Out and about with baby
You’ve been home staring lovingly at your newborn for a while, but maybe now is the time for some fresh air. Here’s how to be prepared for a trip out with your brand-new baby.
At a glance
Add extra time. Pre-baby, how long did it take to leave the house? Now, double it. And add time for unexpected delays
Start small. The park or a coffee with a friend is enough excitement for day one
Write a checklist. With so many new bits and bobs to remember, it’s essential
Take a friend or your partner the first time, in case you need a hand
Your first trip out with your new baby can be daunting, even if you’re just popping to the shops. But once you've been out a few times, you'll soon get the hang of it. The tips and advice in this article are prior to COVID-19. Always follow government advice on going out, and you can find our useful tips in our COVID-19 hub.
Love a list? Get lots of really useful ones straight to your phone with our Mother of all Checklists app.
When can I take my newborn out?
There are no set rules as to when you can take a newborn out - you and your travel-size human can go out whenever you’re feeling up to it. There’s no reason to wait, it just requires a bit of planning and preparation. Yes, going out for the first time can be daunting and doing more things with fewer hands takes a little getting used to. So, it might be good to go with a friend or your partner the first couple of times, until things get easier. If you’re unsure about anything or you’re feeling a little anxious, chat to your midwife or health visitor.
Where to go with my baby?
The good thing about your newborn is they’re compact and light but can’t run around. You can take them almost anywhere – enjoy it while it lasts! There are a few things to bear in mind though:
- Are there baby-changing facilities nearby?
- Is it crowded and noisy?
- If you’re eating out maybe try a family-friendly place instead of a fancy restaurant, it will probably be more relaxing for you that way.
- Is there step-free access? Or do you have to manoeuvre loads of stairs with your buggy?
- If you’re using public transport will you be travelling off-peak?
- If feeding openly in public isn’t your thing, is there somewhere discrete to breastfeed?
Is your baby bag packed and ready?
Forget the designer handbag it’s all about the baby bag these days. Before you leave, do a quick check to make sure you’ve packed all you need for going out and about with baby. Don’t worry, this will become second nature over the next few weeks:
- Nappies. Not just one or two. Four or five.
- Cotton wool. Changing mat. Wet wipes. Bibs. Muslin squares... Check.
- A couple of outfit changes and a spare top for you too in case of vomit.
- If you're breastfeeding, pack breast pads and you may want a large muslin to make feeding in public more private.
- Don’t forget your keys, purse and a fully charged mobile.
- Keep expressed milk in a sterilised bottle in a cool bag and use within four hours.
- Formula feeding? You'll need a flask of boiled water, a sterile container of pre-measured formula powder, and sterilised bottles and teats.
- For a fuss-free alternative to making up formula, pack ready-made formula in individual cartons.
- A baby sling can be a real lifesaver when you’re on the move and baby gets fussy in the buggy. They love snuggling up to you for comfort and you’ll love it too.
Travelling with baby
Can’t wait for your first holiday away with baby? Here’s a few tips to make the journey as smooth as possible.
Things you might need:
- A lightweight buggy
- A baby sling
- A car seat. This is often permitted as an extra in your baggage allowance on flights. Check with your airline before you go. Just remember those buggy adapters, you might want to use the car seat on the pram to travel light(ish).
- A travel cot
- A travel steriliser
- A travel bottle warmer
- Formula if you’re not breastfeeding
- Baby’s favourite soft toy or blanket
- A first aid kit with infant paracetamol, medicines and sun protection
- Travel blackout blinds
- A monitor if your accommodation is big enough to require one. You’ll need to make sure you bring enough adapters of course.
For a more interactive and extensive list, check out travelling with baby on our Mother of all Checklists.
Car travel with baby
- Time your journey round baby’s naps and factor in plenty of breaks.
- Take car window blinds for when baby is sleeping. A dark muslin tucked into a shut window is always a good backup plan.
- Line up a few nursery rhyme playlists on your phone. Or keep it classical – everyone’s a winner.
- Avoid rush-hour traffic.
- Do a test drive and make sure you have your car seat properly fitted to the correct safety standards.
- If you’re travelling alone with baby you may want a baby car mirror to keep an eye on your little one from the driver’s seat.
Travelling by public transport?
- Avoid travelling in rush hour, it’s really not pleasant.
- Plan the most direct route with the fewest awkward changes.
- Check for step-free access and lifts. Don’t forget the sling.
Travelling with baby on a plane
- To help relieve pressure in their middle ear, try breastfeeding when taking-off and landing. Or if they have a dummy, this is a good time to use it.
- If you’re on a long-haul flight ask ahead if you can have extra legroom or a bassinet seat.
- Make sure you have enough sunshades for the pram when you’re out and about. Always use a specialised sun cream for babies.
- Baby’s skin is very delicate. If they are under six months old they need to be kept out of direct sunlight.
- Take a baby bag on board with all the essentials. Take extra nappies, formula and wipes in case your journey is delayed. Bottles are usually allowed, they just get checked at security, but double-check with your airline before you go.
- Bring changes of clothes for you and baby in your carry-ons.
- Make sure your travel insurance covers any baby-related incidents.