Now the good stuff: what you need and how to get yourself up to stroller running with your baby.
First of all, you need a jogging stroller. Let me say that in my experience with jogging strollers, you get what you pay for. This is one area in life where it is better to pay a little more and get a high quality stroller that can last. My personal favorite is the BOB Revolution (I own two! Their single and their double). There are other brands that my friend’s have and that seem to perform well. Feel free to ask on your local Stroller Warrior® page for recommendations. I have known people who started out without a jogging stroller. I even know two that started with a tandem double and one that started with a tandem triple! While it is possible, it’s less safe and is a lot harder on you and your body.
When you decide to run with your infant is up to you and your doctor. Talk with your doctor and your spouse and make the decision that is the best for you and your family. If you would like to read more about my personal experiences on returning to running post partum this blog will tell you more.
Always make sure to buckle your child in safely. Make sure to run holding the safety strap securely and don't forget to put on your brake when you stop. Nobody wants a runaway stroller! It's also a good idea to get in the habit of looking over the stroller to make sure the wheels are on correctly, properly secured and are inflated before you start your run. The stroller you purchase should have a website or manual that can detail how to correctly do these things.
While you’re jogging stroller shopping I highly recommend looking for one that has an infant car seat attachment that you can click your baby’s carseat into. This will enable the easy transfer of a warm baby from the car to the stroller for an easy run or from the stroller to the car for an easy trip home. There have even been times when I have been able to run in my neighborhood, unclip the sleeping baby from the stroller and bring my baby into the bathroom so I can keep an eye on baby while I shower.
None of my 4 children would take pacifiers, but you bet I was trying to get them to take one while I was out on a run. Getting 30 minutes of peace in a day can make a world of a difference in your mental health and stress level. If your baby will take one, getting in some personal exercise can boost your mood (yay endorphins!) and give you more energy for your day. It’s funny how that works sometimes, isn’t it?
When running with an infant I always pack a baby carrier. Which baby carrier I have in the stroller has always depended on their age and which carrier they like best. For 0-6 months I baby wear using a sashawrap which is similar to a moby wrap but made by a military spouse (and able to be personalized). 6 months up to toddlerhood I use an Ergo or a backpack style carrier that can go on the front or the back. There is a high chance, especially when you both are new to this, that baby might get upset and you might need to cuddle them while you walk. This may be frustrating especially when your friends around you are able to continue to run. Remember that a half attempt is better than no attempt at all. Using a baby carrier instead of carrying them in your arms will not only make it easier to push the stroller. It also will save your arms, back and posture. You can still get a great workout walking, especially if you have a baby carrier on. Walk fast and get your heart rate up, or pause and sooth your baby. Tomorrow is another day, you can always try again.
1. Check the baby’s diaper. They may want a new one.
2. Feed the baby. Know that all of the research says that babies are the healthiest eaters out there. They will eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. 3. Burp the baby. Gas pains are no fun!
4. Give the baby a pacifier.
5. Play music. Is there a special song you listened to or sang while you were pregnant? Don’t be afraid to whip it out and use it. It could make a world of a difference in your baby’s mood. Nobody will judge you while you run along singing the ABCs or for my second son it was Twinkle, Twinkle. If anything it just makes you look like a good Mom. I have a friend that had a Hawaiian song playing on repeat every time we ran together. I didn’t mind at all because it made her son happy and enabled us to run together.
If baby still isn’t happy take them out, put them in a carrier and walk with them. Did you know that the research on calories burned is pretty similar in running VS walking provided that the MILES covered is the same. What I am saying is that for example if you run 3 miles or walk 3 miles your caloric expenditure will be remarkably similar. The big difference is the time. For example on average it would have taken you 30 minutes to run 3 miles and it would have taken you 60 minutes to walk it. Walking is good exercise and exercise does your body and mind wonders. So don’t be too upset if your run is abruptly halted by a crying baby. You can still get a good workout in and get some of those endorphins and much needed vitamin D for you and baby.