Getting out and about with your Newborn (or any little ones) - Part 2
Last time we were looking at what to put into your nappy bag to help cloth on the go, this time we're answering; where can you go and how do you deal with amenities and bubs on the run
In the time of COVID, this is a whole new ballgame, and if you are a new parent right now, hats off to you. You have to overcome this constant changing and evolving challenge, and as an outsider looking in, it's harder than how we had it. But there's no point sitting around wishing it away, you can still enjoy getting out and about. Let's look at some of the places you can be heading off to, and what you should be expecting in terms of amenities - get ready to develop your parent's room radar.
The great outdoors - Parks, walks, and outdoor play. One of my absolute favourite things to do is to get outside with my little one. This started when she was small, but I've always found, for both of us, that being outside and getting fresh air can often be like hitting a reset button. If my daughter (or I) were crying and unsettled in those first weeks, we jumped in the pram and pounded the pavement. Sometimes it was the shortest walk around the block while she announced her presence to the neighbourhood in wails that seemed too big for the tiny lungs making them. Other times we made it down to the water side near our house and could enjoy something more scenic and peaceful. As she's grown and life has changed, we still try and get out for a walk each day we are home together, to parks around us for a play, pushing her baby in its pram (and occasionally both her baby and my baby) or for a walk with the dog.
Things to consider when you are out enjoying the outdoors:
Amenities may not be available, or may be less than ideal. If you are using a bassinet, you can lie a change mat down and use this as a flat raised surface for nappy changes. Bonus because baby can't roll or wriggle away. Alternatively, finding flat, dry spot on the ground with some shade can also suffice. My sisters and I have been known to use the car boot and car seats in a crisis as well. Make sure you bring your change mat, it can also double as a dry seat on wet park benches (or see-saws) for those rare moments you can sit.
Hand Sanitiser; this is pretty standard these days, however if you are changing nappies or stopping to feed baby, you will need clean hands, so make sure your hand sanitiser is with you.
Hats and shade cloths; if you are out in summer or walking to get someone to finally cave and have a nap, make sure both you and your little one are sun smart. Please also check out this very interesting report about the temperature in your pram and using covers in summer. I used to clip a swaddle over the hood of my pram to my handle bars and keep the sides up to increase shade, maximise air flow and prevent your tot from overheating, but use your instincts and keep an eye on your tot.
Indoor fun - Shopping centres, cafes, Zoos and Aquariums are some examples where there can be loads to see and do, especially if this little bundle has an older sibling who needs entertaining, or if you are craving some adult conversation.
These days shopping centres are getting kitted out with more and more impressive parent's rooms and indoor play facilities. When the weather is extreme or unpredictable, these can be a great back up.
Cafes for very necessary Tea, Coffee, and in time, babycinos - or Lucycinos as my daughter now refers to them. Depending on where these are located, the amenities will vary greatly. I've been to some with their own parent's rooms (jackpot!) and others where we have had to use the pram or car for changes. Just remember that by law, anytime your baby needs to feed, you are allowed to feed them. For those nursing, that means you can breastfeed at any of these locations as long as you feel comfortable. For those bottle-feeding, cafes have hot water and mugs. Ideal for warming up your little ones milk.
I loved taking my tot to the aquarium, she was completely fascinated by the penguins (they have a pretty strong contrast to the water around them, which makes for great baby viewing!). More recently we tried the zoo, and to be honest, while I think they get more out of it when they are older, if they aren't a first and only, I don't see why it wouldn't still be a great experience for the family.
This parenting gig can be really hard sometimes, and that old saying "it takes a village" is more than just words.
Appointments and Parent's group - Well if none of the above has appealed to you, this one might be for you. The truth is, we all have to make it out of our bubble at home eventually. Whether for the 4 weeks check up with your GP, an appointment with your local Child and Family Health Nurse (these guys are my absolute favourites for a new parent sounding board!), going to your new Parents group, or a local Rhyme Time for your tot, at some point you will need to get out the door and interact with another adult. These are all excellent starting points, with endless opportunities for help, advice and distraction. It's no secret. This parenting gig can be really hard sometimes, and that old saying "it takes a village" is more than just words. If you are feeling disconnected in the beginning, these are some great outings for you and your tot to start to reconnect. Most of these take place in locations where feeding, cleaning and caring for your little one isn't just easy, you won't be the only one! Remember if you are struggling to get out the door, to make an appointment with your GP or local Child and Family Health Nurse, or health-direct and ask them for help and pointers.