Stroller Strike

Help for a 3.5 month old who doesn't like riding in the stroller.

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A PSP member writes to the list:

"Hello Parents,
My 3.5 month old son hates riding in a stroller. I almost always carry him in a wrap, Bjorn, etc. because he's happier being worn and I'm happy to wear him. He's in his stroller on average less than once a week and even when we do use the stroller, we almost always bring a carrier to transfer him into when inevitably his crying becomes too much to bear.

However, sometimes it would be nice to be able to use the stroller (while shopping or going out to eat, for instance) and have him be content. So, I'm wondering if anyone has advice for persuading a baby to enjoy a stroller ride. Will he eventually grow out of this? Are there any particularly good toys for the stroller that will keep him entertained and happy (he's just now getting to an age where he appreciates grabbing, swiping at, and chewing on toys)? Or is it possible that my boy is just not the stroller type and I am going to have to carry him everywhere till he's old enough to walk?

Thanks in advance for any advice!"




"The "honeymoon" is over! At around 3 mos. babies are more aware and curious of their surroundings, and not so content to hang out in a stroller and nap away. (I was always so jealous of the new babies sleeping so peacefully in their strollers!--- mine never did!) Of course, I never had a "honeymoon" period where my new little darling was content unless she was attached to me or "worn". I was told this is perfectly normal, and that babies who are worn also are better sleepers. I don't know about that last part so much applying to all babies, as my baby broke all the rules when it comes to hearsay!"
But on occasion, I did on get her to ride in her stroller. (Well it was actually a snap and go system with the car seat when she was an infant.) At the beginning, she really didn't like it. I guess it was a combination of not being near me and the bumpy ride along NYC sidewalks. But she eventually really liked strolling along. Now, that she is 19 mos. and we have a different stroller, she climbs in and says "red-t-go" (ready to go!--- even when we're not going anywhere!)
So, maybe a smooth riding stroller, and perhaps nestle your babe so there is not a lot of open space. It may make him feel more snug and secure. Interesting dangly toys help some. I got a bunch of those plastic letters and numbers that interlock to make a chain.. I'd make a really long chain and hand all sorts of things.(rattles, crinkly sounding objects, teethers, You can mix it up and keep the chain interesting.
Does your stoller allow your baby to look at you when your driving the stroller? Perhaps, it's that you are out of sight and that's upsetting to him. And if he's already looking at you and he's still crying, try positioning the stroller seat to face out so he can take a good look of the world around him.
Otherwise, carrying the baby in the end is really convenient and less bulk. you can still use your stroller to carry all your baby gear and shopping bags around! (that's what I did! You can fit way more groceries in an empty stroller or even than one of those dinky wheely carts.) You could also get one of those bumbo seats and bring with you out to eat. Your little guy can have a great view of the restaurant and his family! Eventually, your baby will enjoy stroller rides, but right now, my guess is that all he wants, is to be close to his mommy!. 


"I'm not sure about being a stroller type or not, I just wanted to let you know that at a year old, we still wear our daughter practically everywhere, and it's great! It's soooo much more convenient than the stroller. I used our stroller a few weeks ago when I had a doctor's appointment, and I couldn't believe how exhausting it was. It's also a pain maneuvering around stores with it, even though we have a relatively tiny Maclaren. If you ever want to try some more babywearing things, stop by a babywearing meeting in Prospect Park--the next one is July 12. I just wanted to give you a different perspective. Good luck getting things sorted out--you'll strike a balance that suits you eventually. :)


"Have you considered a stroller that has a rearfacing seat? Some babies will sit in the stroller if they can face the parent, they just seem to have heightened separation anxiety. also, try different recline positions of the stroller seat. your baby is at the point where he does not like to lie completely flat (though they should until they have head control) and might like a slight recline. a snuzzler or seat insert can help support them while they sit on a slight recline. My oldest son hated his stroller and carseat until he was around five months old. he cried inconsolably and i always ended up putting him in a sling. it was extremely stressful and we could not drive or walk long distances. I kept trying the stroller with various objects/ favorite stuffed animals. we also would let him play in the stroller, using it as a bouncy seeat, etc, so he would associate it as a fun place to be. he eventually took to the stroller."


"At the risk of sounding like a brute, here's my two cents. First off you are going to throw your back out carrying 18 lb. child . He's just going to get heavier, wider and longer. Second, you are the parent. Your son is accustomed to being carried so of course he is going to cry if you take him out of his comfort zone. A stroller is a big placed compared to being snuggled. He only knows what you teach him. If you never carried him, he probably would be a different baby. Take long strolls to get him used to the stroller. Add several stuff animals, blankets in the stroller so he doesn't feel alone. I did the came thing for my son when I eventually moved him to the crib at 6 months after co-sleeping with him. He currently has 2 teddy bears, 2 curious Georges and one mushy pillow in his crib, plus the crib dumper. He will eventually grow out of it and you will be a happy person. My son is 18.5 months, walking and running everywhere, if I didn't have the stroller I would never get anything done on the weekends. He has to stop and look at everything, taking us 20 minutes to walk one block. Ever since he was 8 weeks old, I used to walk from 12th Street and 8th Avenue to Target in the stroller. He used the carseat with the universal stroller until he was about 6 months old. I stopped wearing him when he became about 18 lbs. My petite self was tired and my back and hips were in pain. Remember he only know what you teach him. Babies are product of conditioning and reinforcement. GIve him lots of love and praise."


 "Do you swaddle him? None of my 3 kids were big stroller lovers at that early stage, but it certainly got better as they got older. With my daughter (now 8 mnths)she settled into being in the stroller around 4 months or so. She also has a little attachment blankie that she sleeps with, so when i put that next to her it really calms her down."


"What kind of stroller are you using? At that age, my son hated the snap-n-go. Once we got a regular stroller that he could sort of stretch out in, he did much better. Not great, mind you, but much better. Then within a month or so, he started being totally fine in the stroller. Now he loves it. So I guess I'd say, if your stroller is small, your son may want more room. If he's got the room, just give him some time!"


"My son also had this issue. Nothing could make him like his stroller until, miraculously at 5 months, just as I thought my back was going to give out, he started happily riding in the stroller. He continues to ride without complaint to his day and he is over 3. So, although I can't offer anything to help you out now, rest assured that this is probably a short-term problem and he will adjust to riding in his stroller. Hope this helps!"


"Well, I'll start with the worst alternative, which is he just might not like the stroller, but my guess is this will change with time. We carried my son and pushed him around in his car seat snapped into a snap 'n go. Since he was often already in the car seat this was no big deal for him. I do remember the day where we sat him up (or really leaned him up) in a Maclaren when he was about your son's age and he had this look of glee and awe on his face because he was upright and moving forward and could check out the scenery. Remember, as soon as you think kids get used to something, they change, so keep trying the stroller!"


"We thought our fancy MacLaren was a great thing for my daughter, she thought otherwise after about 8 minutes every single time and she ended up in the Bjorn so I finally just stopped schlepping the stroller with us. When she was about 6 months old she'd go in the stroller finally. Although still I had her in the Bjorn mostly until she was a year (which was just incremental commitment as she got bigger and bigger). Maybe she would have eventually cried it out in the stroller but I never lasted the nine hours of crying to find out. At least a carrier makes subways and doorways easier? And builds back, arm stamina?"


"My oldest son was the first way and I remembering being rather frantic at my 6-wk postpartum appointment b/c I was dead tired and just wanted to stroll him and have somewhere to put him for the exam. But, he wasn't going to have it. He did eventually outgrow his hate of the stroller (and the car seat). I can't recall when but somewhere around the 6-8 month mark I think. Toys with noise and lights seemed to help more than anything else."


"My twins often cry when I put them in the stroller, but once we hit the road and outside air they stop. How long is Guthrie in there before you decide to take him out? I also keep a stuffed toy in there for them to cuddle with and i have a few bright colored toys hanging. They havent really responded to the hanging toys yet (9 weeks). If Guthrie cries for prolonged periods of time in the stroller even when moving outside, why not take him out in the stroller every day for week and only take him out after 5 minutes of solid crying while on the move? If you do it everyday he may get used to it. I also find that if the twins are crying while we are moving, going on bumpy road over cracks in the sidewalk, etc actually helps. if they are sleeping or quiet, they dont like the bumps too much."


"My daughter was fine in her stroller until she was about 3 months old. Then she refused to be in it for more than a few minutes until she was about 7 months old. Needless to say, we have lots of slings. She was facing me until she was about 7 months old, then I started facing her out and that made all the difference!! She loves looking around- when she sees me she wants to be held, but when she faces out she's great. Just give it time- I know it can be hard on your back, but I think babies learn to love their strollers. One more suggestion, use it in your house for play time so she develops a positive association with it."