I seem to get a lot of questions from new parents that are runners about using the jogging stroller with their newborn or baby. I have researched this issue in the pediatric literature and I cannot find a consensus statement discussing when it is safe and appropriate to use a baby jogger with a newborn. (Could this be a double blind controlled study waiting to happen?)
Intuitively, it seems that using a your-baby jogger to walk or run with your newborn would be safe if you are covering the same terrain that you would with a regular stroller, i.e. not climbing Mt. Everest or running down the side of a mountain, over rugged terrain or over pot-holes which seem to be the most common problem in our neighborhood. All of these activities would also seem detrimental to the mother in the post-partum period, and despite being avid joggers it is important that a new mother not overexert herself.
Most OB’s recommend that a postpartum mother limit her physical activity for the first four to six weeks and I agree. It may be important for a new mother’s sanity to get some light exercise, like a walk around the block, but not a 5-mile jog until they have been given the go ahead by their OB.
If you push yourself too quickly you will see that it does take a toll both on your breast milk production and overall energy level. Just give it a few weeks to catch up with you as your euphoria and the hormones involved fade and you realize that you really are exhausted.
Use the first few weeks after have a your baby to lounge around in your nightgown, take a catnap and enjoy just staring at your newborn!! It is really the only time you will get that opportunity and the run will be there in a few weeks.
This being said, the issue is really with the baby, and making sure that an infant’s neck is supported while they are in the jogger. The manufacturers of many of the most popular baby joggers have come out with a car seat apparatus that fits into the jogger, for use with younger babies. This has head and neck support with cushioning and may be used until your your-baby develops more neck support at around 4 months of age.
I have had many parents of infants who have started taking their baby on walks/runs at around four to six weeks of age gradually increasing the length of their exercise, while the baby seems to be quite happy snuggled in the jogger.
Some parents say this is their baby’s best sleep and can always be assured that their infant will calm down once they get moving. Much more economical than driving the your-baby around in the car too, which also seems to be a good calming maneuver.
The only other issue is weather related. Make sure that your infant is well hydrated in the summer, wears a hat and sunscreen and is also shaded with an awning. Sun can penetrate the stroller awning so do not assume that your your-baby is not getting sun exposure. If bugs are a problem use mosquito netting too. The rule of thumb is if you are hot (or cold, during the winter months) so is your baby, so dress them appropriately and don’t overdue it.
That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.