When can you take a newborn out of the house? This question seems to vary according to each pediatrician, and each family. Some doctors say it’s fine to take the child out within the first week, while other doctors give the restrictions of up to two months of not leaving the house. While I think that this recommendation varies based on climate and the health of your newborn, we made the decision to take our newborns out very early. Our girls were relatively healthy, and we put in some safeguards to ensure that they weren’t going to be in close physical contact with others. But more than that, when we had our second child we had another child in preschool. And as every parent of a preschooler knows, your child is constantly bringing home the germs of other children. We felt that while we could try to shelter our infant from others in our home, having a sibling in preschool meant that she was being exposed to germs from the outside world anyway. So rather than feeling confined to our home, we ventured out quickly. In fact, we went out to eat at a restaurant on our way home from the hospital.
With our next newborn (kid #3), we took the same approach. In fact, just a week after coming home we took her to Disneyland. I know that a lot of our friends and family thought we were crazy for being so active with a newborn, but for me it was the best way to stave of those post-baby blues. I found sitting on my couch to be isolating and boring, and we’ve always been an active family. Since we live in a very moderate climate it made sense that we would just continue with our regular routines: running errands, going out to eat, and finding fun things to do as a family.
It’s not that we through all caution to the wind, though. There were some safeguards I put in place to keep our newborns healthy. Here are some of my best tips for parents who choose to venture out with their wee ones:
1. Carry your baby in a sling. Wearing your baby is a great practice in general, but it also keeps your baby close and facing you. In addition, most of the time baby in a sling is press pretty close to your breasts. This is a great deterrent for people who might otherwise wants to touch your baby. When a baby is in a sling, someone really has to invade your personal space to get access. I found that people were hands-off when they saw my baby in a sling, and it gave me more control as well.
2. Put your newborn in an infant car seat with a blanket over the top. I was always a huge fan of the strollers that allowed me to snap in the infant car seat. Typically infant car seats have a great canopy that can cover most of the baby, but a light blanket ensures that they are completely covered up. Children within their first few weeks of life are generally not phased by being in the dark like this, since they just spent several months in a dark womb. And for quick errands or outings, it’s a great way to keep people away from the baby, as most people will assume that the child is sleeping. People might be prone to ogle over a baby in a car seat, but the blanket sends a message to back off.
3. Be assertive. This is really the most important aspect of taking out a newborn. You may even have to be rude sometimes, as people often forget the risk of illness in their excitement over wanting to touch a new baby. Remember, it is perfectly fine to request that people not touch your newborn. For me, in the question of risking offending someone vs. feeling like I had to stay home for weeks at a time, being assertive definitely won out.
When did you take out your newborn? Did you wait a few weeks, or did you get out and about quickly? Do you have any other safety tips for parents who want to venture out with their newborn?
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