As hard as dads may try, most still need a lot of direction when it comes to taking care of a baby. Taking the baby out alone is a whole other story and most dads don’t even attempt the feat without clear directions from mom. There are way too many tiny details to remember and many dads just don’t think of them the same way that moms do.
Taking the baby out alone in the stroller isn’t hard, but there are many tiny details and factors to take into consideration. Let’s face it, dads aren’t always the best at keeping track of those little things, whereas this is an area of parenting that moms typically excel in.
Famous for having a one-track mind, dads may be too focused on simply getting out of the house to think of anything else they might need to take or consider. So here’s a handy list of everything that dad might need to remember to do, take or think of before leaving the house with baby and stroller in tow. And of course, let’s not forget to give major props to any dad that does actually take the baby out alone in an effort to give mom a break.
21 Nix The Fit Dad Stroller Workouts
There's one tiny thing that we need to cover before all the rest. As tempting as it may be, fit dad stroller workouts are not recommended -- at least not the kind that this dad filmed himself doing while his baby took a nap. There are lots of fit mom stroller workout videos on the web, which are all fine, but this one devised by dad is just too dangerous for the baby.
Sure, the baby is strapped in and young enough not to move around too much, but using the stroller to do push-ups isn't the best idea since it can easily flip over. It's on wheels after all! Some squats would be totally fine though.
20 Don't Forget The Most Important Thing
Even more important than most other things on this list, dads might actually forget to bring the #1 thing they need for their little baby-daddy time: the stroller itself! You might be wondering how that’s even possible, so let me break it down to you.
Let’s say the weather is less-than-ideal and daddy has the bright idea to take the baby for a little stroll at the mall (but really it’s just so he can get himself some new clothes). He might pack the diaper bag, remember to strap the baby correctly into the car seat, only to arrive at the mall and realize that he forgot the stroller… oups!
19 Is It Close To Nap Time?
Before even thinking of where you might want to stroll to with the baby (and this applies universally to both dads and moms), there is one prime factor to consider: nap time. Let’s say the baby usually takes a nap from 10am-noon and you figure you might be able to squeeze in a little stroller ride at 9:45am – do not do it. I repeat: don’t even attempt it.
Nap time is sacred and is the number one thing to consider before going anywhere. Skipping or delaying the nap means your whole schedule for the day will get thrown off and no one wants that.
18 Unless Baby Naps In The Stroller
With that being said, there is the very real possibility of getting the baby to nap in the stroller. This especially applies if dad is taking a newborn baby out for a stroller walk, while mom tries to catch some ZZZ’s alone in the bed. Having the baby nap in the stroller has its fair share of both advantages and drawbacks, but everything really does depend on the baby’s age.
If the baby is older than six months, than envisioning a nap in the stroller isn’t the best. Any time prior to that is quite all right.
17 Where To Walk
Just recently, a man in Quebec, Canada, received a $48 fine for taking his baby out for a stroll outside.
“I asked them if they were kidding and they said ‘No, absolutely not, we’re going to give you a ticket for walking in the street,’” complained the dad to CTV News.
The reason for this? As it turns out, he was walking next to the sidewalk on a quiet suburban street because it helped his daughter fall asleep.
“It’s much more comfortable to be cruising along the streets next to the sidewalks because the bumps and grooves in our sidewalks aren’t in the best condition.”
As commendable of a move as it may be, that’s still another thing that dads need to be aware not to do!
16 Skimping On Diapers & Wipes
Nap or bedtime aside, before going anywhere, it’s important to always take diapers and wipes – and yes, you read that right, multiple diapers. Even for a short stroller walk or 15 minutes, always take more than one diaper.
Too many dads make the mistake of foregoing taking even a single diaper, thinking that they’ll be fine, but that is never a good idea. Babies, especially newborns, are unpredictable and you never know when you might have to deal with a poop explosion all the way up the back.
15 What If There's An Accident?
Speaking of an explosion, that’s another very real scenario that dads need to be prepared for. Aside from making sure to have some backup diapers and wipes, he also needs to know what he’s going to do if there’s an emergency diaper change to be performed on the go.
A short walk around the block is fine, but what if it happens 30 minutes away from home and the baby won’t stop crying because he hates sitting in a dirty diaper? If it’s summer, then the diaper can easily be changed on a patch of grass somewhere, but he’s still going to need a waterproof pad and other things on this list.
14 It Might Just Be Too Hot
We just briefly covered the summer season, which is certainly a huge advantage to going anywhere with the baby and having to deal with an emergency. But what about the temperature? That’s another factor that dads tend to completely disregard when deciding to take the baby out alone. Aside from thinking they won’t be needing any diapers, too many dads also forget to check the weather. Not only could it rain, but the temperature might simply be too hot.
Not only that, but even if the weather seems fine to him, it might still be either too hot or too chilly for a baby, especially a newborn one. Dads are renown for not being able to gauge the temperature correctly for kids!
13 Or Unfavorable
Summer aside, winter is even trickier. While it’s commendable for that to want to try to take the baby out alone in the summer during the winter months, there are lots of factors to consider as well. Not only does he need to bundle baby appropriately, but he also makes sure not to overbundle!
So once again, a temperature check is the first step, but also a quick check online to see the upcoming hourly forecast. If freezing rain is about to start in an hour, then it’s best not to even attempt to go anywhere, not even for a stroll at the mall (getting there and back would be an absolute nightmare).
12 The Necessary Accessories
Back to summer though as that is when the majority of the stroller walks happen, another major thing that dads tend to overlook is a hat and sunscreen. While they may not care about it anymore (although even adults should), a hat and sunscreen are absolutely mandatory for a baby.
And while he may think to himself that it won’t be necessary because he will either make sure to stay in the shade or will put up the stroller’s sun cover, it might still be a good idea depending on the weather.
11 And A Sun Cover With Caution
Speaking of the stroller’s sun cover, there is another even more important factor that dads may not even realize. Just last year, news outlets all over went crazy, warning parents not to drape any blankets over the stroller in an effort to block out the son. The reasoning behind this latest warning is that it’s nearly just as bad as leaving a baby in the car with the windows shut as it can get pretty hard in the stroller.
As TODAY points out, a Swedish newspaper shockingly discovered when they left an empty stroller in the sun on a hot day: “Without any coverings, the temperature inside reached about 71 degrees. With a thin cover, it soared to 93 degrees within 30 minutes. After an hour, it reached almost 99 degrees.”
But as a pediatrician also told Today.com: “Let’s not be crazy about this,” Swanson told TODAY. “For a hundred years, parents have been draping blankets carefully and safely over their baby strollers to protect them from the sun, and we still want them to do that. But we can be thoughtful about it and this is a good reminder.”
10 The Necessary Liquids
No matter the season, hydration is important – even more so in the summer. While it may seem obvious to take formula, milk or water, it’s still one of those things that many dads can’t seem to remember. Short walk or not, some form of hydration is a must. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times that I ran out the front door to give my husband the baby’s bottle of water as he had forgotten it!
It's important to take whatever the baby is at the stage of drinking at the time. This rule is slightly different for a newborn as dads may actually be able to get away with slipping out for a walk without needing any liquids as the baby just sleeps through the whole adventure.
9 And Solids
If the baby is over six months, then snacks would also be a good idea to take. Whether those unhealthy puffs from the store or something healthier from home, any kind of a snack is always a good idea to take. But it’s still one of those things that dads may not consider.
Men are known to have a one-track mind. If they remember diapers and the baby’s bottle, then that’s already a great feat. Snacks may never even have occurred to them, but it doesn’t make it any less important as all kinds of unpredictable factors can occur on the go.
8 Anticipate Stranger Space
Dads may also not even realize that they need a plan for Stranger Space. What’s that you ask? It’s the annoying habit that strangers, especially the elderly, have of getting in your baby’s space, sometimes even touching them, but if you’re not OK with that, it doesn’t mean that you should merely stand back and stare awkwardly.
As Jenni June from Baby Care points out, you “must not be afraid to speak up and politely insist that strangers not handle your newborn. Keep your newborn protected in a baby carrier or with a breathable cover over the infant car seat or stroller while out in public”.
7 But Daddy Needs To Think Of Himself Too
In the midst of trying to remember diapers, snacks, water, and whatever else, there is something else that dad might forget… snacks and water for himself! As obvious as this one may seem, it is absolutely imperative when dad is taking the baby out alone.
Because what’s going to happen if, in the middle of a thirty minute walk, he gets thirsty? He might be tempted to drink the baby’s water. Hey, as parents, we have all done it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
6 His #1 Necessity
Not only might he forget a bottle of water for himself, but dad might actually step out with stroller and baby in hand, only to forget his phone. On the bright side, at least he wouldn’t have forgotten the baby. But forgetting his phone is a very real possibility and not one that anyone wants.
Having his phone on him is absolutely imperative and not just to check the latest sports news or endlessly scroll on Facebook. Like any parent, he needs to stay reachable, especially in the event of an emergency, or let’s say if the mom was to call to know if she had time to go get a mani-pedi.
5 Extra Change Of Clothes
Up there with diapers, wipes and everything else, taking an extra change of clothes isn’t even up for debate. Babies are messy and newborns are even worse with their endless poop explosions that end up going all the way up their necks, down their legs and somehow end up on the bottom of their feet. Basically, it goes everywhere and the only way to attempt to damage control the situation is with an endless supply of wipes and you guessed it, an extra pair of clothes. Bonus points if you also pack an empty bag to store the mess.
4 Toys But Not Too Early
Up to three months of age (and I give this timeline very loosely), babies just couldn’t care less about toys. According to BabyCenter, babies can only begin to distinguish colors by the time they are 3-4 months old, and let’s not forget that babies aren’t born with perfect vision, only initially able to see up to 12 inches away.
This means that making sure to remember to bring toys wherever you go is wasted effort, not to mention wasted money. But anything after three months, possibly even earlier, is absolutely necessary. Dads most definitely shouldn’t be forgetting a toy or two on the stroller ride!
3 Cover Up From Rain & Bugs
Not only are babies totally unpredictable, but so is the weather. If dad decides to take the baby out alone for a little stroll, then he better make sure to grab a rain or bug cover. More important though, he needs to remember to put up the sun cover. It might sound like a silly thing to mention, but some dads do need this reminder because they just might not think about how the sun might be a little too strong on a new baby’s skin, especially if the weather seems mild. A newborn's skin is especially very sensitive, making it that much more important to put up some sort of cover.
2 Mandatory Straps
Just like in the car seat, straps are mandatory in the stroller – having the chest clip on the chest may not be as necessary, but that’s probably a good idea too.
Even on a regular stroll outside or anywhere else, anything can happen. Dad might hit a groove in the sidewalk, forcing the stroller to tilt forwards or let’s not even envision what might happen if a car were to not spot the daddy-baby stroller duo crossing a street… Better have that baby strapped in just in case! The baby should especially be strapped if dad plans on going for a run or if the ride is particularly bumpy.
1 What Will The Baby Do?
Last but not least, but what will the baby do? It might sound like a no-brainer to think that baby will just enjoy the scenery or sleep if they’re a newborn, but if they’re just a little older, that may not actually be a feasible reality. Some babies might 100% refuse to stay in the stroller and if dad is already 30 minutes away from home, he might have a problem on his hands.
Not only that, but let’s say that he takes the baby to his doctor’s appointment or anywhere else, the baby still needs to stay occupied in some way. With that being said, dad might want to download the latest baby apps or anything else that could entertain the little tot for a bit. Unfortunately, our kids aren’t exactly always on-board for running errands or doing other grown-up things we need to do.