Leaving the house with a baby is no small feat. Sure, you get better at it and you learn what does and does not work. But, as a new mom or a mom with a baby AND an older child, infant care and travel are huge. Whether you are traveling to the doctor, lunch with a friend, or taking your first trip with an infant, there are some pro tips that can make it easier.
First things first: there is no perfect way to be a mom. At Postpartum Together we don’t believe in “how to” do it right. We believe in sharing tools with you that can empower you to do YOUR best. These tips are from our favorite professionals, so they are tried and true. However, if you try something and it does not work for you you’re not wrong or broken. We all have different toolkits and different babies! Infant care is about knowing and learning what works best for you and your baby.
Tips for Leaving the Home With Your Infant
While we could go into SO MANY tips, below you’ll find the top 5. Along with any links and resources you might need to make it easier. Think of this as your cheat sheet!
1. Stock up the diaper bag every night
Usually, we think to stock up the diaper bag right before we leave. However, this can put you in a stressful pinch! This simple swap can save you a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Make it a point to replenish the diaper bag when you return from a trip and/or check it the night before. This is a GREAT task for your partner to be in charge of, especially with a helpful checklist.
RELATED: How Partners Can Help with Baby
Some top items include:
–Infant clothes (always have a backup outfit!)
–Versatile top for mom (spit up and shit happens!)
– Infant toys (a small book and toy that baby can hold)
–Infant ready-to-drink formula (even as a breastfeeding mom, this can be so helpful in case of an emergency)
Wondering what to keep stocked in your diaper bag at all times? Check this list for ideas!
2. Set your expectations beforehand
If you are leaving the house with the baby for the first time to meet up with friends or have another experience, set expectations for what could be different. For friends or family without infants, they may not understand how you could be multi-tasking or need to leave in a pinch. Set realistic expectations for yourself to have fun while having grace for the unexpected.
If you are going to a restaurant or other place for the first time with a baby, do any research to help you feel confident. Is there a seating area best for a baby? Are there changing tables available? I even recommend asking for a box and the check along with your food just in case you need to leave quickly. If you are shopping or going through a store, museum, etc., decide whether a stroller or baby carrier will best accommodate your needs.
3. Be Confident in Emergency Infant Care
You want to be confident in how to take care of your infant at all times. When making trips out, you want to be well-versed in CPR and first aid. It is also helpful to have easy access to your baby’s pediatrician and other helpful numbers. Keep emergency information ID cards handy. If you are not up-to-date with CPR and first aid certification, you can find a local class. The CPR and Safety Lady on Instagram is also a great resource for this as it pertains to parents and children.
4. Keep an Extra Bag of Infant Care Essentials in the Vehicle
I know, we already talked about keeping the diaper bag stocked but I assure you this one-time precaution will come in handy. This is a little bag, box, Tupperware bin, or anything you can keep handy in the vehicle. You want to have the essential bare minimums here. Diaper, a few wipes, a change of clothes for you and baby. If in the off-chance you (or your partner) forget the diaper bag or are out longer than expected, you will lean on this stash!
5. Try to Schedule Around Routine and Needs
You don’t have to sacrifice your entire life to your baby’s schedule. But, as much as possible, it helps to schedule events, appointments, etc. around the routine you do have. Disrupting sleep or eating schedules can cause more fussiness with your baby. Ask your friend if she can do an hour earlier or later if needed. Try to schedule your doctor appointments so that you are not keeping your baby awake for a check-up during naptime. If you have a long drive somewhere, try to overlap it with nap time so the baby can sleep in the car. When you can, leave shortly after a feeding to avoid an outburst in the car or location.
Along with scheduling, build in some extra buffers for yourself. There will certainly be a time when your baby has a diaper blow-out as you are walking out the door. Sometimes you might have to pull over to meet a need during your trip. Building these buffers in for yourself can reduce the stress and rush of feeling late.
Do Your Best to Have Fun and Stress Less
Every mom knows what it is like to have plans interrupted or thrown out the window. We know all the energy and planning that goes into getting out of the house with a baby. We know that infant care while traveling is a walk in Jurrasic Park! Let yourself have more grace. More late arrivals. More missed dates. More saying “You know, I just can’t make that work today.”
Moms in our current society are doing more than ever. You do not have to buy into the pressure to snap right back to your same life, including your social life. If you need to invite your friend to your (understandably messy) house instead of meeting at a restaurant, say it! If your baby is going through a nursing strike and attempting it in public is too hard, reschedule it! If you have not slept in days and fear messing up your baby’s nap schedule, don’t pressure yourself to go to that meet-up.
Craving community without leaving the house? Check out the growth and connection that happens in our Mastermom Small Groups
And when you do get out, use these 5 pro tips to help you leave the house with your baby.