Going Out with Your Baby – Tips and Advice for Fuss-Free Outings
Most new moms get nervous taking their newborn out of the house for the first time. It can be daunting no matter how short and simple the outing may be. And that’s normal! Leaving the comfort of your home means leaving the place where all your supplies and necessities are close at hand.
Even taking your baby to a café with friends seems to require military-style preparations. Since we're all about making your parenting life as fun and as stress-free as possible, we've created this guide to help prepare you for your baby’s first outing.
Is it Safe to Take My Baby Outdoors?
As a parent, it’s your duty to be concerned for your child’s health. That means being wary of exposing your baby to germs when you venture out in public. Pediatrician, Jennifer Shu, says that there is no medical reason that you shouldn’t take a healthy baby out of the house. She explains that fresh air and new surroundings can be good for babies and parents alike!
Avoid Crowded Public Places
However, Jennifer also advises using caution around people who may be sick. You want to avoid exposing your baby to germs because their immune systems are still developing. Some doctors recommend that you wait until your baby is a couple of months old before taking them to crowded places like malls or movie theatres. These locations are less clean an may expose your baby to potential viruses.
If you do go to these places, keep your baby away from people who are clearly sick. Make sure people wash their hands first if you are okay with them handling your baby. Be ready to politely and firmly ask people not to touch if that’s your preference.
Use Barriers to Keep Germs Away
When you take your baby to the supermarket, invest in a trolley cover so your little one can sit in the shopping trolley without being exposed to the germs on it. Little Piglet's hand-made shopping trolley cover is a great choice. It’s lightly padded for comfort and folds into a bag for easy portability. Breathable stroller covers will also help shield your baby from unwanted germs.
If you’re really concerned about germs, speak with your pediatrician and they’ll let you know if your baby is healthy enough to go outside and if you should be aware of immunization side effects that could make them temporarily vulnerable.
Be Aware of Temperature Extremes
Babies are more sensitive to temperatures than us adults are. What may feel comfortable to you may be too hot or cold for your baby. And, since they can’t tell us how they’re feeling, we have to figure it out ourselves.
A good way to check if your baby is comfortably warm is to feel their chest, back, or stomach. They should feel warm but not hot. A baby’s feet and hands may feel cool even when they are comfortable.
As a general rule, dress your baby in the number of layers that you’re wearing yourself, plus one extra layer. If your baby is dressed in layered from being outside, make sure you remove some items of clothing when you get back in the car so your baby doesn’t overheat.
Plan Your Outings Around Your Baby
The last thing you want is to suffer through a grocery run with a cranky baby. Try to plan outings around your baby's nap schedule. For example, long car rides can be lined up with your baby’s nap time. That way, they can sleep while you’re driving and wake up at your final destination happy and full of energy. If your baby doesn’t sleep in the car, try to schedule outings for right after they wake from their nap.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Get Prepared
Preparing to leave the house with your baby is one thing you do not want to rush. Forgetting essential items might cause you to cut your outing short or deal with an upset baby in the middle of the supermarket.
You will need to gather a lot of things before leaving the house. Sometimes it feels like you’re packing for a month-long trip when you’re just going out for groceries. We’ve compiled a list of outing essentials below.
Once you finally get outside, be prepared for simple activities and errands to take much longer than they used to. You may have to take breaks to change dirty nappies, feed your baby, or entertain them with toys and attention.
Tips for Packing the Nappy Bag
You'll be surprised at the number of things you need to carry with you when you go out with a little one. First, the best advice we can give you is to always have your nappy bag packed and ready to go. When you get home from an outing replace anything in the bag that you used. Like wipes, nappies, or clothing. This way you won’t risk forgetting essential items the next time you hurry out the door.
What to Pack in Your Nappy Bag
If you’re using cloth nappies, we recommend getting a larger nappy bag. Cloth nappies take up more room than disposables. Waterproof nappy bags are recommended as they hold up better against spills. Find a bag with many compartments because this will help you stay organized and find items quickly.
Plastic Bags or a Wet Bag
Pack plastic bags so you have somewhere to put soiled clothes, nappies, blankets, or clothing. If you’re using cloth nappies, we recommend getting an airtight wet bag to store soiled nappies in until you can get them home to wash. Little Piglet has a variety of great wet bags available in various sizes.
How many nappies you pack will depend on how long you’re out. Some moms recommend one nappy for each hour you’ll be away plus a few extra for emergencies. If you’re using cloth nappies you may also want to pack nappy liners, inserts for pockets, or extra wraps, depending on your cloth nappy system.
To bring a smaller amount of disposable wipes instead of the whole pack, take some out and put them in a Ziploc bag so they stay moist. If you use reusable wipes, pack about 10 cloth wipes in your nappy bag for each outing.
Some people use disposable change mats when they go out. However, we recommend getting a quality cloth change mat like this one by Cheeky Lil’ One. Reusable change mats include a waterproof layer, fold up easily into nappy bags, and can even double as play mats and car seat protectors.
Nappy Balm or Cream
Make sure to pack any nappy cream you’re using to treat or prevent nappy rash. Just be aware if you’re using cloth nappies that you should use liners to protect nappies from creams.
Spare Change of Baby Clothes
Be prepared for poop blowouts, spit-ups, drool, and spills with a spare set of baby clothing.
A blanket can be used for a variety of events. You can use it as a nursing cover, to keep your baby warm in the car or stroller, or drape it over your pram while your little one is sleeping. We recommend this soft, breathable muslin blanket made from 100% organic cotton.
Portable play mats are great to bring along if you're visiting a friend's house or going to the park for some outdoor time with your baby. We love the Close Pop-In Play Mat because it has a soft fleecy side and a waterproof side, comes in adorable prints, and folds up into a little carrying bag!
Snacks and Sippy Cup
Depending on the age of your child, you may want to have snacks and drinks on hand. Drink in the Box is a clever reusable drink container that is great for outings with children.
Sling or Wrap for Carrying Your Baby
You may decide to switch your baby out of the stroller and into a hands-free carrier at some point. This is particularly useful to have along when your baby suddenly wants to be held or if you’re headed into a more crowded area.
If you’re headed to the beach make sure you pack a couple pairs of swim nappies. Babies and toddlers love getting in and out of the water but they will hate putting wet swimming gear back on. If you’re going to the pool, make sure you get a good swim nappy that will contain solid poops without leaking.
Other items you may want to include in your nappy bag:
- Natural baby sunscreen
- Warm clothes to layer on your baby if the weather changes
- Bib for feeding
- Your baby’s favorite toys
- Formula or expressed breast milk if you’re bottle feeding
- Face wipes
- First aid kit with bandages and antibiotic cream
Essential Items For Mom:
- Hand sanitizer
Yes, we know that’s a lot of stuff! But once you get a nappy bag together with most of the essentials it gets less intimidating. If it’s all ready to go, you won’t have to think about all of this each time you go out.
Start with Small, Simple Outings
Start with a short outing when you take your baby out of the house for the first time. This will help ease both you and your baby into it. It’s good to see how your baby reacts to being out of the house to save you from embarking on a long journey with an upset child. You may also realize that you need to pack more items than you previously thought.
Good Places for Baby’s First Outing
A good first outing is a walk around your block or a quick trip to the park. Fresh air is great for both you and your baby. Plus, the light exercise will help you feel more energized and sleep better at night. Just note that most doctors recommend waiting six weeks before mom does any fitness walking. You may want to have a friend or family member join you on your first few walks to make sure you feel okay.
Another manageable outing is a trip to a nearby café to meet up with friends. Again, just make sure your friends wash their hands before handling your baby. Many moms enroll in mom and baby classes. This is a great way to learn from and connect with other moms who are tackling the same challenges as you.
Wherever you decide to go, try not to feel intimidated. Every parent will have some anxiety about taking their baby out for the first time. If you’re really not feeling comfortable, wait until your partner can accompany you or enlist the help of some good friends. Eventually, you'll build up confidence and look forward to any outing with your little one!