Taking your cute little newborn for their first outing can be exciting and daunting at the same time. There are so many dos and don’ts that come with that thought—what is the right time to do so, how do you do it, and where should you take them? For any new parent, the question of “When is it safe to take my baby out in public?” is a pressing one.
Doctors may allow you to take your newborn out if they are healthy with no underlying medical condition. Usually, babies who are premature or have an underlying medical condition that could affect their immunity are advised to stay indoors until they are at least two months old.
Taking your baby out in the open in a pollution-free environment is good for your newborn and the parent. However, there are a few rules and tips that you must abide by to ensure your baby’s first outing is enjoyable for you and your little one. Keep reading the post to know about the benefits and risks of taking your baby outside.
How To Protect Your Baby In Different Seasons?
As a parent, it is essential to provide the right protection to your little one based on the season, considering the surroundings.
If you live in a place that experiences a pleasant (not-so-harsh) winter, it could be one of the best seasons to take your newborn out in public. However, in icy places, you need to cover your baby enough in layers to make sure the cold doesn’t get to them. Long-sleeved shirt or T-shirt, pants, sweater, and ear protection are essential when taking them outdoors. On freezing winter days, make your newborn’s outdoor trip brief as they could be prone to hypothermia.
Spring is one of the best seasons to take your newborn out in public as the temperatures are pleasant. However, in some places, spring can be slightly unpredictable when beautiful, bright sunny days can be disturbed by wind chills. It is therefore advised that you check the weather on the day before taking your newborn out.
As peak winters can be harmful to your baby, similarly, hot weather in the summer can be harsh too. If you wish to take your newborn out in the summer season, you must protect them from the excessive heat, sweat, and sunrays. Heading out during early mornings or late evenings is advisable during the summer months as the heat is more bearable, and the weather is relatively pleasant for your baby.
You must use a stroller with a shade so that your baby doesn’t get direct rays of the Sun. Avoid using sunscreen on your baby, as children below six months of age should not be exposed to such products. Use a mesh net for your stroller or bassinet if you wish to take your baby out during the late evenings to protect them from mosquitoes.
As the seasons switch from the summer to the winters, fall is a great time to take your little one outside in the open. The days and nights are pleasant, and the environment looks beautiful with foliage of different colors. No matter what time you take your newborn outside, make sure they are well-protected for the time of the day.
Benefits of Taking A Newborn Outside
It is not always harmful to take your baby outdoors, they can be benefitted too.
1. Gets Vitamin D
One of the essential things your baby gets by going outside is vitamin D, which is vital for their growth and immunity development. However, limit direct sunlight exposure to your newborn. It should be no more than 15 minutes (1).
2. Helps in physical development
From the moment your baby is born until two years of age, they are in the sensorimotor stage. The stage is characterized by growth, development, and learning that are accentuated by sensorimotor experiences that your newborn has. So, taking your newborn outside can boost their physical development as they interact with the world outside—visuals, nature, smells, and the breeze.
3. Lays a foundation for learning
Just as getting outdoors helps in the physical development of newborn babies, it also lays a foundation for learning. The more babies interact with the environment, the more the number of synapses form in their brains, enabling them to learn and develop their mental grasping skills. Outdoors are, therefore, great to boost your newborn baby’s mental growth.
4. Improves sensory responses in their sensorimotor stage
As mentioned earlier, your baby’s sensorimotor stage sets the foundation for the upcoming stages. Exposing your newborn baby to varied stimuli every day can help promote more sensorimotor responses from them, and all of this helps them grow into healthy toddlers. These sensorimotor experiences also help develop language skills in your newborn.
5. Creates healthy sleep patterns
Natural light plays a vital role in our sleeping patterns, and it holds even for newborns. As new parents, you might be struggling to find the perfect sleeping time for your little one. According to a study conducted at the University of Liverpool, getting your baby some outdoor sunlight during the day can ensure they have a sound sleep at night (2).
6. Helps boost immunity and wards-off diseases
Newborn babies do not have full-grown immune systems. However, exposing them to the outdoors can help boost their immunity and allow their bodies to ward off diseases.
Going outside is not only beneficial for the baby but also for mothers as it helps them fight postpartum depression. Getting exposed to fresh air, natural light, and exercise outdoors helps de-stress, relax, and fight negative thoughts (3).
Are There Any Risks Taking Your Baby Out In Public?
If your baby is healthy, there are no risks of taking them out in public. However, you must avoid taking your newborn in crowded places as it increases the risk of coming in contact with someone sick. It may also increase their anxiety as they are not used to crowds, and it could make it difficult for you to manage your newborn.
Tips For Taking Your Newborn Out Of The House
Keep these points in mind before taking your baby out in public.
Make them wear proper clothing
Before you take your baby outdoors, make sure they are appropriately dressed for the climate and time of the day (4).
Your baby’s first outing must always be short and brief. Start small and then increase the frequency and lengths of your newborn’s outdoor trips. It gives you and your baby time to adjust to the outdoors together. Also, it gives your baby enough practice to get used to longer trips in the future.
Take necessary baby supplies
Short outdoor exposures do not require you to carry baby supplies. But for slightly more extended outings, you would need a few baby supplies to make sure your baby is comfortable, and so are you. Your baby bag should have changing supplies, including diapers, tissues, water bottles, breastfeeding cover, and baby milk or formula (if your baby is used to formula feeding).
Stay away from crowded areas
Your newborn is new to this world. While they are still adjusting, you may want to take them to not-so-crowded places. Apart from the fear of germs, crowded places can make your baby anxious and also cranky. It is best to stay away from overcrowded places until your baby is used to being outdoors.
Ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date
Whenever you intend to take your newborn outdoors, make sure their vaccinations are up to date (4).
Avoid contact with sick people
Most new parents are often worried about infections and germs around their newborn. Since newborns’ are still developing their immunity, it is advised to avoid contact with sick people and keep your baby away (5).
When you get back home after a successful outing, you must first wash your own hands and then your newborn’s hands gently as they may have touched anything, or someone has touched them. It is also a good idea to bathe your baby after coming from short trips outdoors. It ensures your baby is free from germs.
If you have a newborn who you wish to take outdoors, do so safely only when you are ready and believe your baby is, too. There is no specific time after which you can take your baby outdoors, contrary to popular belief. However, it is essential to make the outdoor trips brief initially and increase their duration gradually. The fear is sure to have risen due to Covid-19, and it is okay to refuse visitors if you feel they are unwell. With the right measures and extra precautions, your baby’s first outing can be exciting and a pleasant one.
2. Y. Harrison; The relationship between daytime exposure to light and night-time sleep in 6-12-week-old infants, School of Psychology, Liverpool UK (2004)
3. V. Gladwel et al.; The great outdoors: How a green exercise environment can benefit all, BioMed Central (2013)
4. When can I take my newborn out in public; John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
5. R. C Gupta, When can I take my newborn out in public?, Kids Health from Nemours