Deciding how long your newborn should stay home can be worrisome, especially for first-time parents. Will your baby’s undeveloped immune system be able to handle going outside? Will they be susceptible to catching something and then not be able to fight infection?
Rest assured that most pediatricians agree that you can take your infant outside right away, as long as you follow basic safety precautions. Going outside in the sunlight and fresh air with your baby is good for both of you. Not only do you get health benefits like vitamin D exposure, but a change in scenery can help boost mood and energy.
But before you take your newborn for a short stroll on the block or a feeding session on a park bench, follow these safety tips.
4 tips to follow when taking your newborn outside
- Limited direct sun exposure. While sun exposure will give your baby essential vitamin D, don’t allow them to be under the sun for more than 15 minutes at a time since this can result in sunburn. Apply baby sunscreen or use a cover to protect them from the sun’s harsh rays.
- Don't allow other people to touch your newborn. While it’s not always possible to know who is sick, it’s a good idea to make sure your newborn is kept away from other kids’ hands and faces. And while most adults will keep away from a baby if they know they are sick, don’t be afraid to firmly and politely decline if strangers ask to hold your baby or cross a line you aren’t comfortable with.
- Choose clean locations. Avoid crowded public places that tend to be filled with germs, such as schools, doctors' offices, hospitals, daycares, and airplanes. If you can’t stay away from these places altogether, keep your newborn tucked in your carrier and use a cover over your stroller and carrier. Make sure to sanitize your own hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces.
- Be mindful of the temperature. Check the weather conditions and dress your baby appropriately before taking them out. Avoid going out in the rain, and beware of bundling up your baby too warmly since this can cause them to overheat. It’s best to dress your baby in layers and to bring a blanket with you in case you need it.
Keeping your baby safe from germs
Even inside the home, it’s important to make sure to take extra safety precautions:
- Don’t allow your baby near anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or possible virus exposure.
- Teach young siblings not to touch the baby’s hands or face.
- Anyone wanting to hold or touch the newborn should be asked to wash their hands first.
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