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When to Use a Stroller vs a Baby Carrier

There’s a time and place for using a stroller or a baby carrier. Sometimes these circumstances collide and using both makes sense, so I’m certainly not going to tell you to ditch the stroller entirely. Here’s when it’s best to choose the stroller, as well as which places you’re better off with the baby carrier.

Places I opt for a stroller over the baby carrier:

  1. Long shopping trips. When I know that I have a lot of stores to go into and a lot of purchases to make (i.e. back to school shopping for four kids) I choose the stroller.

  2. Jogging. When we first bought a stroller, I made sure to choose one that I could use every day and take jogging. Exercise has always been important to me, so a good jogging stroller is a must-have.

  3. Amusement parks, zoos, and museums. I actually bring BOTH a stroller and a baby carrier to these places. They allow me to nurse my baby in the carrier while we are walking. My babies can never sit all day in a stroller but having it there gives us breaks from babywearing. Plus, the toddler sits in the stroller, too, and takes breaks from walking all day. In addition, it’s difficult to get a good view of the world from a stroller where a baby is at eye level with legs and booties. Being worn in a carrier allows them to see the world from an adult’s vantage point to get a better look at animals, artifacts, and the scenery.

Pros of a Stroller:

● The under-storage compartment is perfect for shopping bags!

● Cup holders. I love having a cup holder for my hot drinks or sodas. I can stick a water bottle in my Neptune Baby carrier, but I would not recommend that with an open drink, like soda or coffee.

● Mommy hook: Another great place for shopping bags or other stow-away items.

Cons of a Stroller

● I had a love-hate relationship with bringing a stroller to the mall. On one hand, I loved having the mommy hook and under-storage compartment to put all of my shopping bags in. On the other hand, maneuvering a stroller around a crowded store can be frustrating and difficult. Even if the store isn’t crowded, many of the aisles are often too close together to comfortably browse with the stroller.

● A stroller is heavy and sometimes very difficult to open or close to get in and out of the car.

● They take up a lot of the trunk space in your car leaving little space for luggage or anything else.

● Strangers are more likely to feel comfortable enough to reach out and touch a baby or child sitting in a stroller, especially compared to a baby being worn in a carrier.

Places I prefer babywearing over the stroller:

  1. Home. I babywear most of the day at home, which allows me to do things around the house hands-free while also attending to my infant.

  2. Other people’s homes. For the most part, I don’t want to pass my baby off to relatives or friends and increase the germs they’re exposed to. Plus, my babies typically don’t feel comfortable with it, either.

  3. Restaurants. Many restaurants have a spot at the front of the restaurant to park strollers as there’s no room to have them at your table. So, if your little one is too young to sit in a high chair, babywearing is the way to go. This allows you to eat your own dinner hands-free. Yes, your infant can sit in their car seat next to you. However, it can be helpful to give them a break from the car seat after the long drive to the restaurant and before the return drive home. This can help you avoid flat head syndrome.

  4. Short shopping trips. Anytime I’m running errands and want to get in and out quickly, I choose babywearing over the stroller.

  5. Baby’s mealtimes. If I’m ever out of the house and the baby is ready to eat, we do it in the carrier. Even if you’re not a nursing mom, bottle feeding in the carrier has many benefits.

  6. Hiking. Most trails are not going to be stroller friendly.

  7. Trips to the beach or pool. Ever try pushing a stroller (even a good jogging stroller) through the sand? It’s not easy, enough said. Lol.

Cons of Only Having a Carrier

● Extended carries might cause back pain and tension in your body if your carrier doesn’t have supported shoulder straps and waistbands.

● Heat. Even in baby carriers with good airflow, your body heat combined with the baby’s body heat can be too much if babywearing outdoors in the summer months. During these times, it’s best to skip long outdoor carries and avoid the hottest parts of the day (even if baby is in a stroller). Shorter carries with breaks indoors or in the shade make babywearing in the summer still possible.

Ultimately, both a stroller and a baby carrier are necessary pieces of childrearing equipment. By having both, you’ll be prepared for any situation so you can focus on what’s most important: spending time with your babies!

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