It’s normal to want to get out of your house for a bit after you have a baby, but there are specific issues you have to address when dealing with a newborn.
Their immune systems are practically nonexistent for their first days of life, and this can make taking them to public places risky.
When can I take my newborn out to a restaurant? Though there are no set rules, waiting until the 8-12 week mark is best. Your baby is at risk of contracting infections that can be very serious for little ones with underdeveloped immune systems, and your child won’t have many vaccines in their system to protect them in the first weeks of life.
You can make a well-educated, non-paranoid decision that is right for you and your baby if you consider the risks and stay informed.
When Can I Take My Newborn Out in Public?
You may want to show off your baby, or you may just want to get out of the house.
However, it’s important to understand that newborns are not tiny adults, so you have to think about how their bodies work before venturing into the world.
What Pediatricians Recommend
It’s perfectly normal for a pediatrician to recommend you wait until your child is 12 weeks old before taking him out into a crowded place.
This is especially true if your babies are born during RSV season like two of mine were.
While we took walks when the weather permitted, we avoided places with crowds like restaurants, malls, and stores for as long as possible when they were very small. Our doctor agreed that was best.
Why wait so long to take your baby out in public? There are tons of reasons why taking your baby out too early can be a challenge or even bad for your baby’s health.
My son caught RSV at 9 days old, so I can tell you without a doubt that germs are much more difficult for babies to fight than they are for adults.
What was a cold for me turned into pneumonia and a two-week hospital stay for him.
You can’t avoid every possible germ out there, but you can keep your child away from overly crowded places while their immune system is still trying to develop.
Whether you live somewhere very cold or very hot, taking your baby out means making sure they are comfortable in the weather conditions.
It’s dangerous for a baby to overheat or get too cold, and you can’t control the temperature in a confined, crowded space. Make sure you bring clothes that can be layered and taken off easily if necessary.
Overly Stimulating Environment
Loud sounds, bright lights, and crowded spaces are generally not on a baby’s list of favorite things.
Your baby may become frightened and have a hard time with so much going on around them. An overstimulated baby is not a happy one.
Availability of Changing Stations
All restrooms should have changing stations, but that is not the reality we live in currently.
If you go to an establishment that doesn’t have changing tables, you will have to take your child back to the car if they need a diaper change or get creative.
This is inconvenient and can waste a lot of your time out on the town.
Privacy for Breastfeeding
I have breastfed everywhere you can possibly imagine, but it hasn’t always been easy. It’s easier to find nursing rooms and privacy now than it was 10 years ago, but it can still be a challenge.
When your baby is hungry and ready to eat, are you ready to hunt down a private place to breastfeed? If not, it’s perfectly acceptable to breastfeed in public, but only if your comfort level allows for that.
Room for Carrier
Where are you going to put your baby while you are eating at a restaurant?
Many tables and booths won’t hold car seat carriers, and newborns and young infants can’t sit in high chairs.
While placing the carrier on an extra chair is an option, sometimes there isn’t one available, and if you do find one, there is always the risk that someone could bump into it.
It can be difficult to feed yourself while holding your baby, and keeping the carrier on the floor isn’t ideal.
Fussy Baby Might Annoy Others
It’s not your responsibility to cater to everyone else’s feelings, but if you are sensitive to criticism or harsh looks, beware.
Taking your young infant out in public can lead to a fussy spell where other people end up visibly annoyed. If this is going to cause you anxiety, consider that before you go.
What To Bring When Taking Baby to a Restaurant
If you do decide to take your baby to a restaurant, make sure you bring everything you might need. This includes:
- Change of clothes
- Burp cloths
- Breastmilk or formula
- Portable changing pad
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfecting wipes for surfaces
Baby Safety Tips When Out in Public
If you are taking your baby out in public, there are some tips you can follow to help keep him safe. They include:
- Wearing your baby in a sling or carrier. Strangers are less likely to come up and try to get close to your baby if you are wearing him.
- Bring extra diapers, wipes, and clothes in case your child has an accident.
- Try to take your baby somewhere that is relatively calm and open.
- Make sure your baby is well-rested before taking them out in public. This will hopefully keep them from getting too cranky while away from home.
What Temperature Is Safe To Take Baby Outside for a Walk?
There are not a lot of temperatures babies can’t handle if they are dressed properly. It’s recommended that you don’t take your baby outside if it’s -15℉ or above 90℉.
Watch for air quality alerts, heat index indicators, and wind chill factors to let you know if the temperature isn’t giving you the entire story.
How Long Should a Newborn Stay Home After Birth?
Going outside for a walk is fine when you feel up to it and the weather is safe for your little one.
However, you should avoid going to crowded, germ-infested places for several months if possible.
This will give your baby’s immune system time to develop, and your child will also get some vaccines in their system before being exposed to potentially harmful illnesses.
If you can, it’s a good idea to keep your baby out of crowds when they are very young.
Waiting until they are two or three months old will help your baby avoid the dangers that come with germs when their bodies are too young to fight them properly.
Mom of three (including identical twin boys), wife, and owner of Parents Wonder. This is my place to share my journey as a mother and the helpful insights I learn along the way.