June 27, 2014

Dear Frannie Friday--Walking with Baby

Ever since I got the green light after Reilly's birth, I've been walking almost everyday for between 1-4 miles.  I've pretty much got it down to a science at this point.  So this is not a fashion post, but hopefully it will be helpful to any other new or newish mommies out there.  Quick disclosure:  I have not been compensated by any of the companies shown in this post--these are just my honest opinions.

Tip #1: What to Wear

It seems like a no-brainer, but let's quickly cover what to wear.  Pretty simple: something breathable and fairly expendable.  Thinking that walking wasn't much of a strenuous exercise, when I started really walking, I would just wear my regular clothes.  But I quickly learned that not only could they hinder my spirits comfort-wise, but also it's summer.  So you sweat.  Sad but true.  Don't sweat in your pretty clothes.  Get something weather appropriate that is easy to move around in.

Also important: footwear.  Again, I tried to be a rock star at first and just wing it in flats or sandals.  No matter comfortable those pretty little shoes are--they won't cut it on a mile or more walk.  Trust.  They will suck on pavement and suck double on gravel.  Get some tennies.  They don't have to be fancy--these I'm wearing are nothing special.  But they have to have give and padding for movement.  It will make a world of difference in your walk.

Tip #2: Equipment

A good, quality stroller is something worth investing in.  You will use it a lot, trust me.  And if you plan on going on walks, runs or otherwise, it is essential.  I got this Coutours Options 3 Wheel Stroller and have been nothing but pleased with it.  Things to look for when purchasing stroller:
  1. Flexibility.  This stroller is convertible.  The seat can face you or face out.  It also comes with a piece that you can attach to strap in the car seat should you not want to wake a sleeping babe to go on a walk.
  2. Sturdiness.  I am a fan of the three wheel stroller.  I find that it turns easier and it is recommended if you are going to jog with the stroller.  
  3. Storage.  It makes life so much easier when you are able to cart all that you need in the stroller.  This stroller has a big pocket on the bottom and I have squeezed the diaper bag, camera bag, my tripod and my purse in it.
  4. Portability.  One of the only problems that I have with this stroller is that while it is fairly easy to fold up, because of the seat conversion option it is kind of a pain to tote around.  But in general, being able to fold up or take out the stroller with ease is nice.
  5. Little details.  This stroller's got cup holders for mom and baby.  Those cup holders are slotted and detachable so they are easy to clean which is nice.  The only other problem that I have with this stroller is the shade.  It's pretty small and not so easily moveable.  The seat is able to recline into several positions and there is a brake on the front that is easily put up or down.
Tip #3: What to Bring

Water.  Obvi.  You will want to make sure that you have plenty of water.  I keep one in the fridge and one in the freezer.  That way after I drink cold water, the frozen water is melted enough to drink.  I prefer the Smart Water bottles and I just reuse them.  They have an easy flip open top and hold a lot of water.

For baby:  Baby won't need much for walks, but you do want to be prepared for the "what ifs".  Here are what I always make sure to bring for Reilly:
  1. Blanket.  This is not just for warmth--which you don't need so much in the summer--but also for added shade from sun or wind.
  2. Diaper Bag.  Patrick's CEO got us this Eddie Bauer Broadmoor Diaper Bag and I love it so much.  It has plenty of compartments to hold everything and I like that it is a backpack.  This backpack also has stroller straps even though I haven't used them yet.
  3. Diaper Stuff.  This is pretty self explanatory, but you may need to change the baby while you're on your walk, so be prepared.  Also, the wipes are nice to have for random sticky situations too.
  4. Baby Sunscreen and Baby Bug Spray.  Again, pretty self explanatory, but you will want to shield your baby from the elements of sun exposure and bugs--particularly if you walking by lakes.
For mom:  There are a few things that I like to have on hand just for me:
  1. Phone.  Not only is a phone good for an emergency situation, but there are other uses as well.  I certainly don't recommend Facebooking or the like while you're walking--I mean just enjoy the moment!  But music?  Absolutely.  I also use the Map My Walk app on my iPhone.  It tracks all your routes, how many miles you walk, how much time you walk and how many calories you burn.
  2. Chapstick and Lotion.  This is just a personal thing, but I don't like having dry lips or hands and both can happen while you are exerting energy walking--especially in the heat.  
  3. Hair Ties.  Sometimes I leave the house with my hair down.  Having a stash of hair ties can be a lifesaver.
  4. Pepper Spray.  I know, this might be a little paranoid, but I always carry this within my reach when I walk--especially on unpopulated trails.  Call me crazy.
  5. Healthy Snack.  Not necessary, but this can also be a lifesaver.  But make sure it is a healthy snack.  Don't make the walk for naught by packing sugary granola bars or salty chips.
  6. Headphones.  Listening to music while I walk makes the walk enjoyable for me.  It can put a pep in my step or just set the mood.
 Tip #4: Before You Go

Some things to consider before you hit road:
  1. Feed and change baby.  Make sure the likelihood that your baby will need a change or feed while you are out are limited.  This will make it a much more enjoyable trip for you and baby.
  2. Time it well.  I always try to go on walks around Reilly's nap time.  I also try to go later in the afternoon or earlier in the morning so it's not so hot.
  3. Make your location known.  Just a simple but possibly lifesaving tip is to make sure someone knows where you are going and when you should be back.  That way if something happens, people know where you were or will be.
  4. Know the elements of your walk.  You don't want to get lost, obviously.  You also want to be prepared should you find yourself on dirt roads or on a longer trail than you anticipated.
Now these are just some of my tips from my experiences.  They are obviously not a say all end all, but they are a good start.  They are also based on the fact that I breastfeed and am currently not working, so they could be improvised as needed.  In the meantime, happy walking!

Do you have a question or suggestion for Dear Frannie Friday?  Feel free to email me at franniepantz@hotmail.com

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