The fridge is empty; the guests have stopped coming over; and you’re ready for baby to make a first public appearance outside of the house.
The first time taking that teeny-tiny baby out on your own can be daunting. It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit anxious about it and, truth be told, most new mums feel like we are going to mess something up.
Here’s a few suggestions on how to push past the fear and enjoy your first few outings as a twosome.
1. Prepare for bub to need a feed or a change.
Probably both. Because, even if you plan it perfectly and do the feed/change routine right before putting baby into the car, odds are he will still decide he’s hungry when out and about. If you are not confident feeding in public just yet, then bring a bottle or a cover-up.
2. Prepare for the biggest poo explosion you have ever encountered.
And if not poo, then definitely spew. Make sure you not only pack an extra set of clothes for bub (plus a towel, rubbish bags, wipes and nappies) but also an extra t-shirt for yourself, just in case.
If both of you return home in the same clothes that you left in, then consider it a win!
And, if not, at least you haven’t spent the morning walking about with baby spew on your shirt. So that’s another win.
3. If grocery shopping, plan to grab only a few items.
Save the extra large shops for when you have back-up (like your partner) just in case your little one needs a feed or a change mid-shop.
A lot of new mums opt for a baby carrier when going to the shops which allows you to keep both hands free while bub rests close to you. Or invest in a Little Helper to add extra storage to your pram.
There’s even the neat trick where you transfer bub from the car to the trolley in his capsule, place the capsule in the bottom of the trolley and then place the few needed items around the capsule or at the top of the trolley.
4. If dining, choose something you can eat with one hand.
Because odds are, the moment your food arrives will be the moment your mini date decides he is either hungry or needs to be held.
5. If attending an appointment, leave early and call ahead.
The weeks after baby will see at least one – maybe more – visits to the doctor or health nurse. Allow yourself an extra fifteen minutes to get there in case your little one decides he hates the car or needs a feed along the way.
It’s also a good idea to call ahead to see if the doctor is running on time. That way you can be prepared to fit in another feed or nappy change if the doctor is a bit late.
6. If meeting a friend, tell them to meet you at your car.
Why? Because for new mums, getting yourself, your nappy bag, your baby and your pram (which you can’t remember how to unfold) out of the car is often the hardest part. So ask your friend to meet you at the car so she can offer a helping hand (and help you curse and swear at your pram until it unfolds).
7. Consider a park over a crowded cafe.
Pack a picnic, set up a blanket and meet a friend at a quiet park under a shaded tree. It’s cheaper, it’s more casual and it’s also easier to actually enjoy your nice conversation without all the backup chatter.
Another thing about going out in public is that many mums are (rightfully) worried about their newborn getting sick. You might prefer to stay away from crowded public places until after their first vaccinations.
8. Have a back-up plan in place.
Know where the parent’s room is in case you need a quick change or a quiet place to feed.
9. If bub hates the car, stick to somewhere close so you can walk.
Some babies HATE the car and start screaming their lungs out before being forced to pull over because the sound is simply too heartbreaking.
If you have an infant who hates the car, then stick close to home, take the pram when you can and, if you do need to drive a long way, try to get bub to fall asleep first and then transfer to the capsule.
10. If bub cries, stay calm and do what feels right.
It’s natural that a newborn is going to cry. It’s also natural to feel embarrassed and flustered when it happens for the first time in public. Push passed this fear and do what comes natural to you – hold him, feed him, bounce him, make weird ssshing sounds or sing Twinkle Twinkle while swaying back and forth. If people think you look crazy, then let them think it. At least you’ve got a good excuse.
11. If it doesn’t feel right, abort mission.
Sometimes even the best laid plans go pear shaped. If baby won’t settle down and the whole situation is leaving you anxious, then leave. Return home to your comfort zone and try again another day.
There is absolutely no shame in doing this – you know your baby and yourself and if you feel more comfortable being at home, then stay home.
Trust us, you will have plenty of time to explore the world with your little one (and years of chauffeuring them to and from school, footy practice, ballet recitals and birthday parties).
12. And, finally, if you return home covered in baby vomit and empty-handed, try not to let it get to you.
It’s all part of the fun. There will be days when you go to get groceries with your newborn only to return home ten minutes later covered in baby spew and without a single item.
But what can you do? You can let it go and move on. Have a shower. Have a laugh about it with your partner when they get home. And have an online account with Coles, Aldi or Woolies (and pray that the delivery driver is good looking…).
If this is your first baby you might like to read our article about important things all new mums need to know about life with a baby.