Ah, prams. There are so many choices you have to make when you become a parent, and getting the perfect pram is often at the top of that list. It is going to be your little ones mode of transport after all and an essential accessory that ensures both comfort and convenience for both of you.
But as handy as those bad boys are, they’re not always the easiest affair if your baby just isn’t feeling it. There will be times where your tiny passenger might get frustrated, fussy, or uncomfortable, making that window of independence a whole lot trickier for you.
We spoke to Genevieve Muir, Parenting Educator and founder of Connected Parenting, on how to keep your little one happy when they’re strapped in for a stroll.
Here are her tried and tested top 5 tips for keeping your baby happy in the pram.
1. Connect with your child before popping them into the pram
Babies aren’t all that different from grownups when it comes to the fact that a bit of distraction can chill us right out. By giving your little one some TLC before you pop them in, they’ll feel more relaxed and just generally happier.
According to Gen, “just ten minutes of special time with your child, really connecting with them, or playing a little game of ‘peekaboo’ before you pop them in the pram can make all the difference.”
We know what you’re thinking – that’s awfully optimistic when you only have two hands and a whole pram to set up. Thankfully, there are people who think of that. Like Cybex, whose Coya pram boasts an easy, fold-out design which makes setting the pram up (often one-handed!) when you’re out and about a breeze. You can play peek-a-boo, wave to a friend, juggle some balls (alright that might be a stretch), and set up the pram in no time.
2. Talk to your baby as you put them in the pram
Picture this: you wake up from a cosy nap to someone picking you up, strapping you to a seat, and then disappearing behind you. Are you being kidnapped? Nope, just going for a walk in the pram.
See, when it’s put that way, you’d want a bit of verbal reassurance too. So when you’re settling your baby in, speak gently and soothingly to them as you describe what you’re doing and where you’re going.
Gen Muir says, “Even if your baby or child can’t say too many words yet, they understand 90% of our body language. So when we talk to them about what’s happening to them, they often feel better.”
3. Keep that talk going once they’re in the pram
Okay, so you’ve managed to buckle your little one in tantrum-free (go you!), let’s not lose that progress now. Just hearing the tone of your voice will reassure them plenty and keep them engaged.
Gen recommends saying things like, “look at that bird” or “can you see the dog?” to talk to your baby about what they’re seeing. A baby’s mind is always stretching, growing, and soaking things up, so use this as an opportunity to help them make some new connections. For that reason, it’s best to point out flowers or frogs, not that annoying neighbour who always makes passive-aggressive comments about your yard (otherwise your baby will learn to hold a grudge real fast).
4. Pack your pram with things to keep your child entertained
If you’re going on a longer journey and getting in your steps (do people really do 10,000 a day?), you might want to stock up on some goodies to keep your little one upbeat and engaged.
“That might be little books or toys, or it might be snacks,” Gen says. A toy that makes a noise, like a rattle, is also a great way to distract them if things get dire. And while we’re talking about packing, cover your bases with nappies, wipes, and a spare change of clothes because an uncomfy baby is an unhappy baby.
This is all way easier if you’ve got a pram with a handy storage compartment, like the Cybex Coya, so that your journey can be baby-proof.
5. If you have a pram that goes two ways, change the direction of the seat
A change of scenery always does wonders. Just like switching around the seating arrangement during a road trip, sometimes all it takes to entertain your baby is seeing the world a little differently.
As Gen Muir puts it, “If they’ve been facing out, turn them around to see you so they get a little bit more connection and more eye contact when they’re feeling like they need that.”
In prams like the Cybex Coya, you can attach their compatible car seat so that your baby is facing backwards. This means even more time looking at their adorable face, which is always a win.
Being able to go out and about with your baby makes a world of difference to feeling that spark of independence, connecting with your loved ones, and having the freedom to still explore. We hope that these handy tips from Genevieve Muir can make the whole process with your little one smoother and more enjoyable for the both of you.