Getting out and about when you have children is key to maintaining sanity! But this is easier said than done. I have three children so know this all to well. Here are some of my best tips to get you out and about and hopefully you can avoid some of the mistakes I have made along the way.
Preparation will be your best friend I promise! If you are new to this parenting game keep it simple. If you are a first-time parent with a newborn just go for a walk around your local area. Somewhere you can get home from quickly if you need to. Don’t let other people, or social media pressure, you to be out and about in all kind of places if you don’t feel up to it.
If you are going out for longer periods pack everything the night before. This sounds simple but makes a huge difference. I once found myself 30 mins from home and nowhere near any supermarket with NO milk powder and 2 hungry babies. This was because I was rushing in the morning to get out of the door and hadn’t prepped anything the night before.
It’s also really important to always have a backup option. Take extra clothes, bottles, milk powder etc. Even if you plan to go out for one feed make sure you take two lots of milk powder and milk bottles. Likewise take extra nappies for explosions and just make sure you can cover all eventualities. Building in flexibility with the backup options can really help to lessens stress and anxiety.
Once you make it out of the house what are they going to sleep in?! For me flexibility and is key. Ideally your baby needs to be ok with all options. If you only ever put them in a baby carrier that is all they will get used to and vice versa for a pushchair or car seat. So, practice is key! You can’t make a car seat, pushchair or baby carrier feel like a crib or cot. It will be nosier and lighter and they may not be in a flat position. However, it’s not about making the on the go nap like home, it’s a about getting them used to it. So, practice makes perfect.
It is absolutely ok if they only sleep for one sleep cycle when you are out and about on the go. If you are really struggling to get you baby to sleep when you are out you can try adding white noise (as standard on Iphones), a soft toy for older children and lots more movement.
Timing is also really important to get a successful nap on the go. Ideally you want to leave the house 10 mins before then end of an awake window. An overtired baby is much harder to get to sleep. Likewise, if they are not tired enough they will resist sleep. In the morning at the end of their first awake window, will usually be the easiest time for them to fall asleep. As the day progresses, they get more tired this becomes harder.
What should you do when it’s not going well? Try to stay calm. There will be time when you baby is very upset for unknow reasons when you are out and about. If you are stressed they will pick up on your emotions. Try to find a quiet place you can sit down. With a younger baby especially, they may have been over stimulated with new sounds and sights. Use methods you would use at home to calm them and feed them if this helps. Most importantly don’t give up. There will be good days and bad days but keep trying!
Reach out if you need help and support.