The first months of being a new parent are a wild roller-coaster ride. You’re a walking zombie who needs sleep but can’t help but stare at your perfect little one as she sleeps. You worry about every little noise and movement but also find everything your baby does adorable and photo-worthy. Whether nursing or bottle feeding, you feel like all you do is feed, and then change diapers. You need to get out of the house, but you’re too tired and worried about how your baby will do. Plus, all those people and germs; no thank you, we’ll stay home.
See, rollercoaster ride. But just like riding the newest roller coaster at an amusement park, this parenting season is short but worth every second. And while you’re still trying to figure this whole parenting and new schedule thing out, you can’t do it at home forever. You have to leave the house—and it’s not as scary or hard as it seems, even if doing it by yourself. Sure, screaming meltdowns and car seat blowouts will happen. But when you know the parenting hacks for leaving the house with a baby, you’ll be confident and equipped to easily get out the door and do whatever you need to do.
11 Tips for Leaving the House With a Baby
Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to make leaving the house with a baby much easier on you.
- Get the diaper bag ready the night before. Having everything you’ll need in the diaper bag the night before is one less thing you have to do the day of, so maybe you can actually do your hair and put on some mascara before going out. This is especially important if you have to be somewhere on time early the next morning.
- Double check your diaper bag. Always check that the essentials are in your diaper bag before leaving. You don’t want to have to wrap your newborn in your T-shirt because you thought you had two diapers but only had one and he peed on that one while you were changing his diaper.
- Bring extras. Speaking of everything you need, always bring extras—extra diapers, wipes, outfits, plastic bags, toy, pacifier, etc.
- Pack a snack for yourself. Having your favorite granola or candy bar to nibble on will help if you’re feeling anxious about being out or if you’re breastfeeding and get hungry.
- Give yourself extra time before you need to leave. Something always happens to stall you, like your baby spitting up all over her outfit once she’s in the car seat. Start getting things ready 15 or 30 minutes before you actually need to leave so you’ll make it out the door on time. You’ll learn after a few times how much time you need to plan for.
- Wear your bathrobe over your outfit until you’re ready to walk out the door. This way, your baby won’t spit up, poop or pee all over your clothes, and you won’t have to spend more time changing his clothes and yours.
- Start with short trips close to home. Especially if you’re just starting out, learn what you and your baby can handle. When you’re out for more than an hour or two, you’ll be doing lots of feeding and diaper changes and possibly messing up sleep schedules.
- Go somewhere small or somewhere when it’s not busy. Don’t risk having a sleep-deprived mommy breakdown because you thought at 3 weeks old you could handle taking your baby to Walmart at 5 p.m. for groceries and diapers. Crowds and long lines are stressful on you and her.
- Get the essentials first. Babies are unpredictable. If for some reason you’re only able to be at the store for 10 minutes, at least you got the milk, eggs and bread on your list.
- Leave right after you’ve fed and changed his diaper. Your baby boy will be more content to be out and about or nap when his belly is full and his diaper is dry.
- Babies cry. Your baby will cry. Whether it’s for 10 seconds or 10 minutes that seem like an hour, he’ll cry—and it’s OK and normal. People know babies cry. Don’t worry about offending anyone. Most people won’t bat an eye because they’re parents, too. Plus, it’s your baby. You’ll know what to do when he starts crying.
Products for Being Out and About With a Baby
Besides these above tips for leaving the house with a baby, here are some products that help make leaving your house a breeze.
Diaper bags aren’t for every mom or every outing. When you just want to use a bag you already have and love, you can with this organizer. Offered in different colors and sizes (regular with 11 pockets and mini with 6 pockets), you can turn any purse into one that’s baby-friendly and has plenty of room to systematically hold everything you and baby need.
Your newborn may only weigh 7 pounds, but you won’t last 7 minutes trying to carry him in his car seat plus the diaper bag from the parking lot to the doctor’s office and back again. That’s just one reason why parents invest in a stroller. There are numerous brands and styles of strollers for babies, but I can say with confidence that the Ergobaby 180 Reversible Stroller was designed to make things easy for parents. It’s lightweight, folds with one hand and has lots of storage space. Plus, it has a reversible handlebar so you can easily switch the direction your baby’s facing.
There are 3 reasons to get a good baby carrier:
- Keeps your hands free. Most babies just like being held. With a carrier, you can hold her and still keep your hands free to check your list, grab groceries off the shelf and carry sacks.
- Makes nursing easier. You don’t need to bring an extra cover, and once you two get the hang of nursing in a baby carrier, you can even nurse while walking.
- Keeps people from wanting to touch your baby. Babies are cute. Everyone wants to touch them. A baby carrier acts like a baby protective guard from germy stranger hands.
The Omni 360 is the top pick of many parents because it’s comfortable and safe for you and your baby, holds babies from 7-45 pounds, has a privacy hood and allows you to carry them in 4 ergonomic positions.
While its main purpose is being a fitted infant car seat cover, this is an all-in-one cover. It can also be used as a nursing, stroller, shopping cart, high chair and infant swing cover. Made out of soft, breathable, stretchy fabric that comes in a variety of colors and designs, you’ll use this thing for every outing.
This perfect nursing tank has a built-in nursing bra, but you can’t even tell it’s a nursing cami. This brand offers tanks in various colors that come in longer lengths, have postpartum tummy control and have thicker straps so you get the look, feel and cover you’re wanting. You can wear these tops alone or layered underneath another top for easier public and at-home nursing sessions.
When you’re prepared with these tips and products, leaving your house will be an easy, enjoyable experience for you and your baby.
Have you heard or learned first-hand any other parenting hacks for new parents?