You might feel you need these like a hole in the head, but tips for getting out and about with your new baby really are useful for brand new parents. If nothing else, you realise that you're not alone in finding it difficult! When our daughter was born, we lived in London on our very own canalboat. It was August, it was hot, and the baby would. Not. Stop. Crying. So we have some experience of getting out and about early, but you don't have to. Every parent and every family is different and Vivien de Tusch-Lec, Founder and CEO of Bubele, knows all about getting out of the house with a new baby in tow. Have a read of her fab tips below!
The first few weeks following your baby's arrival can be, in many ways, the most amazing of your life. But they can also be the hardest, the most challenging and the most crushingly tiring. The seemingly small task of leaving the house comes with a whole new set of challenges: making sure your baby is dressed, dry, and full, packing the nappy bag for every eventuality, making sure that you're wearing a breastfeeding-friendly outfit or have some bottles prepared... The list goes on. And it doesn't stop once you're out the door. You will have to deal with nappy and outfit changes, feeding, crying, and relearning how to navigate your town as you seek out lifts instead of stairs, and fight for a space for your buggy on the bus, or wrestle the baby in and out of the car seat.
The ideal places to go in those early days are those that are specially designed to welcome new mums. This means baby massage classes, postnatal yoga or pilates, under 1's groups, mum & baby cinema, baby swimming classes and new mum meetups, such as those organised by your local NCT. The best thing about all of these activities is that everyone there is in the same boat. Everyone is fretting about nappy changes and worried about accidentally flashing too much boob when they breastfeed. There will always be a baby screaming; sometimes it will be yours, and sometimes it won't. But it doesn't matter, because everyone has their turn and so nobody minds when it's yours. Treat these places as safe environments to get used to being out with a little baby and all of their demands before heading out into the wider world.
The other amazing thing about these groups is that they are full of women who are going through the same experiences as you are, the good and the bad. You can talk about your episiotomy stitches, or your c-section scar. You can discuss breastfeeding positions, and chat about latch and tongue-tie. And you can go for tea and cake after the class and talk some more.
Being a new mum is a little like starting uni. Everyone is in the same boat, and you can make fast friends. But it can sometimes be a little trickier to meet mums who you would have been friends with regardless of their parent status. A large part of the reason for this is that you're still figuring out who you are as a person now that you're a mum. But while things have changed, keep in mind that the best mum friends are the ones you can share the other parts of your life with, not just the baby bits, so try to remember who you are beyond being a mum, and focus on your interests when choosing your activities. So, if you're a movie-buff, head to mum & baby cinema. If you are a book worm, join a local mum reading group (and if there isn't one - start one!) If you are a fitness fanatic, book onto some post-natal exercise classes.
You might find it difficult to talk to new people, and to make friends, especially as many new mums find their confidence has taken a beating, and they are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Remember that everyone else is feeling that way too. Motherhood is a tough gig, and we need to help each other through the sleepless nights, the colic and the teething. As much as your child-free friends will want to help, they don't want to hear stories of exploding nappies, pee fountains or the more grisly side of childbirth!
So when is a good time to head out with your baby for the first time? Well, it all depends on what kind of birth you had, and how your body is recovering. The first few weeks after childbirth are for looking after yourself and bonding with your baby. You need time to recover and bond with the brand new human in your life. Usually at around 6 weeks after having a baby, you will have your postnatal check-up and your GP will let you know how you are healing. This can be a good time to start venturing out to classes with your new baby, but, even if you get the green light from your doctor, it's important to listen to body, and not push yourself to do things before you are ready. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing, or what you 'should' be doing. It is crucial that you listen to your own feelings, and your body, and your baby, and do what is best for your particular situation.