Looking for a travel stroller? Banimal Kids stroller.

*** Just a heads up…I do not usually do reviews, this is just an honest opinion from one mom to another about a product that I was blessed to find and I am so excited to share with you! I did not get any payment / compensation for writing this review.***

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In the months leading up to our big trip from SA to Belgium I spent a lot of time researching the perfect travel stroller. I knew I would be taking my Ubuntu Baba carrier, but I also wanted to have a stroller that folds up really small and handles easily with one hand. I read many many blogs, but most of the strollers that were reviewed were not available in South Africa. If they were available, it was mainly in baby-boutiques, and the price-tags reflected that. I prayed about it and decided to forget about it for a while.

One morning while scrolling Facebook, a random stroller caught my eye from one of the “suggested posts”. It was a brand new South African company, Banimal Kind Creatures, that was only launched in May 2018, but the stroller looked a lot like one of the top-range strollers I have been researching. On further inspection I also found it was for sale at a very affordable price. I sent them a message via their Facebook company page to hear more, and they were quick to reply and very caring. (The customer care is amazing and just keeps getting better!)

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Within a week my stroller was delivered fully assembled in a teeny-tiny box. Yes, it folds that small! It weighs only 6kg! The material of the seat and canopy is of a good quality and looks stylish and neat. We chose the grey model and love the melange as it hides spills and spots! It is easy to clean with a wet cloth and after 2 months of use it still looks like new. The frame feels sturdy and there are not a lot of gadgets that can break. It comes with a carry-bag and a cup holder. We ditched the cup holder as it makes the stroller more bulky when folded.

The canopy has good coverage, it kept most of the seat dry during a European-rainstorm and it keeps the sun out of Eran’s eyes. There is also a peek-hole in the canopy which comes in very handy if you want to see if baby is asleep yet. The storage basket looks deceptively small, but it can hold a 6-pack 1 litre milk containers (or beer here in Belgium 😉) and the Ubuntu Baba carrier fits perfectly!

We could not wait for Daddy to get home so that we could all go for a “test-drive”. The stroller opens with a quick shake (possible with one hand) and Eran sits in it quite comfortably. He likes holding / chewing the handle bar, and it its possible to fold the stroller with this bar in place. You can change the seat position from upright to flat with one hand, but need a second hand to put it back to the upright position. It reclines to about 150 degrees which is more than enough for baby to take a nice nap. Eran is quite tall, so his feet does dangle from the edge when he is sleeping, but it does not seem to bother him at all.

Closing the stroller is a little bit more tricky, but after a few practise-tries you get the hang of it. Just make sure there is nothing in the storage basket and that the canopy is fully folded before attempting to close the rest. Unfortunately this is not a one-hand process. Once folded the stroller is really compact and easy to fit into most plane/train luggage racks or cupboards, keeping the isles clear and my house neat. There is also a carry-strap fitted on the stroller which has come in very handy when Eran is in the carrier and we have to hop from train-to-metro-to-bus quickly. We live on the second story with very small, windy stairs and no lift, so it is also very convenient to get the stroller in and out of the apartment.

The wheels are solid and handle all sorts of surfaces well. We have tested it on grass, dirt, tar, pavements, carpets, woodchips and tiles and it is really easy to steer with one hand. The handle bar is also quite high, which is an important point for us as we are a tall family. Even the Grannies and Grandpas where able to operate the stroller with ease.

This little stroller is packed full of punch and we have used it for much more than just travelling! It works well on shopping trips and saves a lot of boot space! The price also makes it perfect to have as a backup stroller in dad / granny’s car. (Most of the other travel strollers I was looking at retailed between R4000-R8000, the Banimal is currently on sale for R1899!!) It is now available online and in Baby Boom stores so you can look and feel and steer for yourself! I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

 

Travelling to Europe with an (almost) 1yr old

“All you need to know is that it’s possible.” -Wolf, an Appalachian Trail Hiker

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So many many hours of planning, wondering, worrying, waiting, packing and packing again finally culminated on the 26th of August at OR Tambo airport when we could check in all our baggage and go through customs. We were on our way to Brussels Airport (via Dubai) for our one-year adventure in Leuven. We have travelled with Eran before, but never internationally, so this was a first for all of us.  Here are a few of the tips and tricks that made the journey enjoyable:

  • Pray, plan, pray! The moment we started dreaming about this adventure, we asked God to go ahead of us and open the right doors. It is so comforting to know that we can trust Him with the big plans for our life, but also with the little daily details. I spent many hours researching prams, carriers and blogs to get the best advice for travelling with a little (Thank you @thebugthebird and @stellarizeyourlife).

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Prov 19:21

  • Invest in a carrier. It is stressful enough to book in your luggage (we were overweight with 2 of our luggage pieces) and to go through customs (take off your belt, sometimes your shoes) without having to worry about how to get your baby safely through. With a carrier you have both hands free to manage your stuff, and baby stays nestled close to your heart. We LOVE our Ubuntu Baba carrier (currently using the Stage 2), we have used it on an almost daily basis and it is always with us as our first/last resort!

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  • We took a stroller. It made things easier when navigating the airports, and Eran could take his naps in there, giving me some time and space to also relax. It was very important that it could fold up tiny and steer comfortably with one hand. See my review for the Banimal Stroller in my next blog.
  • Timing is everything. We chose a through-the-night flight as we knew this would be the best way for Eran to sleep most of the flight. He fell asleep when we finally cleared customs, and he thankfully stayed asleep even through the chaos of take-off. (We boarded first to have time to settle ourselves before the masses streamed in). One thing we did not know, is that the bassinets are only issued after the seatbelt sign is switched off for the first time. Eran thus slept on my lap for the first hour. You also have to take the baby out of the bassinet every time they switch on the seatbelt sign (for turbulence inflight). This caused some interruptions in his sleep, but it is still nice to have the extra space to use as necessary.
  • Visit your GP / Pediatrician before you go. Eran had his One Year Check up just before we left, so I was confident that he did not have extra fluid build-up in his ears or any other issues that would bother him during the flight. I also asked his paediatrician (yes, even thought I am qualified, I strongly believe in not doctoring my own family) for something to help him calm down / sleep if it should be necessary. We took Vallergan Forte (an old, sedating type of anti-histamine), and we used it once when he woke up at 3AM in the plane. It helped him to calm down and then he could doze back to sleep.

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  • Breastfeeding saved me!! Even though his entire routine was upside down, a quick breastfeed could usually settle him and give him the comfort and reassurance that everything will be ok.

 

  • During our lay-over we booked into a lounge. It was lovely to have access to healthier food (there were a lot of fruit and vegetables and salads available at the buffet), and space for Eran to roam and explore. Eran tasted his first hummus and olives and loved it! He even made friends with one of the welcoming personnel, and the two of them had a lot of fun.
  • Our second flight was during the daytime. Eran took one nap during the flight, but the rest of the time we had to keep those little fingers and toes busy. Granny made a few Ziplock bags with activities / stickers / new toys to entertain him, and that really worked wonders! (Thank you for the idea @thebugthebird) We also had some rice cakes for him to chew on, and he ate from my plate for his meals.

So all in all we had a very blessed trip with minimal tears. We were all very tired when we finally reached Brussels and we were thankful to just fall into our beds at the hotel we booked into for the night.

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions and come back soon for a full review of the Banimal stroller.