Having a Newborn in the Winter: Tips for Taking Baby Out
(I’ve decided to flood this article with newborn pictures, just to make sure I pull on your heart a bit.)
You can learn a lot about someone’s parenting by asking them when they first went out in public with their newborn. You will hear everything from waiting 8 weeks to just hours after delivery. There truly is no right or wrong answer; however, know that taking a baby out in public is very different from taking a baby outside. Fresh air and Vitamin D are necessary, so don’t bottle yourself up in the house without seeing daylight!
Tips For Taking Baby Out This Winter
Dress Appropriately: It is WINTER.
Your baby will need more than a onesie on, but less than you’d think, especially with babywearing. Car seat safety includes never putting a winter coat on a baby while in the seat. Instead, use a blanket over the baby once she is buckled in properly.
You can also use a blanket in a wrap or carrier while the baby is on you to ensure she is warm enough.
Breastfeeding provides all the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs to grow and stay healthy. Breastmilk is also like magic. It creates new antibodies for whatever environment you are currently in. (How cool is that?) Baby’s immune system takes 6-8 weeks after birth to fully develop, so breastmilk is important!
Breastfeeding in public can be a challenge for a new mom. Do not worry about strangers, worry about your baby. I recommend sitting in front of a mirror at home and practicing your nursing position, shirt lift technique, etc. It will boost your confidence!
NO ONE should be touching your newborn without your consent. A brand new baby needs no one but mama. Carrying around the absurdly heavy car seat is bad for your back, potentially harmful to baby (NEVER set it on top of a shopping cart!), and a bold invitation for strangers to approach you. My absolute favorite carrier for the newborn stage is a ring sling. You want your baby to be high on your chest and within kissing distance from you. YouTube has wonderful tutorials for teaching you how to properly babywear and feel confident about it!
Boost your Immune System Naturally
(Read specific immune-boosting ideas Here ) Make sure you are eating well and taking extra supplements through the winter (Vitamin D, etc).
Don’t over do it, especially if you are still bleeding after labor. Once you have healed, you may be feeling great, but know that the cold weather can be exhausting. Keep your errands and trips out of the house at a comfortable length and always err on the side of 'shorter is better.'
Be Prepared to Leave
Crap happens. Typically it happens when you are in public. So does spit up, very loud crying, clothing malfunctions, and all the emotional needs (for mama and baby). There is no shame in leaving after only 5 minutes.
Tend to Baby
Do not ignore your crying newborn. Listen for her cues. Hold her close the entire time. Take time to site and nurse her, change her diaper, or just love on her.
Don’t Go Alone
Your first few trips out should not be solo in the cold. Have your partner or a friend ride with you.
Know your Location
Well-ventilated areas will be your best bet to bring baby. Stores, malls, or other venues are a breeding ground for airborne illnesses, as fresh air is not well circulated. I know that it’s winter, and outside activities are hard to come by in most parts of the country, but if the day is nice, bundle up and meet friends outside. If you are dying to get out of your house and the weather is not cooperating, just limit your trip and nurse baby whenever possible.
Know your Baby
If you have a preemie and are already stressed, it’s definitely worth waiting a bit before going out. That being said, please keep boosting your immune system and breastfeed like crazy. Invest in a great ring sling (or other newborn carrier) and go out when you are ready!
Listen to Your Gut
Don’t go into public if you are not comfortable. Wait a few months until baby has created her own schedule and you are comfortable with nursing. You do what you feel comfortable with.