As a new parent, it can be pretty overwhelming to think about leaving the house with your newborn for the first time. Rest assured, by doing a little extra preparation and following some helpful tips, you’ll be able to get out with your little baby with confidence. This article provides practical advice on how to leave the house with a newborn including tips for getting ready, what to pack, and how to ensure a successful outing with your new arrival.
Finally leaving the house with a newborn can be both exciting and stressful for new parents.
Whether you’re heading to a doctor’s appointment, visiting with a friend or just going for a walk around the neighbourhood, taking your newborn outside for the first time requires some careful planning and preparation.
From making sure you remember the essentials to choosing the best time to go, there are many things to consider when venturing out with your little one.
Practical Tips to Help You Leave the House With a Newborn
- Plan your outing in advance
- Start with places that are easy/close to home
- Keep the first few outings short until you build confidence
- Plan your route, destination and baby’s mode of transportation (stroller, carrier, or car) in advance
- Pack a diaper bag beforehand with your and your newborn’s essentials (full list below)
- Bring extra diapers, wipes, and baby clothes in case of unexpected situations (think spit-up or blow out)
- Dress your baby according to the weather and your destination
- Leave the house right after you feed and change your baby so that they’re as content as possible
- Be flexible with your plans and remember not to be too hard on yourself if things don’t go completely as planned the first few times. It will get easier with practice!
Don’t worry, I’ll go into more detail for each of these tips!
Plan your outing in advance
Take the time to plan where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Make sure you test any new baby gear, such as a car seat or stroller, so that you know how to use it before leaving the house.
By planning these details before going out, you’ll know what kind of things you’ll need to prepare and you’ll feel more organized when trying to get ready with a newborn.
Start with places that are easy/close to home
Start with simple outings without the need for elaborate plans or busy events. It’s best to prioritize a stress-free experience for your first few trips, even if it means choosing destinations that are relatively close to home.
Going out to a restaurant with your newborn or trying on new clothes in your favourite stores may be a bit much in the beginning.
Eliminate any extra pressure for yourself when going out with your newborn. You’ve already got enough on your mind when preparing yourself, your baby, and all the necessary gear so be sure to plan for an easy place to go until you’ve really got the hang of things.
Keep the first few outings short until you build confidence
Defining a successful outing with your baby doesn’t require spending the entire afternoon outside.
Get out for an hour or however long you feel comfortable with at first. As your confidence builds so can the length of time you spend outside with your newborn.
Plan your route, destination and baby’s mode of transportation (stroller, carrier, or car) in advance
Do you know the route? Do you need to go by car?
Think about the easiest way to get to your destination and the best way to transport your baby.
Strollers are usually more convenient for long walks or places where you’ll need to carry a lot of additional items, such as grocery shopping.
Carriers can be useful when you want to keep the baby close to you, such as in crowded areas or if you have to go up/down stairs.
However, if you opt for using a carrier, it’s important to note that you’ll also need to carry the diaper bag and any other items yourself. While we won’t get into the pros and cons of strollers, it’s worth mentioning that they are quite practical when you have to transport both the baby and an additional load.
We’ll go more in-depth on stroller vs. carrier further along in the article.
Pack a diaper bag beforehand with your and your newborn’s essentials (full list below)
The diaper bag is a very important step when taking a newborn out. It helps keep you organized, prepared, and ready to meet your baby’s needs wherever you go.
Make sure you pack all of your baby’s essentials. This will include things like diapers, wipes, a changing pad, extra clothes, a blanket, burp cloths, and bottles/formula if you’re formula feeding.
Don’t forget to pack supplies for yourself as well, such as water and a snack.
Keep scrolling to find the full list of diaper bag items to pack!
Bring extra diapers, wipes, and baby clothes in case of unexpected situations (think spit-up or blow out)
The basics are handy but you want to prepare for unexpected situations as well. Babies are unpredictable and spit-up, blow outs, and who knows what other messes, can happen at any moment without warning.
Always pack extra supplies just in case you’re stuck cleaning up a bigger mess than you originally planned for.
You may want to tuck a spare shirt in the diaper bag for yourself as well.
Dress your baby according to the weather and your destination
Dress your infant for the weather. You want them to be comfortable and safe throughout the entire outing.
Layers are best for colder seasons or in cooler environments. Opt for lighter and breathable clothing in warmer weather.
Take into consideration what you’ll be doing while you’re out as well.
If you’re going to a medical checkup for your little one, choose items that are easy to put on and take off. Clothing with snaps, zippers, or wide neck openings can simplify dressing your baby.
If they’ll be in a car seat, dress them in breathable clothes and choose non-irritating fabrics.
Consider the fit as well, ensuring that clothes are neither too tight nor too loose for your newborn.
Leave the house right after you feed and change your baby so that they’re as content as possible
Think about your baby’s routine when planning your outing
While newborns typically don’t follow a rigid schedule, aim to leave at a time that will make things easier on you.
Usually, the best time to leave is just after feeding and changing your infant. Chances are that they’ll want to nap after that which is a perfect time to head out of the house.
A fed, changed and rested little one means more chance of a content baby while out and about.
Feeding in public or on the go can be a bit tricky until you get the hang of it. To ensure a smoother outing, feed your baby before you depart until you feel ready to manage feedings in different settings.
Be flexible with your plans and remember not to be too hard on yourself if things don’t go completely as planned the first few times. It will get easier with time and practice!
There are plenty of places around your house to keep your newborn entertained and stimulated until you feel ready to go on outings with them.
Why is it so hard to leave the house with a newborn?
You’re not alone! Many first-time moms feel that it’s hard to leave the house with their newborn, experiencing a sense of overwhelm when it comes to planning outings during the initial days/weeks/months.
There’s so much to remember to bring, timing needs to be ideal, the baby is unpredictable and you’re silently terrified that you’ll be out in public somewhere with a screaming infant.
Yes, it can feel daunting and challenging in the beginning but with some practice, it’ll get easier and feel more natural each time. I promise!
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If feels like too much to handle then ask for support or wait until you’re ready.
When you are ready, start small and easy, such as a short walk around the neighbourhood. The next time perhaps you’ll venture out to a coffee shop to meet a friend. When you’ve got that down pat, go out for some groceries or to buy yourself something new.
After the first few of months, you’ll be running errands like a pro with a happy baby in tow.
And don’t worry about your baby crying in public. It’s a pretty natural way for them to communicate and people should be understanding and respectful of that.
Try your best to not compare your journey into motherhood with anyone else’s. They’re all unique.
Some new moms may feel excited to take their newborn out right away but it’s also normal to not want to leave the house with your newborn until you feel ready physically and mentally.
What should I pack in my diaper bag when leaving the house with my newborn?
Packing a diaper bag, in the beginning, takes a bit of extra planning on your part as you want to try to remember everything you and the baby will need while out and about. Write a list so that you don’t have to try to remember every item each time you head out.
Here is a list of baby essentials to pack in a diaper bag for a newborn:
- Diapers (pack enough for the length of time you’ll be out then pack some extras in case of any accidents)
- Wipes (useful to clean your baby plus any other messes)
- Diaper rash cream (some babies will need this more than others)
- Changing pad
- Extra clothes for baby and maybe an extra shirt for you
- Swaddle or receiving blanket (useful as a swaddle, a light blanket, a nursing cover, a burp cloth, to create shade for the baby, and even block wind)
- Nursing cover (if you want for breastfeeding)
- Bottles/formula and thermos with hot water to heat the bottle (if you’re formula feeding)
- Burp cloths
- Pacifiers (if your baby uses them)
- Hand sanitizer (always good to have clean hands around a newborn)
- Snacks and water (especially important for breastfeeding moms to stay nourished and hydrated)
- Extra bags (good for dirty diapers or soiled clothes)
How do I choose a baby carrier or stroller when going out with my baby?
Choosing between a baby carrier and a stroller can depend on a few factors, including your own preferences, your destination, and your baby’s needs.
Here are a few things you may want to consider when deciding between a carrier or stroller for your outing:
Age/size of your baby
A newborn may be perfectly comfortable in a carrier and you’re probably quite content to carry their tiny body snug against yours. As your baby gets bigger and heavier, you may find yourself reaching for the stroller more in an attempt to save your back on longer outings.
Type of outing
If you’re going into cramped areas, such as a cafe, or walking along uneven terrain, a carrier may be a better option. If you’re planning a longer outing or need to pick up a few items along the way, a stroller would likely be the better choice.
Your physical ability
If you’re still in your postpartum recovery journey or have any other physical limitations, a stroller may be a better option for you until you feel strong enough to carry your baby for longer periods of time. If you need to have free hands or prefer to keep your baby close, a carrier would be more convenient.
Your baby’s mood
Some babies want to be held close to their mom (or dad) while others are completely content in the stroller. As you get to know your baby, you’ll get an idea of what mode of transportation will work best for each outing.
Ultimately, the choice between a carrier or stroller comes down to your and your baby’s preferences and what works best for each situation. Another option is heading out with both a stroller and carrier so that you can switch up how your take your baby from place to place.
How do I keep my newborn comfortable during outings?
Keep your newborn comfortable when going out by making sure they are always fed, rested, clean and dressed appropriately for the temperature of their environment. Pay attention to their cues so that you know when they are feeling hungry, tired or uncomfortable.
Making sure your infant is content will make the outing more enjoyable for both yourself and the baby. By dressing them appropriately and keeping an eye on their sleeping and feeding schedules, you can encourage an easier outing for everyone.
Keep in mind that bright lights, loud sounds and even strong odors may make your baby start to fuss or need more comfort.
If your baby uses one, you could try soothing them with a pacifier if they become fussy while out and about.
What should I do if my newborn cries or fusses during an outing?
Crying and fussing are normal for newborns as it’s their way of communicating their needs.
Always check that their basic needs are met first. Are they fed? Rested? Clean diaper? Comfortable temperature?
After you’ve checked all of those, you can try to settle your little one.
Sometimes it’s as easy as rocking them or bouncing them to soothe their fussing.
Another good option is to get up and walk around. This will often be enough to make them content again.
If they are still crying, try talking or singing to them gently. Your voice can be very comforting to them, especially in a new environment.
A pacifier can also help calm them and help them feel secure.
If you feel yourself getting anxious or embarrassed by your baby screaming in public, simply move yourself and your baby to a different spot until everyone has settled. Try to remember that your infant is simply communicating their needs and others should be understanding of your situation.
Every baby is different so you may need to practice and try different techniques to see what will work for your baby. Be patient until you get the hang of calming your fussing baby in public.
How can I manage my own stress about leaving the house with my newborn?
It’s common for new parents to feel a bit anxious when leaving the house with their newborn in the beginning, but there are a number of tips you can try to help you feel ready and confident.
Be prepared in advance
The more prepared you are prior to the outing, the less you’ll have on your mind when it comes time to head out.
Make a list of everything you need to bring with you and try to pack a diaper bag ahead of time. This can help you feel more organized and in control.
Don’t feel like you need to leave the house for long outings right away. Try just getting outside for short periods of time. Even going down the street or around the block can help build your confidence for a longer outing the next time.
Gradually work your way up to longer trips or busier outings such as running errands or buying groceries.
Give yourself lots of time
Feeling rushed to get out the door will only make you feel more stressed. Give yourself plenty of time so that you feel like you have time to think about everything you need to get ready.
Ask for help
Asking a friend or family member to come along with you can give you extra support and help during the first few outings. Sometimes just having someone to talk to can settle your anxiety.
Try to not dwell too much on what “could” happen during your time with your newborn. Focus on the present moment and try to enjoy the time with your baby.
Get help if needed
If anxiety starts to affect your daily life or your experience as a mother, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They will have the proper tools and strategies to help you manage your anxiety.
Be patient with yourself and take it one step at a time.
Remember that no mom is an expert in the beginning!
Extra Tips to Help You Have a Successful Outing With Your Newborn:
- Give yourself extra time! Feeling rushed will likely make you feel stressed and possibly forget something.
- Wear something over your outfit until you leave so that you don’t get spit-up (or something else) on you
- Bring swaddles for multiple purposes (nursing cover, light blanket, creates shade, and cleans spit up)
- If driving, keep extra necessities in the car as a backup
- If using a stroller, keep a fabric carrier or wrap with you in case the baby won’t settle
- Don’t try to keep your baby awake so they sleep during the outing. Newborns have short awake windows and they’ll get overtired and cranky. A rested baby is a happier baby.
- Bring along a travel sound machine to help soothe your baby
- Pee before you go!
Leaving the house with a newborn can be pretty a daunting experience, but it’s also an important and necessary part of parenting. You’ll find that learning how to leave the house with a newborn often gets easier with practice and experience. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful. Remember to be patient with yourself and your newborn, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it so that you can get out and enjoy your time with your little one!
Related Article: How to Take a Newborn to a Restaurant