Getting back into shape after giving birth can be a struggle, especially if you’re the primary caregiver for your child. Having to bring your baby along when you exercise can be tricky, but some exercises allow you to still bring baby along, and even be part of your workout.
Jogging is a great option for new moms who want to get back in shape and still have baby nearby. If you’re a mom or dad who loves to jog, you may wonder when you can start to jog with baby.
If you’re a jogger, you probably already know the benefits of jogging. There are actually added benefits to running with your baby! It’s important for your mental and physical health to get both you and baby outside to breath in some fresh air. Plus, it’s helpful to introduce your baby to the sights and sounds of the outdoor world early on.
Exercising is great for new moms because it helps them to lose that extra weight, but it also has the benefit of reducing stress, boosting your mood and energy, and at the end of the day being able to get a restful sleep. We know all of those things are tough for new moms!
On top of all of those great benefits, you can get a super upper body and core workout by pushing a baby stroller, especially uphill. That stroller helps get your arm, shoulder, and upper back muscles working.
You probably won’t be ready to head out for a jog for at least weeks after you give birth. But even after those weeks have gone by, you should be cautious about starting to jog with your baby. You may wonder when can you jog with a baby, and the answer is that most experts don’t recommend jogging with an infant under 6 months of age.
The reason for this is that most jogging strollers don’t have seats that can fully support a newborn baby’s neck and head. It could be okay if your jogging stroller has a car seat adapter, but unless it does, avoid jogging with a baby under 6 months. Jogging can bounce your baby around, and if their neck isn’t stable, baby can get seriously injured.
Once your baby has reached 6-8 months of age and has the necessary neck and head control it’s okay to start jogging together. Make sure you have the right equipment, and it’s also a good idea to check with your doctor first. While the rule usually is 6-8 months, a doctor can help you decide when a baby can go in a jogging stroller.
Always start slow. Don’t try to run a marathon your first time out with a jogging stroller. You’re body probably isn’t up to it, and you want to give your baby some time to adjust to this new method of transportation.
Do just a little bit at first to test it out, and once you’re feeling stronger and baby is okay with being in the stroller, go for longer runs. Just make sure to factor in some time for short breaks if your baby needs it.
Safety is of paramount importance especially when it comes to babies. That is why you should ensure that you use the proper gear for jogging or running with baby.
Jogging strollers are best to use for infant jogging as they are designed to handle the speed and bumps that come with fast movement. Jogging strollers have shocks and large air-inflated tires with good tread to grip the ground, all of which help for a smoother ride for your baby.
Jogging strollers usually have a 5-point harness system, which helps keep your baby protected when you’re moving. Some jogging strollers, like the Bob Revolution SE or Flex have a feature where you can lock the front wheel so it either goes straight or swivels.
Locking it straight prevents the stroller from going out of control when you’re running. Other safety features include a wrist strap so you don’t ever lose control of the stroller, and parking brakes for rest time.
Regular strollers on the other hand are designed for walking and slower paces. They have smaller tires, which are often plastic, and don’t give a smooth ride when you’re moving fast.
Lack of a fixed front wheel can cause the stroller to go out of control and tip over. Regular strollers may not have the safety features that jogging strollers come with. Running with a stroller that is not designed for jogging is not recommended.
It’s important to make sure you have everything you need for a happy, safe ride before you head out the door for a jog with your baby. It’s better to pack more than you need than to have a crying baby throughout your jog.
Some things you might need are:
- Snacks – you don’t want your baby to get hungry on the way!
- Drinks – good hydration is always important
- Small toys or books to keep baby occupied
- Backup diapers – no explanation needed here!
- Extra blankets for cooler weather
- A clip-on fan for warmer weather
As a reminder, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you bring your little one out for a jog.
- Wait until your baby is able to sit up on their own: Baby’s necks are very weak for the first 6-8 months of life and placing them upright can cause injury.
- Check the jogging stroller for safety issues prior to use: Go over your stroller carefully before you start using it. Check the wheels, brakes, harness, etc. for possible issues.
- Use a car seat adapter for running with newborns: If you are going to bring out your baby younger than 6 months, make sure you have a car seat adapter so your baby can lie flatter and not have their head and neck jostled too much. A car seat adapter allows you to place your baby’s car seat in the stroller securely. An infant car seat allows a baby to lie flat and has cushions to protect the baby’s head and neck from moving around too much.
- Check the jogging stroller age limit: When you are purchasing a jogging stroller always check the age limit that the manufacturer specifies to see if it is appropriate for your baby.
- Start slow at first: Don’t try to run too much the first few times you go out. Let your body and your baby get used to the stroller. Once you’re both more used to it you can pick up the pace.
- Lock the front wheel: Make sure your front wheel is locked in a straight position so the stroller can’t go careening off the path when you’re running.
- Make sure your baby is dressed appropriately for the weather: Remember that babies don’t regulate their body temperature very well, and that your baby isn’t the one sweating. If the weather is warm make sure baby has cool enough layers and possibly a small fan. If it’s cold out make sure your baby has enough layers to keep warm.
- Strap your baby in securely: This is an obvious one! Just like you would in the car, make sure baby is securely strapped in so they don’t go flying if you stop suddenly or get injured if the stroller falls over.
- Always be aware of your surroundings to prevent falls: You don’t have to stick to sidewalks, but be aware of the terrain where you’re running to ensure that the stroller doesn’t hit any obstructions.
- Put a newborn in an upright seat: Small babies shouldn’t sit up too much, and the upright seats in jogging strollers don’t have enough support for baby’s head and neck.
- Run with earphones in both ears: If you want to listen to music while you’re running make sure to only use one earphone so you can still listen for cars and your baby. Wireless earphones are a great option.
- Run near cars: The best place for a jog with your baby is in a place where there is no traffic, such as a hiking trail.
- Jog with a regular stroller: Regular strollers aren’t built for high speeds and won’t cushion your baby as well. Your baby will take a lot more bumps in a regular stroller, and you could run the risk of damaging your stroller as well.
- Run on uneven terrain: A smooth, paved road is the best for jogging with a stroller. Try to find a paved running trail or a quiet street.
A jogging stroller for infants under 6 months has to have a car seat that supports your baby’s neck and head. As long as you have that type of jogging stroller it’s okay, but never put your newborn in an upright stroller seat, especially when running.
How much slower you run with a jogging stroller really depends on your fitness level and strength. Some people find that they run as much as 50% slower with a stroller. When you first start out you’re going to be slower, but with time you can build up speed.
Yes, running with a stroller burns more calories! Pushing with two hands can increase the calorie burn by around 5%, and pushing with one hand by around 6%. When you’re running with a stroller you’re probably running slower, but you can still burn the same or more calories as you would running without a stroller.
Running with a jogging stroller is harder than running without one, but it gives you a great workout. Running with a stroller provides resistance, which helps you burn more calories. You may run slower, but it’s still going to be a great workout.
If you’re agonizing over whether you should break out the jogging stroller, don’t worry! It’s okay to jog with your baby as long as they’re old enough (the jogging stroller age is usually 6-8 months), or if you have a stroller with an appropriate seat for a newborn.
If you’re ever in doubt, be sure to consult your doctor for further advice.
What are your thoughts on when you can run with a baby? Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.