Do You Take Out Your Newborn?

[name_m]Just[/name_m] curious if you take your newborn out anywhere. I have a 3 week old little girl and a son who just turned 2 in [name_u]March[/name_u]. With my son, we took him on an airplane at 2 weeks to go to my moms house because I had such awful post partum anxiety. While there we went to the zoo, out to eat. All sorts of things. So after that, we just always did whatever because what could be worse than taking him on a plane?!

This time, we had a run in with the children’s hospital ER when [name_f]Cora[/name_f] was only 6 days old, for vomiting and jaundice. It was really really awful, even traumatic for me, to have her that young and around all those sick children. I really freaked out. So now I’m terrified of her getting sick and ending up back there. I’ll feel much better after she reaches 6-8 weeks and every little thing isn’t considered an ‘emergency’ anymore.

That being said… I still have a toddler at home. And so I’m having a really hard time finding a good balance. [name_f]Do[/name_f] I try to stay home as much as possible, just playing outside with him? He really gets stir crazy. The big parks here always have daycare and preschool groups and seem so germ filled. [name_f]Do[/name_f] I still take them anyways? Take him to a small neighborhood park? I feel like I want to bathe him everytime he comes home from the park, becuase he always crawls all over and touches all the baby stuff. Is it weird to bathe him anytime he goes to the park? What about stores, the mall, library story time? What do you consider ‘ok’?

I will also say that i have OCD, and anxiety especially about germs, stemming from the fact that my dad died of a terminal illness when I was a child. I see a therapist which helps. But I still struggle with germs. So I’m just not sure which battle I want to fight- stay home and have my brain feel like mush and a toddler with too much pent up energy, but not worry about baby getting sick? Or go out and feel like a normal human, let my toddler play and have fun, and then worry sick about baby getting something? Like I said, I’m just having trouble finding a balance.

Congrats! [name_f]Cora[/name_f] is such a lovely name.

It’s so hard to know when to take them out and when to just stay home, especially in the very beginning. Probably several times harder when you’ve got the OCD to manage and an active toddler, too. Hats off to you for how many balls are in the air right now. Therapy is so important for so many of us moms (for me it certainly is), it’s a shame more people don’t talk about it. First off, know you’re doing a great job to be caring for yourself in order to do your best caring for your loved ones.

Regarding germs: I’m probably too laid back at this point in parenting, but unless her doctor said specifically to limit her time outside the home, I’d just go ahead and go for it in terms of outings. Especially the ones your son really needs. If she seems sick or especially fussy, maybe limit things somewhat, but short of that, I would try my best to let her be out in the world.

Also, about bathing, unless you’re living in a developing country, when we bathe too often (like, more than once every few days) it actually tends to compromise the skin’s “horny layer” and leave us somewhat more vulnerable to pathogens. Handwashing with regular soap before/after meals, using the restroom, etc, is plenty.

Our pediatrician always encourages taking them out. I think it’s better from everyone’s mental health and development. Germs are everywhere, kids get exposed no matter what. In fact, over sanitizing may be more harmful than letting kids play in the dirt (once they’re that age) It’s not even flu season now so just go about your usual business and try not to worry about it. Germs are a part of life.

I’m sorry you’re having trouble finding a balance. I’m not sure what advice I can give you, I’ve got no experience with fear of germs. Although I do worry about my baby son getting ill, but I can handle it.
I believe the best thing for you to do is take your toddler and baby out as much as you can handle. I can understand that it’s hard for you. I’m struggling with anxiety and depression myself, and although going outside makes me feel anxious sometimes (even before [name_m]Gabriel[/name_m] was born), I try not to lock myself up at home. Going out makes me feel like I’m part of the normal world, I can talk to people which keeps me sane, and in general I feel better whenever I go outside. Sometimes it’s just for 30 minutes, but staying at home all the time drives me crazy.

Congratulations! And I’m sorry you had to go through that with such a little baby. That would have been awful. :frowning:

I was a little freaked out about going out with [name_f]Rosie[/name_f] at first. There was some whooping cough going around when she was born, and we’re smooshed between a few high anti-vax areas where there were a few cases of measles. I was so scared she was going to catch something!

That said, about two weeks in I was going stir-crazy so we started going out occasionally. We tried to limit contact with people by going to open parks, and if we went to the shops or something one of us would always wear her so that people wouldn’t get in her face to coo over her or sneeze on her or whatever random strangers think it’s acceptable to do.

Is wearing her possible? It really helped put my mind at ease, though I guess I’m not sure how much safer from germs she actually was. I definitely would opt for going out every now and then, maybe not every day, for your own sake and your toddler’s. Are there any other mothers you know who are at home now? Visits in the privacy of a home (yours or someone else’s) is a great way to avoid a lot of germs but keep your sanity.

Congrats on little [name_f]Cora[/name_f]! Sorry to hear she got sick and that it’s exacerbating your germaphobia etc. It sounds like you are doing exactly what you should be to make sure your mental wellbeing and theirs is as balanced as possible so it’s hard for people who aren’t you to really give advice. So I’ll just tell you about what we did…

[name_f]Lorelei[/name_f] wasn’t hospitalized nor did she get sick but… we had 19 doctors visits for her in the first three weeks of her life. (+ 1 for me as I had a broken foot). She was jaundiced, had a slow heart rate, wasn’t gaining weight etc… And even though DH or my mom was there to help out every day for those three weeks I was going stir crazy and not sleeping well because I constantly worried she’d get sick or her heart would stop beating or something didn’t help. We made an effort to get out of the house on an enjoyable outting at least twice a week. And man did it help! We aimed to get out when other people would be less likely to be out…

We went to the park or zoo first thing in the morning on a weekday, went to popular dinner locations for lunch or just when they opened and then sat outside etc… other suggestions would include adventures without other people around - a walk in the woods or a friends backyard etc. You can always call places like the grocery store, library, etc and ask she they are typically slowest and choose those times to go.

PS: I was stopped in the grocery store with Lorelei by a grocery clerk whose girlfriend was refusing to take out their newborn (5 days old) - he was concerned that he couldn’t even get them to take a walk around the block with him because she was overwhelmed by all the baby things (which i’m sure nobody needs for a turn around the block) and the germs from other people. So know you aren’t alone in the fear that someone or something could get your kid sick!