Q&A: Stroller in bad weather

…..And I'm back. (You guys know I'm not actually gay, right, just supporting repealing Prop 8? If I was gay you'd already know it by now. I got an email from a high school friend congratulating me on coming out, and I thought that was funny. Anyway.)

So here's today's question, sent in by a lovely lady in a walking-friendly city in Canada who did not want to be named:

"how do i do this??? i have a 5-month-old and we can't stay inside all day, but it's so crappy out that I can't stand walking around outside. my baby's all strapped into her stroller all warm and snuggly and protected with the cover and wind shield, but i'm freezing my ass off even all bundled up."

Did I ever mention to you guys my idea for the Parent Suit? (I'm going to get production up and running just as soon as I establish my Monkey Assistant Training Camps.) I'd buy a whole bunch of NASA surplus astronaut suits and trick them out so a parent could be completely temperature-controlled and protected from the weather in the suit. Encapsulated, but able to walk around outside. Cool in the summer (plus protected from the sun), dry in the rain (and humidity-controlled), and warm in the winter (plus protected from the snow). I'd sell them in the One Step Ahead catalog (aka Baby SkyMall) and retire off my profits.

Seriously, though, you have a couple of options. The first is to invite all your friends and their babies over to your place. You get the mental stimulation you need without actually having to go outside.

The second is to see if you can do what you need to do while wearing your baby instead of strolling. If you put the baby in a sling/wrap/bjorn/snuggly/whatever under your coat, you can bundle yourself up and go more quickly than you do pushing a stroller.

The third option is just to resign yourself to slogging through the disgusting weather until spring. I wish I had something better than that, but I could never figure out how to make it not suck to have to transport kids in the weather without a car.

Does anyone else have anything for our anonymous Canadienne? Only 5 more months until May…

64 thoughts on “Q&A: Stroller in bad weather”

  1. If you live near a mall, you could always do your walking inside! Many malls open up early just to allow people to stroll around inside & get exericse. Just a thought.

  2. I’m with the OP on the cold, cold weather, but my plan is simply to wait out the weather for walks until I get a day that’s 1) over freezing and 2) relatively windless. I hear that might be Saturday. Then the kid gets her bundleme and wind shield and I’ll be the ninja mom in the balaclava.

  3. Also Canadian. Also hating the sucky weather. As I recall 5 months was about the time I really started branching out to find local places in the community to go to. I wish I knew where anonymous Canadian lived. Here in Vancouver, some of the options are:a) community centers – there are tons of them and they all have programs for both moms and babies – my life revolved (and now my nanny’s life revolves) around community center programing (all programming can be found online)
    b) libraries have the Babytime drop-in programs (can be found online)
    c)the buses here are all legally required to be wheelchair accessible – which means stroller accesible too – so you don’t have to feel restricted to what is in your area – first time I took the stroller on the bus I was nervous but it’s a breeze (and I have a pretty big stroller)
    d) I second the mall option
    e) we have the Vancouver Aquarium here – it’s very spacious and good for walking around inside – plus there is lots to look at and babies seem to find it fascinating. Buying a membership makes it affordable (i.e. one visit is $20 – but a $40 membership is good for as many visits as you like).
    I also heartily recommend investing in some good outdoor gear. Mountain Equipment Co-op is a little pricey but very durable.

  4. This is possibly the only real advantage of shopping malls…I think the one near my mom’s place actually has a walking club that meets in the mornings (seniors who like their morning walk, but don’t want to slip on the ice…and then there’s coffee conveniently located in the food court).I’m guessing this is just about getting out of the house. What about a community centre? Or the swimming pool. Our local library also has a kids area with toys. Then there’s always the grocery store, pop the little one into a cart and wander around (or maybe I’m the only one whose toddler thinks that going grocery shopping is the biggest treat ever).

  5. Do you have an IKEA there by chance? I have been on numerous trips there recently with a pregnant friend as the weather has not permited us to go on our usual walks outside. Ours is supposedly ‘the biggest in Europe’, so lots of Ks(Ms)

  6. #1 – We’ve signed up for a few classes to have a reason to get out of the house. Rec center, relatively cheap and close to home. It’s got to be really crappy out for me not to go. Really. Crappy.#2 – I made myself one of these : http://home.comcast.net/~vanessas23/photos/Babywearing/BabywearingCoat/instructions.html It is a babywearing coat. It’s freaking awesome. I used an old ski jacket that was all packed out and too big for me anyway and an old fleece that I got at the factory outlet. And I’ve never really sat in front of a sewing machine to do anything other than sew a crooked hem, and I made it! And I love it! And it knocks the little one out. He’s quiet as soon as we start moving and asleep within 20 minutes tops.
    #3 – We snuggle and read a lot. Mom-mom has her cup of cocoa and Muppet has his sippy cup and we have a stack of books. It doesn’t happen too often (I want to save the novelty for special, dire situations) but when it does, Mom-mom is so utterly content. And Muppet is pretty happy, too.
    #4 – We go to the mall that has a piano player and a kids area. The piano player mesmerizes Muppet for an amazingly long period of time. The first time I watched the emotions swim across his face – fascination and awe – my eyes teared up. He wasn’t even a year old, but he understood the beauty and the power. Oh, and we’re going to the symphony this weekend for the first time. Can’t wait!
    #5 – The Children’s Museum. Denver’s got this great museum with different rooms for different ages.
    #6 – The zoo. It’s open year-round and I think the trees and whatnot keep it a little more protected from the yucky weater. Plus they do a pretyt good job of shoveling and it’s not super busy so we can do a lot of running around without doing much running into.
    #7- Playdates where the other child brings some of their toys. It’s amazing what a few new toys can do to an afternoon.
    #8 – We haven’t done this yet since we don’t eat fast-food, but there is a McD’s with an awesome! indoor playground. This I will save for the most extreme of situations and I will go armed with a bucket or Purell, but I keep it in the back of my mind…just in case.
    If I think of anything else…

  7. We are expecting freezing temps here this weekend too…. I wonder why anyone thought country was a smart settlement location?!?Check out your city for coffeeshop/indoor play area locations. They are a lifesaver in winter. Tables along the perimeter for the mommas (and papas) to visit with friends or strangers, have a muffin and a coffee, while watching your kidlets play with toys and climb on playstructures and throw balls. Your babe is too young to play right, but its a place for you to go and get some quasi adult time. Go with a friend, or venture out with a good book!

  8. This is the main reason I had an art gallery membership the first year – somewhere for ME to go. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m in Toronto, and also ROM membership and Science Centre, depending on your location. ROM has Yorkville next to it which is a bonus.Also just on the “getting out” theme – book readings (they won’t mind the baby) and lunchtime concerts can be good too.

  9. nej ROCKS. That’s my list plus about a half-dozen items.I had a coat big enough already the last time, since I lost a lot of weight between babies. Oh, and I never took classes – with twins, that was insane. Instead I had someone come over at least four days a week.
    I also practiced doing actual errands as ‘adventures’. (In our family language, an adventure is any event where you don’t know the exact outcome. We never get lost driving places, we have adventures. We never have failed shopping expeditions, we have adventures. Etc.) That is, we intend to do some shopping if we can, but the end point of the process isn’t ‘finished the shoppping’ but ‘baby and mommy/daddy just heading into the range of unhappy (rather than already D.O.N.E. DONE)’ That is, stop before it gets miserable, just barely. Or pause, anyway – I tended to head for the grocery store that had a coffee shop with a seating area, because I could sit for a half-hour or more (frozen food last on the list) mid-way through the trip and get us settled and calm and comfy and happy before starting up again. Nursed in the coffee shop seating plenty of times, too. It was an outing, an adventure, and wasn’t required to look like a shopping trip at all. (the more I’d try to stick to the ‘shopping trip program’ the less I’d succeed, at least before about 8 months old or so)
    I loved babywearing because it did keep me warmer – holding the arms out in front of me is NOT a way for me to stay warm. Worse if I have to negotiate difficult sidewalks. No no no no no. We didn’t do many ‘traditional’ stroller walks, as a result. Sucky sidewalks.

  10. I had the opposite problem this summer in SoCal, and found that big chain bookstores were a good option. You know, the ones that are ginormous and have music sections and an in-store cafe. Room to walk around, nice comfy chairs, she could fuss and nobody would care, I could get snacks and if she conked out, hey, I had quiet entertainment at my fingertips.@nej – that coat rocks!!! Very clever.

  11. Tar-jhay.It was my salvation during the first bloody awful winter here in northern New England.
    Otherwise, the PPs have got it covered. (Incidentally, I drove my daughter the 3 blocks to daycare this morning – I don’t care how close it is, I am NOT walking in razor-sharp shards of freezing rain/sleet!)

  12. I was also a fan of the big stores (bookstores, Target, malls, etc.). Also, strip malls or any street with a lot of little stores can be good, just make lots of stops inside to warm up in whichever store catches your fancy. I actually didn’t spend a lot of money either, but mostly browsed to keep the baby moving.

  13. Reader from Quebec here with a baby that was born in September (so small baby in stroller all winter, now a 3 year-old). I suggest to wear long underpants. Yes. The ones your mom made you wear as a kid to go play outside in the winter (at least we did in the seventies). It makes all the difference. You can bundle yourself up as much as you want, wear a good tuque, mits and boots, if you loose all your warmth through your legs, you end up freezing. Wearing this warm fleece under my jeans changed my life and I kept going out all through January and February. They have not so expensive ones of different thickness at Moutain Equipment Coop (online or in stores) made of fleece or silk. I have to admit I still wear them to go to work as I walk 1 km every morning and evening (the thin silky ones).

  14. For a second there I thought I sent in this question – but my daughter is 8 months old. Yes, with the snow it is getting more and more difficult to use the stroller around here. I took it out the other day and we kept getting stuck and people had to help us across the street – is was a real pain. I don’t use the stroller much anyway but we needed groceries abd wearing her and carrying groceries is hard.Thanks for the suggestions. I find one of my problems is that we don’t want to use the car when the roads are bad which makes us really isolated even though we live city centre.

  15. This post couldn’t be timed better. I’m in Montrรฉal, and have a 5.5 month old, so also having to deal with this.Went to yoga on Tues (big snowstorm here), and actually pushed the stroller a few blocks from the car to the gym. Blech.
    To expand on the main question, here’s our challenge: Gotta walk the dog 1x per day (30 – 45 mins) with the baby. (Not to mention shovelling or digging the car out).
    We have a bjorn, but the damn thing is so small it’s impossible to fit a snowsuit under it. Bought the cover for it, but it’s not warm enough to keep the little guy warm in really cold weather. Also, doesn’t really protect his face from the wind.
    Can anyone recommend a front carrier that would work with a snowsuit & a large-ish 5.5 month old, over a winter coat (sadly, he doesn’t fit inside…too big)?
    Man I wish someone would invent indoor dog parks. I think that’ll be my big-idea-get-rich-quick-scheme-to-retire-on.

  16. As a fellow Canadian, but living north of 60, I have been dealing with this problem since October with my now 6-month old. Of course, there are no big malls to go to up here, but nonetheless, I would go crazy, get cabin fever, if I didn’t get outside. I bought very good outdoor gear for myself and bundle up. My new find this winter is longjohns made with merino wool, several brands are available (I also have a jacket and sweaters of this stuff and I am so amazed at how warm I stay, but I did overspend). And my walks are not as long as they were in the summer.

  17. All of these suggestions are great, but for most ppl, getting to the mall involves going in the car. No. I want to be able to strap my babies in the stroller and go, no in and out of carseats w/ 3491879 straps and buckles. And hats. And blankets. But no coats b/c, yanno, those are unsafe e_e Plus, personally, I want to be outside, not inside of another building. Fortunately, my older daughter enjoys the cold and the rain ^_^ b I am going to try and brave the outdoors for as long as I can this winter.My personal invention would be self-strapping carseats. Like in cars where the shoulder belt motorizes back onto you? Like that, only fully buckling and tightening.

  18. @nej – cool coat.For anyone who has done some sewing and wants a babywearing coat with a FRONT opening, you can make an extra panel (zippers in on both sides) to zip into your coat: buy one zipper, but bring the coat with you to buy the zipper, or write down the brand/size/style you need. Zipper purchased will end up sewn into outsides of panel, zipping into coat zipper.
    I actually made a whole coat (ELD pattern) with extra panel. It worked well with sling or wrap carried baby until it got too cold – I used mid-weight fleece. Starting with a real winter coat would be warmer – and no separate snowsuit for baby, just hat and neck warmer/scarf. But not as snug at the opening as the link nej posted (#2).

  19. Milliner, try an Ergo. It’s much roomier – I use it for my 10 month old, but stuck my 4 year old in for fun, she fit just fine. And didn’t want to get out, of course. Not sure what I was thinking.And it’s SO SO SO much easier on your back than the Bjorn. All the weight is on your hips.

  20. As an American, now Canadian, who grew up in Texas, I’m TOTALLY sympathetic to this question.@chapmanchick – I often ask myself the same “Who decided this country was a good place to settle?” question, especially when I first moved here.
    I second the AGO (art gallery in Toronto) and ROM suggestions. Check to see if there’s a children’s museum near you. We were in Ottawa for a day while my husband worked, and my son and I hung out in the museum for HOURS. We brought our lunch too, so we could take a break and then go back in. If we lived closer, I would get a membership in a heartbeat.
    Now that I live out in the country, swimming lessons are a good option, especially if they have a heated pool (Aaahhh…).
    @the milliner – I LOVE my Ergo. I can still wear my 30 lb. 18-month-old. It’s super adjustable and comfy. (Also turns into a back and hip carrier).

  21. Awesome comments and @nej – awesome coatI wanted to add that I went out and bought a maternity coat for just this purpose – perfect fit for babywearing on the front over a mei tai at least when the babe was smaller. But now nej has enlightened me to the solution for backcarrying. (though I must confess that I’m still intimidated by the sewing part)

  22. On coats…@nej Agreed. You ROCK!
    I was not up for sewing my own, so I got an Ergo Papoose coat, which was great, especially once I could do back carries. Fleece on one side, water resistant microfiber on the other, fully reversible. I think they are still under US$100. Not cheap, but easy to buy!

  23. @nej, you just pop him in there like you would put him in a pocket? Are there any straps inside? Obviously this has to be for a baby old enough to sit up on his own at least. I hope you patent this because it looks brilliant.

  24. For me, there is no substitute for fresh air, so the mall just doesn’t hack it. I found, living in chicago pre kids (but with dogs that needed frequent walks) that letting go of the need to look feminine and sexy in the winter months, at least until the big reveal of taking off that outer layer, took me a long way towards feeling warmer and more protected outside. Some wardrobe suggestions: snow pants with silk long underwear, a balaklava (now sold at Barney’s in NYC), and skiing/hiking socks in boots. Not a sexy look–well I suppose that’s subjective–but I was toasty to below freezing and wasn’t worried about slipping on the ice, whatever color it happened to be that day.

  25. @nej/anyone with more than one brain neuronSorry to ask a dumb question, but how does the baby actually stay on ya back? Do you wear him/her in some kind of harness (ergo/ bjorn/whatever). Or is s/he held there between the lining of the jacket and the extra fleece on the pouch at the back(which would seem a tiiiiiiinsy bit dangerous to me?)

  26. I am also from the cold white north, and spent far too many hours last winter wandering around with squalling baby in tow. Fleece long johns, snowpants, winter boots, down vest, fleece sweater, wind and water proof jacket, hat , scarf and windproof mitts. I looked like the abominable snowman but I was warm! On those -30 days, I stuck one of those self adhesive warming pads on my stomach and was quite warm and toasty!

  27. ITA with maman_du_petrus about dressing in layers for blizzard-like conditions when you have to venture outdoors in winter. (This is mainly for those of us who aren’t local to all of the great types of places PP have suggested here & who have to slog through the icy cold in order to simply get out of our house.)If I dress like I’m about to go skiing, then winter walks are bearable. I recommend wind/waterproof outerwear made with Gore-Tex, and making sure your head is totally covered. A fleece face mask plus a hat works great. Those plastic hand & foot warming packs sold at outdoorsy places are wonderful (though there must be someone who could suggest a greener alternative..)
    Hot chocolate spiked with peppermint schnapps also helps keep me warm. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. @Paola, it looks to me like the coat is meant to be used in conjunction with a back carrier. Read her instructions for how to get the coat on- the baby is already on your back and you slip the coat over.I have nothing else useful to contribute, because I live in coastal San Diego, where we think that it is our right to have a temperature of between 68 and 72 degrees F everyday and complain bitterly about the cold if we have to wear a lightweight fleece. I always just put Pumpkin on my front then put the fleece on- it was never cold enough to make it a problem that I couldn’t zip up. I suppose if that had happened, I could have used the big zip up sweater of Hubby’s that I used when I was pregnant.
    I do remember cabin fever from my undergrad days in Chicago, though. I used to put on Jimmy Buffett (the song Boat Drinks is appropriate) and dance in my apartment when it got bad.

  29. I also am in Toronto and with two dogs and a baby who at 5 months needed to be in motion for hours a day (sitting inside reading books or playing with toys? ha! that might have lasted 5 mintes). I also was determined not to let the dogs’ lives deteriorate after the baby arrived. So we walked, and walked, and walked, no matter the season. What saved me was dressing properly. Get long underwear. Invest in really, really good boots, a good hat, and really, really good mitts. Wear your baby (an ergo is much more comfortable but I have my baby in the bjorn until 16 months, and he was big, born at 10 pounds and in the 95th percentile ever since). Using the stroller in crap weather is too frustrating. If you put some thought into it (layer, layer, layer) and invest $100 if possible (ergo or ergo papoose) it can be done. Don’t forget about craigslist if you’d like to find a baby carrier for less money. FWIW while everyone complained about the weather all last winter, it was my most favourite winter ever. Because I was warm, my fussy baby was happy as long as we were on the go, the dogs were happy, we were outdoors constantly and it was beautiful. Good luck!

  30. milliner-I have the Lascal carrier, and it works awesome for my 5 month old son-he’s 20lbs already, and i’ve carried him around with his bunting on just fine.i live near portland, OR, so i have to deal with the rain and cold. i want to train for a 1/2 marathon and would ideally take my little guy with me on walks in his jogging stroller, but i am afraid i’ll need a pretty heavy raincoat to get through it! we just might be heading to the mall for some speedwalking….

  31. I’m in Maryland, so nowhere near as cold as you guys up in Canada, but we do get our share of cold/wet weather. I tend toward cabin fever a LOT, so when DS was born in January (bad planning, that), we got out as much as we could. More for my sake than his. Now that he’s almost 3, a day without getting outside is a b-a-a-a-d day. I think everyone just needs fresh air and running around to function.We’re lucky enough to live within walking distance of his daycare center, so in the mornings and evenings (unless it’s absolutely pouring), we walk to and from school, kicking his soccer ball. I’ve found that his behavior/sleeping ability is completely different on the days we’re not able to get outside.
    No new suggestions, I suppose, but I love the ideas given here!

  32. If you’re concerned about a museum being not okay if the kid gets fussy, check out children’s museums – most towns in ontario have them in some variety or another (KW, St Catharines, Hamilton – and in toronto there’s the science centre) and some days have either free or very low cost admission.another option, if you absolutely MUST walk around, would be to consider a university campus. Most of them are nearly empty now, thanks to exams, and they tend to take good care of walkways and stuff.

  33. Fleece!Polar fleece is the best invention ever! I rarely need more than a fleece turtleneck under a windbreaker and fleece leggings under nylon track pants.
    I’ll also second the Ergo. We only got ours when our son was about 8 months old, and I wish we’d gotten it sooner. The only thing I don’t like is wearing it as a backpack because it smushes my breasts. My husband likes using it as a back pack, though.

  34. What everyone said. Also, get a really good umbrella. Do not skimp on the umbrella. Get a good, big, golf umbrella. Then you and the baby will be in your own little (drier) sheltered world underneath it.

  35. I have no firsthand advice – I live in Florida. But I’ve seen this pattern for a knit coat extender. I think it’s like a flap and you button it into a button-up coat and it makes it so that your coat will fit around you and a baby in a front carrier. You could probably scale it up so that it was made out of felted wool or use a couple layers of fleece if knitting is not your gig.http://katzenzunge.blogspot.com/2008/05/seaweed.html

  36. I love the idea of your suits, but maybe the monkeys can work on developing a way to insert the baby for nursing while keeping baby and mama protected from the elements?

  37. MallsIKEA
    book stores with cozy coffee areas
    a membership to the YMCA
    a family pass to a childrens’ museum McDonalds or other fast food joints with play areas
    These range greatly in cost/tackiness/fun, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. In the greater Seattle area, we get two really good months: July and August. Everything else tends to be a rainy, soggy, dreary mess.
    It sucks, but the good part about living in an area that is wet/cold/crappy is that everybody else is having the same issue, so there have to be some good local resources, otherwise everybody would be nuts by January. More so.
    If you really need to be OUTSIDE, what Sarah said. Dress in layers and carry, don’t push.

  38. Sorry – we’re elbow deep in what I can only assume is the 18-month sleep regression…at 16.5 months.The coat is not my idea. I wish I was that smart, although I guess I was smart enough to check online and see if someone else had made one before I tried to.
    I don’t know what carrier the ladies in the link are using, but I use my Ergo (which I L.O.V.E. LOVE!) under it. The only problem is that he falls asleep and then his poor wittle head is rolling around cranked back, and not all tucked in as I imagined. One time we were pretty far from the house and I didn’t want him to go that long bouncing around all bobble-headed, so I scooched the Ergo to the front and then wore the jacket backwards. If anyone has any more questions about said jacket, I would be happy to answer – it’s my new favorite thing. Email me nanettejula at yahoo dot com
    I am going out tomorrow and buying the zippers to make the front panel like LC suggested. I also like being able to see my little guy so that I know when he’s almost asleep. That way we can turn around and get home in time to drop into crib without risking injury to life or limb.
    The other suggestion I have is YakTracks (sp?). I wear them over my boots b/c no matter what kind of tread you have on your boots, ice is ice. The YacTracks are these elasticy-metal-spring like things that go over your boots and provide extra traction.
    Speaking of which, if Muppet would get up soon, we could take our dog for a walk before the next storm comes in.

  39. My vote is to MOVE before next winter. Seriously, I do not know those of you in cold climates survive. I’d wither away. Here in my part of Texas, we get some below freezing nights and 1-2 below freezing days a year. Today it is beautiful, sunny and 68 degrees. My DH know we are never allowed to move someplace cold.

  40. When I was a nanny, I had a special outfit I wore on rainy/slushy/snowy days, for the lady I worked for was adament that I would take the children out EVERY DAY. (Although, to her credit, she would quickly pay for a taxi or car when the weather was truly awful). Basically, I geared up like I was going skiing for the day. Big rain boots, over jeans that were worn (if cold enough) over silk long johns. Big parka worn over appropriate layers. Parka had a hood that protected my head except in the harshest of rain/ice. Huge water proof gloves. Warm scarf around my neck. Yes, it took at least 10 extra minutes to bundle myself up. But the spectacle of doing so amused the girls from their stroller. I know that this sounds so basic, but sometimes we forget to treat ourselves to the basics. You wouldn’t send your child out in anything less than the total proper outfit. Don’t send yourself out either!

  41. I think I asked Moxie something similar last year before going to stay with my sister in Maine in January for the birth of her baby. In any case, we went to the Maine Mall and did a lot of laps around and we got one of her student friends to let us into the indoor track at the local university. We had a no-frills fold up frame stroller (I think the Kolcraft) that the carseat popped into. The indoor track was a godsend and the gym staff never said a word to us about using it–as long as we made sure the tires were clean and not tracking in road muck.Incidentally, if anyone wants an Ellaroo wrap size S for $35, leave a comment on my blog. I was more optimistic about my recent weight loss than I should have been!

  42. I’m carless in Edmonton with a toddler and a 10 month old. I can relate. This city also has a terrible transit system. Oh yes, I miss Vancouver!I avoid the malls because they make me twitchy and sad, but definitely places like the library and art galleries are my friend.
    At this age (5 mo), go to places *you* like. You have years of going to kid-focused places ahead of you.
    I suggest a really good pair of warm winter boots. Sounds obvious, but last winter I wore my pumas everywhere. Not so smart. Now I have a sassy pair of red boots lined with sheepskin (made in Canada to boot!) and oh my does this ever make a difference! Layers, layers, layers. Last winter when it was below -30 for almost two weeks I didn’t leave the house. Luckily this winter has been much more mild, but even then I look outside and if it is below -10 I stay inside. I’m a big baby and I’ll probably regret it when the really cold weather hits, but I hate the cold.
    Good luck!

  43. That coat is genius!I am an outdoor kinda gal but winter just isn’t my bag. Boots, gloves, snowpants, hats, scarves, etc all scare me. Maybe it’s because I’m claustrophobic or maybe I’m just lazy- by the time I get bundled up and out the door I’m too exhausted for the actual exercise. I make it about a half a block before I declare that it’s hot chocolate time. With marshmallows.
    Clearly MN is not the smartest place for me to be.
    Great suggestions from PP, though. My son was born in Dec and let me tell you it was a LONG winter for us indoors- I would not recommend it unless a human hibernation serum could be developed and enjoyed during Jan, Feb, and March.

  44. Take this advice from a dedicated Annoying Democratic Poll Volunteer (the one who hands out sample ballots all day on Election Day outside your polling place):Long underwear and full rain gear (including rain pants and rain poncho with hood) make all the difference.
    Long underwear underneath everything and raingear on top of your normal coat keep you warm, dry, and surprisingly toasty. It’s the explanation behind my cheerful demeanor after 11 hours handing out damp blue paper during special elections in January.

  45. I’m in Boston — same problem. Some days I suck it up and get cold. Sometimes I walk to nearby businesses with child-friendly spaces (e.g. bookstore with a kids’ section). Others…this is why every toddler family I know around here has a Museum of Science membership.

  46. I live in Oregon so it’s not as cold here (but I feel your pain after a childhood in WY), but getting outside with a pent-up toddler in a downpour is harder than the cold sometimes.I’ve seen a local woman selling these at different baby events – it’s basically a polar fleece vest that fits over you and your baby in a carrier. Called the Peekaru:
    Looks like it might be an option – with the Ergo, it would work for a toddler too. And it would help keep you warm. You’d still need a jacket though.

  47. Thanks girls… I’m also in Canada (in Regina, Saskatchewan) and I was contemplating the whole issue of babywearing, getting out, etc.My six month old HATES the snow suit, car seat, and any sort of travel. She’s a total home-body, and so was her oldest sister. We are going to the mall once a week and our poor dogs don’t get walked anymore. We just run outside with them, granted they are small breed dogs and do well without the exercise. They do well with one large bowl of food and a few dishes of water a day.
    So I’m going to cost-out making a babywearing jacket, although I don’t babywear much outside.
    I use a Moby Wrap and a wrap-style carrier and have much luck. Once baby is bigger, I will use the Baby Trekker.

  48. How about schlepping to some indoor location where you can spend an afternoon or morning? Our local art museum even gives parent tours where they gear the tour to the kiddo(s). The docent said when her kids were little, she lived in NYC and took her little one in a front carrier and would browse the art for hours on rainy days.Go first thing in the morning – I’ll bet it won’t be too crowded and if the little one cries no one will care a bit.

  49. I also recommend North Face sneakers that have a gore-tex layer. Mine were only about a $100, and no wet feet (but easier to transition to the mall etc than big gumboots.)

  50. nej, i made the same coat, from the same instructions! I used a cheap coat from the secondhand shop and two layers of fleece from a baby blanket, about $15 total with my friend’s borrowed sewing machine. I was really surprised at how it wasn’t as hard as I thought. For everyone else with questions: the now-toddler is in an Ergo or a wrap, and then the coat goes over everything. It’s great except when she wants her arms out to point and wave and take off her hat … not so much I can do about it when she’s behind me. But that is the dogwalking coat and the grocery shopping coat, too – we have one of those two-wheeled shopping carts.But in Austria with an October baby, last year I was able to wear my husband’s fleece coat with her in the Ergo on my front, and it zipped up to her neck just fine. (Plus, so cute!)
    We go to the zoo in addition to what’s already been mentioned – the animals are all inside in the cold as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

  51. @caroline, @sarah & @jacqueline – thanks for the tips!@caroline: I’ll also remember not to stick my guy when he’s 4 back in the carrier ;).
    I definitely underline the suggestion to get warm/waterproof winter boots. MEC also recommends that you get boots graded for colder than what you’ll be wearing them for if you’ll be standing around (i.e. if you’ll be standing around in -25 C weather, get -30 or -35 graded boots).
    I’m still searching for the right boots, but have found my lined rubber boots with thick fleece socks are surprisingly effective – even in -20 weather. Not getting wet is the key I think.
    People laugh when I say I have dog walking clothes (now dog / baby walking clothes), but it does make all the difference.
    And anyhow, we’re used to not looking like fashionistas here when it’s freezing out with loads of snow!

  52. You could vacation in Orlando!It’s 71 degrees here today and sunny.
    Lots of great deals on hotels and plane fares.
    Ya’ll come on down. We’ll have a blast.
    (former theme park manager, just doing my part to support the FL economy!)

  53. Another Canadian here (Ottawa, ON). My daughter was born in December and for the first 5 months of her life we didn’t own a stroller. Besides the impossible sidewalks, I was too paranoid of her getting cold — so in the Ergo she went. Necessary things for me:1. Ergo & a coat the zips up over the Ergo to kid’s neck
    2. backpack to carry everything else (having my hands free was essential)
    3. super-warm scarf to cover my neck and upper chest (since I didn’t want to zip the coat over kid’s head)
    4. umbrella
    5. YakTracks
    I put my daughter in layers of clothes (at least 4!) and she was never cold in the Ergo. I was super-careful to keep her sheltered from the elements.
    If it’s really cold, limit your time outdoors. On the super-cold days I would take my daughter out for a 15-minute walk in the morning and another one in hte afternoon.

  54. I concur with mall-walking! Here the summer is just so ridiculously hot we can’t stand to be out in it (I’m talking coastal southern texas, so it’s 105 many days with tons of humidity. GROSS.) so if I’m not up for the beach we go to the mall. Of course he’s young enough to not want to buy things all over. This may change when that stage hits but until then, it’s fun!

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