Planning Your First Family Outing
When your baby is born and your maternal instincts kick in, you realize just how much everything is a potential threat. The outside world is harsh and your own home is satisfactory only under your supervision. Keeping your newborn safe and going to obsessive lengths, such as wiping every surface that your newborn might come into contact with, is not crazy behavior. Protecting your baby is important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t venture out into the wide world.
The only concern here is if your baby was born prematurely or if your newborn’s immune system is particularly weak due to a condition. If this is the case, you’ll have to consult your pediatrician before heading out. If not, then now is as good a time as any. Just plan it out and be prepared.
No age limit for the outdoors
Parents worry about their children and will continue to for the rest of time. However, the common notion that a newborn should not be taken outside the home until after a month has no basis.
According to Anne Hansen, MD, MPH, medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Boston, “The idea that babies have to stay inside the house for several weeks after they’re born is FALSE. In fact, as long as your baby is healthy, getting some fresh air can be great for mom and baby if you take a few precautions.”
The only danger here is exposing your newborn to people that may be sick, but we’ll get to that later.
Be time sensitive
If you decide to take baby out for a stroll in the park, be sure to time it just right. You’ll want to schedule your trips for either the first half of the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the sun at its worst, and for no longer than a couple of hours.
Take your newborn’s state of mind into consideration as well. Ideally, you should take them out at times when they’re content or in a good mood – usually after naps, feeding, and diaper changes. This sets your trip up for smooth sailing.
Let’s get back to exposing your newborn to people. You’re bound to come across individuals and groups, but try to avoid or limit your time in and around crowds. Not only will you be avoiding more unwanted germs, you’re also protecting them from potentially getting overwhelmed and highly irritable.
If your trip is to the mall, be sure to have an escape route or be close enough to the exit if your child doesn’t respond to crowds well.
Dress baby up sensibly
Dress your newborn in relation to the temperature outside and not to “what’s hot and what’s not.” Cover all bases: your baby’s head, feet, and hands. Also, bring an extra jacket in case you’re going to an air-conditioned place where the temperature can be colder.
To protect your baby from the sun, apply sunscreen (when your baby is already 6 months old or older) and make use of a hat – not a cap. The full brim will protect your child’s face, ears, and neck.
And because you might have to do a diaper change on the go, pick bottoms that snap all the way up the legs and may be quickly removed.
Packing to your heart’s content
To satisfy your obsessive safety measures, packing for outings is the time you can feel free to go crazy.
It might seem like a lot, but for a mere two-hour trip, you’ll want to pack up to four diapers. Couple those with wipes as well. A change of clothes is also a must – another, is up to you.
If you don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, bring along a thick blanket with which to cover yourself. You could also bring an extra shirt or light cardigan, in case your baby pukes or showers you with their loving drool.
Anything else like toys, snacks, and a book for yourself is up to you!
For more information and EQ support, feel free to ask our expert here.