So we recently started going on our walks again and I can honestly say I'm so happy to be able to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air! We've already been on a few hikes and several walks around the lake near our house which we have walking access to! I'm so glad Spring is finally here because winter felt like an entire year. I love hiking and I love walking!
I did a lot of walking after Johanna was born, I mean a lot! I think I probably went on 2 to 3 walks a day. I'd use every excuse in the book. If the dog was looking a little down, we'd walk. If the baby was crying, we'd walk. If I was extremely tired but needed to be up, we'd walk. If the house was a mess and I just couldn't stand to clean, we'd walk. If the baby needed a nap but wouldn't sleep, we'd walk. You name it, we’d walk!
I was extremely nervous in the beginning because I didn't know how it would be walking with the baby and a 70 pound pitbull that actually likes to walk me instead of the other way around. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was out walking 3 to 4 miles a day. I was trying to induce labor but I couldn't walk the dog because I was worried something bad would happen. I would only take her on short walks around the block.
Thinking back, I remember how careful I would be with Johanna. I remember being extra slow and when I would carry her around I would hold onto her so tight like I might drop her or something. She was new and I was so nervous.
I'm sure by now you guys know about the moby wrap and how much I love it. I still use it with her around the house. At first, I was only wearing her in it in the house. I was terrified that she'd somehow slip out. Once I got used to her being in it I felt good enough to go outside. I will never forget our first walk with the two of them. I probably thought about turning around and going back in the house 3 times before even getting down the front steps. At this point the moby wrap and the stroller were my only options. I wasn't sure how Cookie would do with the stroller so for our first walk we used the moby wrap.
I wrapped that thing so tight and snuggled her up on my chest. I walked so slow and made sure Cookie was focused. She is dog aggressive so that brings another issue into play when it came to my anxiety. I thought, “okay, if another dog passes by I can squeeze Johanna with one hand and pull Cookie back with the other.” It was nerve racking but we haven't had an issue at all with that since Johanna was born.
There are so many options when taking your baby on a walk. It really comes down to what you're comfortable with. You could use a moby wrap, the stroller (if you have the 2 in 1 for newborns, that is the best option), or something like the backpack carrier (I'd definitely do my research on this before putting it on your registry or buying it).
From my experience, the best option when walking with Johanna and Cookie was the moby wrap. This was only when she was a newborn. We stopped walking in November because it was just too cold. For me, this option worked best because Cookie was too scared of the stroller. I wish I would've practiced walking with her and the stroller before the baby was born but now she is better with it.
If you are going to use the moby wrap, practice with it first! Use a stuffed animal or something that resembles the size of a newborn baby. Don't practice with your baby because if you don't use it correctly, they can slip out. I have tutorials on Johanna's favorite baby items page. Watch if you have a moment! There are two different types of carries.
Next, the stroller. I have 2 different strollers. One that can be used for trips to the store or short walks and one that is meant for jogging, hiking or longer walks. It's called a jogging stroller. You'll want to try and match the strollers with the car seat you have. Mine are all graco and the car seat snaps in on the top. I specifically have the graco click connect. This way you have all eyes on baby, they are strapped in tightly and you're still able to be hands free. You can also buy separate car seat bases if you have multiple cars!
Lastly, the backpack carrier. I did a lot of research on this item as well but I knew I wouldn't be able to use it for awhile. Unless you purchase one that is meant for a newborn, most of them recommend waiting until baby is at least 3 months old or 10-14 pounds. Johanna did not fit securely in hers until she was 6 months old. You will want to make sure baby is completely out of the fetal position (knees up, legs bent and sometimes crossed). They need to be able to wrap their legs around your stomach area. I personally have the baby steps ergonomic baby carrier with a hip seat. The hip seat was important because I knew we'd be doing a lot of walking. This puts ease on your back and let's baby be in a sitting position rather than dangling by the groin area. You can also use it in 6 different positions including one on your back. I still carry Johanna on my front mainly because she is petite. There are also 3 pockets on this carrier. Now that Johanna is older I prefer using the backpack carrier. At this point she can be worn in it facing out. You'll want to see when you're able to do this based on weight and the backpack carrier you purchase. We do sometimes use the stroller and she loves that too!
At 11 months, we mostly use the backpack carrier but deciding between the three items really just depends on how I'm feeling that day. I like carrying Johanna but from time to time I do like when she ride's in her stroller. Honestly, it's all about what's easiest for you. Being hands free helps me with Cookie because she can be a handful sometimes. I don't have to worry about the stroller getting away or parking its brakes to take care of Cookie when using the moby wrap or backpack carrier. We just walk!
So now you must be wondering how I carry needed baby items with us? I have small backpack that I use to pack 2 diapers and small pack of wipes. I never usually change Johanna in the middle of a trail or on the lake but you never know what will happen. I also pack her water cup, a water for me, a water for cookie and snacks for the both of them. If we will be hiking or walking during feeding time, I bring a bottle as well. We don't need much so it works out well. I know as a first time Mom it's so hard to leave the house without every single item they own in hand but trust me you don't need a lot!
It can be a task some days getting out of the house and on a hike or a walk. But most days it's really easy to pick up and go. As long as you pay attention to feeding times and make sure baby and you are comfortable, the hike or walk will be just fine! Remember, baby will sleep on your walk so if you go during naptime it's no big deal, you won't ruin anything. Also remember that you can always go home if you're feeling too worried or uncomfortable. Needless to say, after 11 months I'm super comfortable walking with both Johanna and Cookie! Let me know if you want anymore tips! I've also posted the items we use on the Johanna's favorite baby items page! Good luck Mama's!