Having a newborn can at times be a daunting experience, you’re learning to adapt to a whole new routine and the world you knew before has changed to adapt a tiny person into it. Getting used to a routine at home can take time and I do use that word ‘routine’ loosely because life with a newborn can switch and change quickly. When you start to feel confident at home the thought of then venturing out can seem just as, if not more daunting.
I’ve been a midwife for 13 years and I’m a mother of two and I very much promote women being able to gain confidence early in getting out and about with their newborn baby. Why? Because I believe it has lots of benefits to your overall wellbeing and daily life, so here are my tips to build your confidence and be able to get out and about, when you feel ready to do so!
-Prepare ahead! Before baby arrives pack your changing bag, build your pram and know how to collapse it along with knowing how your car seat works and how its adapters connect to your pram. If you think you’ll use a sling practice how to put it on in advance too. You’ll have lots to think about in those early days so understanding how these things work before baby arrives can make those first initial trips a lot less stressful.
-Don’t set yourself high expectations thinking you should be getting out of the house straight away, when you feel ready start with a short walk and take somebody with you to build up your confidence. Do some research too, on places where you would feel comfortable breastfeeding, initially this too can be daunting so have some places in mind to do some trips to in those early days.
-Avoid trying to make specific times for those first outings, if you arrange to meet someone, give them a general time that you’ll arrive, it can be hard to get everything together and anticipate how long things can take. Remember this is all about building your confidence and not having a bad experience that will influence how you feel about taking your baby out in the future. If you do have an appointment time to meet, leave in good time just to take the pressure off.
-Step out of your comfort zone when you can, this may mean pushing yourself a little but once you do things like take your baby out for the first time on your own it then becomes easier. Plan a short trip you can do on your own, with no time pressures and just gradually get used to being out with them alone.
-Try to get out every day or at least every couple of days! If you stay at home for too long cabin fever can set in and before you know it a week has gone by and you’ve not gone anywhere. I do hear this a lot from postnatal women and it can knock confidence and affect your wellbeing. You don’t need to set big goals, it can be a short walk to the corner shop or just to the end of the road, it’s a great way to release endorphins and mix up your day a bit.
-Do take a rest day if you are enjoying going out but feeling it’s all a bit too much, especially if you’ve had a caesarean section. Listen to your body and take a rest day at home if you’re feeling tired or uncomfortable.
-Treat yourself to a take-away coffee, lunch or call a relative/friend for a chat, remember babies tend to sleep in the pram or sling so it’s a great way to have a bit of downtime. It’s also worth trying the Rockit rocker which attaches to any pram or stroller and gently rocks it for you – they are great for soothing babies and extending their naps when out and about. Finally remember not every trip out with your newborn will be plain sailing, there will always be times where it doesn’t seem to go to plan and that’s very normal too!
I hope these tips are useful to you and make things a little easier!
Bridie is a mother of two and a former NHS midwife with 13 years of experience. Her passion is helping expectant parents prepare physically and emotionally for their journey ahead. She removes the anxieties of becoming a parent and offers advice and support to help you enjoy the journey and turn those anxieties into confidence. Find out more at Bump to Beyond your Birth