Taking Baby Out for the First Time? 5 Tips for a Successful Trip
When it's time for your newborn's first big adventure outside, being prepared will make it go much more smoothly. Here are 5 tips for making your first adventure a success.
Your first few weeks at home with your new baby can be nerve-wracking. Is your baby eating enough? Are you bathing her enough? Or too much? The first days at home are filled with endless questions, and you'll probably Google some pretty weird things in your child's earliest days. But what about when you need to take baby out for a diaper run? Or to a crowded shopping mall? Should you be worried about taking baby out into the wide world? Here are five tips from experts for taking your first adventure with your baby:
- Maintain Your Baby's Personal Space
What do you do when a passerby stops to play peekaboo with your little one? Having a stranger so close to your newborn can be scary -- but remember they mean well. Situations like these are already awkward, and you may feel hesitant to tell these space invaders to keep their distance. However, Jenni June, the host of the Baby Care With Jenni June Web series, says 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." This is especially important during cold and flu season. You can smile and tell a well-meaning stranger that you're just not comfortable with germs just yet ... or say that your baby is tired or just needs Mom right now. In any case, it's your baby, and you're in charge. It's okay to keep your baby close.
- Ask Your Pediatrician
Though it probably doesn't warrant an office visit, be sure to check with your pediatrician before going out on your first excursion with your newborn. Your doctor can let you know if your baby is healthy enough to go outside and can bring to your attention any issues -- side effects from immunizations, for example -- that might mean it's not the best time for taking baby out.
- Pack Your Diaper Bag in Advance
Though parents of older babies and toddlers might just stuff a few essentials in their bag before going on an outing, newborns need quite a lot of gear. You definitely don't want to be stranded somewhere without that one thing you really need, so do yourself a favor and pack up the diaper bag long before you leave the house. Melissa Lawrence, host of the CloudMom series of parenting how-to videos says, when packing, you should "include everything you possibly could need when it comes to your baby's diaper bag. Extra diapers and wipes, diaper cream, burp cloths, one or two changes of clothes, a changing pad, and a bottle or two with formula if you are bottle-feeding are all necessities you should include in the diaper bag."
- Make Your First Excursion Quick
Getting out of the house can be fun for mommy and baby, but it can also be quite exhausting. Don't try to plan a big excursion immediately. Instead, try to take a few small trips first -- a walk around the neighborhood, a quick trip to a friend's house -- so you can get used to taking your baby out and can see how she reacts outside. "Rather than plan a day trip, just plan a quick excursion," says Lawrence. "Pack up everything you need, so that you feel confident that you can handle what comes your way. And make it short, so that you and your baby are back home in your cozy, safe environment as soon as possible."
- Avoid Crowded Places
"Short walks outside are generally advised, whereas crowded places like malls are not," says Lawrence. "The concern is that crowded public places tend to be less clean, increasing the potential for viruses. I tended to hunker down at home in my nursing chair for the first month or two, venturing out for doctor's appointments or walks. After those first two months, my doctor said taking my baby out was fine, but I did avoid crowded, enclosed areas."
Curious about other firsts? Read Your Baby's First Haircut.
Amanda Kondolojy is a full-time freelance writer with more than a decade of caregiving experience.