On the Move

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!?

6 thoughts on “On the Move

  1. Rebecca

    Cat Bird Baby! I know Beth who started that company from days of teaching in Chicago- she took my classes to learn how to make custom prints for her baby carriers. It's such a small world….

  2. Megan

    A Valium!
    Just kidding! Great post! It truly can be such a pain to get the kiddos all bundled and outside but that time is so worth it for the soul!
    Slightly off topic, we get stopped a lot at restaurants by people impressed by our children and how behaved they are. I always say Thank You but give credit to the “sack of toys.” We pack a gallon Ziploc bag with little McDonalds type toys and figures for the kids to play with (we hand them out two or three at a time until they tire of them and then hand out new ones). Also, board books, magnet play books, crayons and sketchbook. This keeps the kids busy while we wait for food and while we wait for everyone to finish eating. Never leave home without the “Sack 'o toys!”

  3. sheetal patel

    Thank you so much for writing this post!  Lonely and isolated is exactly right, especially because we moved to a new city/State just a couple of weeks before I gave birth and don't know anyone here (the hubby works really long hours during the week, too, so it's frequently just me and the little one).

    We actually have the pikkolo and I've used it a little at home (often she will only nap when being held), and I think I just need to get more comfortable with it–I don't always feel like her head is well supported yet and she buries her face into the strap, which makes me nervous!

    I really appreciate all the tips and am going to try to challenge myself to just get out more.

  4. Anonymous

    I have been using the Baby Bjorn almost since my baby's first month, she is now 7 months and I feel how sore my back is getting now just after an hour in the carrier. Do you have any suggestions on the Cat Bird? That looks interesting and you can use it as a back carrier too. My girl does not tolerate the car seat, so no stroller yet, plus it's a little cumbersome for quick trips out and about. How long did you use the Cat Bird for little Vijay? I might have to get one of those! Thanks for a great post!

  5. Anonymous

    Lovely post Christine, thank you so much for all the suggestions!

    I would always say the oppsoite though, better for babies to be a little bit cooler than warmer. The biggest risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS) or cot death, is actually babies overheating. Babies will normally cry if cold, however, if too hot, will often just drift off. Babies are at risk of SID in any place where they sleep. Just felt I needed to point that out. I read your posts eveyday and love hearing about you and your boys. I hope you don't mind me saying this.


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