12 Tips for Walking with Your Baby

Moms Walking with Jogging Strollers and Babies
Moms Walking with Jogging Strollers and Babies. Christopher Futcher/E+/Getty Images

Enjoying a walk with your baby is a great way to get out of the house and on the road to regaining the shape you were in before your pregnancy. It's great to restore your physical fitness, energize your mood and connect you with your neighborhood and nature.

How Mothers Can Start Walking With Their Babies After Pregnancy

Strollers for Walking with Your Baby: A walking/jogging stroller should be high on your baby shower wish list. You will need to exercise regularly when the baby arrives to get back into condition. Backpacks are an option, but most families find that the baby quickly outgrows comfortable carrying. Look for these features recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine:

  • Deep seat and a seat belt.
  • Locking brake to use whenever you put the child into or take the child out of the stroller.
  • A safety wrist strap to keep the stroller from rolling away from you.
  • Check the stroller for sturdiness.
  • A sunshade is essential to protecting the baby's skin from sunburn.

Paths to Avoid Walking with a Stroller: Do not take the stroller on gravel or rough paths, the vibration and bumping are not good for either the child or for your wrists, arms, and shoulders when pushing the stroller. Stick to sidewalks and asphalt.

Supplies: It can take planning to be sure you have everything you need along with you. Be sure to bring water for you and a bottle for your baby. Take along a mini kit for diaper changes and cleanup. As your baby grows older, she'll also want snacks and her favorite plush toy.

Get Out into Nature: Find a paved path that goes through a park or natural area where you can see greenery. Studies show that walking in natural settings reduces stress and has more benefits for your mood.

How Long to Walk for Health and Weight Loss: You can get your recommended amount of physical activity by walking briskly for 30 minutes per day. You can break that up into sessions of 10 minutes or more. For weight loss, it's best to walk for 30 to 60 minutes continuously, the most day of the week. If that's more than you can do at first, build up to it by adding five more minutes to your walking session time each week.

Shoes: Pregnancy may have led to permanent changes in your feet. It's a good idea to take a trip to the best running shoe store in your area and get fitted again for athletic shoes. Good shoes make for good walks.

Heart rate: To lose the weight and build fitness, you can now gear back up to walk at your target heart rate for either weight loss or for conditioning. Pushing the stroller can help raise your heart rate at lower speeds. However, you may not be able to achieve high enough walking speeds if you are already in good condition.

Your Walking Posture: Jogging strollers can produce poor posture habits. Your center of gravity was shifted by pregnancy and now you need to regain good posture. Concentrate on maintaining proper walking posture and avoid leaning either forward or backward.

Get Your Baby Started Right: By walking with your baby, you are instilling regular exercise habits in your child from his/her first memories. This is a gift every mom should give their child. You can even enter fun runs and charity walks that allow strollers. Your child could have a wall full of walking medals even before ever taking his/her first step. You can point to that in a few years when you can't get your kid off the couch or away from her screens (or whatever we have by then!)

Parents Walking Together: Moms who walk with their partner and their baby find it a time to connect, to build the family, and to unwind from a day at home or at work. It's a natural way to build your relationship and have time for conversation while the baby is along for the ride.

Walking Play Dates: You need to connect with other moms as much as your child needs to play with other babies. Rather than meet at each others' homes, make it a date to get out for a walk. It can be as simple as circling the block or the inside of a shopping mall.

Grandma and Grandpa Time: Your parents, in-laws, and siblings want to spend time with you and the baby. Make it active time out for a walk. If you really need a break, you can send them out with the baby and stroller while you relax at home or get in a solo workout.​

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