives the classic carrycot-based pram design a modern makeover and offers a roomy yet cosy space for your little one. It should take your tot through from newborn to around 15kgs - and at £550, it comes in at a lower price than some of the other big players in the travel system category. However, there are a few issues to be aware of…
The fantastic easy folding mechanism on the chassis has to be one of the most mum-friendly features of this travel system. It’s extremely easy to collapse, although you definitely need two hands to do it, and it springs back up with the pressure from one foot while you hold the handle. Also, the carrycot provides a really cosy and sheltered environment for your newborn – which I found great for Zoe, who was a tiny baby through the autumn and winter months.It’s roomy enough to last for a good while, too. (Although this sounds like it should be a given, it’s not the case with all prams!) Zoe graduated to the pushchair at 6 months, but this was more because she was eager to sit up and enjoy a better view than because she’d outgrown the carrycot. Another highlight is that the pushchair seat can face either forwards or towards you (great while your little one is still small). The shopping basket is another plus, with plenty of space for your groceries (even packs of nappies and those giant rolls of cotton wool). And, finally, the Herbie looks great! A few of my mum friends admitted to a twinge of pram envy and said they wished they’d gone for a model with a traditional carrycot shape like the Herbie themselves.
Kerbs and steps can be tricky to negotiate as the front wheels of the Herbie don’t lift up as easily as you might expect – the chassis seems to flex when you push down on the handle. In fact, the chassis is generally quite wobbly and doesn’t feel that stable. And the handle has an annoying habit of changing position on one side while I’m pushing!Although steering generally seems easy, the front wheels sometimes get stuck in the wrong position and make going anywhere impossible. (Another problem with the front wheels is that they press into the shopping basket when the chassis is folded down – and, over time, they’ve caused the shopping basket on my Herbie to rip.) Also, the back wheels are just that bit too wide, making squeezing your way down the aisle of a bus a curse-inducing experience.The weight of the Pro-Sleep IP car seat that fits onto the Herbie chassis is another big drawback. At 6.2kg, it’s heavier than many other car seats on the market. Lifting it and attaching it to the Herbie chassis – especially with a baby inside – can be hard work. In terms of your little one’s comfort, the base of the carrycot is quite hard. Although a basic mattress insert is provided, I bought an additional Mamas & Papas pram/moses basket mattress (ask M&P staff for advice) so that Zoe would be more comfortable.Now we’re using the Herbie in pushchair mode, the main comfort issue is that the shape of the leg rest doesn’t work with Zoe’s little legs – they’re too short to bend over the curve. I find the seat recline quite jerky and difficult to adjust once Zoe’s inside, too. Finally, although it’s a small grumble, I find the Herbie’s changing bag totally impractical. It’s far too small for all Zoe’s clobber, and feels as though it was designed by someone who’s never had a baby!
A mum who wants a stylish 3-in-1 travel system
All in all, the Herbie covers lots of bases and has some great mum- and baby-friendly USPs, including its easy-fold chassis, forward and rearward facing pushchair component and stylish appearance. It should be a great travel system to see you through from newborn to toddler, but watch out for manoeuvreability and mum-friendliness issues.
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