Taking Your Newborn Out and About
Many moms are hesitant to venture out into the world with their newborn. But a little fresh air and some time spent outside the house can do a world of good for both Mom and Baby. Here are a few helpful tips to help make those early outings a stress-free success.
Timing Is Everything
The sun is most intense — translation: dangerous — during the middle of the day, or between the hours of 11 AM to 3 PM (also known as: nap time!). Plan your outdoor excursions for morning and evening times instead, and you’ll reduce your little one’s likelihood of overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays.
Avoid the Crowds
A little fresh air is fine for a newborn, but because her immune system is still developing and less able to fend off all those new bugs, germs and bacteria, experts advise against taking babies to crowded places such as malls until the age of six or eight weeks.
Get Carried Away
Baby carriers work wonderfully for new babies, offering warmth, comfort and even a nearby heartbeat. Just be sure to follow instructions and use newborn accessories as directed. Another option is a stroller fitted with a bassinet or a car seat. Both allow the baby to rest snugly and safely. If you opt for the stroller, bring a carrier along for your first few outings so you have options if your passenger starts to fuss.
What to Wear
Since your baby will likely be sleeping for at least part of the outing, keep him in comfortable clothes. Save the miniature jeans (and frilly dresses) for another occasion and opt for a sleep-and-play suit, or cotton bodysuit plus pants. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one more layer than you’re wearing; plus brand new babies need hats to help regulate body temperature.
What to Bring
Before you head out, double check that you’ve got the following: two or three portions of food or snacks plus a baggie of rice cereal to thicken or stretch meals as needed. Also pack wipes, a disposable bib (or a non-disposable plus a plastic bag), a baby spoon and sippy cup. You’ll also want a bottle and formula or milk (use a sleeve to keep it cool for long periods or warm if she’ll be drinking soon).
Setting Reasonable Expectations
Your first outing might go like clockwork. It might be stressful. Chances are, it’ll be a little of both. The baby might like being out. The baby might fuss. You might get a block away from home and want to turn back. You might stroll through the entire park. Strive for somewhere in between for your first outing.
Leading the Way
It’s natural to feel nervous and a little tentative on your first trips out of the house but you’ll both make your way through it. Talk to your baby about everything that’s happening, narrating the adventure as you go. “I’m putting you in your stroller now. Here we go down the sidewalk. Do you feel the breeze?” Your voice will be soothing, plus it’s a great habit to start now, one that promotes strong language skills in the future.
Good Ideas for First Outings...
- Take a walk in the park. Since it’s such a low stress outing, it’ll feel great. Just head home when either of you has had enough.
- Go to grandma’s house. Inside, you’ll have fewer external forces to worry about (sun, wind, rain, strangers) plus another set of arms to hold your new bundle.
- A favorite coffee shop or café. Go somewhere you already know so you don’t have to divide your attention between figuring out what to order and your baby’s first experience.