Taking your newborn baby for his or her first walk is one of the most exciting moments in early parenthood, but also one of the most daunting. Make sure you’re prepared.
Sonny was three days old when we ventured outside with him for the first time, and it was an unforgettable experience for lots of reasons! He slept, cried, thrashed, pooed, puked and then cried some more, and we realised long before we got home that we hadn’t planned the trip at all well enough.
Here’s a checklist list of things we’ve taken on every walk since…
Nappies (and plenty of them)
As someone who takes great delight in filling his nappies, we were well aware Sonny would probably need changing at some point on our walk through the local park and into town – but we never anticipated that he would poo all up his own back, all over his clothes and all over the base of his pram within 10 minutes of leaving the house. Hence the need for a fresh nappy, and the items below…
It’s one thing taking off the dirty nappy and sticking on a fresh one, but if you’re nowhere near a bin and don’t have a bag to seal it in, then it’s either staying in your hand, going in your bag or, even worse, getting squished in your pocket.
Absolutely the greatest product ever invented. I’ve used them for cleaning Sonny’s skin, clothes, pram, hair – everything. Plus my own hands, the dog and every other unfortunate item his poop has a habit of coming into contact with.
Because sometimes the nappies simply can’t hold everything in!
A little beanie hat to pull over your baby’s head is perfect for chillier days, while a sun hat with a brim to keep bright rays out of their eyes and off the top of their head is vital for bright sunny conditions. We always pack both – just in case.
Ideally you don’t want any of your baby’s skin coming into direct contact with strong sunlight, but obviously that isn’t always possible. Baby friendly sun cream (minimum factor 50) is very important as young children can burn very easily.
Antibacterial hand gel
Risk of infection is high in infants and germs that may seem insignificant to adults can be very harmful to them. Make sure you clean your hands regularly when you’re outside, otherwise you’ll transfer germs as soon as you touch your baby.
It isn’t just poop you can expect to come out of your baby, there’s a good chance the motion of the pram or baby carrier will make them puke too – especially after a feed. Make sure you’re loaded up with clean muslin cloths because there’s a good chance you’ll be wiping stuff up.
As you’ve probably noticed, young babies feed a lot. And there’s nothing worse than being 30 minutes from home with a hungry, screaming baby and no food to give them. If your baby is being breastfed, it’s worth mum practising feeding in awkward positions before heading out, and if you’ve moved on to bottles then make sure you have a good stash with you.
A good pram
By good I mean something comfortable and with the features you need to keep your baby safe and happy. A rain cover is essential (especially if you live in the UK), a good hood to provide shade is also important, while a tray beneath the cot or chair for storing your gear is also a very handy feature. We’ve added a removable umbrella to our pram as well, which provides extra sun protection when the rays start creeping under the hood.
Baby carrier or sling
Sonny cried so much on his first pram ride that I took him out and carried him in my arms for 15 minutes. Not only did this tire me out quite quickly (I’m a bit of a weakling) but it also failed to calm him down in the way that we’ve since discovered baby carriers and slings do. Make sure you do your research before buying one, though, because there are lots of options of varying quality out there.
I’m almost ashamed to admit we ended up in a pub on Sonny’s first walk, but we desperately needed somewhere to feed and change him out of the sun, and as the dog was with us no café would allow us to sit inside. Luckily I did have my wallet, which allowed us to settle down for half an hour with a drink and calm Sonny down before heading back outside.
A good sense of humour
Our first walk as a family was eventful, stressful and exhausting; but also extremely good fun. We had no idea how Sonny would react to that first trip because he was, and still is, experiencing so many things for the first time. But we laughed and smiled our way through it and didn’t let is put us off (or piss us off); and we were straight back out the next day. And I’m glad we were, because now our beautiful little boy is never happier than when he’s outside.