Once you have a baby you no longer have the luxury of nipping out of the house with your keys and your phone in hand. It can take a lot of time and it can often feel like a military operation just to get out the front door. A baby on their own is easy, but they come with a lot of paraphernalia and that means you need to remember nappies, baby wipes, screams, pacifiers, if your bottle feeding you’ll need to remember formula, spare clothes, spare cloths dash the list goes on and on.
If you don’t know how many nappies to take with you, you don’t know whether you should shop here for a new bag or you should go for a rucksack, you don’t know whether or not your baby is going to need a feed, then you’re in the right place. With a bit of forethought and a lot of planning, you could make a nerve wracking trip out as a family a calm experience. We won’t promise you it will become the first time, but it does get easier. So with this in mind, here are some tips for going out with your baby for the first time.
- Get to know the car seat on the pushchair. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the side of the road in the rain because you can’t remember how to clip the car seat into the base inside the car. Fitting the car seat and folding and unfolding prams can be stressful until you’ve got used to doing it, so before you decide to go anywhere with the actual baby, do some practice runs for an empty car seat and learn to clip it in yourself. There’s nothing worse than trying to fold your buggy into the car boot when a driver is waiting to take your parking space, especially if you are just trying to nip to go get some food shopping. With a little practice, you’ll find this much easier than you think.
- Go hands-free where you can. At first, your tiny baby is going to feel quite distraught being apart from you. They’ve spent nine months in the womb getting to know your smell and getting to know your feel and your voice. Being anywhere far away from you is going to feel like the end of the world for them, so welcome to the 4th trimester. If you invest in a good baby sling or a carrier, you’ll be able to wear your baby and they will be close to you and calm wherever you go. You just need an oversize coat in the winter months to zip up over the two of you and you’ll be nice and warm.
- Don’t bring the kitchen sink. When it comes to getting out and about, you just need a bag with the essentials. You can always pick up more things if you happen to run out or your baby chooses that particular day to go through 5 nappies in two hours. Always carry nappy bags with you as these are scented and can be easier to deal with if you have to keep the baby’s nappy with you after you change them. make sure that you have everything that you need but just pack small so don’t bring six outfit changes just bring one or two.
- Don’t forget your own essentials. If you’re breastfeeding, don’t forget your breast pads. There’s nothing quite as mortifying as trying to pay for your shopping and having a leak in the middle of the store. You should also make sure that if you are still early days you have maternity towels in the change bag just in case. Your comfort is as important as your baby’s comfort, so make sure that you have everything with you and keep a checklist on the back of the front door so that you can remember everything before you leave the house.
- First, don’t go alone. As a new mother trying to juggle a baby in public, you will also be juggling your own hormones and all of these new things that you will notice because now you’re a mother your brain goes into overdrive. For your first outing, try to bring somebody with you for a spare set of hands. This way, somebody can wrangle the shopping basket while you are pushing the baby in the pram, and if the baby starts to get distressed at least one of you is there to help. It’s also very handy if you do happen to stop for a cup of tea, you’ve got somebody to hold the baby for you while you actually enjoy a hot drink while it’s still hot.
- Time it well. The best thing to do is to go right before the baby is due to take a nap. The movement of the pushchair combined with a full tummy of milk is going to help them to go off to sleep and it will make your shopping trip easier. Remember, you have to factor in feeding times, burping times, mopping up any sickness, changing any nappies, changing any clothes, and if your baby is cluster feeding there is every chance that you are doing that several times in the early days. Timing this outing and sticking to short trips at first will help.
- Do you first. When you are getting ready to go out, make sure that you are ready for the outing before the baby. There is no use in getting the baby locked and loaded only for you to still be getting ready and the baby to get impatient. If you are already first, you’ll then be able to feed the baby, change them if necessary, do the new set of clothes if necessary and then go out. A feed and a change should be the last thing that you do so that everybody is comfortable. Waiting until the last moment to get your baby dressed will mean that everybody turns up on time and in one piece.
- Don’t forget about the weather. Even on hot days, babies need layers. Never put a blanket over the front of the pushchair when you are out because it will basically create an oven-like temperature on the inside of the buggy. If the baby is wearing a long sleeve onesie with a short sleeve vest underneath, and it’s hot outside you can always take off the onesie and have a light blanket over their legs. You don’t have to wake a sleeping baby to take off their snowsuit in a hot shopping center, so using light layers or like a cardigan where the fleece over the top is much easier. This way if he’s getting too warm you can just pull the blanket off.
- Go with baby friendly options. It’s handy to find parents changing rooms and baby friendly places and cafes to go that have a positive attitude to breastfeeding or bottle feeding stations. You don’t want to feel so vulnerable on a first outing with your baby only for them not to be able to feed because other people have put rules in place to avoid that. Legally, you can feed your baby whenever you want to wherever you want to, but people will always have their opinions and it’s nice to be able to avoid these.
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