One of the most intimidating things about having a family, and specifically a new baby, is managing to get out of the house and continue your life as it was before (in some form or fashion). It is the most talked-about reason I hear from people for putting off having kids, either for a while or indefinitely.
I am not going to lie or sugarcoat things — having kids DOES change your life. It takes some getting used to, some planning and definitely some patience. It isn't always easy to get out, and you certainly have an extra person to worry about. But, the truth is: If you want it badly enough, it's worth every extra struggle (and the rewards are great!).
First off, here's the reason why getting out (and even on adventures) as a family right away (yes, even with a newborn) is beneficial to you:
- You get used to the extra gear and timing before your child can talk back and be opposed to something new and foreign to them
- You set yourself up for success making getting out as a family the norm instead of a novelty
- The benefits of fresh air and exercise are good for you personally, for your relationship with other members of your family (spouse, others kids) and for your own sanity and peace of mind amid a major life change
- Practice makes perfect — the more you get out, the easier it gets!
Some tips on getting out successfully (even with a young baby):
- Set your standards low. If you get out for 15 minutes and do a walk around the block at the beginning, that is a great start! Baby steps with the baby!
- Prepare — get your bag and proper clothing ready so you can go when the timing is good
- Leave with a well-fed and happy baby. Plan on having to feed and what you will need to do so (burp rag, bottles, etc.)
- Be easy on yourself. Everything WILL take longer. It's OK.
- Invest in the right gear so everyone will be warm (or cool) and happy.
- Bring snacks and water (for you and the rest of the family)
- Don't be afraid. Babies are resilient little things and thrive in fresh air, too. Keep them warm and safe and go ahead and ski, snowshoe, camp, walk, etc. (depending on their ages and your abilities, of course).
- I have found newborns are best left out of the stroller and worn on you. It means they are kept much warmer and it's easier to respond to their cues and soothe them as you walk. Plus it's great for building back your core muscles!
- Ask for help. Bring friends who have done it before and have older kids. Ask for tips and tricks from others you see out there. It'll help you to know you're not in it alone.
Yes, you will have days when you absolutely want to throw in the towel and stay at home for the next week. You'll laugh about it later. You're setting entire family up for the successes of health and mental well-being.
The time is now. Get out there!