Tips for Tackling the First Outing With Your Newborn
Master the inaugural foray into the world while keeping everyone healthy and happy.
From the moment you bring your baby home, you start to create a new routine for everyday life. The first few days and weeks postpartum may very well be spent inside getting to know your little one’s cues and cries, establishing a feeding schedule, and gaining confidence in your ability as a new parent to care for baby’s needs.
Eventually, though, the idea of fresh air, catching some vitamin D, and seeing someone other than your DoorDash delivery driver may tempt you enough to take your newbie out for the first time—whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a solo picnic at the park, or anything else that keeps you away from crowds.
According to most medical experts, it’s safe to take a newborn baby outside from day one, as long as new parents avoid public places and follow a few extra precautions.
Avoid Direct Sunlight.
Your baby’s skin is too delicate for the sun’s rays (even in cold weather), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discourages the use of sunscreen for children under 6 months of age. To keep your baby protected from harmful rays, ensure your stroller or car seat carrier has an adequate canopy or utilize an additional cover if needed. (Just be sure to use caution in the warmer months. Any kind of cover can reduce air circulation and raise the temperature inside your car seat or stroller to dangerous levels.) You can also enlist the help of an infant rashguard for added protection. And if you need to stop and nurse or take baby out for another reason, try to find a shady spot.
Keep Germs Away.
Not only does that stroller cover help with sun safety, but frankly, it keeps onlookers out of your sweet pea’s space; as a rule of thumb, avoid any interactions between your child and strangers while out and about. Your newborn’s immune system is fragile for the first two or three months of life, so do not feel pressure to allow passersby to have a peek—just keep on strolling!
Another option is to wear your baby and go for a walk. There’s less risk for onlookers to get too close to your newborn when they’re strapped to your chest and facing inward. (Pro tip: An added perk of the carrier is that early on, your infant will likely sleep soundly snuggled up next to you, so you might not need to sweat as much about leaving the house.) No matter your approach, it’s probably a good idea to have some hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes with you at all times.
Dress Baby Appropriately.
You’ll want to mind the temperature when taking your newborn outside to ensure they’re not dressed too warmly and at risk of getting overheated. Fabrics like cotton and linen are breathable and soft, making them the perfect choice for outfitting your newborn in the heat. For colder weather, merino wool is a great option because it offers lots of warmth and airflow while also helping to regulate baby’s body temperature. In addition, stash a few blankets, extra socks, and a baby beanie or bonnet to layer as needed.
Pack Plenty of Supplies.
Even a quick jaunt around the block is subject to spit-up, blowouts, and general messes. Bring along a few more diapers and wipes than you think you’ll need, plus a portable changing pad—just for your peace of mind. After a while, you’ll have a better gauge of what you need and in what amounts. But feeling prepared, especially in the earliest days, can help you feel more comfortable, confident, and able to accomplish the task at hand.
Whether you’re feeling intimidated by the thought of leaving the house or you’re itching to get outside, the first outing with your baby will be memorable and perhaps even a surreal experience. Try to avoid putting expectations on yourself, and remember that simply taking steps toward doing something new is already a victory lap in the epic marathon of parenthood. You’ve got this!