Leaving the house with a newborn may sound pretty easy – until you’re handed your first precious bundle!
In the confines of your home with everything you need around you and your partner/mum/friend available for any questions/dramas/shopping needs, you may begin to relax into this parenting thing as the days since your baby’s birth tick by. But eventually, through necessity or desire, you are going to have to leave the house with your baby.
I remember the first time I took my baby out in a baby carrier. Or rather, the first time I TRIED to take my baby out. I spent two hours trying to figure out how to get baby in the carrier, only for him to need a nappy change as soon as he was in (poonamis are not good for baby carriers!), and then it was feeding time so I gave up. The next day I did manage it after creating a bullet-point plan of attack so that was a two day effort to walk two minutes down the road. Um … yeah.
Nevertheless, as with anything, you eventually do get better with good planning and practise.
Your first outing
Now, when I say outing, I mean literally the first time you step out of the house with your baby to somewhere other than the letterbox. Make the first outing a simple one.
Take a stroll around the block with baby in the pram or baby carrier. All you need to remember is your phone, your keys, and a muslin cloth. Muslin cloths are so versatile – use it for just about any eventuality including wiping up milk or sick, shielding baby from the sun or wind, or to play peekaboo. Even if your walk takes just ten minutes, you’ve done it!
The next outing
Choose a destination that you’re comfortable with for your first proper outing. Whether that’s to a friend’s house, your parent’s house, or to the local shops, or any familiar surroundings so that you haven’t got navigation issues to add to the mix.
Pack a bag with the essentials – start big and pack for every scenario but over time you will work out what you do and don’t need.
Make sure you’ve tried out your equipment beforehand. Do you know how to get your pushchair up stairs? Can you open/close the pushchair? Do you know how to fit it in the boot of your car? Do you know how your child restraint works?
Choose a time of day when baby is most settled and, if you can, feed baby before you leave to give you a bit of a headstart. If you’re worried about breastfeeding in public remember that you don’t have to but if you prefer to cover up, practise doing this before your outing. Think about what you will wear too to make breastfeeding easier.
Don’t forget personal things like a change of breastpads and a bottle of water – look after your own comfort as well as that of your baby.
A muslin cloth makes a great cover over your baby carrier or pram to keep the cheek-squeezer public at bay.
If at all possible, take someone with you for moral support (and to do the heavy lifting). However, the first time that you do the outing on your own you will feel an added sense of accomplishment.
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”