I know some people would never take a newborn out of the house for fear of them catching a cold, etc. If you're worried about such things, how long should you wait until it's "safe" to take them out?

Or do you need to wait at all? What are the most up-to-date recommendations from "the experts"?

asked 23 Feb '10, 02:00

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

+1 thought provoking question !

(23 Feb '10, 09:22) Emi

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I remember being told -- I can't recall if it was a nurse at the hospital or our doula -- that we shouldn't get worried about "how soon can we take them out of the house" since, duh, he had already been "out" or else he wouldn't be home from the hospital.

Hospitals are full of germs, you know. It's downright scary how many people die every year of infections they pick up at hospitals. So keep the relative risks in mind when thinking about taking a baby out of your house for a while. (Nobody is at the local Chinese restaurant because they are so sick they need round the clock medical care.)

Don't take the baby someplace where you know there are sick people. Don't let strangers handle them. Don't let known people handle them without a thorough hand washing. Other than that, don't sweat it, especially if the baby is breastfeeding (and therefore sharing mom's antibodies).

IIRC, among other places, we were going to a weekly "new parents support group" (with child) starting about the third week. That was a room full of other parents and their infants. There wasn't much touching, but we were certainly all breathing the same air. I don't recall anybody ever getting sick.


answered 23 Feb '10, 06:50

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edited 23 Feb '10, 15:02


We were also told that going into "open places", like a park, is something we should't worry about since there is plenty of air circulation. It's the confined spaces that were a bigger concern.

(23 Feb '10, 12:22) Rahn

For me personally, it depends on the time of year (and whether there's a flu pandemic going on or not...). If my baby were born in winter, I would be more hesitant and wait a couple of weeks until going out. If I went out at all, I would definitely wear the baby in a wrap to keep strangers at bay.

I'm less worried about summer babies catching colds, etc. I'd be more willing to take them out earlier. Still, I would (and did) wear my baby at that stage as often as possible to keep strangers away as much as possible - no need to "fuel the fire" so to speak!


answered 23 Feb '10, 03:53

Fun2Dream's gravatar image

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Two days, at the beginning of December. We had our baby at home, but they still like to check up at the hospital that everything is fine and dandy, so we had to walk down to the hospital (30-40 minutes). Needless to say, we wrapped him up very very well, but since we were told to go out we weren't worried about it at all!


answered 23 Feb '10, 10:27

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pete the pagan-gerbil
accept rate: 5%

I believe that this is one of those questions that does not have "a single right answer" but instead many different ones, which are relative to where you reside, your cultural beliefs and the immediate surroundings.

"When you feel comfortable enough" is the answer which springs to my mind.

This topic was of particular interest to me, because I have heard that in many different cultures, it is recommended that mother and her newborn child spend the first month at home, to bond, rest, and emotionally recover, whereas we seem to be in such a hurry to get on with our normal lives after we have given birth.

Personal thought

I have not researched it though I think I would like too one day, but I wonder whether "baby blues" or "post partum depression" is felt less by women of these different cultures?

Additional Note: I just found an interesting article How other cultures prevent Postpartum Depression which addresses the points mentioned above.


answered 23 Feb '10, 09:21

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edited 23 Feb '10, 22:28


Regarding the baby blues, it probably depends to some extent on what might make the mother feel better. It's caused by hormones, but if going out and seeing family, friends, and other mothers makes you feel better, it might help. If it stresses you out, it might hurt. Goes along with the idea of a different answer for each person.

(23 Feb '10, 14:08) Scott ♦♦

@Scott I definitely agree with you. Maybe it can be less stressful if friends and family visit the new "Mum" at home too?

(23 Feb '10, 15:54) Emi

Well, I think that depends on the Mom too, Emi, if she's the type of person who wouldn't dream of letting someone in her home without it being spotless, then the thought of someone coming over when the whirlwind of a new baby has turned it upside down would probably completely undo her. I've also had a few friends who wouldn't let anybody come and visit them at home after they had babies because that would mean that their Mom or Mother-in-law would have to be invited over then and the last thing they needed was to see "that look" on their faces because of the state of her house.

(23 Feb '10, 16:21) Neen

@Emi I also agree it would depend on the individual. I can tell you from personal experience that my baby blues were worse because I felt cooped up at home. I had a c-section and couldn't carry the baby in her carrier for six weeks or drive for two weeks. Therefore I was completely dependent on others and felt isolated and stuck. As soon as I was able to get out and about and socialize it made the world of difference for me.

(23 Feb '10, 16:30) Tammy ♦♦

@Neen That sounds like hard work... and the type of stress a new mum definitely could do without :) and @Tammy My experience was similar so I was grateful to friends who popped over. I think that we are all saying the same thing; "When each mother feels comfortable enough"

(23 Feb '10, 16:51) Emi

In our house, blues for both mom and dad were exacerbated by feeling trapped in the house. Getting out of the house for a while, even with baby, were a great way to defeat the blues for us.

(23 Feb '10, 19:35) lgritz
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

The Chinese believe that a "confinement period" of 30 days is absolutely necessary for the healing of the mother, and since baby is with mother, the baby will often rest for 30 days before being "released" into the world

Traditional confinement practices believe your body is considered 'out of balance' as you enter a 'cold stage' due to the loss of blood and energy from the birth. The confinement period focuses on re-energising your body with the 'warmth' that has been lost.

A good summary on confinement can be found here. When our daughter was born, she was confined to the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit for 3 weeks. Because I had been discharged, I expressed all her feeds and ferried back and forth to the hospital caring for her. Because I didn't adhere to the traditional confinement period of rest, my mother now sites that as the reason why I have a few post partum issues now - thanks mom, not that I had a choice!!

More specifically though, our paediatrician advised us to take it easy with our newborn once she left the hospital - he said there were no problems in taking her out, just let common sense prevail in relation to contact with people with colds and viruses, etc and to make sure she was kept warm but not overheated (she was a winter baby). A good hint he gave us was to ensure she wore the same layers as us, plus one. Because she was a premmie, we were also told to be vigilant with anyone coming in direct contact with her by washing hands and/or using a sanitising gel.


answered 25 Feb '10, 23:36

Lin's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

+1 nice answer in my opinion.

(26 Feb '10, 21:02) Emi

I know this question is a little older but we just had our little daughter (she's 10 days now) and apart from taking her home, we went out of the house with her on her third or fourth day. We just made sure that she had it warm and that she was never in direct sunlight. Other than that, babies actually need fresh air and sunlight (just not direct sunlight, as their skin is still very thin). So, as long as you keep it short, go out every day, from day one. This is from the "From tiny Tot to Toddler" book (we are in Canada).

Another great thing they say in the book (which I asked myself a lot, as we are going towards winter here): As long as it is reasonably warm (down to -12°C, well I guess we are in Canada :), see here for the exact page), it is fine to go out of the house with her. You just have to keep it short and make sure that there is no cold wind blowing, so she doesn't get any frostbite. The -12°C was a little surprising to me, but if -12°C is OK, then I have no worries at all about the current +10 or so :)


answered 10 Oct '10, 15:30

Alexander's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

edited 11 Oct '10, 17:10

That's a very interesting resource. I'm assuming the book you mention is similar to an online version I found? http://www.inspq.qc.ca/tinytot/TDM.asp?Recherche=12

(10 Oct '10, 19:48) Kiesa ♦

Yes it is exactly that one. Everybody here in Quebec gets a hard copy of it when they are pregnant. Also, please note that it is better to check the online version, than get an older one from Amazon or somewhere else. They update it every year! A 2005 edition will most probably have outdated information.

(11 Oct '10, 16:58) Alexander

I don't know what the recommended amount of time is, but I took my daughter out for dinner with my husband and parents when she was 4 days old, and had her at church when she was 5 days old. My son was at church when he was 9 days old.


answered 23 Feb '10, 03:12

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accept rate: 8%

As soon as you feel ready for it. Baby isn't going to care where they are, within reason.

I remember our first trip to Asda with our first. There was a lot of planning to try and pick a time when he wouldn't need feeding etc... We got more relaxed later, although we lived in a fourth floor flat so getting in and out was always a major chore.


answered 23 Feb '10, 19:29

pipthegeek's gravatar image

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We took a week off from large groups (church, school, community meetings, etc) and generally wouldn't let people other than close family and friends hold the infant for the first few weeks.

Making sure the mother got enough rest was the main reason though - we felt the baby should be with mom for quite some time, and that the mom should simply be resting and bonding. Yes, recovery can be quick, and people can go back to normal very soon after delivery, but we felt that unless she had to, then there was a benefit to providing that physical and emotional quiet space for them.

However, all of our babies have been jaundiced, so while mom rested at home I'd take the baby to the clinic for a heel poke bili count daily.


answered 23 Feb '10, 20:26

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%

I agree with the comment about the mum. I think it would depend on how the birth was.

With my 2nd (a tramatic C-section) I didn't go very far for the first few weeks because I didn't feel up to it. A friends who gave birth about the same time was up and about within the week.

Don't feel pressured to be out and about.

(24 Feb '10, 00:24) K D

Yeah. One of our children was born when the maternity wing was overflowing, and they put us in a two bed room. Later in the day another new mother was put in the other bed, and we knew we weren't going to get any sleep, and since I wouldn't be able to stay with her she decided to go home less than 24 hours after the birth. The nurses and doctors thought we were off our rocker, but home is so much more comfy than the hospital, and we only had to make sure he got the necessary tests (hearing, etc) before we left and visit the pediatrician the next day.

(24 Feb '10, 01:30) Adam Davis

When we had our son, we were told to wait until he was 1 month old by the doctors at the clinic, so we did just that.


answered 23 Feb '10, 20:36

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

Interesting. I'm curious, what where the reasons they gave you?

(23 Feb '10, 20:38) Tammy ♦♦

To be honest, we had so much in our hands that didn't ask too much. I guess it was to minimize exposure to diseases until he had a little more developed immune system

(23 Feb '10, 20:51) JJJ
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Asked: 23 Feb '10, 02:00

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Last updated: 25 Jul '11, 02:30