It’s summer, and you’re on maternity leave. While no one could describe your life right now as a vacation — and if they do, dope slap them — you are well situated to make the most of a glorious Maine season.
The Mayo Clinic recommends a daily walk for moms easing back into physical activity during the postpartum recovery period. Your doctor or midwife will let you know when it’s a good idea to start moving around, especially if you are recovering from a c-section. Strolling your own street is a gentle way to begin. When you’re ready to go a little farther afield, greater Portland offers several baby-friendly walks.
Getting out of the house with baby
When you feel ready to venture beyond your block, your partner or postpartum doula can pack a bag that you can leave in the car all the time so you won’t have to remember it for each trip. You’ll need:
- Diapers, wipes, and changing pad/towel
- Extra bags for dirty diapers
- Extra clothes for baby
- Hats and sunscreen for both of you
- A muslin or other light blanket
- Snacks for you (nuts, fruit leathers, granola bars, etc)
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra cash, just in case
When visitors stop by and ask how they can help, tell them to make sure your car bag is fully stocked! Having this resource at the ready, and leaving the stroller in the back of the car as well, will make leaving the house slightly less complicated.
5 baby-friendly walks in greater Portland
Once your car bag is all set, you can go on a baby outing whenever it works for you and your
overlord baby. Here are 5 good places to walk with your baby:
- Wednesdays in Monument Square, Portland: Meander through the Portland Farmer’s Market any time between 7am and 1pm and sample a bounty of local produce and products. If you’re out mid-morning, the main branch of the Portland Public Library offers Rhythm & Rhymes Story Times at 10:30, plus clean public restrooms with changing tables, comfortable places to sit and nurse, and glorious air conditioning. The Public Market House has an elevator for strollers when you’re ready to head upstairs for a smoothie from Maine Squeeze.
- Royal River Park, Yarmouth: This mile-long walk is scenic and paved, with easy parking and restrooms. The sound of the falls is soothing, and if you feel like extending your walk, you can stroll into the village, Maine’s version of Stars Hollow.
- Mackworth Island, Falmouth: The stroller-friendly path around this shady island is a little over a mile long. Benches and swings along the way provide comfortable spots to stop for snacks while looking out at spectacular Casco Bay views. On unbearably hot days, the sea breeze and the chance to wade in the water will cool you both down. There are rustic restrooms for mom emergencies. It’s a popular spot for parents, dog walkers, and runners, so the parking lot is often full, but since the park started charging admission ($3 for adults, $1 for kids 5-11, beginning summer 2016), it’s been a little easier to secure a spot.
- Spring Point Shoreway, South Portland: Otherwise known as the walk from Willard Beach to Bug Light, this path is part of the South Portland Greenbelt Walkway. The full route is about a mile and a half one way, but it’s easy enough to turn around at Spring Point Light if your baby starts to protest. You can park easily for free at either end of the trail and hit Scratch Baking Co. or Willard Scoops on the way in.
- Robinson Woods and Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth: Cape Elizabeth Land Trust offers several lovely trails, including Robinson Woods, a shady three mile hike accessible from Shore Road. And just down the road, perennial tourist favorite Fort Williams offers a short but moderately hilly cliffside trail with gorgeous views of the waves around Portland Head Light. Buy yourself something delicious at Bite Into Maine and have an oceanside picnic!
Have another favorite walk in or near Portland? Tell me more!
This article was originally published June 17, 2015. Updated June 21, 2016.