Getting out and about with your baby can be a real challenge. Many mothers find the whole process just too difficult; it can be just too much hassle. Knowing where to go with your baby is key. It is important to have an idea about the places that are truly baby-friendly near to where you live. It is also essential that mums choose things to do that they will enjoy. When mum is happy, baby is happy as well. All too often mummies will forget about their needs and put the baby first all the time.
Make a list of what you and your baby will need
Even if you think you might not head out with your baby in the morning, make your list and pack your bag the night before so that everything is ready in case the mood for a stroll should take you. If you leave preparation until the last minute, you won’t find anything you need, nothing will seem to fit you, your baby will start to get bored and fed up and then the crying will begin, which is a big put off for mums thinking about going out with their babies. Your list for your baby should at least include two nappies, travel wipes and baby lotion, a light blanket that you can use as a changing pad, a light sweater, a dummy, a stuffed animal and a sun hat.
Bags inside of bags
A really useful way of making outings with your baby easier is to separate all the things you need into different bags. This means you can select which of the little bags you need to put into your rucksack when the moment comes. For example, you might want to create a “to go” purse in your rucksack. This purse will contain small essentials such as lip balm, mints, cash, plasters, mobile phone, and sunscreen. In another bag you could prepare baby changing things. Another bag might be full of “entertainment” for you and your baby when on the go. A final alternative might be the bag you choose to carry with you when you go out without the pram.
With anything in life, you have to learn how to do it before it becomes second nature. If you have learned how to swim, you can get into a swimming pool at any time without fear. If you get on a bike, it won’t matter how long it has been since you have ridden, cycling off into the distance will not be a problem. Once you have mastered putting up and taking down the pram, going out with your baby will be less chaotic. Do trial runs the night before and even include your baby in the trial run. Make it a little game if you like and practice seating your baby into the pram, strapping him or her in comfortably and then loading up the pram with all the bags you have packed ready to go.
When the weather is good the park is one of the best places to take your baby because it requires hardly any preparation and there’s a good chance that you will meet other mums doing the same thing. Building a support network with other mums is really important and going to the park is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of finding other mums to make friends with. Getting outside in the open with the sunshine on your face is also really good for the soul. In the early stages you will need to invest your energy in activities that lift your spirit. Nothing beats the sun for inspiration and vitality.
There are lots of places which organise entertainment for babies and their mothers. Large venues with extensive children’s programmes are a good place to start looking, but many new mums find that even their local cafes have some kind of entertainment programme in place for mums and tiny bundles of joy. Puppet shows are one of the best choices for babies because of the colours and the simple activity on display. Small shows can be found all over the place. Make sure you do a thorough investigation to find the best on offer.
History and culture
Your baby is never too young to start enjoying a trip to a museum or to an art gallery. Even though your baby cannot talk, his or her senses are incredibly ripe. He or she is listening and seeing everything for the first time and the rate of development is incredible. Most museums have a children’s programme and you might be surprised to see the amount of activities that are planned to include very young children. If you love art or history, a museum trip in the middle of the week will also be stimulating for you and when mum is happy, everybody is.
Find a gym with a baby care facility or playgroup. Baby-friendly gyms are great because they provide stimulating environments and activities for your baby as well as giving you the opportunity to stay in shape. It is important for your baby to mix with other children and to not be dependent on you all the time. The earlier you can introduce him or her to the outside world, the better. If the gym is not something which appeals to you, try long walks or light jogs with your baby. More and more new mothers are investing in what they call a jogging pram. Jog around your nearby park with other young mums, get your baby outside in the fresh air and avoid having to pay the gym membership fee all at once.
Even if your friends do not have babies, there is nothing stopping you from going out to a restaurant with your baby. If friends invite you out for lunch, prepare them for baby changing and crying moments beforehand. In this way you will relax and enjoy the whole experience a lot more. It’s also important to choose the restaurant wisely. If your friends want to go to a 5-star restaurant in the middle of Central London, you and your baby are not going to fit in. However, if the meal is planned in a local, comfortable pub, with lots of space for you to hide your pram in the corner, you will have a lovely time.
Getting to the doctor
The most stressful thing about going to the doctor with a baby is arriving late and missing your appointment, because no matter how lovely your doctor is they will always have a tight schedule and if you miss your slot there will be little that can be done to fit you in. Therefore, always aim to arrive half an hour early.
Long gone are the days of quickly nipping in to buy the groceries on the way back from a quick morning run, for example. A trip to the supermarket is now a full-on outing for you and your baby, so make your visit a creative one. Put time and thought into the groceries you buy instead of treating the supermarket shop like the worst chore in the world ever. Start small. Take your baby to buy breakfast goods and nothing else and really think about buying something tasty to eat. Make the ritual of breakfast time with your baby really important and spend time preparing yourself something good to eat as well as being available at every moment to your hungry little one.
Mother and baby groups
One of the best things to do is to get yourself immersed in the mother and baby scene. Find out about everything on offer. Mother support groups, coffee mornings, swimming sessions, art classes, everything! The point is that the advice, support, fun and relaxation you can get from being involved in this mother and baby world, whatever the age of your baby, the better you will feel. Take things one step at a time, but make sure that you do start working baby outings into your routine from the very beginning. Life is just about to get really exciting!