Feeling a little stir-crazy, but anxious about taking your little one out? Getting out with your new baby doesn’t have to be scary. Once your baby is a few weeks old, it’s a good idea to build a bit of a daily routine, including getting out of the house for a little while each day. Whether it’s a walk, an errand, the coffee shop, or a visit to a friend’s place, you and your baby will both benefit from a change of scenery, and hopefully, some social interaction.
Social isolation is something most new moms weren’t expecting. Typically within a few weeks after a baby’s birth, partners return to work, extended family return home, and fewer friends come by for a visit or call. No wonder you may feel a little deserted! Around this same time, newborns begin to “wake up” more during the day, so your baby might seem a little fussier now than he had been during his first weeks. Young babies under three months have few hobbies! During the 2nd and 3rd months, most babies protest being put down and are mostly content if they are being fed or held, walked or bounced, or otherwise “entertained.” It can feel like an awfully long and lonely day at home.
It may seem like it would be harder to care for your baby in places where you don’t have all of your “things” on hand, but in some ways it’s easier to care for your baby outside of the home. Here’s why: at home, parents are often split between giving their baby attention, and trying to get their baby content enough to be put down, so that they can “get things done.” Since young babies are usually happiest when being carried or moved, after a few minutes of being put down, they may fuss until they’re picked up again. In getting out with your new baby you will notice that they are often quite content to look around. The new stimulation, fresh air, and movement of the sling, stroller, or car may even help them to fall asleep and stay asleep.
One outing a day is plenty, and build in a “rest and refuel” stop if you plan to be out for several hours at a time, rather than trying to rush home before your baby wakes to nurse. Choose a place where you’ll be able to change baby’s diaper, feed your baby, and get a snack or drink for yourself. You can then continue on with your errands or activities. Read our tips for Breastfeeding in Public.
Keep well-meaning strangers from touching your baby, wash your hands often, and keep hand sanitizer close by in your diaper bag or stroller console. Now you are ready to start getting out with your new baby!