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Adventures in Treadmill Running…

…with a baby and a dog

The scene: Tuesday afternoon. Another freezing, windy, snowy day in Vermont.

The cast: One stir-crazy mom who has been on sole baby duty for almost 2 full days, a relatively happy though sometimes inexplicably fussy 2-month old, and a slightly neurotic, somewhat attention-starved pup.

The decision: to schlep this motley crew down to the basement so that mom can get in a few miles on the treadmill.

I’ve talked about my old, slightly broken and very worn treadmill before. It’s something I used to avoid running on at all costs — it shakes, there’s a rut in the center of the belt, and it just feels way harder than running outside. But after the winter we’ve been having, that treadmill and I are becoming the best of friends. Because even a barely functioning treadmill is better than nothing.

treadmill.jpgObviously this gym set up needs some work

But I’ve been hesitant to bring Amelia down there with me when I run because it’s in the partially finished, cooler, storage half of the basement. Plus I had no idea how she’d do. So I usually just plan my runs around Evan’s work schedule, passing the baby off when he gets home and getting in a few miles and a shower before she needs to eat again. I don’t run every day and I’m not working, so it’s pretty easy to be flexible right now.

Until yesterday. We were on Day 2 of Evan leaving the house before 7:00am and coming home after 9:00pm. The weather has been absolutely frigid and snowing…so cold that I don’t really feel comfortable bringing a two-month old outside for a run (maybe it wouldn’t have been bad…I don’t know. I’m new to this). I suppose I could have gotten up early to run before Evan left, but I’m just not dedicated enough to a) cut into my unpredictable sleep and b) get up even earlier so that I could pump first.

So the treadmill was my only option. I gathered up my supplies: the bouncer, a blanket, a frog wubbanub, and some brightly colored toys to keep Amelia happy and an edible bone to give the dog something else to do besides bug the baby. I set everyone up, got my shoes on, and stepped on the machine, nervous about how long Little A would last. She’s not the biggest fan of her bouncer, preferring to sit in the swing or even lie on her play gym. Usually her tolerance for the seat is only about 15-20 minutes. But I figured that was better than nothing. I’d run however far she’d let me and that would be good enough.

the set upMy company for the run

Turns out I was worried about the wrong child all along.

(In case you’re wondering why the dog had to come down with me, well…you’ve probably never had a boxer. He tends to have low impulse control on the best days, but since Amelia’s arrival he’s been getting himself into trouble more often. My poor, needy, slightly misplaced older child. I figured we’d all be better off if he was down where I could watch him. Plus, he usually hangs out with me while I’m on the treadmill anyway…content to just lie there and watch.)

The second he got his bone, Koli started sprinting around the basement, tossing the bone up in the air and having the cutest solo game of fetch I’ve ever seen. I started to run, patting myself on the back for being so resourceful. Why didn’t I think to do this earlier?

…until 30 seconds later when the dog began crying because he had gotten his bone stuck under the treadmill. I got off, retrieved the treat, told him to “go!” and started my run again.

And again I was interrupted by the dog’s cries. This time because no one was playing with him (poor, tortured creature). When his whining failed to give him what he wanted, he gave up on the bone and searched for other ways to pass the time. Checking on the baby, trying to play with her toys, getting into the cat litter, sniffing around in half open boxes — all of these activities were apparently way more interesting than chewing on a silly little bone. He’d take periodic breaks to run around the basement, searching for a place to hide the treat so that he could dig to “find” it. Apparently the treadmill looked like a prime location, despite the fact that he was too scared to actually get the bone once it was trapped under the moving belt.

I spent the entire run saying, “Koli no! Koli – go on!” “Go lay down!” “Koli!!”

Meanwhile, Amelia just sat calmly in her seat, transfixed by the sound of the treadmill and the sight of my moving feet. She sat there wide-eyed the entire time, like it was the most fascinating thing she had ever seen. That girl is going to grow up to be a runner, mark my words.

Amelia_bouncerAfter the run — she kicked off her blanket, pushed away her toys and spit out the wubbanub. But still happy as a clam.

Finally, 2.5 miles into the run Koli wore himself out. He sat down on the mat and stared sadly at the bone, defeated.

I picked up the pace for a final half mile and stopped the belt the second the numbers ticked to 3.0. Better not push it. We schlepped back upstairs where my happy baby hung out with me while I stretched. And poor Koli, after surviving a full 26 minutes staring at it, could finally eat his bone. Apparently the basement is no place to consume such a delicacy.

IMG 5609

Lesson learned: Apparently Amelia likes the treadmill. But next time I’ll leave the dog to his own devices upstairs.

And for our next adventure, we’ll be taking a 2-month old on an airplane. We may be crazy, but we need to escape the cold somehow. Plus my younger sister is running her first ever half marathon (!) and I need to be there. Pregnant Lauren secretly hoped she’d be able to run that half with her sister, but rational postpartum Lauren is content to just cheer.

Anyway, when I get back I’ll be sure to blog my expert tips about traveling with a 2-month old. Because you know, doing something one time makes you a pro. So stay tuned!*


*Obviously that final part is sarcasm. In reality, I need all the tips about traveling with a baby that I can get (Have you done it before? Tell me about it!)! We have nonstop flights both ways and we’re hoping she just sleeps the whole time. If not, I apologize in advance to our fellow passengers.

27 Responses to Adventures in Treadmill Running…

  1. Your daily life stories are the best! Good luck with your trip and I can’t wait to hear how the flights go…don’t hold back on details since I’ll be attempting similar this summer!

  2. I flew from CA to MI, and back, with my 2 month old son (now 5 years) and it was actually pretty painless. I wore him in a baby Bjorne and carried the diaper bag as my carry on. He was a good sleeper and as long as he was being held didn’t fuss much. He was breast feeding exclusively and it was nice that whenever he did fuss I could feed him to quiet him down. I figured my fellow passengers would rather I whip out the boob then listen to a crying baby. I did not bring a car seat as the family members picking us up had a spare so that was helpful. Good luck on your trip!

    • Ha! That’s my plan as well! She’s usually fine being held, so we’ll see how it goes. Nice that you had family there with a car seat. We’re bringing hers – hopefully checking it will be pretty painless.

  3. Sure sounds like she is going to be a runner! She is already working on being your running coach! My furry monster is always the needy one too. It’s because they are the spoiled first born! :)
    EB @ Running on E´s last post ..#RunDONNA 5k + Festivities Recap

  4. I am really looking forward to your “traveling with baby” post. We’ll be flying from Texas to Colorado when my yet-unborn baby is 3.5 month. I also have to fit into a bridesmaid dress 2 months post-partum. I know it’s different for everyone, but would you consider doing a post about your post-baby body now that you’re two months post-partum?
    Chasity´s last post ..My First Pregnancy Update – emotions, weight gain, etc.

    • Ha! I feel your pain! I have to fit into a bridesmaids dress 2 months PP as well! I have NO idea what size to get. I am more nervous about this then the wedding I am in 4 days before my due date!

      • i am also in a wedding 5 days after my due date…no idea what size i’ll be…might be a few weeks pp or still with baby in the belly. any advice would be helpful!

        • Yikes that’s tough! I know everyone is different, but 5 days after my c-section I still looked like I was about 5 months pregnant. It’s hard when you don’t know if you’ll have the baby by then or still be pregnant. Unfortunately I don’t have too much advice in this area but I’d say wait as long as you can before you order the dress (hopefully it’s flowy and forgiving!) and then even if you do have the baby early, I would make sure the dress is at least one size larger than you would normally wear. Plus I’d think that it’s better to order it bigger and have to get it altered at the last minute than buy one that’s too small, right? Good luck!

          • oh yeah, will make sure it is at least a couple sizes bigger…thank you so much. with my twins, i definitely looked months pregnant for a while after their birth. also, traveling with such small babies really isn’t too bad. we went to FL at 4 months with them. plan to bring a baby backpack and feed her her often. hopefully she will sleep most of the trip. i have found that the airport security people are really nice when traveling with a baby and will be okay with whatever you need to bring onboard for her.

    • I’ve gone back and forth about posting about post-baby body stuff. But maybe I’ll write something now that I’m 2 months out.

      I CAN tell you that my body is still very different than it was before. Wider hips, bigger chest, and of course the lovely stomach flab. I’m fitting into some of my old jeans but not all. And tops fit differently on me now too. So I feel like I’m in this awkward, in between stage. (We’re heading to FL tomorrow and I’ll be leaving my bikinis behind ;))

  5. We flew with our little girl when she was 8 weeks old and it was a great time to fly with her.The hum of the airplane and movement must have lulled her to sleep because she slept the entire flight . . . until the final descent when things got a little tricky. I wore my moby wrap, but she ended up falling asleep in my husband’s arms and we didn’t dare move her. Nurse her (or give a bottle or paci) during take off and landing to help her with her ears. I nursed my daughter but also brought a bottle of pumped milk (you can bring it through security just declare it) and it did come in handy. To keep it cold I ran a diaper under the faucet and put it in the freezer to make an ice pack. With the little velcro sides it fit and stayed around the bottle quite nicely!

    • That’s encouraging to hear! I was planning to nurse and bring along the pacifier just in case. I’ve also debated pumping before and bringing a bottle but then thought maybe that’s unnecessary since I could always just nurse. But did you run into a situation where you weren’t able to and were glad you had the bottle instead?

      (That’s an awesome tip about making a homemade ice pack for the bottle. Thanks!!)

      • She was a pretty fussy nurser early on (I’m still not sure if it was oversupply or reflux) so there were times when she would come off the boob and start screaming and be trying to latch but screaming too much to get back on (ahh, fun memories ;0) so I wanted to have the bottle just in case. She did start to cry during the descent (I think because of her ears) and wasn’t getting a good latch so I pulled out the bottle and she took it. If I hadn’t been traumatized by her crazy nursing early on I may have skipped having the pumped milk with me assuming I could just nurse her when needed.

  6. I bet your little one will grow up to be a runner. My youngest spent many hours in his little bouncy seat right next to the treadmill while I ran. Now he is fixing to turn 13 (in April) and he is training to run a half marathon to celebrate!!
    Kim´s last post ..What is Your Cure for Waking Up in a Funk?

  7. I didn’t torture myself flying with my kids until they were much older, I would say pack distractions and sit in the window seat if you can for privacy to nurse.
    You might want to consider replacing your dinosaur aka treadmill, it’s a weight off my shoulders to know that when the kids are sick, on vacation, don’t feel like going to school and are pretending to be sick or it’s just plan too cold out that I have the treadmill to fall back on. And your right why does the treadmill feel so much harder? I run way slower inside for sure!
    Jamie´s last post ..Review: Colgate Optic White & Giveaway!

  8. Buy your neighbor a drink if little lady is having a tough time 😉 She will be great I’m sure of it! My only advice comes as a dog parent, but remain as calm as possible. She’ll sense your anxiety, so relax and take everything in stride! (I’m NO expert, no not at all!)
    kristin miller´s last post ..Pregnant Runner Thoughts III

  9. Traveling with a two month old isn’t so bad. Traveling with a four year old? Now that is an exercise in patience and stamina!!! Happy travels!
    Catwoman73´s last post ..Weekly Fitness Report- Weeks 4 and 5

  10. Lol to your pup. Oh, she is so sweet, if not neurotic.

    A is going to be a great littler flyer! I took E from Orlando to Boston by myself when he was 2 months (and again a few weeks ago) and it’s so easy when they are little. I just say this because your perspective on traveling changes when you go cross country with a 3 and 6 year old! Just don’t forget her paci (like I did my first leg) and you’ll be FINE. I nursed at take off and landing – and he slept most of the way when he had the pacifier. I brought the car seat and the stroller to the gate and then checked it (sometimes if there are extra seats they will let you bring your seat onboard – which is awesome, so always ask!). The hardest part was security, but ask if there is a special line that you can go through with the stroller (I assume you are bringing it) and don’t be afraid to ask TSA for help. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures to post on Instagram… and have fun :)
    Michelle´s last post ..Pre-Planning Planning

  11. I absolutely love this post. Your daughter is adorable – that picture of her wide-eyed and transfixed is just precious. I love it!
    Hayley´s last post ..Admission Wednesday: Falling on My Face Twice

  12. Travelling with a 2 month old is not as stressful as we make it (or as I made it with mine). The important thing is to have a list of what you need to pack. And remember that if you DO end up forgetting something you are probably not that far away from a Target to replace it.

    Travelling is also super easy. If you don’t have one already, I STRONGLY recommend a front carrier like an Ergo (with infant insert), a Mobi wrap or a Beco. I’m not sure if you’ve used a Bjorn type carrier (I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, so remembering past posts is tough for me), and I hate to be THAT mom but if you have you might want to research those a bit. The position babies are in when sitting in something like a Bjorn can cause serious hip problems.

    OK, sorry for that tangent. Anyway, when we traveled with our kids when they were smaller, it was so much easier to have them in the carrier because once they fell asleep during the flight, my arms were free to read or eat.
    Steph @ Steph Runs On´s last post ..Five For Friday

  13. this is a great post! i have to leave hawk upstairs when i run or else he tries to get too close to the treadmill (i’m afraid he’s going to hit the belt and hurt himself).

    hawk is attention-starved too and has ate way too many bones since fiona was born (canine mommy guilt)!
    kristy´s last post ..how running has changed

  14. What a cutie pie!! I’m glad you were able to get a run in :)
    Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily´s last post ..Grief

  15. Yes, this! My baby is all “oooh, treadmill white noise! Let me stare at it and then fall asleep!” and my dog is all “A moving belt? What’s this? Let me try to step on it! WAit! That hurts! What! Let me try again! Gah!” etc.
    LizScott´s last post ..You Need This: Postgram App

  16. I’m late to the comments party but I’m guessing flying was dead easy. My easiest ever flight was London – San Francisco (alone) when the Dude was 10 weeks old, he was a dream. The hardest age is 11 months – 20 months-ish. That’s horrible. Hope it went well anyway!!!
    Cathryn´s last post ..Fighting Talk!

  17. Part 1 of three great posts on travel with a baby from my pal Meg. Well worth a read. Happy travels, safe landings and good luck to your little sis.


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