Are You Ready to Take Your Baby Outside?
March 1, 2017
Deciding when to take your baby outside for the first time can be an intimidating choice, contingent on several factors. The climate, season and overall health of your child should all be taken into account. But honestly, there’s not one “correct” answer. Your personal preference and lifestyle will impact your decision. That being said, there are a few things you should consider before taking your baby outside.
Try to follow the 6-8 weeks rule
While there might not be a rigid rule for when it’s appropriate to take your child outside, most pediatricians will recommend waiting 6-8 weeks rule to introduce your child to densely populated public areas, because your baby’s immune system is still developing. Small outings like walks are generally fine, because they can expose your child to fresh air, provided that your child is adequately dressed for and protected from the weather. If your child was premature, your doctor might recommend extending this timeline to at least three months, especially if your child’s immune system or lungs are compromised.
If you must go out, shield baby from any unnecessary contact/germs
Let’s be honest, most parents do not have the luxury of avoiding all public areas for a couple of months. Whether it’s because you have older kids who have places to be, or have to take your baby to the doctor, it’s important to safeguard your baby as much as possible. To avoid unwanted contact from strangers (or overeager friends/acquaintances), keep your child in her infant seat with a breathable cover, or in a baby wrap. You can also get hand covers for your baby, or buy onesies that have fold-over sleeves, so that baby’s hands stay clean.
Exclusively breastfeeding provides your child with factors that will enhance her immune system. If a mom and her baby are together, she will create antibodies against any diseases the two of them encounter. While breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, it will provide an extra layer of protection for baby, especially when you’re in public areas and/or large crowds.
When you do decide to go out, exercise caution by making sure that those who handle your baby have washed their hands with soap and water. It’s also not a bad idea to make sure that those handling your child have had their flu shots/vaccinations. Don’t feel bad avoiding people who are sick or are recovering from being sick. And don’t be afraid to decline people’s offers to hold your baby if it makes you uncomfortable.
Trust your instincts
At the end of the day, you will know when you’re ready to take your baby outside. Listen to your healthcare provider’s counsel and employ common sense. And don’t forget to trust your parental instincts. You know your baby better than anyone else!
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