Anxiety, panic, frustration, fear. It doesn’t matter how many children you’ve had, these are all-natural feelings when taking your newborn out of the house for the first time.
As a new mom, we are already stressed enough. The added anxiety of making sure you have everything together for an outing with baby can make it so you don’t want to leave your home at all.
I remember the first time I had to leave the house on my own with my daughter, without my husband. I was so nervous to take her to her well-check. To a pediatrician, I had visited countless times before.
A route that I knew like the back of my hand. Yet, I stressed. I overpacked. I over-planned. And most importantly, I successfully left the house with my newborn. I returned more confident. I revised and found a system that worked. And I began to enjoy our outings as opposed to stress.
Below are some simple tips to help you feel more confident and prepared
These Feelings are Natural
Trust me. These feelings are natural. All moms have gone through this. It’s another one of those “Mom 101 Facts” that you will quickly master.
You cannot be confined to your house all day – no matter how amazing it is to watch your newborn sleep or how deep you’re into a Netflix binge. That’s not taking care of yourself, your baby, or your mental health. While it’s easy to fear others will judge you, my experience has shown just the opposite. Be confident knowing you are doing what’s right for your family.
Pack Your Diaper Bag the Night Before
The more prepared you are, the smoother your outing will be. By packing the night before you ensure that you already have everything you need and are ready to go.
There’s no right or wrong way to pack your diaper bag. My best advice is to avoid overpacking. But you will learn what you need and don’t need over time. Our first family outing was to The Rib Cook-Off, and you would have thought we were packing for a 2-day trip.
A general idea of what to pack in your diaper bag is:
Accessories depending on the weather (hat, blankets, sunshade)
Burp Cloth x 2
Ziplock Bag x 2 (great for soiled diapers or….you never know)
Snacks and Water for Mommy
Extra shirt/change of clothes for Mommy (can be kept in the car instead of a diaper bag)
Stroller with carseat attachment
Plan Your Baby’s Outfit the Night Before
Wait? If the diaper bag is already packed, shouldn’t I have plenty of time to pick out my baby’s outfit? This might sound silly, but trust me, this will save you so much stress and time.
I find on average I spend at least 15 minutes each day picking out my daughter’s outfits. I’m not neurotic, but I do like things to match. To make sure she is dressed — with accessories, socks/shoes, and outer layers – can take valuable time I just don’t have when trying to get out the door.
Set Out Your Things the Night Before
Yes, Moms. This needs its own category! We spend so much time figuring out what everyone else is going to wear, we often run out of time to adequately dress ourselves. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t feel fully put together…I feel completely off, and that’s not how I like to start my day.
Plan your outfit the night before. Set out the whole thing: top, bottom, shoes, accessories. Take a minute and make ensure you have needed items in your purse/bag. There is nothing like showing up to an appointment without the needed paperwork. All of this preparation will be worth it!
A Full Baby is a Happy Baby
When baby is happy, everyone is happy. What always makes baby unhappy? Being hungry. Solve this problem in advance, by feeding baby before you leave home. This will help make the car ride more peaceful and will allow you a window of time to get to your destination without needing to feed the baby again.
Also, be prepared to feed your baby while out. If clean water is not available at your venue, you may want to bring premixed formula. Pack a nursing blanket/cover if you’re not comfortable breastfeeding in public. While you’re at it Moms, don’t forget a snack for yourself too. Planning in advance will avoid a Mommy-baby meltdown when hunger strikes.
Know Before You Go
How far is the parking lot from my destination? Should I bring my stroller? Is there an elevator for my stroller? Would it be easier to baby-wear this outing? Knowing your destination will help alleviate these concerns. A quick google search will indicate how far you may have to walk and what’s accessible to strollers.
Seriously…. everyone cries. Don’t be embarrassed if baby has a meltdown in public. It’s ok for your baby to cry (besides eating, sleeping and pooping, that’s pretty much all they do as a newborn). You know your child best. You know what they need. You know how to make things better. It may feel like everyone is looking at you, when baby is hysterical, but it’s really a mental game. TRUST YOURSELF. People will not judge you. We are our own worst critics.
Limit Length of Outing
This obviously depends on you and your baby, but it may be worth considering limiting the length of your outing, especially with a newborn. I found that it was hard being out for a whole day, when my daughter slept the majority of the time. We began with small outings and worked our way up to longer ones.
Having a newborn is a good lesson in “expecting the unexpected” and a planned trip out can be cut short in a blink of an eye. A mini-excursion will also allow you to prepare to return home quickly if things don’t go as planned.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more you go out with your newborn, the easier it will get. It’s all trial and error, and no one knows best like a Mom. No one knows what they are doing the first time, even your mom.
Take advice with a grain of salt. Be prepared that every time you leave the house you may be offered unsolicited advice. Stay strong and pay no attention to the commentary. Smile and keep walking. The more you get out there, the more confident you will become.
Now Get Out There
Ok Mommas. You and your baby are ready to hit the road! Remember, whether you bring 3 changes of clothes or forget an outfit completely, you are the one in control and your baby loves you no matter what. Stay confident, and take your newborn outside!
Sarah Bear Rively is a Reno resident for over 30 years and loves the uniqueness of Northern Nevada. Sarah and her husband are parents to a sassy, smart, considerate “three-anger". Sarah has spent the majority of her career helping Reno’s at-risk populations through non-profit and social service work. She now proudly works for the Northern Nevada Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Sarah considers herself a fun-loving person who enjoys laughing, getting creative, helping the community, and spending time with family. You can follow her in real life on Instagram and TikTok.