How to get out of the house with a newborn

So you have a lovely new baby.  You’re enjoying those first few days, or maybe weeks at home, but now you are starting to feel trapped.  You simply must venture out of your home for fresh air, new scenery, and your general sanity… But you have a newborn that must come along now.

I remember being so confused as to how I was going to make that work.  It seemed like such a formidable task.  Actually, in all honesty, it seemed impossible.  Now that it’s months later and I’m out with my baby multiple times a day, I can see that my initial fears were unfounded.  That, however, doesn’t make  it any easier  for new mothers trying to get out.

What were my fears?  That the baby would cry the whole time.  That I’d have to change her and there wouldn’t be a suitable place.  That she would get hungry and I wouldn’t be able to latch her properly to nurse.  That breastfeeding in public would be uncomfortable.  That she would get too  hot/cold/uncomfortable.  That I couldn’t find a carrier that she would like.   Well the list goes on, and on.

So the question remains, how DO you get out with a newborn?  Here are my recommendations:

– go with a friend the first time.  One who has a baby can be very helpful, but it’s not necessary

– if you plan on using a carrier with your baby then do so immediately.  Carriers have a learning curve so if you don’t start that process right away you will likely just become stroller dependent.  Also babies sleep better and longer in a carrier, as well as remain calmer due to their being close to you.

– do not make your first few outings task or time oriented.  You want them to be open ended, that way if baby gets too fussy you won’t feel frazzled to finish your task or like you have failed.  You don’t want to have a basket of groceries to pay for with a wailing newborn..  Take a walk, stop in at a parent baby meet-up, or go for a coffee/beverage (you can take it on the go if needed)

– any surface can serve as a change table, and many places have change areas available.  Bring along a paterproof changing mat in  case you have to use the ground or other less than ideal surface.

– early breastfeeding can be difficult and dealing with a hungry baby and awkward latch in public can be daunting.  Bring along a nursing coverr or blanket and jump in!  There’s no way to get over public nursing complications other than doing it.  Alternatively you can go out right after a feeding so as to avoid the issue till you are more proficient at nursing

– prepare yourself for the potential that baby will cry.  That is okay.  Babies sense stress, so getting worried and worked up that your baby is bothering others will only make the situation worse.  Wherever you are going you have to be prepared that your baby is going to  demand you leave- NOW!  If an immediate exit is not possible, just do your best.  Stay calm, try  to soothe baby, and take your time.  You are new at this, and it’s okay if you have to leave the restaurant mid-meal or abandon your shopping cart.

And most importantly, after a handful of outings, going out with baby will seem like second nature.

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