Are Strollers Really Damaging Our Babies?

Sasha Brown-Worsham
25

There are so many reasons to judge other parents -- the "junk" they feed their children, the coats they "forget" to fasten on the coldest days  -- but according to the New York Times, there is a new, hotter reason for judgment: the stroller.

According to the Times, many parents are eschewing the stroller in favor of any number of baby carriers with some subtly suggesting that pushing our children away from us in strollers is traumatizing them.

"Baby wearing" is nothing new. I carried my daughter in a sling from birth and she is nearly four, but the sheer breadth of carriers now available are starting to supplant Bugaboos and Phil & Ted's on city streets.

Baby carriers are more convenient. My son lived in our Ergo (plus infant insert in the beginning) for the first year of his life and I am quite certain I would have gone insane without it. It is what allowed me to still take my older child to the park everyday. I am a proud baby wearer, but I also love our fleet of seven (yes, seven) strollers, too.

For some, however, strollers are bad indeed.

I love my babies, says Maggie Gyllenhaal's character in Away We Go (a 2009 movie). Why would I want to push them away from me?

Baby gear, like anything else, goes in and out fashion and for some, certain pieces of gear were superfluous from the beginning. The exersaucer that worked so well for one family are called "circles of neglect" by another. The swing that saved one family's life is horrifying to another who prefers the cradle and hold her baby while he sleeps.

Neither are "wrong," perse and it is troubling how many people seem to think one has to be wrong for the other to be right. You can love your babies and also "stroll" them, just as you can be a not-so-hot mama and carry them in a mei-tei.

The safety issue with slings is a whole other post, but for the sake of the argument, we will assume that parents are following the directions and using carriers safely. A "carrier" can mean so many things -- ring slings, mei-teis, Ergos, Moby wraps, Baby Bjorns and more. Each baby wearing mama has the one she swears by. I could never figure the Moby or the mei-tei out, but the moms who love them really do.

And yet, I cannot discount the convenience of the stroller. I "wore" my babies for the better part of the first year of each of their lives, but popping them in the stroller was always appealing as well and I never once felt as though I were "pushing them away from me."

Baby wearing is wonderful and it is great that mainstream movies and newspapers are noticing it, but it is not the only "loving" way to transport a baby.

Do you think strollers are bad?

 


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