Chances are you are going to need a baby carrier and a stroller at some stage in your parenting journey. Personal preference may determine which gets worn out first, and even more influential will be what your baby’s preference is.
Even devoted babywearing parents will require a stroller at some point. But they cost a lot more and can take up a lot of space in your home. So when is it time to make the switch?
We think that it is wise to have both so you have freedom of choice to suit your lifestyle. We have written this post to help give you clarity on which vehicle is suitable for what circumstances you will encounter as a parent.
Baby Carrier Summary
A lot of parents prefer baby carriers because they promote intimacy and the development of your child. Babies love to be close to their parents.
They love being all content and tucked up against your chest. They love it when they can just feel your warmth pressed against them just as much as you love feeling your baby’s heartbeat and warmth pressed against you.
It is a wonderful thing, feeling close to your baby and your baby feeling close to you. Baby carriers can give you a lot of comfort and joy. It can also promote brain development among other benefits.
Baby carriers are also convenient if you don’t have a car or just don’t want to bring a bulky stroller out with you. If you’re a mom that just likes to grab their kid and go, then baby carriers might be just your style.
You can choose from a range of different carrier styles; Wraps, Slings, Soft Structured Carriers and Framed Carriers.
- Comforting and safe for your child. Great for tantrum aversion too!
- Great mobility in crowded spaces.
- Easy to breastfeed while on the move, or in public without drawing attention.
- Prolonged use can be tough on the body, and lead to back and shoulder problems if used incorrectly.
- You are usually limited to one child in a carrier, although there are some models designed for two.
- If you are on your own and you need to carry a handbag, diapers, wet wipes etc. You can see that it becomes a difficult task very quickly.
A lot of moms prefer to take a stroller out with them because babies can lie down comfortably and doze while mommy goes out and about her day just gently wheeling her little one along with her.
And while it’s great for little babies, your baby will grow out of this quick.
Soon they will want a little more freedom than what a baby carrier could offer.
Being able to look around and interact with their environment becomes increasingly important. Sitting upright in a stroller will give them great mental stimulation, and those curious eyes will wander endlessly.
As they get bigger they also get heavier! So eventually it is inevitable that a stroller will become necessary. It is just a question of when, and what style you want…. And how many kids you have!
Again there are multiple styles that will suit any use you can think of; sit and stand, jogging, umbrella, collapsible, all-terrain, and multi-child stroller.
- Very little physical effort to push
- You can load up more than one child on certain types of strollers
- Most strollers will have storage space so you don’t have to carry all those necessary baby items for the day
- You need a flat surface everywhere you go
- Can be difficult to maneuver in crowded places
- Bulky and can be inconvenient to fold up in some circumstances
Stroller Vs Baby Carrier for Age Range
In these early stages, a baby wrap can be the most supportive and safe way to move your baby around. They remain close to the mom and can sleep, stay warm, and feed all they like.
This is a very delicate stage of growth and staying close to your newborn can be very comforting. It is also when they are at their lightest! So if you are ever going to baby wear this is the time.
Most baby carriers are not suitable for newborns, but some will come with an insert that offers extra support. This will save you from buying an extra carrier a few months down the track.
Yes, you can use a pram for a newborn if it has a bassinet. But it is not necessary. I managed to make it through most of the first year only babywearing, and I loved every minute of it!
The Moby Baby Wrap is a good option for your first baby carrier.
It is made from single stretch cotton and will feel nice on your baby’s skin, and remain breathable. They have a range of patterns to choose from so you can find something to suit your taste.
It comes with a comprehensive instruction sheet too which helps. Although you will probably need to turn to YouTube for a decent tutorial (there are plenty!).
Wraps can be a bit complicated at first, but a couple of practice runs and you will be up to speed.
Check out our complete list of baby carriers for newborns here.
This is where you will have the most freedom, and you probably want to have both options available to you. You can then just use whichever option is going to make your life easier!
Your baby will be strong enough for most carrier styles, and their neck should also be up for the rigors of rolling around in a stroller seat.
The Boba 4G Carrier is a popular carrier that is a great stroller alternative for toddlers. It has a deep pocket surrounding the baby seat that will give plenty of room for fast growing toddlers, while keeping them safe and securely in place.
As they grow the weight distribution becomes very important to minimize the wear and tear on your body. The Boba maintains an even balance that spreads the weight across your hips with two adjustment points that allow you to fit to your body type.
This takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders and back.
This also has the infant insert mentioned above if you want to use it for a newborn. I still prefer a wrap for a newborn, but if you want to stick to one purchase only then this is versatile enough to accommodate you.
The material and strength of the seams are built to last. So it will stand up to the long term use if you choose to use this for your whole babywearing journey.
By this time your child is going to be getting heavy! This is when you may need to transition to a carrier that can be used as a backpack, rather than carrying on the front.
If you want to continue babywearing go for it. But chances are those physical limitations are starting to catch up with you and it is time to move over to the stroller (if you haven’t already).
You may also now have more than one child to deal with. A multi-child stroller, or sit and stand option is necessary just to get out of the house.
Baby Trend offers a versatile Sit and Stand stroller that can give you the flexibility to look after one child, or two down the track if this is in your plans.
You can alternate between the seat, a bassinet/car seat or just leave the rear space as standing room only. This will become useful in a few years when one grows enough to handle it.
Stroller Vs Baby Carrier for Travel
Family Day Trips
This will usually involve plenty of walking. A carrier presents the obvious physical limitation on the body and in most circumstances, you will be best served by a stroller. Your baby will be happy to sit back and take in their surroundings, then jump out of their seat and run around on arrival.
The transition from stroller to the car can be made easy with a travel system.
This will allow you to unclip the seat or bassinet from the stroller frame, and place it in the car as a secure car seat. Great for sleeping babies so you do not have to disturb them.
The exception will be if you are going somewhere with some rough terrain. There are purpose built all terrain strollers that might be sufficient, but if you are going seriously off road then a hiking carrier will do the trick for you.
These have hard frames and special cockpits to secure your baby in place.
Public Transport – Bus and Train
Most public transport will accommodate storage space for a stroller. Assuming it is not rush hour and you are standing shoulder to shoulder a stroller takes some of the pressure off and will let you relax while on board.
A carrier also has that portability advantage and personal preference might be what wins out here.
No matter what method you choose, once you get on board and settle down you will have a tough time keeping your baby where they are. They will try and climb out of the carrier or stroller – it is times like this that Toy Story on the iPhone can be a life saver!!
A baby carrier when navigating an airport terminal is a no brainer!
When you think of all the security checkpoints and storage limitations when on the plane itself, it is understandable that you may cringe at the thought of dragging a stroller around.
For pure mobility in a crowded space, your carrier will be much easier.
Spare a thought for your baby also. They will not be used to crowded places with as much hustle and bustle as an airport terminal. It is likely they will feel overwhelmed and will be very clingy.
In the baby carrier they will feel safe and relaxed.
You can also feed easily, and while on the move if necessary, when the baby is nestled in to your chest. This will also be a useful technique to calm your baby if they get upset.
As mentioned at the top of the article, you are probably going to need both a stroller and a baby carrier at some stage as your kids grow. By putting some thought into how and when you will use them you can probably get by with only one of each.
If none of the above sounds like you, there is always the option of a baby leash. I have never been a fan of the idea of putting your toddler in a harness and leading them around – but I guess people do it.
If you are interested to learn more about the various types of strollers and carriers we have a ton of resources to help you out. Check out our info hubs below: