Why I Didn’t Use an Infant Bucket Seat

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It seems to be a natural scene: parents going out grocery shopping, lugging their baby in a bucket seat that they set in the basket of the cart, parents lugging their baby in a bucket seat into the school to pick up their preschooler, parents lugging their baby in a bucket seat into the clinic waiting room where the baby hangs our while mom or dad fills out paperwork.

Why lug your baby around in a heavy infant bucket car seat when you don't have to? Here are four reasons we never bought a bucket seat when we had a newborn. quirkyandthenerd.com

So it might seem totally weird when I tell you that we didn’t use an infant bucket seat at all, not even when Mac was a newborn. Right from the beginning, we had her in a convertible seat that had a padded insert and could tilt back for newborns. (In case you are wondering, we use the Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat . We have never had any problems. It fits in both of our small cars and Mac has been comfortable in it from birth until now! In fact, she is still rear facing in it at the age of 2.5.)

You are probably curious about why and how I came to this decision. So here are the list of reasons I picked to skip the bucket seat and what I did instead.

Development Depends on Freedom of Movement

It is so important for babies to have freedom of movement, whenever possible. Carrying baby around in a bucket seat all the time restricts their ability to learn about how their body moves. Having a baby lay at an angle like they do in the bucket seat is not good for their development, especially their core development. All of their future physical development will rely on their core strength, from sitting up to walking. (Don’t despair if you do use a bucket seat. Just make sure baby isn’t spending all of their time inside of it! If you need some ideas to do with baby, check out my post about activities to do with a Montessori baby.)

Bucket Seats Aren’t Actually More Convenient

Now, I totally get wanting to make things easy for yourself as a parent. It gets tiring both mentally and physically to have to lug around a baby all the time. So why would you want to make it even harder by adding a 10+ pound infant seat? When I took Mac to the store as a young baby, I wore her in a wrap until she was old enough to sit in the cart seat. For me, that was much easier than lugging around the heavy seat.

Car Seats Are Expensive

Car seats are expensive, but they are necessary. Andrew and I decided we would rather buy a more expensive, convertible car seat that we could use for several years instead of having to buy multiple, cheaper car seats as Mac grew.

Let Baby See the World

Mac has always loved to be out and about and see people. When I had her in a front carrier, she could see everything I could see. Most babies that are stuck in a bucket seat end up staring at the ceiling lights because that is all they can see. Mac was able to look at faces and products on the shelf. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about strangers touching her when I was wearing her on my chest.

Now Onto a Little Rant and How I Did It Instead

sleepy bear2I have seen parents still lugging around their one year old child in a bucket seat. Not only is that totally unnecessary, but it is also just a pain in the butt. I really don’t want to carry the extra weight of a car seat along with a baby and a diaper bag. Add that to the fact that I often see parents putting the bucket seat in the front part of the cart, which is totally unsafe, and I’m not seeing the “convenience” of a bucket seat.

I will admit that at first, I was unsure what to do with Mac when I went out and about. I spent a lot of time at home with her when she was a newborn because not only was it February, but she was also a needy baby who had an unpredictable schedule of eating and sleeping. Once she was a few months old, I had the routine down.

If we were going somewhere like visiting family or the doctors office, we just carried her in our arms from the car. Once we got inside, we were typically passing her around to relatives or able to lay her down so she could play.

Going to the store meant I would wear her in a wrap. I used a Moby wrap that I would put on myself before I left home, covering it with a jacket. When I got to the store, I only had to transfer her from the car seat to the wrap and head inside. Once I was in the store, I could make any needed adjustments. Doing it this way meant I didn’t have to try and wrap her while standing in the cold or lay her in the cart while I put on the wrap. (Read more about how we went out and about.)

wrap at the store

Overall, I think a bucket seat is totally unnecessary for most people. I would save the money and buy a convertible car seat. The Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat has a removable pillow that goes in the bottom to make it safe for newborns. We have used it for over two years now.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you buy through my link, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclosure page here.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Hannah Vote | 15th May 16

    I am loving this post! Taking it into consideration as I am working on my baby registry and planning on large purchases. Thanks for all the great info!

    • Mikki | 15th May 16

      I’m so glad it is helpful! There are a lot of things that people think you have to buy, but with a little work, you can save a lot of money!

  2. Out and About Without an Infant Seat - Quirky and the Nerd | 17th May 16

    […] I have written about before, we never used an infant seat with Mac. Many people would question us about how we managed to make things work without one. It was much […]

  3. What the Heck is Montessori? - Quirky and the Nerd | 3rd Jun 16

    […] Freedom of movement […]

  4. Freedom of Movement: Learning to Trust a Toddler's Abilities - Quirky and the Nerd | 6th Jun 16

    […] one kind of chair or another. She occasionally sat in her swing. And obviously she would be in her (not bucket) car seat in the car. But otherwise she was either sitting with me or down on the floor, free to explore her […]

  5. Out and About With No Stroller - Quirky and the Nerd | 20th Jun 16

    […] know people already think we are weird because we went out and about with no infant bucket seat. What would you say when I tell you we go out with no stroller either? And Mac is only 16 months […]

  6. Jodi | 20th Jul 16

    Thanks for putting this out there! I wish I would have seen it before purchasing the travel set we have. My son is 6 months and 18.5 lbs so carrying him in the bucket seat is SO heavy. I’ve been looking for a convertible seat to use instead.

  7. JP | 20th Jul 16

    I can see benefits to both. I loved the infant carseat because I could transfer a sleeping baby without waking or disturbing their sleep. That was priceless for me. And traveling via planes wouldn’t have been as easy with a convertible carseat for the reason stated above. And as for core strength, my daughter figured out how to swing her legs up and down to make the carseat rock, so her abs are amazing, lol.

  8. Stef B | 21st Jul 16

    I also totally did this. And everyone was all over me–how would I survive?! I did the same things–Moby wrap/carrying in to places. My little one was always snuggled close, warm in the cold winter without carrying the additional weight of blankets! Loved it and planning on doing the same with #2, due in October! We used an Evenflo (convertible good up to 100 lbs!!) and are on year three with it. Still love it!

  9. Melissa | 21st Jul 16

    I completely get where you’re coming from. However, In Canada (Quebec) you can’t leave the hospital without having your baby in a bucket seat. They will not let you leave carrying her in your arms.

    • Mikki | 21st Jul 16

      I’ve had a couple of people say that. At the hospital I gave birth in, they simply had to bring me down in a wheelchair while I held the baby. Then they needed to just look in the car to see that we did have a car seat. There were never any specifications that it had to be a bucket seat.

  10. Katie J McCurdy | 21st Jul 16

    I certainly don’t have any problems with any of your reasonings for why you did things your way. However my baby boy would not tolerate baby wearing, I put him in a sling and he fussed, I tried a wrap and it was not working for him, he would cry as soon as I tried to get him situated. I understand that you are saying all this from your perspective, but I just want to caution moms that no one way works indefinitely for every person and I think as women we need to stop setting these supermom expectations for eachother and really just say “I’m right there with you and I have your back, you do what works best for you and your family.” Blessing to you and your family.

    • Mikki | 21st Jul 16

      If there is one thing I am not, I am definitely not a super mom :). I hope it didn’t come across as saying this is the only way. Every parent needs to figure out what works best for them and their family. I write posts like these because as a pregnant/new mom, I couldn’t find things like this as I researched. I cobbled together what I did find and now write this blog to help others who may be wondering the same things I was.

  11. Kristie | 25th Jul 16

    Yeah…I loved the bucket with both my kids just because I didn’t have to wake them up to take them in places. Plus I felt like the bucket kept them off the floor. I had summer babies and wearing them was hot so I didn’t really like wearing them. The bucket snapped into the stroller and I was off. I have a totally different opinion. I was so sad when my kids outgrew the bucket.

  12. Rebecca Presto | 26th Jul 16

    you make a good point.
    BUT- what happens when you have to go out shopping and running errands for the 6-8 months before your baby can sit up unassisted?
    or when you want to go out to dinner or lunch or whatever and you have to bring the baby? you need to put him or her down… and the infant carrier doubles as a rocker so if baby is getting irritable and needs a little help getting to sleep.
    its unreasonable to think you can leave baby home while you go out every time, unless you have a full time nanny or sitter- in which case if you do, congrats. but the rest of us poor working shmucks can’t do all that.

    • Mikki | 26th Jul 16

      I spent many, many hours running errands and wearing my daughter in a wrap. And as for going out, we are just working shmucks too and couldn’t afford dinner out.

  13. Berta | 31st Jul 16

    I completely agree with not buying anything for baby that you don’t *need*. However, I found that an infant seat was essential for my two babies in harsh winters. Since you can’t safely strap baby in a car seat with a snow suit or winter coat on, it was great to be able to put them in the seat in regular clothes and bundle them up with blankets before going outside. Ditto for getting back inside. When it’s -12 degrees out, standing outside your car with no coat on (my carrier wouldn’t fit over a parka) to put your baby (also with no coat on) in the sling in order to run into the store is madness. If you don’t live in an area with super-cold winters, however, I’d say infant seats are optional.

    Another thought: Before the babies could ride upright in the stroller, the infant seat on the stroller was great because even though my husband and I were comfortable baby-wearing, grandparents and babysitters weren’t. The infant seat made it possible for other people to be out and about with baby. Not essential, obviously, but nice to have.

    • Mikki | 31st Jul 16

      Very valid points. Although on a side note, I used a moby style wrap. I would do the basic wrap at home, put a coat on over it and once at the store, I would unzip just long enough to put the baby in. Once in the store, I would tighten and make any other necessary adjustments. As I ran in, I would cover Mac with my coat to keep her warm.

  14. When Inspiration Doesn't Strike - Quirky and the Nerd | 27th Mar 17

    […] bigger when I started to share some of the unconventional parenting things we were doing like not using a bucket seat, having a floor bed, and sharing what Montessori means. This blog has been an amazing outlet for my […]

  15. Four Activities to Do With a Montessori Baby - Quirky and the Nerd | 4th Aug 17

    […] I have talked about before (here and here) I frequently took Mac with me to run errands and I wore her in a wrap as we went around. […]

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