Parents who are thinking of taking their newborn out in public for the first time have the mixed feelings of excitement and fear which then make it more difficult for them to make up their mind. This can be partly due to varying opinions on the topic when friends and family members alike would have their own share of views on the matter.
In reality however, there is no set rule on whether it is still too early for parents to bring their child to the outdoors. So long as the baby is healthy and a few precautions are considered, getting some “outdoor bonding” with your little one can be the best decision that you can make.
What experts are saying
Doctors say that there is no correct medical answer to the question on when you can take your newborn out in public. It all depends on your personal preference and whatever you believe makes sense in your life. One example is when you have an older child and then you need to accompany him to school in the mornings. If you feel like you want to take your little one with you in a carrier, go ahead and take him.
Some doctors would prefer to stick with the rule of waiting until your baby turns 6 to 8 weeks old before taking him out in public. Once again, the reason for this rule is that a baby’s immune system is still in a developing phase. Taking your baby out in a non-essential outing will put him at risk of contracting serious infections that can occur with fever.
Preparing the baby
Before you explore the outdoors with your baby, make sure that your little one is appropriately dressed. Allow your baby to wear something that will make it easy for you to keep him at the right temperature. If you’re not too sure just how much clothing your baby needs, just remember to give him one more layer than what you would need for yourself.
The best thing about keeping several layers of clothing on hand is that you can simply add or take layers off depending on the situation. For instance, you may protect your baby with a blanket and place a hat on his head while he’s out on a pushchair. When you go to a shop or any location where the temperature is warm, you can unwrap him and then remove his hat so he can feel more comfortable.
Plan your route and be able to assess how much sunshine you and your baby should be prepared for. Would there be lots of trees lined up to give you ample shade? How many minutes do you plan to take your baby out for a stroll? If you’re a breastfeeding mom, will there be at one point that you need to breastfeed in public?
Lastly, you also need to check if your baby is in good condition before taking him out. It will be a totally new environment for him and you want to make sure that he’s all geared up for the experience.
Baby’s public day out
Taking your little one out in public is not a bad thing. Having a taste of fresh air is definitely good not only for your baby but also for yourself as a parent.
You can enjoy a leisurely walk in the park, a nice lazy stroll in the beach, a quiet picnic in the backyard, or even a brief trip to the seaside.
One of the things that you could consider avoiding is taking your baby to crowded places. Apart from the loud noises and bright lights that are usually expected in public areas, there is also the threat that your baby would be exposed to outdoor germs. Since his immune system is still immature, your baby’s health will mostly likely suffer.
Proper time allotment on your travels can also allow your baby to enjoy the outdoors to his heart’s content. Doing so will give him time to take a nap, enjoy the scenery, and feel amused with the sound and smell of the outside word.
Usually, a good time to take him out is when he’s just had a feeding or when he’s had his nappy changed.
Whether you are outside with your baby or just staying home, it’s important that you avoid exposing your little one to people who are sick particularly those who have symptoms of runny noses and diarrhea.
Remind people to wash their hands first before they hold, touch or feed your newborn.
Remember to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer at all times and develop the habit of washing your hands a lot. Keep your hands clean after leaving the mall or the grocery store.
Since your baby is still learning to regulate his body temperature, you may want to avoid taking him out under extreme temperatures. Have some essentials on hand such as wide-brimmed hats and glasses in order to protect your baby from outdoor heat.
If the weather is sunny, you can keep your baby protected from the sun by putting up the hood of his pushchair or propping up an umbrella to give him enough shade. When you feel like you want to take him out of his pushchair, try to find a shady spot first.
If you know that you and your baby will be out for a walk for around an hour or even longer, bring a couple of extra things in your bag. These may include extra clothes, nappies, breastfeeding accessories, and bottle-feeding necessities.
Some of the other conditions that you need to evaluate before venturing out with your baby are:
- if your baby was born premature since he may be vulnerable to infections and diseases
- if he has a condition that affects the immune system such as HIV
- if the baby is already acting fussy or he seemed unwell
You can also prepare some “emergency covers” for you to quickly hide your baby from well-meaning baby wishers who you can meet along the way. Also, you can pull the hood of his pushchair a little lower than usual to give your baby ample coverage. Remember, your baby is still very young to be exposed to people other than family members.