My life with strollers

by Sonja on June 18, 2008

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If you had asked me, when my first child was a year old, if I ever thought I’d own a stroller, I would have said no. After all, if I hadn’t needed one up to that point, why would I need one in the future? We’d been all kinds of places without a stroller — to museums and zoos, on airplane trips, on the subway — and I’d always thought it looked like I was having an easier time than the folks who had strollers.

Then she developed her stroller fascination. For six months, she climbed into every stroller we encountered. At 18 months, we were over at a friend’s house and she insisted on being pushed around the yard in the other child’s stroller. My friend offered to give me the jogging stroller she never used, and I gave in. It wasn’t something I was choosing for my own convenience, after all — I was perfectly happy as things were!

Thereafter, we used the stroller around the neighborhood, primarily for walks to the playground. Once in a while, we took it to the zoo. We continued to use a sling for all other outings.

When my second child was six months old, I realized that I was having a hard time with just a single stroller. As he’d gotten bigger, it was harder to push my daughter in the stroller while carrying him in the sling, especially in the muggy summer weather. Even after I mastered putting him on my back in the Ergo, I was still struggling; among other things, my son is an incorrigible hair puller. I bought a used double jogging stroller, which was, like the single stroller, used for trips to the playground and visits to the zoo. I never thought so much of my porch space would be occupied with jogging strollers!

Most surprising of all, on Monday, I stopped off at Babies R Us after visiting the pediatrician about my 3 1/2-year-old daughter’s knee injury, and bought a Maclaren umbrella stroller. I realized that there was no sensible way for me to transport both my toddler and my preschooler under the circumstances without a stroller.

Which puts me, a fairly hard-core babywearer, in the entirely unexpected position of owning three strollers. I sometimes think my kids like riding in the stroller more than they like to be worn! All of which serves to remind me that babywearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding, and other common Attachment Parenting practices are not ends in and of themselves, but tools we may use in our efforts to foster a particular kind of relationship with our children.

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Sonja (9 Posts)


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Half Pint Pixie June 19, 2008 at 4:26 am

Me too, I’d be lost without my stroller. Littlepixie doesn’t like to be carried all the time, she often likes ro watch the world go by and play with her toys in the stroller. Isn’t that what AP is all about, listening to and responding to our children’s needs! Plus, when she has a nap in the stroller, I can sit down for a lovely soy latte (decaf of course) and a book :)

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Sherie June 19, 2008 at 7:53 am

DS hasn’t really been happy in stroller or being worn – ever. Doesn’t leave many options eh? (lol) To our surprise, he has taken to and, dare I say it – loves, a big, awkward hiking backpack loaned to us by a friend. I can’t get it fitted right for me, but DH can take him out for hours in it…he’s even fallen asleep (gasp!) in it once. So, I’m thinking of trying an umbrella stroller now. I wish I could just accept the fact that in spite of our best efforts, DS does not fit the AP baby mold in any way. I have to wonder some days if it would have been easier on our family had we spent the past 18 months following mainstream parenting advice. :-(

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Half Pint Pixie June 19, 2008 at 9:44 am

I have to wonder some days if it would have been easier on our family had we spent the past 18 months following mainstream parenting advice
ah no Sherie, because then you’d still be trying to get him into the stroller and would never have tried the crazy hiking backpack :)

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drmariablois June 19, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Oh, my goodness, I love my strollers, too! You know, to me attachment parenting just means responding to the needs of our children, it doesn’t mean following a recipe. I think the big difference is that when my children don’t want to be in the stroller or when they have had enough of the stroller, I always happily take them out and pop them in the sling that I always have tucked under the stroller.

You are doing beautifully by your children. Strollers = freedom for us mamas with multiple children!

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Audrey June 25, 2008 at 11:53 am

Wow! I feel the same way! My daughter has always loved being worn in my Moby Wrap, but now that she is 22 months old, she is overly fascinated with strollers and not a single stroller can go by without her stopping it and wanting to visit with the child in the stroller. If there is an empty one around, she climbs right in and begs to go for a ride. I find myself shopping for an umbrella stroller and feeling like I am in very unfamiliar territory when I realize that my die-hard babywearing beliefs are being altered by my very own daughter!

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Theresa June 27, 2008 at 12:49 am

I’m so glad to know that strollers are not the Big Bad Wolf that I thought some people were making them out to be! I just started using one with my 7 month old, and she loves it. Sometimes she just doesn’t want to be strapped up in her sling. I was feeling guilty about it, but I figured if she likes it, then it can’t be that bad.

Thanks for the peace of mind :)

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Sarah May 26, 2010 at 11:36 am

This was a great article. I just got my first stroller a few months ago, and i should have gotten one much earlier. We used a sling for over a year, but somewhere between 9 months and a year, while the sling still worked for HER, *i* wasn’t getting any good exercise because her weight to one side just pulled too much and hurt my back. It worked great still for regular errands until about 15 months, when she decided she didn’t like the sling any more (i think she felt cramped.) Soon after a year old i got a hiking pack, which worked great for moderate terrain,. We bought the jogging stroller specifically to meet my need to get good walking exercise without the extra weight. She *loves* it. As far as she’s concerned, it’s HER stroller. She loves the stroller and the pack, and i so do i. We choose whichever one bets fits the need for the situation. I truly don’t feel that our use of stroller or pack in any way compromises our AP relationship. When she (and i) needed the sling, during those little-baby-close-to-mama months, we used it. When our needs changed, we moved on to something else. I think the caution surrounding stroller use is not to put young babies into them frequently, because they haven’t gotten to the developmental point where they understand that they are still with mama. It’s about choosing what is most beneficial for the developmental stage of the baby, not that slings are ‘good’ and strollers are ‘bad’.
:o)

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