In the comment section of a recent post, a reader asked how I manage to get out and about with my little ones. I felt that the answer deserved a full post because I feel so strongly about this topic. I try to make it out everyday with the two boys- it is exhausting…packing for a small army, loading Vijay into the stroller, strapping Vik on my chest and finally making it out the door. But it is so worth it. Motherhood can be so lonely and isolating- long hours spent at home while the babies nap- that I find it absolutely necessary to get out of the house as much as possible.
Of course this is much easier in the summer, with trips to the playground, farm and beach, and long, warm walks around town. But even in the freezing cold New England winter months, we bundle up and head outside. Vijay was born in late October, and it was a cold winter that year- regardless, we were outside everyday. My pediatrician was in full support of our active lifestyle, agreeing that babies, as long as they are bundled properly, thrive with a dose of fresh air every day. Here are a few products and tips that make getting out of the house a bit easier!
Baby wearing: I love using a baby carrier for long walks. It frees up your hands, and allows for moving easily no matter what the obstacle- crowded streets, stairs, narrow sidewalks. When the boys were infants (0-3 months) I used our hand-me-down Baby Bjorn. There is no hip strap, which made it uncomfortable on my back once the boys got heavier, but I loved the way it supported their head and neck when they were tiny.
Once my back could no longer handle the strain, and the boys had more head control, we invested in a Cat Bird Baby carrier, which we LOVE. This thing has been everywhere with us- to the beach, through the snow, used for long flights and maneuvering through the airport. My husband finds this one comfortable to wear too. I have many friends who love their Ergo’s, so that is another option, though I have never used one.
I will say this- moving around in the world with one baby is so much easier than with two. Though I still carry Vik, I now have to push Vijay in the stroller too. It’s exhausting, and soon we’ll transition to a double stroller, but Vik is still too young to sit in our double stroller on his own.
Which brings us to strollers: My advice, for what its worth…invest in a good stroller. We bought our Bugaboo off of Craigslist, which saved us a bundle, and we have worn it into the ground. I would hate to guess how many miles we have logged on that thing! I loved the Bugaboo when Vijay was an infant because it converted to a bassinet (see the first picture of this post). During the winter months, I could tuck him in the bassinet, cover him with blankets, and pull the hood over him and he would stay warm and toasty inside. An added bonus- he would always fall asleep in there! It was great for daytrips, because the basinett detaches, and could be used for his nap. As he got older, we switched the setup so that he was sitting upright, first facing me as I pushed and later, as he became more curious and eager to look around, facing outward, as shown above.
Clothing: A tip for getting out in cold weather- invest in a super cozy head-to-toe snow suits, or sack. Little feet and hands are the first things to get cold, so suits that include hand flaps, and extend to zip in their feet are the best kind. Built-in hoods are a plus, but I always put a hat on underneath the hood. Thick, warm socks are great to use as mittens for little ones, and they tend to stay on much better than actual mittens. Finally- LAYER. I didn’t do this enough for little Vijay, but I learned my lesson, and with Vik, I always put on several layers under the snowsuit…better a bit too toasty than cold. And you can always take a layer off if need be.
Finally, a word about packing: The great thing about using a stroller is that you can pack everything you need into the bottom storage sack. If you choose to wear your baby, you end up carrying everything, although this is the way I prefer to move (love having my hands free, and not having to worry about crowded areas and stairs, especially when I am visiting a city). I have found that backpacks make the best diaper bags-again, they keep your hands free! I use this cute little number!
I usually pack the following:
-Snacks and water for Vijay
-A KIND bar for myself
-A change of clothes for Vik
-Wallet, keys, phone
-A few small trucks, and a sheet of stickers (great in any situation where you need to kill time)
-A large burp cloth that can double as a changing pad if need be
In addition, I often pack my camera, which is huge. This is usually what really weighs me down, like on my daytrip to New York, or Boston. But it is so worth it, and I am sure most of you have a much more sensible camera, or just use your phone!
I hope this is helpful, and I would love to hear from other moms. What works for you? Is there anything I missed? What magical products or tips make it easier for you to get out the door and into the great wide world with your little ones!?