I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought leaving the house after giving birth was a big thing. (I was pregnant with my first child.) This is almost certainly something that gets easier with each child you have. Heck, with baby #3 I took myself and baby out to the baby checkup 2 days after I left the hospital!
But this wasn’t the case with the firstborn child. No, that was much scarier.
The fourth trimester, especially the first few weeks at home with my new baby, were full with surprises. One of those things was how difficult it appeared to leave the house.
Even a simple Saturday afternoon journey to get ice cream seemed too much of a trouble and not worth it (though ice cream is always worth it, so I’d send everyone else and have them bring me back a pint). While recuperating from childbirth, the mental and physical stamina required to pack my diaper bag, place the baby in her car seat (and double-check that she was fastened in tight enough), and drag the car seat to the car was more than I could bear.
I’m going to give you some helpful advice, but first, let’s speak about how long you should wait to go out after delivering a baby.
How Long Should You Stay At Home After Birth
You can stay as long as you wish. And you’ll probably want to do so for a long time.
There are no strange and arbitrary regulations any longer (like these rules 100 years ago!).
Please remember that you just squeezed a human out of your body (or maybe had a human cut out of your body).
So think about it and schedule some time for your body to relax.
Many parents are concerned about taking a small child out of the house. In other societies, mothers and newborns are locked inside for a month or more. However, there is no medical need to keep a healthy infant at home.
People of all ages, even newborns, benefit from fresh air and a change of pace. A newborn can develop ill as a result of exposure to other individuals.
Limit the number of time you spend in close quarters with crowds to prevent exposing your infant to germs. Anyone who wishes to hold or touch your infant should wash his hands first. Finally, keep away from ill people.
Experts recommend staying in bed as much as possible for the first 48-72 hours after giving birth — with occasional brief visits to the restroom, of course. This is ideal for skin-to-skin contact with your baby, especially if you’re starting to breastfeed. Breastfeeding isn’t always simple or natural, and trying to do so outside the house may be particularly tough in the early days (or weeks).
If you’re solely nursing, you should be aware of this.
If I were to give a friend with newborn advice, I would tell her to plan on staying at home for at least two weeks after the baby is delivered.
Leaving The House With A Newborn Requires Some Help
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to carry your kid in a car seat if you’ve had a c-section.
Driving should also be avoided during postpartum recovery (during the first week if you had a vaginal birth, and for a longer period if you had a c-section). You should consult your doctor to determine when it is safe to drive after having delivery.)
There appear to be various reasons for not driving immediately after giving birth, ranging from “you use your abdomen muscles for braking and acceleration, and you should be leaving those muscles alone right now,” to “any pain medication you may be taking could make you less focused than usual,” and even “new moms might be more distracted than most”…
To be honest, these all sound like solid reasons to me to avoid driving, and I’m sure there are more.
You may ask a friend to drive you or hire a cab in an emergency, but if at all feasible, I’d prefer to stay at home.
When you’re ready to go out after giving birth, or if someone else is taking you out, there are a few things you should know and do to make going out with a baby less frightening.
Tips To Make Leaving The House With A Newborn A Little Easier
It’s far more difficult for mom to leave the house after giving birth than it is for the baby. Your infant will most likely sleep for the majority of the time you’re gone; it’ll be you who is stressed!
It nearly seems like you’re going on a scary journey (at least the first few times).
Sure, you will forget something crucial, and yes, it will feel as if the world has ended… It does, however, get easier!
Here are some of my top recommendations for taking a baby out in public:
Feed The Baby Before Leaving
The vehicle journey will be so much more relaxing if your baby is well nourished. Bring a bottle if you don’t feel comfortable nursing in public (pump the night before or that morning). If getting out is a challenge for you, don’t make it impossible. You can breastfeed in the vehicle or a toilet stall if you don’t want to offer your infant a bottle. These locations will provide you with sufficient seclusion.
Layer Baby Appropriately
My first child was born in a blizzardy -30 degree environment.
For four months, he didn’t leave the house with anything except his nose and eyes visible.
If you have a winter baby, layer your infant. He needs to have his head covered.
While full-body pyjamas are extremely cute, we discovered that onesies with trousers are more suited for going out than jammies because you don’t have to undress the baby’s top half to change his bottom half.
We also discovered that wearing onesies rather than shirts and trousers keeps the baby’s back from being exposed to the cold when removing them from the car seat.
You’ll also want to cover them up extra with a car seat cover, and a receiving blanket or two if it’s very cold.
Dress In Breastfeeding Friendly Clothing
Before I had a kid, I had no clue how much of my clothing was absolutely unsuitable for nursing.
If you’re exclusively nursing, you’ll want to dress in a way that allows you to access your bosom easily.
Nothing beats attempting to slip an angry baby under your shirt (without exposing your very engorged furious boob) in the middle of a restaurant while sweating profusely (I mean, it happens after you have a kid, and it’s much more likely to happen while everyone is staring at you and the screaming baby).
Purchase a few beautiful nursing shirts for yourself. They may appear frivolous now, but trust me when I say that your leaving-the-house-with-a-newborn self will thank you for it.
Pack The Diaper Bag Well
I don’t know how many times I’ve left the house without THE RIGHT ITEMS.
I can’t tell you how much easier it was to go out dressed appropriately. (It’s similar to a nursing cover.) It was a LOT simpler with a good breastfeeding cover.)
(And don’t worry, it’ll only take you about 2 months MAX to start leaving a lot of these things at home.) By the time your child is six months old, all you need is a diaper, wipes, and food in your large mom’s handbag.
Here are the essentials when leaving the house with a brand new baby:
- extra shirt for mom
- breast pads
- nipple shield / cream
- feeding cover
- bum cream
- change of clothes for baby
- plastic bag for dirty diapers
- bottles + formula (if using)
- pacifier + extra pacifier
- sanitizing wipes
- swaddle blankets (so many uses)
Don’t Be Out Too Long
Plan a short trip and start with something simple if you can.
Remember, you should be resting – you technically have an INTERNAL wound where your placenta was connected for up to six weeks postpartum, and too much movement might re-start bleeding – and your first excursion out of the home after giving birth shouldn’t be a marathon.
Going to a restaurant instead of the mall could be a better decision – it’s quieter, more relaxing, requires less walking, and is probably cleaner… just some things to think about!
Be prepared to cancel your plans and leave, especially if you’re having trouble feeding your baby or are simply weary and want to go home.
Limit Stimulating Environments
When taking a baby out in public, this is an essential factor to consider. At two weeks, a baby’s immune system isn’t nearly as robust as it is at three months. The fewer germs you expose your child to before his or her immune system matures, the better.
Also keep in mind that, while you can easily filter out the noise and bustle of a crowd, your infant is more susceptible to being overstimulated.
Overstimulated babies may become irritable and have difficulty sleeping.
Remember That It’s Ok If Baby Cries
When your kid has an outburst in public, it may appear that everyone is staring at you, but it’s all in your head. It’s quite normal for your infant to cry (it’s what they do). Is your baby hungry, does he or she need a diaper change, or is he or she tired? Okay, so the baby only requires feeding, changing, and rocking to sleep. That is all there is to it. You will not be judged by others. We are the only ones who can criticize us.
Things To Keep In Mind
It may be difficult to believe in the early weeks and months, but it does get easier. As a parent, you gain confidence in everything you do, and leaving the house with a newborn becomes a simple chore. You find your stride, figure out the best method to secure the car seat, and know how to pack your diaper bag like a pro.
As someone who prides themselves on being punctual, it was difficult for me to understand that this was now my new normal—being late everywhere and arriving covered in spit-up. Give yourself a lot more time than you think you’ll need if you truly want to be on time—you’ll probably need it. If you’re still running late, everyone you’re meeting should be understanding. It’s a victory just to be out there. Enjoy it and don’t worry about it when you get there.
Going on solo trips with your child might feel liberating. Even if such trips are only to a coffee shop a mile away, they are still exciting! Allow your spouse to assist you if you need assistance going out of the house. Allow them to transport the car seat or simply unlock and start the vehicle for you.
Parenthood comes with a steep learning curve. The more you do anything, the better you will get at it, and getting out of the home will become second nature to you. If you’d prefer to stay at home for the first few weeks, there’s no need to force yourself out. However, don’t hold yourself back from trying new things; it will be difficult, but you will learn.
Prepare For The Challenge Of Leaving The House with A Newborn
A 40-minute journey during which my two-week-old baby cried nonstop was perhaps one of the most stressful excursions I’ve ever taken.
Some babies adore being in the car… Some newborns despite being away from their mothers, or they may find the car seat unpleasant, or they may just need to defecate.
It’s difficult when your infant isn’t pleased in the car, but don’t worry; it’ll pass!
When it comes to carrying them about while you’re out, you’ll have to experiment to find what works best for both of you.
Try using a baby carrier, but also a stroller, carrying them in the car seat, and don’t forget to give them a pacifier!
It’s AWESOME if you have an amazing “getting out with your baby experience.”
But be prepared for it to be difficult, if not downright frightening.
If things don’t go as planned, remember that you’re not the first new mom to cry in a parking lot (like my cousin) or spend the entire party in the back bedroom (like me) or feel so overwhelmed that you swear you’ll never go out again (also me).
Going out with a baby does get easier.