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  Newborn - Early outings with baby
My baby is 4 weeks old and I am still scared of going out with her. I am scared I will forget something vital, or something will go wrong and I won’t know what to do. So it seems easier to stay at home most of the time, and have friends do my shopping and errands for me. Will I ever have the courage to venture out again?

A four week old baby is a very new baby, and both of you are still learning to know each other. Remember that your grandmother probably had support from a midwife for weeks and even months after the birth of a child. Modern mothers are not given as much support, and are expected to fulfill the ‘superwoman‘ role. In fact there is no reason to rush this period, and taking things slowly is the perfect way to gain confidence in your mothering skills.

You are extremely lucky that your friend are prepared to support you so well, and well done for being clever enough to accept the help that they are offering.

However, you do need to slowly start to gain enough confidence to get out of the house with baby. A good idea is to start with a short stroll around the block, and gradually extend the time until you have the courage to go on a proper outing. Check the weather before you embark on your stroll, and choose a time when baby is cheerful and alert. Perhaps just after a nap? You will probably enjoy getting out of the house more than you expect, and baby will benefit from the fresh air and change of scenery. Even ten minutes on the first day is a perfectly respectable stroll.

This might also be a good time to start practicing using a baby carrier. It can take quite a while to get the baby into the carrier and strapped onto you the first time you use it, but you will soon be a dab hand at it with a bit of practice. Very small babies should be carried in front carriers, and you can sit on the bed and chat to the baby while you try and master the skills, try and make it light hearted and easy, and be patient with yourself. It is possible that you won’t even manage on the first attempt – and guess what – your baby won’t even know the difference, just that you had some fun together on the bed!

A proper outing requires a bit more planning. If you carry a well stocked baby bag, then you can be sure to be prepared for most eventualities. It is not a bad idea to routinely keep a bag stocked so that the preparation for an outing is reduced. (Sometimes the preparation can take so long you start to wonder if you will ever actually get out of the door – and having the bag prestocked can reduce this frustration!)

A well stocked bag would typically contain:
• Enough equipment for 2-3 nappy changes (for cloth nappies this would include spare pin and plastic pants) Don’t forget a small container of wipes.
• Container for dirty nappies, preferably sealable (such as a ziplock bag)
• Baby wipes and a small container of the cream you use on baby’s bottom
• A complete spare set of clothes, and a warm jacket if the weather is cold
• Warm hat or sun hat depending on weather
• A set of light toys such as sets of plastic keys. Special outing toys can add to the sense of occasion
• And also for your own sake, make sure you have supplies for your own needs, like a bottle of water and perhaps a snack. An extra set of pads for your bra can be a life saver!

Once you are brave enough to go out for a while you need to plan for feeding times. Breast fed babies pose less of a problem, and you may need to take a cloth to use for privacy while feeding. For bottle fed babies, you should take a clean bottle with the formula pre-measured. Take the cooled boiled water in a separate container. NEVER be tempted to do the mixing before you leave home – you run the risk of germs growing in the formula and making your baby ill.

Once baby is eating solids you need to take all the equipment for that – spoon, container and bib.

Going on outings requires careful planning and preparation. That’s the truth of it unfortunately. Small details like a tape or CD of fun music can make all the difference and change the trip from a struggle into a fun event. As with toys, perhaps consider keeping some music CD’s which are only used in the car. Having a timetable for bus or train journeys, or checking the map before a car journey, are vital parts of planning for a trip. Everything is a little more difficult and slower when you have baby to consider, so try to pre-empt problems for your own sake.

See also:

Newborn - Appearance

Newborn - Bloodshot eyes

Newborn - Circumcision

Newborn - Colour of eyes

Newborn - Confusing day and night

Newborn - Going home from hospital

Newborn - Handling

Newborn - Jaundice

Newborn - Cradle Cap

Newborn - Heat Rash

Newborn - Red Rash On Upper Body

Newborn - Spots

Newborn - Reflexes

Newborn - Sticky eyes

Newborn - Swaddling

Newborn - Timing of feeds

Newborn - Vernix

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