Living like hermits
Being a parent does not mean that you have to be cut off from society.
I spot the proud new dad a mile away. In the one hand, he is carefully cradling his tiny baby girl; in the other he has a large cup of coffee from my usual coffee shop. He mostly gets one of two kinds of reactions from passers-by. One: “ooh, how beautiful!” and two: “you shouldn’t have her here.”

The past

For many years it was believed that babies should stay at home with their mothers. Other than leaving the hospital, and going for clinic visits, for the first year the new mom and her baby would rarely see the light of day. Never being able to visit friends or go out with your husband puts a lot of strain on a relationship. Not to mention the feelings of exclusion and rejection that the new mom can develop.

The present

As times have changed, the recommendation for keeping your baby away from public places has drastically decreased. What used to be months, now generally is about two to six weeks for full term babies. There are however doctors that say that if your baby is ready to leave the hospital, your baby is ready to leave the house.

A few things to consider:
  • Are you ready? Giving birth is a taxing experience on the mom’s body, so make sure you give yourself time to heal.
  • Do you agree? Both you and your partner should feel comfortable with taking your baby out.
  • Your baby’s immune system is still developing: Do not let strangers pick up your new born – and do not feel guilty about asking friends and family who are sick to not touch your baby.
  • Be up to date: Ensure your baby's vaccines are up to date.
  • Keep it short: See the first outing as a trial run to make sure you understand your baby’s needs.
  • Avoid closed, crowded places: Rather visit places with space and proper ventilation. Stay away from smoking areas.
  • Dress for success: Make sure that your baby is dressed appropriately.
  • Relax: The chances of your baby staying calm are better when you are calm.
The future

It can still be difficult to find comfortable, convenient places to take our children, without feeling that we always end up at a play park. But times are changing. A restaurant in the V&A Waterfront has recently decided to drop their minimum age from twelve years to six years.

An Indian restaurant in Tyger Valley Centre welcomes children of all ages, but requests that children stay at the table, as they promote a fine dining experience. Many shopping centres are updating their bathrooms to include a baby room. Light weight ear protectors especially for babies and young children are available, enabling parents to take their little ones to concerts, movies and sports events.

However, as things get better for parents, on the flipside they are getting worse for non-parents. Leave your little one with a sitter if you want to attend a three hour opera. If at the movies, sit on the aisle so that you can exit easily if your baby cries. When at a restaurant without a play area, keep your kids at your table and keep noise levels in check.

Being a parent does not mean we have to be hermits, but it also does not give us the right to disregard the comfort of others.

Do you take your baby out, or do you believe babies should stay at home?


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