8 must-packs for an outing with your newborn
Going out for the first time with your baby can be scary, especially if she is your first child. You’ve probably heard from grandmothers, other parents, and random passersby that taking your baby out before 8 weeks is not recommended.
It's true that your baby's immune system won't be fully formed for a while yet, which makes the outside world little bit of a risk for her, but sometimes trips outdoors can't be avoided. With the right precautions, though, stepping out with your baby can be safe, healthy, and fun for the whole family.
Make sure to pack these nine items for any outing, and go at your own pace — don’t let anyone else (except maybe the doctor) dictate what you can and can’t do with your baby.
- Fully stocked diaper bag
This should include key items such as diapers, rash cream, changing pad, wipes, a pacifier if your baby uses one, a blanket or two, and any other poop emergency necessities.
- Feeding materials
The obvious aspects of feeding may include formula, water to mix the formula with if it's not already fully mixed, bottles, or a breastfeeding cover-up, depending on your baby's feeding routine.
- Stroller and sling
If you’re taking your baby for a short stroll, or even to a more crowded place, wheeling her around can be cumbersome — packing a sling for shorter or more crowded jaunts can give the two of you better ease of movement, and keep her close for comfort on these early trips. On the other hand, keeping the stroller on hand for longer outings can keep you both from getting tired out or uncomfortable to early on in your outing.
This is for you, not your baby, who shouldn't start drinking water until she is around 6 months old. For you, though, it's important to have some water handy to stay hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding, or going out soon after delivery.
- Sunglasses and hat
your baby shouldn't be exposed to direct sunlight until she is at least 6 months old. Before 6 months, sunscreen is not recommended for babies. Making sure your baby is covered up with a hat and lightweight long sleeves is an important part of her sun-defenses. You can also bring an umbrella as a shade for your baby's stroller, carrier, or seat. Even after your baby hits that 6-month mark, and is old enough to squirm away as you try to get sunscreen to cover her face, baby sunglasses with UV protection can help to keep her eyes and face protected from harmful UV rays. This is especially important since even once your baby can wear sunscreen, it's a good idea to be careful about putting it on the skin to near to her eyes.
- Change of clothes
This is mostly for your baby, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good idea to have a clean change of shirt for you around, too. You never know what sort of mess your baby could get herself into, though, so you’ll want to pack a couple of extra pieces of clothing for her just in case of wet, cold, or mess.
- Sense of humor
Leaving home for the first time after giving birth can be a trying experience, so try to remain positive and laugh off any and all mistakes that are bound to happen. A great way to keep tension from getting too high on these early trips out into the world is to make sure to leave yourself plenty of time - maybe a full half hour just to leave the house, and then plenty of travel time in-between stops, if you're planning a busy day.
- Moral support
Bringing your partner, a family member, or a friend along with you and your baby to keep an eye on her, or even hold onto her while you eat, use the restroom, or even just catch your breath a minute can be a great way to have a more relaxed outing.
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