Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Before becoming a mom, leaving the house to go to the store, or a restaurant or anywhere really was easy and took little thought or planning. However, once you become a parent, leaving the house is a whole new level of difficulty.
When my son was a newborn, leaving the house looked something like this:
- Nurse the baby
- Change a diaper and make sure clothing for everyone was weather appropriate
- Make sure diaper bag is fully stocked (don’t forget to grab my diaper bag packing list)
- Eat a snack/meal
- Nurse baby again
- Change diaper again
- Finally leave the house (~3 hours later)
Obviously, the amount of time it takes to prepare to leave the house can keep many new parents
Unless you or your newborn has health issues or the weather is absolutely awful, I suggest starting to make short outings the first weeks after you come home from the hospital. Here are my answers to common questions and tips for different activities that are completely doable with a newborn.
Where to Take a N
Newborns are surprisingly portable. Until about 4 months, they are able to sleep anywhere, and you can transport them both in and out of the car with a car seat and stroller travel system. You can take a newborn most places that you would go anyway.
It does take a little practice to juggle all the extra items you need to bring, and plan for feeding sessions. If you have family visiting, enlist help for your first few outings. It’s great to have an extra set of hands and the person can spend time with you and the baby and no one is thinking about how messy the house is.
During my son’s first 2 months, we went to the grocery store, target, various restaurants, the mall, church, and wine tasting. Enjoy the portability of your baby now because once they get older they become less portable and require more planning. Follow the tips below, and you can take your newborn out as part of your normal activities.
Taking a Newborn Out Before 6 Weeks
Six weeks seems to be the magic number with babies, but things don’t really change that much at six weeks. Your baby is still portable, and many children don’t get their first vaccinations until they are closer to 2 months. The biggest thing that changed for us at six weeks was I went back to work (read more about that here and here).
The biggest concern with taking a very young baby out is that they will catch a virus. Viruses that are minor annoyances for adults can result in severe illness in babies. However, a few precautions can greatly decrease the chance of your baby catching something.
1. Don’t let others hold your baby
If someone asks to hold your baby, you are allowed to say no. Exercise this right! The less people that hold your baby, the less likely baby will get sick. This also applies to letting people rub his hair, kiss him or touch his skin.
2. Utilize a car seat cover
Many respiratory viruses are passed through coughing and sneezing. If you use a stretch car seat cover like this one, you can block respiratory particles from infecting your baby. It also helps keep people from touching your baby and provides a dark, quiet area for sleeping.
3. Practice baby wearing
If you aren’t planning to carry the car seat with you once you get where you are going, then your best defense is baby wearing. This keeps baby snug against you and protected from respiratory particles. It also helps deter people from touching or wanting to hold your baby.
When can you take a newborn out for a walk?
You can take a walk with your newborn as soon as the weather cooperates. You want to do your walk at a time of day where it isn’t super hot or super cold. Also make sure to provide adequate warmth and/or sun protection. Newborns have very fragile skin, so err on the side of too much sun protection in the form of a stroller shade, car seat shade, and/or car seat cover. If the weather is okay taking the baby for a walk can be great for both of you, and you usually won’t have to fend off too many people.
The best time to take a newborn for a walk will vary by location. You will want to decide based on the weather and what you feel like. Chances are good your newborn will sleep for most of the walk anyway, so at this stage, you don’t need to worry about nap times. Usually, earlier in the morning or early evening work well because the sun isn’t as bright as it is midday. However, if the sun is out, you will still want to make sure baby is shaded.
When can I take my newborn to a restaurant?
You can take baby out to a restaurant as soon as you are ready to go out. You will want to make sure your diaper bag is fully packed, so that you are prepared for any dirty diapers or feeding needs. I found that taking the car seat into the restaurant is the best way to have a calm meal. Infant car seats generally will fit into the booth and restaurants often have high chairs that when flipped over hold a car seat.
When can I take my newborn to church?
We took our son to church when he was 1 week old. You will want to follow the tips above about keeping people away, so your baby doesn’t get sick, but otherwise, it’s pretty easy. We took the car seat into the
Many churches have a room for nursing mothers. Scout out the location of this room when you arrive, so you are prepared if necessary. Churches also usually have child care that extends to infants. However, I would recommend keeping your baby with you for the first couple of months – usually they will sleep anyway.
Can I take my newborn to a wedding or other family gathering?
Major family events are often ones you don’t want to miss, but your family and friends likely didn’t plan their special day around the age of your baby. Therefore, you may find yourself needing to choose between taking your newborn or staying home. My best friend got married when my son was 4 months old, so off to a wedding (on the other side of the country) we went. Many of the principles from above apply here. However, if it’s something that is going to have a DJ or other loud music, make sure to grab a pair of these baby headphones. Without them loud noises can quickly overwhelm a newborn. However, with the earmuffs, a party with flashing lights and dancing can be great fun for a baby. My son loved dancing and looking at the lights with his headphones on.
Final Thoughts on Leaving the House with a Newborn
Getting out of the house is good for the whole family, so you shouldn’t be scared to leave the house with a newborn. Just make sure to follow these tips and plan short outings initially. Pretty soon you will gain confidence and running errands or going places with your newborn won’t be a big deal at all.
If you start getting really brave, you could fly with a newborn. If you decide to brave that (we did when our son was 4 months old), make sure to read these Tips for Flying with a Baby.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess