Unless otherwise directed by your doctor, you can start walking pretty much right away after giving birth. And you should make time for a daily stroll with your baby because there are benefits for both of you.
Obviously, the fresh air is good for them, but so is the exposure to the outside world. If they’re awake when you walk them, you’ll see them looking around, taking in the sights, smells and sounds of their new environs. If they're asleep, the gentle vibration of a stroller in motion will do wonders to keep them that way.
As for you, the exercise will help you start getting rid of that extra baby weight and can even help stave off any post partum depression that may be lingering under the surface. It’s also an excellent reason (and an easy way) to get out of the house. And if you have a dog, taking the baby with you on a dog-walk will help the two of them bond in an active, non-threatening way.
You’ll most likely have two hands your stroller as you push it, so the more places you have to put your things, the better. Look for features like cup holders; seat trays for toys, food and other ways to keep your baby busy; and under-seat baskets for shopping bags, blankets and diaper bags. If you’re so inclined, you can also attach a clip to the handle for hanging bags, dry cleaning and anything else you pick up along your way.
A stroller with all-terrain wheels will be much easier to push through the grass if you decide to go for a picnic in the park, and on unpaved surfaces if you find yourself in a ravine. Also, look for an all-wheel suspension system to smooth out bumpy roads and paths – it’s better for their necks and backs, and way better for you if they’re not jarred awake mid-walk by unexpected turbulence.
If your little one’s awake, they’ll want to look around, which is much easier if you can set them in an upright position. And when they start to get fussy or tired, being able to recline the seat all the way back will encourage napping. Another adjusting feature you should look for is the ability to have them face you or face out. Some babies feel more comfortable when they can see their parents at all times. Some only want to take in the sights. And some change their minds half-way through a walk. The more options you have at your disposal, the happier you can keep your baby.
This is the most important set of features to consider when stroller shopping, so take it seriously. Test the brake in the store to make sure it keeps the wheels 100% locked in place. Clip the straps and give them a good pull to make sure the clasps aren’t loose. Also, think about UV protectors and rain covers (both of which double as mosquito nets; as well as cold weather accessories like fleece inserts to keep your little one from getting sick.
Your should limit your search to known names like Britax strollers and others with a history of quality in the category. We say this because your stroller will take a lot of abuse in the time to use it; and not just fron daily use. There’s the constant folding and unfolding, the piling of stuff on top of it in the trunk, the way it’ll get bounced around in the cargo hold of a plane when you travel; and that doesn’t even take into account anything your precocious child will do to it. You want to know that your stroller can and will handle whatever your first-born throws at it, so it’ll hopefully be around for your second.