Life with a baby can make you feel a little stir crazy, especially if you’ve been keeping yourself indoors. Fortunately, fresh air and a change of scenery will make you both feel better. As long as your pediatrician has given the green light, feel free to take baby outside when you feel the most comfortable. It may seem a little daunting at first, but here are some easy guidelines to make sure this big milestone is positive for you both.
If your baby is 0-6 months old:
Keep their immune system in mind
Baby’s immune system is fragile and will take several weeks to fully develop. Because of this, you’re better off taking a walk around the neighborhood or hanging out in the backyard. It’s best to avoid traveling to crowded, poor ventilated areas (like a mall) until baby is at least 6 weeks old, according to Parents. Environments like this make it easier for baby to be exposed to airborne germs which can be hard for his or her body to fight. Whether you’re indoors or outside, make sure everyone sanitizes their hands before touching baby!
Start small (but plan wisely!)
There’s no reason to make baby’s first outdoor excursion an all day affair. We recommend starting small, like a 30 minute walk around the block. Baby is still learning so much about the world around him or her, so try small doses of fresh air to see how they react. Many parents believe the best time to take baby out is after a feeding session or right before a nap so they can be the most content (or sleepy) when you take the trip outside. It’s best to avoid the outdoors when the sun is the strongest.
Don't forget the carrier or cover
Grass may seem like a harmless place to set baby down, but you run the risk of encountering urine, feces, or pesticides. If your baby is a little older, they may try to eat the grass (and who knows which animal may have paid a visit recently). Don’t forget a blanket or cover to place under baby. If you don’t want to place baby down, putting them in a carrier is an excellent option.
It’s better to overpack when heading outside. Here’s an easy checklist to make sure you’re covered:
- Extra diapers
- Extra blanket
- Nursing cover or bottle feeding necessities
- Umbrella (for both rain and to keep baby out of the sun)
- Carrier (if not bringing a stroller)
- Water bottle for you
- Sun hat
- Sunscreen (if baby is over 6 months)
- A change of clothes
- Burp cloth
- Changing pad
- Diaper wipes
- Diaper rash ointment
- Snacks for you
- Hand sanitizer
- Throwaway bag to put dirty diapers in
- Cell phone (to take photos for your Tinybeans album, of course)
- Toys and pacifier
For all babies under 12 months old:
No matter the season, make sure baby is dressed properly. The general rule of thumb is to dress baby in the same number of layers that you’d wear for the weather PLUS one more layer. You can check their hand temperature to see if they are feeling a little warm or cold.
Prepare for the elements
If the weather is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to stay indoors. However, if the temps are in your favor, you can still bring baby out in winter as long as they are bundled up enough. We love the 7 A.M. Enfant Footmuff because it will keep baby warm even against the winter winds.
Layering is key for the fall! When it’s usually chilly in the mornings and breaks to warmer temps in the afternoon, you’ll want to be prepared for it all. Listen to your baby and if they seem too cold or warm, bring them indoors and try again a different day.
Watch out for bugs and bees as baby can have an allergic reaction if stung. It’s best to avoid camping out next to a floral bush or garden. Since spring weather can change in an instant, make sure you don’t forget the umbrella and blanket.
During the summer months, the sun will be one of your biggest concerns. If your baby is under 6 months, you’ll want to keep him or her out of the sun completely. This means making sure your stroller’s shade is ready and baby has a sun hat. You can read all of our sun safety tips here. Remember, when the thermostat reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to go indoors. We recommend getting a mesh cover for your stroller to fight against pesky bugs and mosquitos.
Clean baby when you get home
When you arrive home, make sure to wash baby’s hands, especially if anyone else came into contact with him or her. Some parents find giving baby a bath is a nice, relaxing way to wash off any unwanted germs.