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When Can Newborns Go Outside?
Updated on
April 1, 2024

When Can Newborns Go Outside?

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When Can Newborns Go Outside?

If you’ve been staying close to home with a brand new baby for a few weeks, you may be itching to get out and about once more, or you might not be so eager to leave the safe, cozy confines of your home with your tiny little one. Or maybe you’re feeling a mix of both—or neither.

However you’re feeling about it, taking a newborn baby out and about (besides just to their doctor’s appointments, which you’ve probably had a few of already) requires a bit of planning and organization. Here’s everything you need to know to make your first trip to the park, grocery store or wherever go as smoothly as possible.

When can newborns go outside?

You might hear that you need to wait until at least a few weeks after birth, but really it depends on your baby’s general health and what their pediatrician recommends. Healthy babies don’t typically need to wait any amount of time between birth and going outside, but be sure to double check with baby’s pediatrician just in case. Once you’re ready to get outside, take baby for a walk. Between the fresh air and the Vitamin D from natural light, going for a walk can do both you and baby a lot of good.

For babies who have health conditions and weaker immune systems, their doctor will likely want you to keep them home for longer periods of time to give their immune system time to get even just a little stronger. And when you do finally get the green light to take baby on their first outing, you may need to take extra precautions like avoiding crowded, public areas.

Dos and Dont’s of Taking a Newborn Outside

DO:

  • Keep baby protected from the weather. Keep baby cool and out of the sun in warm weather by using a light and breathable carrier, giving them a sun hat or using a sun shade over the stroller. Keep baby warm in cold temperatures by keeping them close to you in a thicker carrier, and pack an extra sweater, booties, mittens and a blanket.
  • Pack more diapers and wipes than you think you’ll need. Newborns sometimes need up to a dozen diaper changes per day, so if you have the room in your diaper bag, it’s always better to be over-prepared on diapering supplies.
  • Wash your hands often, and bring hand sanitizer.
  • Bring entertainment for your baby. Really young babies can’t see very far in front of them, so they probably can’t take in much of the scenery on a walk. If you’re stopping in the park, a waterproof blanket and a few outdoor activities (i.e. easy-to-clean toys, books and flash cards) are great additions if you can spare the room.

DON’T:

  • Apply sunscreen on babies under six months old.
  • Put baby in direct sunlight. Since younger babies can’t wear sunscreen, the safest option is to keep them out of the sun entirely to protect their delicate skin. Keep to the shade whenever possible, and when shade isn’t an option, use UV-blocking clothes and sun shades.
  • Take baby outside in extreme weather.
  • Put a mask on your baby if you live in an area with high rates of cold, flu or Covid infections. The best option is to keep your baby at home.
  • Go to crowded places. If crowds are unavoidable, keep baby close and facing inward in a carrier.

On-the-Go Gear

If you’re leaving the house, you’re going to need a way to get around. This may look different depending on if you’re a city versus a suburban family or if you’re planning a road trip rather than a walk around the block, but here are the basics you’ll want to consider.

  • An infant car seat. If you’re going anywhere by car, an infant car seat is a must. Haven’t chosen one yet? Check out our picks for the best infant car seats. We recommend familiarizing yourself with your car seat before your little one arrives. Read your seat’s instruction manual, watch any videos from the manufacturer on how to use and install the seat and learn how to properly buckle a newborn into a rear-facing seat. (Note: you can also use an infant to toddler car seat for your newborn if you prefer.)
  • A stroller. A walk around the block is a great way to ease into getting out and about with your newest addition. You spent so much time researching the best strollers and now it’s finally time to take it for a spin. But before you venture out, you’ll want to get to know how to work all its features. Learn how to get your baby in and out and how to adjust the straps, practice folding and unfolding it, read the manual for any operating instructions and learn if you’ll need to purchase a separate insert to make it compatible for a newborn. If you’re using a travel system, check to see if you’ll need any car seat adapters, and practice snapping the seat in and out. The more comfortable you are with your stroller, the better your first walk will be.
  • A baby carrier. Some new parents prefer a baby carrier over a stroller, especially in those early newborn days when babies like to be held extra close. Short of someone dropping by for an in-person lesson on all things babywearing (wouldn’t that be nice!), online video tutorials like this one are the best way to learn how to put a tiny, squirmy newborn into a baby carrier. There is a bit of a learning curve with babywearing, and practice really does make perfect, so try to stick with it and don’t get discouraged as you figure things out. (If you don’t have a carrier yet, be sure to check out our list of the best baby carriers to help you choose one).

How to pack your diaper bag

We love minimalism as much as the next person, and we’re all for cutting down on the amount of stuff you’ll need to lug around when you’re out and about. But the reality of being on the go with a baby is that stuff is bound to happen that’s out of your control—and you need to be ready for it. Blowouts, spit-up, fussiness, you get the idea. The better prepared you are, the better you’re going to be able to deal with whatever your (unpredictable) baby throws your way.

It’s possible to use any type of bag or tote as a diaper bag, but bags specifically designed with parents in mind are often better equipped to get the job done. They feature things like extra compartments for storage, insulated pockets for keeping milk cool, built-in changing pads and other extras that can help keep you prepared and organized for a day out with your baby.

So what exactly are you supposed to put inside of a diaper bag? Try to be as organized as possible before you venture out on your first outing with your baby. These must-haves should be packed in your diaper bag before every outing (and you can shop our favorite picks below):

  • Portable changing pad
  • Diapers (three or four for a short outing, more for longer)
  • Wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Change of clothes
  • Extra layer of clothing to protect baby’s delicate skin (socks/booties & sweater for cold weather; sun hat for hot weather)
  • Bottle(s)
  • Formula or breast milk
  • Burp cloths
  • Pacifier
  • Small toy or teether

These optional items are also helpful to have on hand if you have the space:

  • Wet bag
  • Wipes case
  • Diaper cream
  • Portable cooler bag for bottles
  • Cleaning wipes for surfaces
  • Sun hat (no sunscreen for babies under six months old)
  • Swaddle or small blanket
  • Nursing cover
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Bringing the right attitude

The final thing on this list of preparing to go out with a new baby is making sure you’re mentally and emotionally prepared. Because reality check: getting out with a new baby can be hard.

It’s okay to get frustrated when your baby starts crying three minutes after you leave your house. It’s okay to long for the time you walked out the door with just your phone and your keys. It’s okay to miss your old life. But try your best to take it all in stride.

Be as prepared as you can, but expect the unexpected. Start small on your first few outings and don’t set unrealistic expectations or put pressure on yourself. Roll with the punches and remember that it does get easier—we promise.


Amylia Ryan

Associate Editor

Amylia Ryan is the Associate Editor at Babylist, specializing on the topics of health, wellness, lifestyle products and more. Combining nearly a decade of experience in writing and editing with a deep passion for helping people, her number one goal in her work is to ensure new parents feel supported and understood. She herself is a parent to two young children, who are more than willing to help product test endless toys, books, clothes, toiletries and more.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.