I will risk my green cred by admitting that I never got the hang of riding the bus with my daughter.  Before I had a baby of my own, I’d see parents wearing their babies in slings or pouches, hopping on and off the bus with ease.  During the ride, the babies would sleep or calmly stare out at the view.  Maybe it wasn’t as easy for these parents as it looked–I know it wasn’t that easy for me!  I tend to choose walking over bus-riding most days, so I hardly qualify as a baby-bus-riding expert, but here are some pros and cons involved in the different ways of traveling with your tot.

Wearing Your Baby.  The most common baby-toting method for bus-riding in my town is a sling or baby carrier.

  • Pros: You can get on and off the bus with ease and have your hands free for taking out money, tickets, and transfers. Joy swears by the sling that she used for Roscoe during his first six months and found that when she wore it he would quickly slip into a temporary coma. Very convenient for public transport!
  • Cons: Some babies (like mine) do not cooperate with slings. My daughter would cry and squirm until I took her out. Then I’d have no place to put her if I needed to get my money out. Also, if I was wearing my baby, I couldn’t carry much else, like groceries or library books. This was a problem if I was taking the bus to run errands.

Taking the Stroller.  In Portland, we have to fold up strollers before getting on buses, but we can wheel strollers directly on trains or streetcars.  If you are planning on buying a stroller to use on public transportation, figure out how it works in your city.  If you have to fold the stroller up and carry it on, you’ll want something that folds compactly.  Look for a model that’s light-weight and has a carrying strap.  I chose the Maclaren Triumph because it weighs just eleven pounds–about the lightest I could find at the time.

  • Pros: Strollers are nice if you plan to walk long distances to or from your bus stop. My baby preferred sitting in a stroller to being worn for long walks.
  • Cons: It can be unwieldy to take your baby out of the stroller, fold the stroller up with the baby tucked under your arm, then get everything and everyone onto the bus.

Using the Stroller + Sling Combo.  I’ve tried wearing my baby in the sling and taking the stroller along as a backup.

  • Pros: It’s easier to deal with folding up the stroller and getting it on the bus if the baby is secure in a sling or pouch.
  • Cons: You’re still dealing with the unwieldiness of the stroller. If your baby doesn’t feel like riding in the stroller that day, you’ve brought it along for nothing!

Simply Carrying the Baby.  Last term I needed to take my toddler to work with me on Fridays.  This involved two one-hour bus trips, complete with stints of walking and transferring lines.  Because she was old enough to set down every once in a while, I decided to just carry her to the bus stop (or let her walk alongside me in her nonlinear fashion).

  • Pros: No dealing with slings or strollers!
  • Cons: It gets hard on the arms and back after awhile. If your child isn’t old enough to set down, you’ll have a hard time getting out your money and tickets.

Walking everywhere with my baby or taking her on public transportation works for me.  For more helpful Works for Me Wednesday links, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.  How are you managing taking your little ones on public transportation?  Please leave a comment with your traveling tales, stroller or sling recommendations, or questions for other bus-riding parents.