Life Without A Travel System

While I was pregnant, I did a post about Why I Don’t Want A Big Stroller. In a nutshell, I think they are annoying, rude to take out in crowded places, and I wanted to hold my baby. So how did it work out now that I have my baby? Did I call my mom crying over how stupid I was for not getting a travel system?

No, we still do not have one big travel system. And have no plans on getting one. We did receive a jogging stroller from Michael’s friends as a shower gift. We do use it, but it is not our main choice to take Jack out in public. I still think it’s rude to the big stroller out in most public places. They get in the way and take up so much room. We use it mainly for walks around the neighborhood and to non-crowded parks. It reclines pretty far back so he went in it for the first time at two weeks old. But he doesn’t like it that much. He will stay in it for about an hour then screams to held.

Shortly after I took this he woke up screaming, he’s not a big fan.

We also have a detachable car seat carrier we received secondhand. We put it in Michael’s car (the car we use the least) so both cars have a seat just in case. We do carry him around in it sometimes. But I want to add he doesn’t stay in there that long. It’s not like we are staying out to midnight. We go out for a couple hours and are back before his bedtime. It does not connect into our stroller, so it’s not convenient to carry him around in it. But it’s nice because he will sleep in it and we can give him a bottle easily if he’s hungry. It honestly saves my sanity at the grocery store. My hands are free and the movement of the cart usually lulls him to sleep.

He wasn’t too sure about that basil…

I need to stress it is not recommend to use a secondhand car seat, a new one is always preferred. However, if you are going with a used one, there are a few rules. First of all, make sure it is not passed it’s expiration date (ours has a year left so after Jack out grows it we will throw it away). Make sure you know the person giving it to you (ours came from a nice family who our friend nannies for). Only accept it if you know for sure it has not been in an accident (ours has not). And lastly sanitize the fabric but do not wash it. Car seat fabric had a fire retardant on it that can be washed off.

The main form of transportation for Jack is babywearing. He loves being worn! It is a sure fire way to calm him and get him to sleep when he is fussy. We still have the Infantino Swift Carrier I mentioned in my other post. Michael uses that one on occasion. I used when he was first born. It’s nice but, I wanted something more snuggly so I ordered a Boba Wrap. I fell in love with babywearing the first time I put Jack in it. He’s all snuggled and secure, but my hands are free!

Sleeping while we went out to lunch

But the Boba gets hot, so after some research and a meeting with the local BabyWearing International group, I also ordered a woven wrap. Jack loves this wrap too. We stay cooler because it’s made of cotton. I use this wrap almost everyday for walks now. I think Jack likes this one a bit more because he can sit a bit more upright and look around more. Though he sleep in either one like a champ. Both were great investments, absolutely worth the money.

Checking out the neighborhood on our walk.

So how is life without a big travel system? Great! I am not that rude mother knocking people over with her oversize stroller in a crowd. Nor am that friend who shows up for a late dinner and plops the car seat on the table. Nor am I the parent who never holds their child and leaves them in the car seat all day. I will confess one thing though—it would be easier to have a travel system for when Jack falls asleep in the car and I don’t want to wake him when I pick him up to put in the wrap. But overall, it’s not that big if a deal since he loves sleeping in his wrap.

Why I Don’t Want a Big Stroller

source

My shower invitations went out recently (thanks Kamille!).  Right away some of my close friends and family who want to buy the more expensive items asked why I didn’t have a travel system or a car seat combo stroller. I politely told them we already have a umbrella stroller for when he can hold himself up, and until then we are just going to carry him. Then they tried to explain how much easier it will be to take him places and let him sleep. I politely tell them again we do not want one, but thank you for your concern. They have been nice and understood, but still think we should get one.

These gigantic things. source

I am not some masochist who wants her torture herself by carrying around a baby until my arms are totally dead. I have two logical reasons for not wanting a travel system stroller.

Yes they do. source

First of all, they are public  nuisance . Have you ever been in a public place, like a mall or just walking down the street, and suddenly been plowed over by some lady with a double-wide stroller? And of course you can’t say anything because you know she is struggling to keep it together under the stress of taking a screaming baby out in public. But you give her a little glare as she continues to plow down the crowd as she makes her way through. Oh look, she just took out an old lady with a walker, who then fell on a 5-year-old. Or even at a restaurant–you are trying to simply walk to the bathroom and back, but are blockaded by gigantic strollers. And if you accidentally bump one while trying to navigate through, the parents angrily yell at you for disturbing their baby. I know parenting is hard and it’s nice to have your arms free to do stuff, but pushing a giant stroller around in public is rude. In fact, I think it’s very rude. There is a difference between the world becoming more kid-friendly (which I love) and parents just being selfish. Your baby does not need the giant stroller packed full of stuff. You don’t need it either—you just want it. You want to have everything stowed away for your convenience. The world should not revolve around you just because you had a baby. Have some consideration for others. I refuse to be this rude of a person ever, so this is my number one reason for not wanting a travel system stroller. They are just too big and impractical. Also, I have more compassion for the women who has a screaming baby in public if she hasn’t run me over with her stupid stroller. In fact, I would probably let her cut in line or something when it looks like she is about to burst into tears with her baby.

My senitments exactly. source
And I know someone is going to say, “But I got invited out to a friend’s birthday dinner at this great restaurant. If I don’t take the big stroller where she can sleep, I don’t get to go!” I know it sucks, but you are a parent now. Either hire a sitter for the night or tell your friend sorry, but you can’t go because your baby needs to sleep in her own bed. You have a greater responsibility to your child’s healthy and safety than to having dinner with your friend.
*I would just like to note, if you have multiples, a bigger stroller may be necessary. I understand and got no problem with that. But it doesn’t need to be GIGANTIC and you don’t need to take into a crowded place.

Secondly, it’s not good for your baby it be laying down all the time. I was browsing on Pinterest one day and came across an article with a Youtube Video about why/how you should carry your baby. Sadly, I cannot find that original Pin :-/ So I will link some similar ones below.  But essentially, a newborn’s spine is C-shaped. It’s weak and not very flexible. Your baby has been squished up inside you for nine months. Laying your baby flat on it’s back in a carseat for an extended period of time is bad. Their muscles are not strong enough to be uncurled and stretched out yet. This places too much stress on their delicate spine. As the baby grows, their muscles eventually get stronger. Then they can support their own heads and their spines to begin to develop a slight curve. And only when they learn to walk do they have the full standard spinal curvature. Until then, laying your baby down with it’s legs and spine spread flat often puts too much stress on the muscles and spine. It will interfere with the natural unraveling and strengthening of the spine.
Carrying either in your arms or in a sling properly does not cause such spinal stress. Newborns and older infants should be carried facing towards you so they are not leaning backwards (stretching out the spine) for support. The carrier should support the entire length of the back—shoulders down the back of the knees. They should be snug but not pinned in place. Their legs should be allowed to curl naturally and freely, to prevent hip displacement. Check the height and weight limits of your sling, and make sure your baby isn’t too big for it, which can cause spine issues as well.

Why wouldn’t you want to snuggle your baby? source

See, there is logic to not wanting a travel system stroller, both a societal issue and development concerns. These reasons are not based purely on research though, I have some practical experience too. I babysat for different families that have used travel systems, slings, or both. I found the big stroller annoying to luge around. And it bothered me that the baby was isolated down and away from me. I liked most of the slings (one family had a weird homemade one that hurt my shoulder). I liked the baby being close against me so I could make sure they were okay. My hands were free and my movements were not impeded that much at all.

Our stroller. Simple, light weight, and folds easily. source

And when he does gets too big or it’s impractical to take him in the sling, we did get an umbrella stroller. He can’t go in it until he can support himself upright though. It’s small enough that if we do need to take it in a crowded place, we won’t take out any old ladies. It’s collapsible so if we need to eat in a crowded restaurant, we can fold it up and tuck it out of the way. And it’s probably not comfortable for him to sleep at night, but that’s not a problem. He will not be staying out late just because we want to. I firmly believe that babies need a set bedtime routine in their regular bed. So if want to go out out, we will hire a sitter. Or sadly we might not be able to go out. That is something you have to accept as a parent.

Also, I actually want to hold my baby. I spent all this time and effort making him, I want to see his cute little face and rock him in my arms! And who knows, maybe after a month I will be calling my mom crying and saying I was stupid for not wanting travel system.

More info on proper baby carrying:
Strollers, Baby Carriers, and Infant Stress, Boba
How to Practice Safe Babywearing, Imperfect Homemaker
Benefits of Babywearing, Babywearing International