To make walking with your baby in the pram a pleasant and beneficial experience for you both there are some handy tricks and tips I have discovered with my two girls and our pram walking and from the many other mums I have had the pleasure to pram walk with.
Remember ever child is so different because we are all unique so different things work for different babies. To make you walks successful try different things until you are both happy and enjoying the experience and then it can become a beautiful routine you'll both look forward too and a great way to lose weight, get fit and healthy and spend some time together.
You want baby to love their pram.
This is quite a crucial early part of getting into a pram walking routine. It does seem that it only takes one or two 'unpleasent' experiences to make a baby not like something and then react fearfully about it and you can't blame them.
IE: Baby-Last time I was in here was horrible, please don't leave me in here mummy! Cue crying.
So how to get baby to love their pram??
If baby doesn't love their pram they won't want to A go in it and B stay in it for a walk and this can effect you in more than just your pram walks, it can effect shopping and family outings in general. So it is in everybody's best interest to make the pram a fun, lovable place for baby.
- Make the pram a pleasant safe feeling place to be.
- Always try to pick a good time for your walks, i.e when baby is due for a nap and they can gently fall asleep to the soothing pram motion, just after a feed so they wont get hungry during the walk or a time of day when you know they are usually in a happy contented mood. TIP Avoid the hottest parts of the day.
- Always make sure a young baby is well fed before you set out; being hungry especially for a demand fed breastfed baby is one of the quickest ways to upset the walk for you both!
- Be prepared. baby's are growing little new people, sometimes they just don't fit into the normal routine on an odd day so even if your baby has 'never before' needed a feed at that time or a nappy change etc be prepared that it could happen, just in case, allow for it and attend to baby until they are happy again. It really just doesn't hurt to have extra items in the pram.
I have always also carried things like a first aid kit, hat, insect bite cream, paw paw cream, blankets, extra dummies/soothers, extra bottle if they are bottle fed etc.
- Stop and feed them. If baby is grizzling and they are hungry the best thing to do is stop your walk and feed your baby until they are happy again. Again this refers to baby 'loving' their pram. Neither of you will enjoy the rest of the walk if you try and 'just keep going' even if it is only just a little bit further. It is always going to be worth your while to stop and feed them.
- Adjust the position to baby's mood. Sometimes baby will want to look out and see whats going on, put a good comfortable hat on them to keep the sun out of their eyes, prop them securely with blankets so they don't slide about or feel insecure.
Sometimes they will be just wanting to see a bit and be slightly reclined where they can still see you clearly but feel rested and safe.
Sometimes they might want it to be lying flat so they can sleep, play with toys, look up at toy's and have a kick at them or doze on and off. I have personally found this can make a huge difference to baby's happiness during a walk and can be something so easily overlooked.
- Always pick up baby if they cry. Again you do not want baby to hate their pram, at all. They need to know its a safe place, they need to know that when they are in their pram and if they get upset mum or dad will pick them up and see to them. If you do this right from the start they will feel more secure and content and they will trust and enjoy their pram-sometimes the pram can even become a most beloved place for them!
The amazing BABY WHISPERER, Tracey Hogg has an awesome technique in her books loved by mums all over the world that she refers to as 'Pick Up Put Down', where you pick up baby from their cot every time they cry but as soon as they stop when you are holding them you put them back, if they cry you pick them up again and so on. You can find out the whole technique in her books. I too do not personally believe in letting a baby just cry, it only really makes things worse in the long run and causes a breach of trust between you.
Remember to check all possible reasons baby might have started to cry like:
Was the sun in their eyes? Were they bitten by something, a mozzie perhaps? Where they uncomfortable? Was a toy poking them? Did they get a fright and just need a little cuddle? Are they tired? Are they hungry? Do they want to see you? Is their nappy hurting them? Do they need a nappy change? Are their feet cold? Do they have wind? Need burping? Or are they hot/cold? Is wind annoying them? I don't know how many times I have picked up my crying baby and for them to give a huge burp and then happily settle again!I have personally found that by seeing to all these sorts of needs when they cry, giving them some comfort and 'time' they will go happily back into the pram and feel more secure the next time because they know it's safe.
- Be sun savvy. Think hat for baby, sun shade, sun umbrella even muslin cloths. Some prams even have reversible handles so you can adjust to match the sun. Having the sun in your eyes is just awful-check this regularly as you walk.
- Stimulation. As baby's grow we know they need different things to look at and play with, well the same applies to the pram. Keep a box of interesting toys aside that are just for the pram and no other time then rotate which ones you take on each walk so baby isn't always looking at and playing with the same things.
Even stop sometimes to show baby a tree, colourful sign or something interesting.
- Communicate. Try not to take your mp3 player, instead talk or sing to your baby as you walk. Even if they are really little you can still point out things and noises along the way, they do love to hear your voice.
- Relax! Babies are so intuitive. They really pick up on your mood. If you are stressed, anxious, worrying, angry, frustrated they will not only feel this but will become unsettled even 'clingy' ( nI use this term loosely), irritable and anxious themselves making eveybody unhappy!
Remind yourself, there is nothing that you have to think about on your walk other than your baby and the beautiful experience of the walk. Everything else can wait an hour! Put your mind and worries on pause.
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