New moms are given all sorts of advice about when can you take a newborn out in public for the first time.
Some people will tell you to stay at home for the first week up to a few months, others will recommend getting fresh air from day one.
Of course, here at the Moms At Odds, we disagreed on when we took our own newborns out and about. Jo takes her babies out right away and Rachel hangs at home for a while (and we’ll go into the pros/cons of both sides in this article).
However, we both agree that the right time to take your newborn out is when mom is ready. We all have different comfort levels when it comes to ourselves and our kids.
Also, whether you’re taking baby out on the first day, week, or month, we have tips to help.
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.
Jo says, “Getting Out Is Good for Everyone”
I’m not one who subscribes to the philosophy that mothers and babies have to stay in the home for an extended amount of time.
I believe that all mothers should do what’s best for them and their babies, what makes them feel comfortable. And for me, that was getting out of the house.
With my second child we actually went out to dinner the very night I brought her home from the hospital!
When Can You Take a Newborn Out?
These days most pediatricians agree that as long as your newborn is healthy, leaving the house and getting some fresh air is perfectly safe. Moms with babies who were born prematurely or are concerned about medical conditions should consult their pediatricians for specific advice.
So in most cases, the answer to ‘when can you take a newborn out?’ is as soon as parents and baby are ready. For some that’s immediately, for others they prefer to wait.
Getting out Is Good for Mom
Natural light, fresh air, and exercise all help you de-stress and relax. And a happier mom makes for a happier baby.
Getting out of the house also allows mom to meet and bond with other parents, eat at a restaurant, go shopping, and more! All wonderful things to help you remember that you are a person underneath all that caked-on spit up. It can also reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression.
Benefits of Taking a Newborn Out
Getting out of the house can be good for baby too!
While you should protect your infant from extended direct sunlight, exposing them to a little sunshine provides them with Vitamin D. That’s extremely important for growing bones (which is why your doctor may have told you to give your newborn a supplement).
New colors, lights, smells and noises help your baby’s brain grow and learn. Exposing them to new environments can also decrease the chance of them developing allergies.
Rachel says “Stay Inside for Safety and Comfort”
After both of my babies were born all I wanted to do was take it easy at home with my newborn.
I had 2 winter babies. It was cold, it was flu season, and, honestly, I felt like crap. I’m also a bit of a homebody anyway. Keeping my baby inside was the best option for me.
But, is it the best option for you? Here’s some reasons to stay in:
- The biggest reason moms may decide to keep their newborn inside is fear of germs. No one wants to deal with a sick newborn. Many common illnesses that aren’t a big deal for most of us can be extremely dangerous for newborns. Also determining when your newborn is sick can be much more difficult than for older kids since they obviously can’t tell you and they may not exhibit a fever. A fever in a newborn (over 100.4F for an infant <3 months old) must get immediate medical attention.
- Postpartum healing is no joke and it can take a while to really feel up to getting out of the house or even out of your sweatpants.
- Learning to take care of a newborn can also be overwhelming, especially if you have a very fussy or colicky baby.
- If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, you may be uncomfortable feeding out and about. Trying to get a good latch in a food court chair without a Boppy while wrestling with a cover or deal with an audience is not my idea of fun. It took a long time before I felt somewhat comfortable with breastfeeding and still prefer not to in public which is particularly difficult with a newborn who wants to nurse constantly.
- Newborns can be unpredictable. They rarely stick to a schedule that young, so though they may nap the entire time, they could switch it up and want to a feeding earlier than expected. The only predictable thing about my newborns was that they would always have a blowout diaper at the worst possible times.
- Infants don’t regulate their temperatures well so they can easily get too hot or too cold. Dehydration, heat stroke, and, on the other end of the temperatures, hypothermia, all affect babies more quickly than older children and adults.
- Newborn skin is extremely delicate and can easily get sunburned.
- If your baby has certain medical conditions, your doctor may recommend that you keep them inside.
Everyone loves to see a newborn. Your friends, family, and total strangers will all be dying to get their hands on the adorable, squishy face. Don’t feel pressured to show him off or pass him around before you’re ready.
Hopefully you have a support system so that you don’t have to run out for groceries or errands unless that’s what you want. Not all moms have the option of avoiding the world for a while, so we have some tips for taking baby out below.
Tips for Taking Newborn Outside
Ready to get out and about with your baby? We’ve got the need-to-know essentials.
If you have any specific medical concerns that affect when your baby is ready to leave the house, consult your pediatrician.
Wearing your baby when you go out has several benefits.
It deters many people from touching your little one, at least hopefully strangers won’t be so bold. You are also spared most of the requests to hold the baby.
Babywearing is soothing to baby as well, increasing your chances of a happy, chill baby during the outing.
If its a bit cool out, your body heat will also help baby regulate.
Finally, you get the use of both hands while eating or socializing while still keeping your baby close.
It’s important to note that not all baby carriers are suitable for newborns. Jo and Rachel highly recommend the Moby Wrap for the littlest ones.
(2) Take A Walk
If you’re feeling nervous about leaving the house with your newborn, a short walk is a great outing to ease into it. On a nice day, pop baby in the stroller or carrier and get out there.
A stroll around the neighborhood gets mom and baby some fresh air while avoiding large crowds. You’re also close to home in case baby is unhappy with the trip or has a diaper disaster.
There’s also the added benefit of some light exercise.
(3) Dress for the Weather
This is tricky because over-dressing can be just as concerning as under-dressing your child when you leave the house.
A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby similar to how you are dressing. Bring a blanket just in case they need an extra layer.
(4) Schedule and Pack Accordingly
Most moms find it easiest to pack and prepare everything first (diaper bag, clothing, car seat, etc). After you’re ready, feed your baby and leave immediately afterwards.
If you’ve got your baby on a schedule, you should have a rough idea of their eating times and when they’re in the best mood. For many babies, this is the first thing in the morning and evenings. Avoid known fussy times or when they tend to cluster feed.
(6) Start Small
If you want to be safe, it’s best to avoid enclosed places with large crowds and poor ventilation. Examples would be places like the mall, movie theaters, or museums.
(7) Accept Life
Unfortunately, even when you try to plan and schedule everything correctly your baby may still cry and cause a scene.
Be sure to have realistic expectations – they’re a baby, after all. That way you won’t be disappointed if things don’t go as planned. If they go smoothly, all the more reason to celebrate.
(8) Avoid Sick People
It seems easy enough to simply avoid close contact with anyone that is sick, but it’s not always so straight forward.
You may not know who is sick. Keep in mind that many illnesses are contagious before symptoms show up.
Handwashing is actually quite effective at preventing the spread of many common diseases, so don’t feel like a jerk for insisting on it.
During cold and flu season, you might consider not letting others touch or hold your baby if you’re very concerned.