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When Can I Take My Newborn Baby Out in Public?
Taking a Newborn Out
Can I Take My Newborn Out?
Nothing excites a mother or father more than to be able to show off a newborn baby or to get out of the house with a newborn. This is true for both new parents and seasoned parents; who can resist showing off a new, adorable baby?
Unfortunately, taking a newborn out in public may not be the best idea, especially during peak flu season or in various weather conditions. In fact, most health care professionals may tell you not to take the baby anywhere for the first six to eight weeks of life so that the baby does not become ill. When a newborn becomes ill, it can be dangerous or perhaps even life threatening in some cases.
What about those parents that absolutely need to get out of the house, either for groceries, household necessities, or sanity? There is good news though, for those parents who absolutely need to get out: you can! It all depends on where you go and how you are prepared.
Learn about the needs of a newborn, when is a good, safe time to bring a newborn out, and how you should be prepared.
Newborns in Public
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Information About Newborn Babies
Newborn babies are delicate beings, especially in the days and weeks following birth. While their tiny immune systems are starting to kick into gear to keep up with everything they're exposed to, they are still very susceptible to illnesses that can be dangerous for them.
Many doctors and healthcare professionals recommend that newborns be kept out of crowded public places for the first six to eight weeks of life. This is to ensure that they do not come in contact with any germs that can compromise their health.
That is not to say that you can't leave your house with them at all. A trip outside to get some fresh air or a drive in the car is safe when newborns are very young. It's actually good for the mom, when she's feeling up to it, to get out for some fresh air.
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Preparing for a New Baby
Knowing that your newborn should be kept out of the crowded public spaces in the first few days of life, you should prepare now to keep yourself from going crazy with cabin fever. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Invite friends and family to visit you at home after the birth. Family and friends will want to come see the new baby anyway. Remind them to wash their hands, though, before holding the baby!
- Stock up on groceries and other household essentials. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, it would be wise to stock up on groceries and household goods to limit the amount of times you'll need to leave the house with the baby.
- Stock up on books, baby books and baby record books. While the baby rests, catch up on reading. The books don't even have to be about parenting; read whatever you want!
- Know when to rest. It may sound cliché, but you will want to rest when the baby rests. Pregnancy and birth were tiring, not to mention the lack of sleep you'll experience once the baby arrives.
- Write out the Thank You cards or prepare baby announcements. If you're at home, take the time to write out Thank You cards for any gifts or prepare a baby announcement. Both can either be done by hand or created online using the various photo sites.
- Have your baby gear ready. When you want to get out, you'll want to have everything necessary to keep your baby safe and healthy. If you're driving around, you will need a safe and secure car seat for the baby. A stroller, or a baby carrier that you can wear is great for walking around. You may need a coat, hat, gloves, or blanket if the temperature outside is cold. You'll also want to have your diaper bag stocked and ready to go.
Newborn Essentials for Outings
Infant car seat with sun shade
Stroller with sun shade
Hats, coats, gloves
Cover for the stroller or carseat
Stocked diaper bag
Taking Out a Newborn
When Can I Take My Newborn Out?
As stated above, most health care professionals will advise that newborn babies should be kept out of crowded public places for the first six-eight weeks of life. That doesn't mean that you can't take your baby out at all during that time; you just need to be careful of where you take him/her.
When I had my two kids, my doctor gave me the same advice, but said that taking a trip to a family member or friend's house would be okay as long as no one was sick and everyone washed their hands before holding the baby. If I had to visit a public place, I was advised to keep the baby close to me either by holding him/her or by carrying him/her in a sling so that strangers wouldn't be tempted to touch and thus pass on their germs. With my son, this wasn't much of a problem since he was a summer baby and there was less likelihood of people being sick. Of course, my daughter was born in December, right in the middle of cold and flu season, so I had to be extra careful with her.
If you do take your newborn in a public place, be prepared to remind strangers who may want to touch or even kiss the baby that they shouldn't. A nice way to say it is that you don't want the baby's nap to be disturbed (as it's highly likely your baby will be sleeping).
Ask your doctor what would be the best for you and your baby, especially concerning public places. The threat of your newborn becoming ill is real, so be sure to take all precautions.
Baby Slings for Newborns
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Outside with a Newborn
Taking a Newborn Outside
If you want to take your newborn outside, either to your yard or for a walk, you certainly can! Fresh air is great for both Mom and baby. There are a few things to consider:
- Weather. If it's nice and warm, your baby won't need too many layers of clothing. If it's cold, make sure to clothe baby in one more layer than what you're wearing since newborns lose heat faster. If it's sunny, protect the baby from the sun with a sunshade or a hat. Babies are not able to wear sunscreen until they're about 6 months old.
- Mode of transportation. You can use either your stroller (one that holds a carrier car seat is handy) or use a baby sling or carrier to hold the baby. Be sure to protect your little one from the sun if either of these are used. If it is cold, a blanket can be placed over the stroller. A sling or carrier in the cold is nice because holding the baby close to you helps keep him/her warm.
- Supplies. If you're not venturing too far from home, you probably won't need to bring anything but a spit-up cloth with you. If you're going far from home, it wouldn't hurt to bring a stocked diaper bag with you or a smaller version of your bag with the basics: diapers, wipes, change of clothes. Diaper bags can easily fit on or under strollers. There are also some bags that can be worn as a back-pack or as a messenger bag for easy carrying.
- Feeding time. It would be best to feed the baby before you venture outside. Since newborns feed every 2-4 hours, it might also be wise to stick close to home for the next feeding, unless you're comfortable with feeding the baby in public (more of a consideration for breastfeeding moms).
When to Take a Newborn Out
Bottom line, when it comes to taking your newborn outside, make the best judgement call that is right for you and your baby. The best thing to do would be to keep your baby safe from all illnesses by staying in your house for the first few weeks, but as a mom I know that isn't always possible nor appealing. If you need to get out of the house, try a walk outdoors or in the back yard. If you need to take your newborn in a public place, take all precautions to ensure that he or she does not become ill.
Take heart; in a little while, that little newborn will soon be able to brave and endure the germs of the world. Once the first two months have passed, the dangers of your newborn becoming dangerously ill decrease as his/her immune system is up and running in a more effective manner.
Enjoy those first few weeks, parents! They go by so fast.