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Outdoor Family Activities With a Newborn

After you bring a newborn home, you may be anxious to get back to your outdoor family activities. Like all moms, you want to be careful with your tiny bundle of joy, and you might wonder when it is safe to take her outside. KidsHealth, however, says, "There are no hard and fast medical rules about how long to wait before taking a newborn out into the world." While you won't be scaling mountains, surfing the waves or skimming the slopes at breakneck speed with a newborn in tow, a few safety precautions and simple outdoor excursions can get your family out and about.

Dressing for the Weather

Newborns are quite sensitive to both heat and cold so dressing him appropriately is key to keeping him safe and healthy outdoors. In cold weather, dress him in one more layer of clothes than you are wearing and prevent heat loss by covering his head with a hat and his feet with socks, recommends Sutter Health. In hot and sunny weather, protect his skin with lightweight long-sleeved clothing and keep him in the shade to prevent sunburn. In excessive heat, a diaper and a t-shirt or a onesie will be sufficient. Plan outings with a newborn for the morning or early evening hours to avoid temperature extremes, advises the National Wildlife Federation.

Carrier with a View

Your newborn can learn a lot from the rhythm of your movement as well as sights and sounds of her surroundings. Using a front carrier or sling with good head support gives her a window to the world from which to begin to make sense of the plethora of stimuli her senses are taking in. The experiences will begin to build cognitive connections to benefit your baby's brain development, so getting outside is a win-win for all members of the family.

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Oh, the Places You'll Go!

When deciding on outdoor family activities, think simple. High-adventure activities are still far in the future, but a simple walk in the park or short hike through a wooded area will give everyone some fresh air time to perk spirits. A trip to the beach to collect shells and put your toes in the water is another way your family can enjoy time together. If you plan to spend time just laying out in the sun, take a beach umbrella to keep your newborn in the shade. Stroll through a farmer's market or have a backyard picnic -- and don't forget the baby swing. A short camp-out -- in either your backyard or a nearby campground -- can provide fun while keeping you at or close to home.

Safety Precautions

Wind can quickly chill your newborn and dry out his skin, so it is best to shield him from the wind or keep him indoors in windy weather. His immature immune system has difficulty warding off infections, so KidsHealth advises avoiding crowded, public places that expose him to many germs. Keep his vaccinations current and ask that anyone who wants to hold him wash her hands first.

RELATED: Tummy Time & Cognitive Development

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