When a new baby arrives it’s great to be able to stay at home and bond with your new bundle of joy while friends and family visit. But there comes a time when you’ll want to start getting out and about with your baby and, whether you’re a first-time mum or not, this is easier said than done. After a chance meeting with a mum who was pregnant with her second child, I decided to put together a few handy tips on leaving the house with a baby without the stress…
Inspiration for All Abroad Baby’s parenting posts comes from all avenues – conversations at playgroup, books and articles I’ve read and things that are happening in friends’ families or within my own family. Sometimes it’s a random chat with a fellow mum at the park, who I’ve never met before, that sparks my interest. That’s how this week’s parenting post came about.
Last week I was at a playground with Little All Abroad J and A and a mum seated next to me began smiling away at my baby girl, who responded in that adorable six months old, leaning towards her, smiling, squealing, eyes all sparkling kind of way. In between counting to 10 for her five-year-old son, who hadn’t found anyone to play hide-and-seek with, she asked me, in a curious yet concerned tone: “How long does it take to get out and about with them again?” Looking around me, I wasn’t quite sure who ‘them’ was. “With who?”, I enquired, confused. “With a baby,” she confirmed. Oh, I see! From her ooh-ing and ahh-ing over my bub I’d assumed she was clucky for another, but the worry in her voice told me she wasn’t quite sure if she was up for enduring the newborn stage again. I’d found it quite isolating, both times round, which I wrote about in this post.
Continuing our conversation, she revealed: “I’m 24 weeks pregnant and I can’t remember what it’s like to have a baby. It’s about five or six months before you start to get out again, isn’t it?”. My eyes darted straight to her belly. How could I have not noticed she was nearing the end of her second trimester? It’s winter here in Sydney and she was wearing a loose-fitting black windbreaker zipped up at the front that hid her beautiful second-trimester bump. I realised that she wasn’t just making polite chit-chat and the apprehension in her voice caught me offguard. She genuinely wanted to know if she needed to prepare herself for hibernation and her eyes begged me to tell her the truth.
Should I tell her about the number of days I’d planned to go out, but resorted to staying at home because it all seemed too hard? No, wrong place, wrong time. Instead, I replied: “I found it much easier to get out and about with my second, but I think that’s simply because we’re all so unsure with our first.” She agreed, smiling and looking more at ease, then revealed that she didn’t get to the supermarket until a month after her son was born, that her husband did all the food shopping on his way home from work. We were the same, for a lot longer than a month! “I just don’t know if I can go through all that again, you know?” she said. This got me thinking: not only are some AAB readers first-time mums-to-be who might appreciate a few tips on how to make life a little easier when getting out and about with a baby, some of you are having your second or third babies and may have forgotten what you did with your first. So here are a few helpful ideas I’ve picked up along the way. Please feel free to add your own tips by commenting below – the more the merrier!
Tips for getting out and about without too much stress:
• Have your baby bag packed ready to go at all times: when you come home after using the contents of your baby bag, restock it with nappies, wipes, sterilised dummies, wraps, fresh burp cloths etc. This will make getting out of the house easier as all you’ll need to do is grab your bag, knowing it has everything in it. Let your partner in on this so that they can restock it after they’ve been out with baby.
• Buy or borrow a rocker that fits through your bathroom door: if there’s one item all new mums need it’s a rocker. If you wake up and feel the need to get out of the house, but you didn’t manage to squeeze in time for a shower while bub was asleep, a rocker is your saviour! Carry the rocker through to the bathroom, pop bub in it and jump under the shower. When bub thinks you’ve disappeared and gets upset, just open the shower door and play peek-a-boo! Don’t forget, you won’t want a huge rocker – it needs to fit through your bathroom door!
• If you’ve invested in a baby carrier or sling, give bub (and you) some practice with it at home, as soon as you can after they’re born so that they get used to it. We panicked as soon as first born started to cry when we put him in his Ergobaby, so we took him out. By the time we put him in it again a few months later he wasn’t having a bar of it! With our second we put her in the same Ergobaby – she wasn’t overly happy about it at first, but we walked her around in it straight away and she liked the rocking motion. We did this every day for about the first month and we now have a six-month-old baby who loves her hand-me-down Ergo.
• If you want to go on a holiday stay somewhere close to everything you want to do and see. This will reduce the number of times you have to get in and out of the car each day, which isn’t fun with a young baby who likes to sleep a lot! Your holiday will be much more enjoyable if you can walk to where you need to go, or ride bikes. Ride bikes? With a baby who’s not even sitting yet? Am I serious? Yep! We recently spent a weekend at the zoo (literally, we stayed overnight at the zoo). We hired bikes and spent the day riding around – All Abroad J was with me in a toddler seat and All Abroad A was wrapped and lying down in a caboose. She even fell asleep for a good two hours! Many bike hire places have bikes with a caboose attached. Here’s us on our bike trip around the zoo…
• Keep a book or some magazines in your car: if bub falls asleep while you’re driving and you’d rather leave them be when you pull up, not only will you have a happier baby whose sleep wasn’t interrupted, you’ll get some quiet time reading (a rarity for new mums), even though it will be in the driver’s seat of your car!
• If you need to drive a lot, it might be a good idea to invest in a baby car capsule that clips into your pram – this will allow you to transfer bub from the car to the pram without waking them (hopefully!).
If you have any more tips to share with other mums please do! You can leave your comments below…