Walking with baby carriers: how far is too far?

If I’m taking my little boy for a stroll I prefer to use a baby carrier rather than a pram, because it means we aren’t restricted to footpaths. But beware – once your baby’s had enough, they’ll make a lot of noise telling you about it!

“Aiming for a walk of around an hour is usually a safe bet.”

From just a couple of weeks old Sonny loved being in his carrier. I started off using the excellent Mountain Buggy Juno because of its dedicated newborn insert, and have now also started using a Tomy Freestyle because it allows him to face forward and gawp at the world around him. Sonny’s very nosy and curious, so this is perfect for him.

I really like the freedom of the carrier because not only does it mean we can walk on different types of terrain, it also leaves my hands free and doesn’t restrict me in the same way a bulky pram does. It also seems to do a great job of calming Sonny, because he enjoys the close bodily contact and the motion of walking often sends him to sleep.

The longest I’ve walked with him calm and settled in his carrier is probably three miles, spread over around 2 hours. If all’s going well he’ll be fast asleep tucked into my chest not making a sound – but if he decides he doesn’t fancy it then I’ve got a problem on my hands. Unlike with a pram, where you can carry and store all sorts of things to calm down a screaming baby (such as extra nappies, food, toys or even an iPad loaded with nursery rhymes), with a carrier you’re on your own with a highly unreasonable infant strapped to your chest.

You can take them out of the carrier to calm then down, but then you’re faced with the prospect of carrying both the angry child and bulky carrier all the way home. And if you’re daft enough to also have a dog on a lead with you, as I often do, then you start to run out of spare hands quite quickly!!!

“Always make sure you start heading home before your baby gets angry; because you won’t like them when they’re angry!”

From my experience, aiming for a walk of around an hour is usually quite a safe bet. If your baby is calm and settled when you start the walk – and the weather isn’t too hot, cold or damp – then it’s often a far more chilled experience than walking with a pram. On our recent trips Sonny has faced forward rather than into my chest, and he’s stayed wide awake the whole time. At first I thought this would shorten the amount of time we could walk, but if anything it’s had the opposite effect. He seems happier than ever bouncing along, staring at the ever changing views and just taking everything in.

But always make sure you start heading home before your baby gets angry; because you won’t like them when they’re angry!

Baby carriers I’d recommend:
Mountain Buggy Juno, great from birth
Tomy Freestyle, perfect for facing forward

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