Before you had baby, trips to the grocery store or coffee shop were practically second nature. Nowadays, a simple errand or afternoon out of the house can make even the most relaxed new parent anxious and apprehensive! Whether you’re leaving home for half an hour or half a day, you need to know the keys to a successful trip. By taking a few moments to plan out the big details and prepare the most essential baby items, you’ll feel more confident and keep your little one as happy and comfortable as possible.
Time Your Trips Wisely
You know by now that you can get more done if baby isn’t cranky. Accomplish your to-do list, avoid a public meltdown and stay out longer by planning all lunch dates, bank deposits and trips to the pool around your feeding and nap schedule. If a friend, family member or even the pediatrician suggests a visit or appointment in the middle of a sleep session, kindly ask if you can do it a different time. While you may not be able to avoid missing a few moments of regularly scheduled sleep, adhering as much as possible to your regular routine will help keep the rest of your week on track.
It’s also wise to be realistic about how long you can stay out. Two- and three-month-old babies’ average daily wake times, for example, are between 45-90 minutes. A long brunch or multi-course restaurant meal may not be possible for several more weeks. Until then, it’s probably best to enjoy a quick-service snack or go out for ice cream.
Plan for the Best Case (and Worst Case) Scenario
Infants can sense when a parent is anxious or stressed. Keeping a positive attitude both before and during your outing will increase the chances that things go smoothly. While little miss fussy could start screaming in the middle of your favorite department store, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. Before you head out, imagine yourself calmly soothing your child. Envision you and your cutie going through an entire trip to the mall or corner boutique without a hitch. Remind yourself that you know best about what your baby needs if they’re tired or overstimulated.
Staying upbeat is always the best way to influence baby and keep yourself as Zen as possible, but some moms and dads also prefer to imagine the worst case scenario. In fact, deciding ahead of time how to handle an uncomfortable situation can actually be empowering. Go over in your mind what you’ll do if your daughter refuses to baby wear or how you’ll act if your son has a diaper blowout. That way, if you get nervous or flustered, the actions you take will be much more intuitive.
Sometimes, you’ll also need a backup plan. The park may get too hot—or your friend could cancel your playdate last minute. Find a place to go in close proximity if something backfires. A family member’s house, air-conditioned business with ambient noise or kid-friendly fast food joint is always a safe bet.
Stock the Diaper Bag
Ask any seasoned parent—a properly packed diaper bag can get you through every situation. At a minimum, you’ll need diapers, wipes and feeding supplies. Always take more with you than you think you need. You’ll also want to pack a couple of clothing changes in case baby gets too hot, too cold or has an accident. Bodysuits, socks and pants are just a few of the most recommended baby clothing essentials. Don’t forget a burp cloth, bib and blanket. Toys, soothing tools like loveys and pacifiers and a portable changing pad can also be helpful.
When flying solo with baby, add a few supplies for yourself. Bottled water, antibacterial gel, grab-and-go snacks and a change of clothes for potential spit-ups are always recommended. Many moms and dads like to put their wallet and smartphone in the diaper bag as well. It’s not as chic as a designer purse—but it’s one less thing to think about.
Get Ready the Night Before
The night before your trip, ask your partner or someone else you trust to watch your tiny adventurer. Double check the diaper bag and put it by the door. If you want to take a stroller or carrier with you, place it in the car. It’s also a good idea to lay out everyone’s clothes, make sure your phone is charged and ensure you have enough cash in your wallet or pocketbook.
If you’re going somewhere new, research the location and map it out. Find out any rules related to bringing baby, such as whether you can bring a stroller inside or if there are booster seats available. It may also make you feel more relaxed to take a shower the night before. Should it take longer to get your child ready—or if you take longer than planned to complete your outing—you won’t be pressed for time when you arrive home.
Solo Trips with Baby Can Be Fun—and Productive
Going out with baby alone is a big milestone! Instead of getting stressed, remind yourself that you’re taking the first step in experiencing more fun adventures with your new family. Be patient with yourself and your little one as you work out any kinks and get to know baby’s personality more. Starting small, knowing where you are going ahead of time and taking everything you need with you all makes it much easier to begin a new way of life with your son or daughter.