As a new parent, if you find yourself wishing that you had 3 extra arms, you may want to consider how travel systems could help you increase your mobility.
You’re definitely not alone—these are considerations that every parent must make. Luckily, there are many different options available to you, including car seats, strollers or baby buggies, pushchairs and carriers to help you move about your day while also keeping your baby safe. It is definitely one of the top baby essentials!
In fact, there are so many choices that many new parents find it all a little bit overwhelming. If you’re struggling with this topic too, pay close attention to the following text. Soon, you’ll be a baby travel system expert!
Travel systems? Huh?
Though you probably already know about baby buggies, bassinets, and car seats, individually, you may not have heard of travel systems. Baby travel systems are made up of more than one baby mobility device. It can be a package deal in which you get a car seat and baby carriage for a lowered price, for example. Or, something that is becoming more common, travel systems that can also be a car seat, bassinet, or safety chair when needed, but can also click into a frame and become a stroller. With a buggy, your baby is safely strapped into a seat, which you can push in front of you anywhere you need to go.
There are many reasons that parents want a baby buggy and/or travel system, most of which are for convenience. Take a look at some of the most common advantages:
- It is easier to move the baby from place to place, especially if you will be doing a lot of walking.
- You don’t have to carry the baby in your arms, which you probably need in order to complete your daily tasks.
- It is physically easier than carrying your baby in a sling.
- Many infants find the feeling of being in a buggy soothing, and it can often make it easier to put them to sleep.
- They are one of the safest ways to keep your baby with you; they have sturdy frames that protect them in case of crashing into anything, and they have safety harnesses that prevent them from falling out. Furthermore, many of them offer safety features like a sunshade that can allow your little one to be outdoors without risking sunburn.
- Many mums find that they want to exercise and get back in shape after having the baby, which is possible with a walking or jogging stroller.
- Finally, they usually last for several years, can be used for more than one child, and make great hand-me-downs to friends or family who are expecting.
Decide what’s right for you
Although there are many great reasons to invest in travel systems you may not necessarily need or want one. This is a personal preference and something that you and your partner should discuss. A great alternative to using baby buggies is called “wearing your baby”—almost like a cute little kangaroo! Here are some factors to consider when thinking about carrying your baby versus using a baby travel system:
- A buggy may not be very useful to you if you live in a place where you frequently go up and down steps.
- Most babies prefer to be carried and some can get fussy if they are strapped into a baby carriage.
- There are different ways to carry babies in slings, either on your chest (for infants), or on your back (for toddlers), both of which free up your hands for use.
- Doctors now say that spending too much time in a buggy, car seat, bouncer, etc. (4+ hours per day), can contribute to plagiocephaly, or the flattening of the back of the head.
- Travel systems can be very expensive, whereas slings are extremely affordable.
Lots to keep in mind
If you do decide that you want a baby buggy (as many parents do), you will soon discover that you have literally hundreds of options in travel systems. There are many different factors that you will want to keep in mind as you are making your decision, such as:
- How old your baby is—under 6 months needs a bassinet, fully reclined seat, or car seat adapter. After this age, any type is fine.
- Your budget – you will only be able to use luxury items like bassinet sleepers for a short amount of time.
- How many kids you will need to be strolling. Should you get a single or a double?
- The size, weight, and how foldable it is.
- Manoeuvrability—how easily can it turn around corners? Do you need one that can work in tight spaces?
- The terrain where you will be using your travel systems most frequently—indoor, outdoor, paved, gravel, etc.
- What the weather is like where you live. If you have frequent ice, snow, or rain, you may need to look for buggies and travel systems specially designed for your climate.
- How much storage you will need. It’s not one size fits all!
- How often you will be going in the car. Different types of buggies are suited better for this than others.
- What feels best to you? The most important thing is to test them out in person in order to see if they feel good for your height, hand position, etc.
Travel systems: Know your options
Which stroller or baby travel system to get really is a personal decision. Luckily, there are so many different kinds of travel systems available that you will almost certainly be able to find the right one for you with a little bit of research. Here are the most common types of baby travel systems:
- Standard size – These are the most common and are usually on the large end. That also means that they typically offer a lot of storage, big seats, and usually a car seat adapter. Some even work as bassinets. They usually weigh between 16 and 32 pounds, though, which could be a lot to lift for a busy mum.
- Car seat frame – This is a great option for babies younger than 12 months old, but aren’t as useful for toddlers. It provides a car seat and a separate from that you click the car seat into in order to form the buggy. They aren’t usually as well equipped as the standard size, but they are also lighter at 11-16 pounds.
- Lightweight stroller – These are sometimes called umbrella strollers because of how easily they fold up. They are great for families that are on the go and need to be very mobile. However, they don’t have car seat adapters and are typically only recommended for 6 to 12 month olds. They are very light, though, at 8-17 pounds.
- Jogging stroller – These are great for mums and dads who want to get back into shape after having the baby, or even for families who live in rocky terrain because they are super shock absorbent. They will keep your little one safe even through running and bumpy terrain. They have large tyres and weigh 23-31 pounds.
- Double buggy – This is the best option for parents of twins or 2 kids who are close in age. They feature 2 seats, either next to each other, or one behind the other. They are surprisingly manoeuvrable and compact, usually weighing 21-36 pounds.
- Bundle travel systems – This is a package that contains a separate car seat and baby carriage, but sells them together. They are often reduced in price, but also sometimes in quality, so do your research before buying one.
We at CaptainMums hope this article all about travel systems hasn’t made your head spin. It’s true that there are many different options, including the option to go without and carry your baby in other ways. However, searching for the perfect system doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Just keep in mind your specific needs, and then test some out. Reading online reviews and speaking to representatives in prenatal stores can also be great sources of information. The most important thing is that you find the travel systems option that makes you (and your baby!) the most comfortable.