You are a new mom, the euphoria of having your tiny bundle of joy safely nestled at home has been pure joy – baby sleeps, eats and cuddles in your arms (newborns sleep for the majority of the day and as all moms refer to this stage as the “honeymoon.”)

You think to yourself, “I have this motherhood thing under control” – until you need to leave your cozy nest either for necessities, such as food, or for your own sanity (as much as you enjoy binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, you need to rejoin civilization.)

The first outing with your baby is scary, it is unknown territory, but just like riding a bike it will get easier the more you do it.

Here are a few tips to help make things a little easier:

1. Wait a few weeks to venture on your own
Newborns need to sleep and feed in the first few weeks, so instead of uprooting your baby and exposing him/her to unnecessary over stimulation, just enjoy the cuddles in bed. If you need to go out take your spouse/mom/mom-in-law with you, that way you will be less stressed and get used to packing and unpacking the car.

2. Have everything ready
You might not be able to have a baby schedule yet, as everything in baby’s life is on demand. You can make sure that you have the nappy bag packed, know how to put baby in and out of the car seat and know how to unpack the pram. Being prepared will make your first outing less stressful and who cares if it takes you 20 minutes to fold up the pram, at least you did it!

3. Start off slow
Go for coffee, go to the park or just get in the car and drive around the block. You need to get accustomed with getting yourself ready, putting baby in the car seat, packing the nappy bag, locking up the house and actually driving your car again.
4. The nappy bag
This bag will be your saving grace on every outing from here on out. Make sure it is always packed and replenished after you have used or cleaned it out and don’t be afraid to over pack the nappy bag. There could be a severe thunderstorm and you could be trapped at the mall for days, so your baby could need those 6 extra outfits you packed.

5. Plan your trip

Gone are the days when you can just decide to go to the movies or for a long lazy lunch with your friends. Outings with your baby need to be planned firstly around feeding and secondly nap time. Outings will get easier as your baby grows up, but in the beginning weeks, you need to be strategic, as the last thing you need to worry and stress about is being in the queue at Pick ‘n Pay and your newborn is screaming bloody murder, as you need to find a place to breast feed/bottle feed.

Contributed by Kathy Cowell of Little Ashford Preschool