Staying active as a family after having a new baby is doable and FUN! Here’s how we’ve done it.
Hi. Are you a new parent? Or a soon to be parent? Are you freaking out about what life is going to look like now? ARE THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH AND STAYING OUT PAST 7 PM SLIPPING FROM YOUR HANDS?!
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How to Stay Active as a Family After a New Baby
I get it. My husband took a good 6 months of coaching (and lezzzbereal, coaxing) that he was perfectly capable of becoming a dad before he was ready to jump on the bandwagon. His classic line, “I’m not mature enough to be a dad. I’m barely mature enough to be married!” was almost a fair argument.
Will Life Really Never Be the Same?
For him, he felt like every person we knew said – on repeat – “Your life completely changes once you have kids.” And they meant it in the, you’re-never-going-to-be-able-to-do-all-the-fun-stuff-you-do-now sort of way. So, he was bound, set and determined to prove that notion wrong. Fortunately, I like to have fun too so it wasn’t hard to get me on board the family fun train.
How We’ve Stayed Active as a Family After a New Baby
Pre-baby, we loved to go mountain and road biking together, we worked out at the gym most days of the week, and every Saturday we could be found stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking or floating some body of water around Austin. We’re social, we love playing games, going out to dinner one weekend night a week and getting together with friends.
That said, here’s how we’ve stayed active as a family after having a new baby!
Set a “Fun” Mentality
If you think life’s gonna suck after a baby, it is. If you think it’s going to be fun – hard – but fun, then it will be. If you can go into it with an optimistic, “I’m going to do what it takes to make the most of life with a tiny, cute mascot strapped to me” mentality then taking that little dictator everywhere is going to be a ball.
Figure Out Your Scheduling Limits
As a family, set your standard for how you intend to keep “the schedule”.
For us, that generally means weekdays she has a great nap and bedtime schedule, and weekends it’s up in the air. If she can get one really good nap a day on weekends, I’m happy. Personally, I think creating an environment conducive to a little more flexibility is beneficial for both baby and parents. Baby learns to be more flexible and parents live full lives.
Get the Gear You Need for the Activities You Love
Gear makes a HUGE difference with a baby. On the one hand, it’s expensive and can be annoying to store. On the other hand, it opens the door to fun activities.
My must-have, bigger ticket baby gear items:
- Ergo Omni 360 Baby Carrier: A must for getting anything done around the house the first few months, grocery shopping, casual hiking, carrying through airports and traveling. We would not have survived Europe with her at 8 months old without it! Personally, I keep mine in the car at all times.
- Bob Revolution Flex Jogging Stroller: The child care center at my gym starts at 3 months old and I definitely needed a way to get moving earlier. We went on our first walk at 5 days postpartum (with the infant car seat adapter attached) and I trained for my marathon using this stroller. There is no better jogging stroller than a Bob. Period.
- Guava Family Travel Crib: The Guava is a cinch to put up and take down. I leave this in the back of my car, too, so we can put Baby T down at friends’ houses on weekends for some adult time.
- Bike Trailer (we use the Burley D’Lite): My husband and I both love cycling. It’s been fun to go on bike rides as a family on the trails around Austin. The first few months we jimmy-rigged her car seat in (you can find tutorials on YouTube) until she graduated to the Burley Baby Snuggler seat. Obviously we haven’t braved mountain biking with her, but a trailer works great for paved trails on a road bike.
And accessories we’ve loved are her:
- Infant Life Vest (we use this one by Connelly): Great for boating and swimming! Unless we’re at the dock, we pretty much always keep her life vest on.
- Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad: A must in Texas. We used this cooling towel constantly last summer. It was the only way to consistently keep her cool in the stroller while I was training for my marathon. We also used it a ton on the boat – it’s UPF50+ UV protection, which is great to limit sun exposure for the littles.
- Bumbo with a Tray: I keep this in the back of my car for when we’re eating out or to use at friend’s houses. It straps on to the seat of any chair or can be used on the ground. This solves the problems of crusty, ill-fitting restaurant high chairs and eating with a wiggly baby on your lap at a friend’s home. Also doubles as a booster once they’re older.
Support Each Other & Make it Fun for Everyone
The year Baby T was born my husband had a goal to bike 5,000 miles and I had a goal to run a marathon. We worked hard to support each other and make it fun all around! For example, my husband surprised me on the bike pulling Baby T on my longest training runs and stopped to take her to the parks along the way.
Set a Can Do Attitude
Make staying active as a family fun! Assume the best, and instead of obstacles think of solutions for how you can make “it” – whatever it is you like to do – work. So far, within 10 months we’ve traveled to Florida (2 months), California (4 months), Georgia and South Carolina (7 months), and Iceland, Denmark and Finland (8 months) with Baby T. She’s been boating since she was 6 weeks old, running with me since 6 weeks old and biking with us since 8 weeks old. We just assume she’ll do great, and for the most part she has. Sure, it’s been crazy and we’ve had a handful of meltdowns and some jet lag, but the memories and setting a culture to make fun things a family affair have been a blast to create.
Babies are Adaptable
Babies are more adaptable than you think, and being active as a couple doesn’t have to stop when your first baby is born! Set the intention to stay active and follow through. The memories you make now are bound to be what you’ll call the good ol’ days someday.
How have you stayed active as a family after a new baby?
What are your favorite family memories?