Tips for Getting Outside With Your Baby

Whether it's the dead of winter or middle of summer, spending time outdoors has so many benefits for you and your baby. So how can you make getting outside a part of your routine? What are some outdoor activities to try with your baby? And what's the best way to prepare for leaving the house?

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Episode Transcript

Natalie Gross 0:10
From vitamin D to better sleep, research shows there are lots of benefits to getting your baby outdoors. And now that the weather is warming up, maybe you're thinking now's a good time to start incorporating some outside time into your baby's routine. We've got some experienced parents on to share therapist tips and perks of getting outside with your baby. This is Newbies.

Natalie Gross 0:37
Welcome to Newbies, everyone. Newbies is your online on the go support group guiding new mothers through their baby's first year. I'm Natalie Gross. I have a four year old boy and a baby girl. And we've got a great show today talking about getting outside with your baby. Now if you haven't already, you can be sure to visit our website, that's new mommy And subscribe to our weekly newsletter that'll keep you updated on all of the episodes we release each week. Another great way to stay updated is to hit that subscribe button and your podcast app wherever you're listening right now. And if you're looking for a way to get even more involved with our show, then you can check out our membership club called Mighty Moms. That's where we chat more about the topics discussed here on the show. And it's an easy way to learn about our recordings in advance so that maybe you can join us live. I have a wonderful panel of parents on with me today, I will go ahead and let them introduce themselves. And we'll also be meeting our featured guest, blogger Christine McMichael, a little later on in the show. So parents, thank you so much for being here. I want to kick it off with some introductions tell us about you, your family. And thinking back to those baby days. What was your routine for getting outside? Alice, do you want to kick us off?

Alice Decker 2:08
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. So my name is Alice Decker. I am a home stager in Oklahoma City with Decker8 Designs. And more importantly, I am the mom of two beautiful little babies. My oldest is Frankie, she's four. And my youngest is Dean and he's two so hasn't been too long since those newborn years. But as I'm sure most of you know that two years can feel a little bit more like 10. But in the early days, when we first got Dean, he did I will say it was a little bit of a blessing in disguise because he had some elevated bilirubin levels. So it was a pretty big priority for us from the beginning to get him outside. I can remember even you know the first and second days of having him home from the hospital, we would all kind of gather out on our back patio underneath the pergola and just really soaking up a lot of vitamin D and enjoying that time, outside together. I think it wasn't as important at the time. But looking back, I think it was really good for me to just being able to have that time to decompress, and really relax and get the benefits of being outside during that time. And then another thing that might be something that listeners would have an interest in also incorporating is that we decided to do our newborn photos outside, we did an in home session. But our house is a little bit dark, we don't have a ton of windows in our main living space. So I did kind of a little setup outside where we would be relaxed and could spend time as a family. And you know, session is an extended period of time where you're just kind of outside. So we had good lighting and all of that. And it was just a really good experience for us. My oldest at the time of Dean being born, she was not even two yet. So we had a lot of pent up energy going on in our house. And so getting out was a really big priority for us. We are in a pretty walkable community. So I can even remember doing some crazy things like walking to nearby restaurants and pushing our stroller through the drive thru. Just lots of things, even nearby parks. We also had the benefit of both of my kids were born in the fall. So we had really good weather here and lots of fall related activities going on. So we hit up all the pumpkin patches and all the parks with you know, fall related auto related harvest activities going on. So that was a pretty big reason for us to get out and about.

Natalie Gross 4:45
That's great. Thanks so much for sharing.

Alice Decker 4:47
Off course.

Sergio Rosario Diaz 4:49
Well my name is Sergio. I'm so glad to be here. I am a board member of the National At Home Dad Network, and I'm also the creator of Soy Super Papa, the biggest Latino community and it's an online community for fathers. And, you know, one of the things that haunts us that when we're stay at home dad was a stay at home dad for a couple of years. I'm also a military spouse was getting outside with the baby. It's, you know, a topic that's it's so surrounded by so many what ifs. And literally, I was kind of scared to go outside, meeting other parents going into like mom groups being the only dad. But this is something that you have to do right not only for yourself for your kid, however, there's different different energy levels, depending on the day. My best advice, or what I used to do, it was I had a schedule of days that I was supposed to go outside to a planned event, right, I would find an event in a library or just, you know, playing meet up in the park. So I would just force myself to leave the household chores and everything that comes with being at home parent, and going outside and my spouse that they knew that she came home, and there was a little bit of a mess, it was because we were spending time outside, it's so super hard to do all these household chores, taking care of the kids. Plus, being outside, I only have one child, her name is Stella, she's a six year old. And now you know, she has her own routine, she's getting invited to parties, play dates, etc. But in the beginning, it was just me and her in Alexandria, Virginia. And you know, there was a lot of activities to do around. So we were blessed to live in a city that had a lot of events going on. One of the best advice I can give to all those moms and dads is, you know, plan your day. And if it doesn't go according to plan, then it's okay. You don't have to stick to the original plan. There's always plan B, plan C. And life goes on. Sometimes we need to get in this thing that we called a third path Institute, we call G-E-M, good enough mode. Some days, you just have to be in good enough mode and take care of the things that you can control.

Natalie Gross 7:20
Great. Christiana, what about you?

Christiana Morton 7:21
My name is Christiana. And I have an eight year old daughter. And I have almost six year old boy girl twins. We live in Michigan. And I used to be a dental hygienist. And when I had my daughter who's eight, I became a stay at home mom. So for me getting out of the house. Like I had been working more than 4040 hours a week at my different jobs that I was doing. So it was a big shock for me to suddenly be a stay at home mom and like, do get dressed at the beginning of the day. Do you get dressed at the end of the day?

Natalie Gross 8:01
Do you wear leggings all day?

Christiana Morton 8:03
It was like, it was horrible. So for me, getting out of the house really helped me like get ready for the day. So it gave me we always went places. When I had my daughter, my eight year old, we would go lots of places. And it kind of gave us a reason to like get up and get dressed and do our hair and put on clean clothes and then go somewhere. When I had my twins though, that kind of all stopped. And it became very hard to do anything outside at all. But you make it work. So for me it was more about the getting up getting ready for the day. And then I also helped a lot with my kids who were fussy. It always kind of gave us all a mental redo for the day when we went outside and then coming back in. So I would say your baby is never ever ever too small to go anywhere and do anything. And it really does help. For me, it wasn't just part of the routine. It just was the routine to just get up and get out and do everyday. So that's me.

Natalie Gross 9:13
Thank you so much parents. I'm excited to chat more with you a little later on in the show and we're going to take a quick break first, then we'll be chatting with our featured guest Christine McMichael. So stay tuned.

Natalie Gross 9:29
All right, everyone. Welcome back. We are continuing our conversation on getting outside with your baby. We've already heard some really great experiences from our panel of parents. And now we have on Christine McMichael. She's our featured guest today she's a food and lifestyle blogger at jar of lemons where she's written on the topic. So what are some of the benefits that you have found of getting your baby outside?

Christine McMichael 9:50
Um, yes, thank you for having me. Well, when I wrote the blog post about getting outside with your baby, it came from a place of struggle to be honest because I, that was something I had a really hard time with. My children were born right in the middle of summer. And we live in Oklahoma. So it was very hot outside. And we also had to get outside for my baby's health as well as my own sanity and mental health. So yeah, so being able to conquer that fear and get out was so crucial for just our health overall as a family.

Natalie Gross 10:30
Yeah, I really like about how you talked in your blog about how it can be a little daunting to get your newborn out of the house, you know, there's all this stuff you have to take or you know, it's not always as simple as just like putting him in the stroller and going for a walk, right? So can you share more on that struggle, and just kind of how you push through it?

Christine McMichael 10:47
Yeah, so like I said, it was the middle of summer, it was very, very hot outside, I had a C section with both of my kids. And so I it was hard to carry the baby in a carrier. Along with that it was so hot outside that I couldn't fathom the thought of being out and having the baby and the carrier and both of us being sweaty and hot. So I had to find really creative ways to get out and get some fresh air. I would say the biggest one was getting out super early in the morning before it got too hot, of course. And then I talked about this a little bit in the blog post, but it helped a lot to have a friend as kind of accountability or just to help me not feel so afraid to be alone outside. I don't know why there's this kind of fear over it. So we would go on walks together or meet up at a park or something. And that would help a lot.

Natalie Gross 11:47
Yeah. Well, you have that post, you know, it 10 Great tips for getting outside with your baby. So let's hear them!

Christine McMichael 11:53
So the first tip is to wear the baby. And like I said it that was really hard for me in the summer because it was just so hot. But if we were able to get outside early in the morning, I was able to just wear the baby for walks or playdates Park dates. And so that helped a lot. The second tip is to bring a picnic blanket or some kind of mat I have this like leather mat, that was really, really great for just even like going to the backyard. So I would just set baby down and maybe have like an umbrella or something. And then we could just sit outside have a picnic or meet up with a friend. And the next thing would be to bring toys for your baby. Because even though you think about bringing toys maybe for like your toddler, older children, it helps to have something for the baby to just kind of chew on or play with or hold on to, to keep them entertained. The next thing would be to take snacks, if you're if your baby is old enough to eat food, they can have little teeters or there's like baby teething. I don't know what they are, they like those little rice things. Those are so helpful just to have in our in the diaper bag. And then a hat and sunscreen, obviously, if it's summertime, or just any time, that's very, very essential. I invested in a good sunscreen for my baby, just because it was summer and I knew we needed to be out. But I didn't just want to put like any type of sunscreen on him. And then a hat was like a rim all the way around helped a lot to just to keep their neck from getting burned. They also make some that have like a I don't know what it's called. It's like a back flap thing that covers their neck and those are so amazing. Yeah, I've seen those. Yes, especially if they're like in the carrier those I love those. And then one thing especially in the summer that I would say is like a game changer is if you're a mom to where a nursing friendly top because and not just a nursing friendly top but like a cool comfortable top. Because there were so many times where I needed to nurse the baby outside but my shirt was not ideal or it was just so hot, like I needed something a little bit looser and cooler. So just kind of dressing for the occasion and for the season. And then a long sleeve shirt for the baby is really crucial. It's it's a little bit hard to find long sleeve shirts for summertime that are actually cool enough but they do make them and so that was really helpful so I didn't have to put sunscreen on his arms or neck and then they also make these easy Pop Up Play yards that are really nice for like just going out in the backyard. They're shaded which is great but they still allow fresh air to come through. Or if you're going to the beach. Those are really great. And then the last two tips, I would say are bring a friend with you. Like I said, I had a friend that kind of held me accountable. Like she would message me every morning be like, Let's go for a walk, or let's meet up at a park. And as a working mom, that was really hard for me because I need to work. But I still made time to prioritize that even if it was just 10 minutes, you know, that helped me It helped the baby, it was just so crucial. And then the last thing is just enjoy your time outside because it's easy to to get caught up in mom mode or parent mode, protecting your little one and worrying about all of the little things. But it's really important to just enjoy being outside and getting that fresh air and making it a good experience for you and your baby.

Natalie Gross 15:53
Well, thank you so much for sharing this information. Christine. We're gonna take another quick break and then bring our parent panel, Alice, Sergio and Christiana back to the conversation. So stay tuned.

Natalie Gross 16:07
All right, welcome back, everyone, parents, any thoughts on what we've just heard from Christine? I'm wondering if anyone can relate to that initial trepidation of getting your baby out of the house.

Alice Decker 16:17
I mean, for me, my last baby was born in the height of COVID. So that was another added, you know, fear of getting them outside that we had to kind of overcome. But I think even just the small things, like one on one interactions with close friends that you know, I actually know Christina, personally in real life. And so we would often schedule like little meetups, again, fall related activities and things, her kids were a little older at the time, because our kids are a few months apart. But that was a really good thing for us to just get out and see people that we know, it was good for our kids good for our mental health, and just all the good things.

Sergio Rosario Diaz 17:00
I really liked the part where she talks about the support network, I am a big fan of this. You know, in the National At Home Dad Network, we provide support, and we know we hold each other accountable. I love how she said that, whether you're a stay at home parent, or working mom or working dad, having that accountability, makes things easier. I myself found that in a neighbor. And I remember every Friday morning, we used to do a playdate. And it became, you know, something to look forward to. So you know, sometimes we struggle with being alone by ourselves or moving into a new place, or not having you know, people we trust around each other. So I feel like going outside, eventually will lead to this. But if you don't make the time and space to do it, you'll never find the support network outside right of your inner circle. So I really liked how she put that accountability aspect into it.

Natalie Gross 18:04
You know, one of the things we haven't really discussed yet is kind of the, the learning opportunities for being outside, right, especially when they're walking like letting them walk or, you know, feel the grass with their feet. Anyone notice any benefits like that?

Sergio Rosario Diaz 18:18
Sure, you know, sensory experience or everything for small children, I feel like it's up to us to provide them with these experiences. I wanted to also give some moms some advice for dads right, make that a part of this experience make that a part of taking the children outside in for this not to be a burden, it has to be a kind of like a 50-50 where there's some parameters or instructions or, you know, the bag has to have this, make that part of that. So he feels empowered to take the kids outside on his own. And this is also some mental health sign for mom, very much needed. We know mothers need their time to take care of themselves. So it's not babysitting, it's parenting. Right? That's our motto. And and I think it's it's part of you know, also when the baby is growing it's you know, hasn't been born yet. It's in the belly, we can't connect. So this time of getting outside is our time to connect with our children. So make father's a big part of that. And by that for example, one thing my wife did, she got me an amazing that bag. It was amazing backpack. I was so I still have it to this day. I put my patches in there. I was so proud to wear that backpack. I was taking care of putting my own things into my backpack. I knew what things to have there and what things to not have there. And it just you know that identity of being a dad and taking the kids outside. For example, we used to go out and like somebody mentioned before just laid a blanket in the grass or Botanical Garden in Washington, DC. And then just spend some time there with the kid with my daughter Stella. You know, walk, take the shoes off and walk in the grass. Roll down a hill. I still have a video to this day, I was rolling down a hill in Puerto Rico notes and one with my daughter and you know, I can get I can go back and see this is plays a big important part in their lives.

Natalie Gross 20:33
Yeah, those are great memories. Anyone have tips for anybody have winter babies, any tips out there? How do you force yourself to get out of the house when it's so cold?

Christiana Morton 20:43
For me, we live in Michigan, my daughter was born right before Thanksgiving. And it was already snowing when she was born. So that was hard, snowing, freezing cold newborn. First time stay at home mom, like, I didn't even know what to do with myself. So, um, for me, I found they have like little, I don't know, my mom calls it up bunting. I don't really know what it's called. But it's not really like a snow suit. It's like a fuzzy blanket kind of that it's like, kind of like a snow suit. But it's not like waterproof or windproof, anything like that. So I would wear that. I mean, I would have my daughter wear that. And then I would wear her in my Ergo wrap or whatever. I had a rap and the clicking one. And then I would wear like my biggest coat and then kind of just kind of drape it over the front of us if I could close it, which it really cut in. It kind of helped. But then hats, gloves, socks, you know, like all the layers underneath that really helped. For me, I was a little afraid to leave home because I like everything set like no one's going to cry, no one's going to poop everywhere and no one's going to need to eat. And that was really hard taking a little tiny human who you know is going to cry need to eat gonna poop all over themselves and all their stuff. And how do you make sure that you know, nobody's staring at you or watching you or thinking you're a bad mom because you're outside and your kids just, you know, crying their head off. So I actually laughed when Christine gave the list of things because those are very similar to what I would take with me. Except I would always leave mine in the car. So I always had extra diapers in the right sighs that my kids were in. I always had wipes. I always had their clothes for that season. So winter clothes or summer clothes. My wrap burp cloths. bibs, because my twins were very drooly always had the bibs. Always had plastic bags, like from my or Kroger or whatever, you know, grocery store, the toys and a changing pad. I always had that and I kept it in my car in its own zipped up bag. And that kind of helped me because when they did poop on stuff when they did, you know throw up on everything. I knew that at least I could control that and I had all of that stuff with me. That really helped me once I knew that I was out and I had all those things. It was like okay, cool. I have snacks I can give them snacks when they got a little bit older or I need -- I nursed all my kids and I had the what do they call them like receiving blanket I always kept one of my car so I could put that over me and nursed the babies. So just kind of for me what helped me be able to leave my house was being prepared to leave my house before I even left.

Natalie Gross 23:54
Yeah, absolutely. Any other tips from anyone as we close?

Christine McMichael 24:01
Yeah, I just want to say that I really like Christiana is tip on having that stuff in the back of your car. Like that is actually a really great idea to just have a basket with diapers and changes of clothes. So you don't have to carry that around in a diaper bag. Especially if it's hot outside. You can just leave it in the car. I love that idea.

Natalie Gross 24:22
Yeah, same I'm going to do that.

Christiana Morton 24:24
I say just go just do it. I think it's really good for you and your baby right now to get outside too. I mean, well for us it's still freezing cold here and our grass is all brown and there's no flowers anywhere. So now for us is not that good of a time but when it is a nicer day just putting a blink outside and just laying down or doing your gardening with your baby. Sometimes it doesn't even have to be like leaving your own square footage of yard. Just like getting out kind of resets your mind. And, and also I feel like when you do now that my kids are a little bit older six, six and eight. I feel like they're very well behaved kids because they're used to going out like they're used to going to lunch with some old ladies from church and they're used to going to the park with different kids and their I feel like it kind of helps. Yes, now it helps your baby, but it also helps those babies that you're raising to be children too

Natalie Gross 25:31
Well, thank you so much, everyone for these great tips this great information. I really appreciate your time for joining me today. listeners. You can find out more about our featured guests Christine McMichael at Also check out new where we have all of our podcast episodes plus videos and more. That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to newbies. Don't forget to check out our sister shows Preggie Pals for expecting parents, Parent Savers for moms and dads with toddlers, the Boob Group for moms who give breast milk to their babies and Twin Talks for parents of multiples. Thanks for listening to Newbies, your go-to source for new moms and new babies.

Unknown Speaker 26:24
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of new mommy media and should not be considered facts. Will such information and materials are believed to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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