If you haven’t set foot outside since coming home with the baby (or even earlier if you had a home birth), you might be starting to feel a little stir crazy. The isolation and monotony can weigh heavily on your exhausted self and contribute to the Baby Blues. But when is it safe to expose your newborn to the big, scary world?
Some experts say it’s good to get some fresh air as soon as you can, while others (surprise, surprise!) advise you to stay indoors for the first month.
We think you should tune into your instincts and judgment on this one. If you’re feeling trapped, helpless and overwhelmed, it might be good to strap the little one in for a walk or drive. Or stop by a relative’s house for a visit (you know they’re dying for you to!) and perhaps even snag a nap in their guest room. Instead of burying your head in contradicting literature (which, trust us, will soon drive you batty), do what you feel is best for you and your newborn. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing your baby to the elements just yet, don’t.
Take it easy
Keep in mind that those with older children might not have any choice but to tote the newest addition out to school pick-up or errand runs. In this hectic time, do whatever is best for your family and easiest on you.
If your baby has an underlying health condition or was born premature, check with your doctor on when it’s safe to be out and about.
Choose your outing
Not all outings are created equal. Cruising around the shopping mall for a couple hours and letting just any old passer-by cuddle your newborn? Not such a great idea. It’s not so much the weather or temperature that poses a danger, but germs. Just as you do with visitors, make sure you have hand sanitiser on deck for any potential cuddlers to use and be discerning as to who can hold the baby.
The great thing about this stage (which you’ll soon look back on fondly) is that the baby will pretty much snooze wherever and whenever, so there aren’t any strict nap schedules to adhere to. However, if you feel like too much outside time is over-stimulating your baby or otherwise disrupting things, head back home.
Dressing your baby
Dress your baby appropriately for the weather with light layers the simplest way to adapt to any changes in temperature from the outdoors to the indoors. Pack a nappy bag with everything you think you could possibly need for the trip – then add a few more. You’ll need a change of clothes (or two) and a few nappies and all you’ll need to change your baby. The better prepared you are before leaving the less anxious you’ll be when you leave the house.
This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot, New Zealand’s leading pregnancy and parenting resource.