I recently had a discussion with a mom-to-be regarding taking the baby out after he or she is born. The question arose, when is it too soon to take the baby out? One week? One month?
I did some research and found answers that were based more on common sense than strict protocol.
If you deliver in a hospital, your baby’s first trip “out” will be when he or she is brought home. So inevitably, all babies will have been “out” within the first few days of life. It’s easy, especially as a first time parent, to want to show your baby off to everyone. However, that’s not best for your baby. It is especially important to protect babies from germs in the first few months of life, when their immune systems are especially delicate. Visiting everyone you know, or having them come over may seem like a good idea at the time, but it can ultimately lead to your baby getting sick.
If you do allow visitors, make sure they wash their hands thoroughly before holding the baby. And don’t allow people who are sick to visit. This can be hard sometimes, but trust me, taking care of a sick newborn is harder.
Likewise, taking your baby to enclosed public places within the first few weeks of life is not recommended. The baby’s immune system is still developing, which means the risk of your baby getting sick due to coughs or sneezes increases dramatically.
Taking your baby to enclosed, noisy places such as shopping malls can also lead to over stimulation. Think about it: a new baby has been warm and safe inside his or her mother for nine months. A trip to the mall, with the noises, the lights, and the movement, would be as exhausting as a day at Disney World for a new baby. Over stimulation can have physical effects on your baby, such as poor eating habits, poor sleeping habits, and even inconsolable crying. It’s best to save these outings for the future when both you and baby are more ready. If you must go to enclosed places, it’s best to limit your time out to 30 minutes or less.
It is also important for a new mother to rest after having a baby. Her body has gone through a lot, and she’s recovering, whether she had a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section. Reducing activities that cause exertion is recommended for the first six weeks after delivery. This can be hard, especially when a new mother feels what I call the “after birth high,” during which she feels like she can conquer the world. Remember—you won’t get this time back. Let others help you when possible and take the time to get to know your baby.
If you’re going crazy being cooped up, by all means, take the baby for a walk. Remember that newborns shouldn’t be in direct sunlight, so if you live in a hot state, consider saving your outings for early in the morning or evening when the sun’s rays aren’t so hot. Fresh air won’t hurt your baby; in fact, it’s good for both of you. Consider these types of outings rather than ones involving enclosed spaces