So you‘re finally past pregnancy and the birthing experience. And post a short tryst with “postpartum” lows, you’ve even got proficient in how your baby operates at home. The next motherhood challenge? Getting out and about with your little one.
Being outside in the fresh air can really expand your baby’s senses. With varied sights, sounds and tons of things to touch and explore, spending time outside with your baby can help his development by engaging his senses and instilling a lifelong appreciation for nature. The chirping of birds, the smell of flowers in the park, a mild breeze drifting around – all these childhood memories stay etched in the baby’s mind forever.
While walks in over-crowded places with a newborn should be strictly avoided, a walk outside with proper precautions is great not just for the baby, but tired parents too!
So take time to introduce your baby to the wonders of the world. Use these baby safety tips to put your worries to rest, brave the elements and emerge from the protective winter cocoon of your home with your infant.
Tips to safely introduce your Baby to the Outdoors
1. Whether the Weather is right?
Well, this goes unsaid – with a newborn, it’s essential to do everything you can to keep him from falling ill. Heading out at the right time, in terms of weather is imperative.
- During summers, mornings or early evenings are the best time. Avoid the afternoon, when the daily temperatures are very high.
- In wet or cold weather, it is best to head out during the daylight hours.
2. Avoid direct Sun
No doubt sunlight is essential for infants as it is an important source of Vitamin D. However, hot sun also damages sensitive skin cells, affects eyes and causes dehydration. Also, since their bodies aren’t developed enough to regulate body temperature, direct exposure to the sun can cause hyperthermia.
- It is best to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day, which is usually between 10 am-2 pm.
- For a baby older than 6 months, you can apply a sunscreen after consulting with your doctor.
- For younger ones, use full-sleeved clothes, swaddles or an umbrella to avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
3. Protective Clothing
For new parents, being sure of the number of layers your baby should wear is a big-big task!
- Be careful not to overdress or underdress your baby when you leave the house.
- Your best bet is to put at least as many layers on him as you’re wearing yourself, and always keep a blanket handy.
- In the summertime, dress your baby in clothing that’s lightweight and light colored. Dark colors absorb heat and will make your baby hot and sweaty. Light colors will reflect heat and keep him more comfortable.
Incidentally, bright colours also attract mosquitos. Though avoiding dark colours like black & navy blue is the best, additionally you can also apply Goodknight Patches on your little one’s stroller/carry cot while stepping out to keep him safe from dengue, malaria & chikungunya causing mosquitoes. These patches are very easy to use and come in fun colourful designs.
- A wide-brimmed Baby Hat is a must-have. It will not only protect your baby’s head from harmful UV rays, but also provide shade to his delicate face and ears.
4. Choose the right Gear
As a new mom, because of muscle spasms, a sensitive abdomen, tired back and overall fatigue, I found it more convenient to take the baby out in a stroller than in a baby carrier. Besides, it gives enough personal space for the baby to stretch and sleep.
- Before putting your baby in a stroller, make sure the frame has been locked in place to prevent it from collapsing.
- Don’t forget to strap your baby in place securely with the attached seatbelt or harness. This will prevent the baby from falling out of the stroller or causing him to tip over.
- Avoid making the space too comfortable for the baby by adding pillows etc. This can suffocate the baby
5. Pick up the Essentials
Most baby strollers have a carry-space at the bottom or around the push bar. Use this space to carry –
- A water bottle to keep yourself hydrated
- If the baby is over 6 months old, don’t forget to carry his sipper
- A pack of facial wipes and a few napkins for the baby
- A hand sanitizer
- A mosquito repellent to keep yourself safe from those pesky mosquitoes. I am a walking mosquito-magnet, they eat me alive! Unfortunately, I seem to have passed this on to my children.
But mosquito protection couldn’t have got easier than this – For kids older than 2 years, simply apply 4 dots of Goodknight Fabric Roll-On on their clothes to enjoy 8 hours of mosquito-free time outdoors! For babies younger than that, apply 4 dots on their stroller and/or cot. It is 100% natural and paediatrician certified, making it completely safe to use.
6. Maintain your baby’s Personal Space
It’s not uncommon to see a passerby stopping to play peek-a-boo with a newborn. In our society, we even let strangers show their affection by touching the baby’s cheeks or head. Having a stranger so close to your newborn can be scary and not so hygienic! While you might feel awkward and hesitant to tell people to keep their distance, I have always been polite yet upfront in putting across my concerns. I don’t think there is anything to be afraid of. In any case, it’s your baby and you’re in charge; it’s okay to keep your baby close.
7. Be Vigilant
Never leave your baby unattended. Make sure that you watch your baby carefully when he’s outside.
- Be on the lookout for animals- domestic or wild, pets or feral
- Watch out for harmful plants, water bodies and unseen holes in the ground, no matter how small
- Avoid going too close to a swimming pool or pond
- Investigate all playground equipment and toys before letting your baby use it
Enjoy your outing with the little one; explore things that you may never have given attention to before! Start a conversation with the baby, even if he’s not talking yet. Describe the colors around you like the green grass or brown sand. Talk about the puffy white clouds and the bright orange flowers. And soon you’ll find your munchkin responding to everything in his own way by cooing & smiling!