As a new mother, your head is filled with questions – topics like sleeping, eating, poop and more! Motherhood is a daunting job, and unfortunately, your little one doesn’t really come with an instruction manual. Thankfully, there are some questions that come with easy answers, such as “when can you take a newborn out?”
With a new baby, it’s easy to feel like a celebrity and the paparazzi are just a few steps away, wanting to touch, hold and get a glimpse of your precious cargo. All too often, moms assume they need to keep their baby safe and sound at home, away from the outside world. That may have been the case once upon a time but in today’s day and age, you and your baby can greet the outside world whenever you are ready! There are just a few guidelines that, as a new mom, you should follow:
- Crowds Not Allowed: Until a newborn is 6-8 weeks and has received all his vaccinations, you should limit exposure to large crowds, especially indoor gatherings. Why, you may ask? Simple – large groups mean lots of people with lots of germs. When you’re an adult and you catch a virus, it typically means some ibuprofen and rest. However, if an infant comes down with a fever, especially in the first two months, it can result in hospitalization and often times a spinal tap – neither of which is worth the risk. It’s best to avoid large, indoor, public places – movie theaters, malls, airports, even church during the winter cold and flu season can expose your baby to unwanted germs. You’re better off to avoid these scenarios for the first few months and assure people that once your baby is older – and immunized – he can be the star of the show!
- Less is More: When you take your child out, remember that this is his first foray into the Big, Wide World. Bright, harsh lights and loud noises can be very disconcerting and uncomfortable for a newborn. So, be sure to choose places that will be more calm and soothing for your child.
- Handwashing is Healthy: Piggybacking on the information above, handwashing is very important when holding a newborn baby, especially in that first 6-8 weeks. If you’ve noticed, a pediatrician or doctor always washes his or her hands before checking your baby – and that’s especially important for your child’s protection. So, when your baby is brand new, kindly ask that family members or friends wash their hands before holding your little one.
- Fresh Air is Everyone’s Friend: While crowded indoor gatherings may not be the ticket, getting outside with your little one is good for everyone, especially you! The fresh air and exercise are great once you’ve been cleared by your own doctor. So, a walk through the park or your neighborhood is a welcome activity for both you and your baby. A couple of things to note – infants under 6 months old cannot use sunscreen so be sure that your child’s tender skin is protected from the sun by hats or stroller covers. Secondly, you should take your child out when he’s in a good mood – after a nap, feeding or diaper change can be a good time. Lastly, new moms tend to overdress their babies in efforts to keep them safe and warm. When dressing your child, the “plus one” rule is good to remember. Dress your child similar to how you’re dressed and then add a layer, such as a light blanket or sweater.
In the course of parenthood, you will face some difficult questions, but knowing when you can take a newborn out does not have to be one of them. Remember these simple guidelines; when in doubt, ask your doctor; use your common “Mom-sense” and trust your maternal instinct – it’s there for a reason!