Taking Baby in Public Tips
You’re a new parent, and you’ve finally gotten into a rhythm at home. You’re getting more comfortable with a feeding schedule, and you’re a pro at diaper changes. Now, you’re ready to take the next step: taking baby in public.
It sounds simple, right? As any parent knows, it can feel anything but simple. After all, your child is so small and fragile — you might wonder if it’s safe to bring them out in public. Fortunately, things are rarely as scary as they seem. By talking to your doctor and doing a bit of prep work, you can sail through your first outing with ease. Whether it’s a quick walk around the block or a visit to the store, taking baby in public can do both of you a world of good.
How to Take Your Baby Out in Public
1. Check-in With Your Doctor
Before taking baby in public, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor. In many cases, you can take your little one out out as soon as you’re comfortable. However, if your baby was born premature or has a compromised immune system, your doctor may advise you to wait longer. Regardless of the situation, getting the go-ahead from a medical professional can give you extra confidence.
The easiest time to talk to your doctor is during a checkup. That way, you can express your questions and anxieties so the doctor can reassure you. Sometimes, a little reassurance is all you need to build up the confidence to go out in public with the baby.
2. Respect Your Own Limits
The doctor has given you the go-ahead for taking baby in public. Your friends are telling you it’s time to get out of the house. That’s great, but the real question is: are you ready? It’s important to respect your own boundaries. If you feel terrified at the thought of taking your little one out in public, don’t force yourself. Wait another week and reassess. By waiting until you’re comfortable, you can get through the experience with less stress.
Keep in mind that you may never feel completely ready. After all, this is a new experience for you; it’s normal to feel some fear. As long as you can move through it without panicking, you’re good to go.
It’s also important to respect your physical limits when taking baby in public. If you had a C-section, you might need to wait longer before you can drive and walk around safely and comfortably. Make sure you can lift the baby in the car seat with ease before heading out alone — or, bring along someone who can take care of the physical aspects of the trip.
3. Start With a Small Outing
Going out in public with a newborn can require a surprising amount of work, especially if you’ve never done it before. For someone so tiny, your little one needs a great deal of stuff. The longer you’re gone, the heavier your diaper bag becomes.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start small when taking baby in public. Walk down the block to the corner store, or stop by a friend’s house for a quick visit. Choose a place that you know well and that you’re comfortable in; the familiar environment can be soothing when you’re feeling stressed or nervous. As time progresses, you’ll feel confident going further from home.
4. Enlist a Partner or Friend to Help
When you’re taking baby in public for the first time, you might not feel equipped to handle it on your own. That’s perfectly normal. Instead of taking the child out alone, ask someone to help. Wait until your partner is available, or ask a friend or family member to join you. Don’t be afraid to explain that you’re nervous about leaving the house alone with the baby and that you need moral support.
Chances are, you won’t need any help with the baby, but the mere presence of a loving friend can give you extra peace of mind. Plus, you’ll have someone else to help carry the diaper bag.
5. Pack for Every Eventuality
Before taking baby in public, think about the things that your child might need. Essential items include:
- Diapers, wipes, and diaper cream
- Portable changing mat
- Extra blanket
- Formula or breastfeeding cover
- Change of clothes
- Plastic bags to hold dirty items
- Burp cloth
Don’t think you’ll need all of these things? It’s a good idea to take them, anyway. That way, if you get a flat tire, or if traffic backs up unexpectedly, you’re all set for the next diaper change or feeding. Simply put everything inside your diaper bag and be sure to take the bag into the store so all of your supplies are close at hand.
6. Decide if You’re Comfortable with Passing Baby to Friends
Are you taking baby in public to a place where you might run into friends? It’s worthwhile to decide in advance whether or not you’re comfortable allowing people to hold the baby. You should not feel obligated to allow anyone to hold your child, even family members. By making this decision ahead of time, you’re less likely to cave in the moment.
If you’re willing to allow other people to hold the baby, come prepared. Put a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag to help cut back on germs. Don’t be afraid to ask if the person has had any symptoms of illness, including stuffiness or diarrhea; if so, it’s best to decline the request.
7. Dress Your Baby Appropriately
When you’re going out in public, it’s a good idea to be prepared for a variety of temperatures. Keep in mind that babies don’t handle these shifts as well as adults, since their bodies aren’t as skilled at regulating heat. By choosing a weather-appropriate outfit, you can keep your little one at a comfortable temperature. Consider a layered outfit when you’re taking baby in public; that way, you can unzip a shirt or remove a layer if your little one gets too hot. An extra blanket is always a good idea, even in the summer. After all, you never know when a building will have strong AC.
As you’re on your outing, keep an eye on your little one. If they’re looking sweaty, remove a layer. If the temperature gets cooler, put the blanket over the car seat.
8. Limit Exposure to People
When you have an adorable baby, it’s safe to expect that people will want to take a second look. You might even be surprised at the number of strangers who will reach out to touch the baby without asking. It’s important to limit the contact your child has with people — after all, they might be carrying germs or viruses even if they aren’t showing symptoms.
The easiest way to protect your child is to stay away from big crowds. When you’re in a store or a park, simply drape a cover over the car seat to block your little one from view. Alternatively, use a sling carrier that keeps the baby close to your body.
Don’t be afraid to ask people to refrain from touching or getting too close when you’re taking baby in public. It can be uncomfortable at first, so you might try practicing some kind ways to ask. “Oh, please don’t touch the baby; she’s still very new,” or “I’m sorry, but we’re not allowing anyone to touch the baby until her immune system is stronger.”
When you’re the parent of a newborn, taking baby in public is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. Although this first outing can seem intimidating, all it requires is a bit of mental and physical preparation. By taking your time and making sure you’re ready to get out of the house with baby, you can make the process more fun and comfortable. Soon, you’ll be heading out to the store and on trips without a second thought.