For the duration of my pregnancy, my husband and I constantly talked about what life would be like once our little one came. People would constantly tell us that life would never be the same for us. While we could accept the fact that life would be different, we were bound and determined to not only fit into our little one's lifestyle, but to fit her into ours. We are both very active people and love to explore our city and areas beyond. We love going to restaurants, the beach, walking outdoors, and hanging out with our friends and family. We certainly didn't want that to change.
During the second week home from the hospital, I found myself getting antsy to get out of the house. I knew you were supposed to go by that 6 week rule but I couldn't bear it. I was having a smooth recovery so I asked my pediatrician if it would be okay to take my daughter out of the house and for walks and the occasional store run. He said I could but to be cautious. It was the end of March and winter germs were still lingering. He suggested that I make my shopping trips short and to keep the baby in a front carrier or sling so that people would be less apt to touch her. I used to put my little peanut in a Baby Bjorn and head to a store here and there. The poor thing was so tiny in there but she would fall asleep as soon as I put her in it and I was able to get done whatever I needed to do. Most importantly, it got me out of the house and I was able get some fresh air. People generally kept their hands to themselves and usually just asked me questions about her. I did feel embaressed at times that I had a 2 week old out at the store but I wouldn't change a thing. She was healthy, happy and safe all the times that we were out and about and it helped me hold on to my sanity.
When our baby was 5 weeks old, we took her to Ocean City, MD for the weekend. It was the end of April and the weather was nusually warm. We were determined to make it on to the beach both days and have a happy baby. I knew we would be spending a lot of time at the beaches since both of our families have places in Ocean City,MD and Sea Isle, NJ so I registered for the Pea Pod tent at Babies 'r Us. I highly recommend this product! Through the years, I've seen all kinds of big beach tents but this is different. It is called the Kidco Peapod http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3371236. It is compact and fits into a pouch no bigger than a large pizza pan. It's already put together and all you have to do is pull it out and take the elastic off to pitch. The entire tent pops out (stand back) and has an inflatable mattress and also a quilted pad to go in it. It works out perfectly at the beach and offers screens with UV protection. Our daughter hangs out in it and takes naps too. We take it whenever we go outdoors because it can be used in many different places from concerts in the park to hanging out in the backyard.
A few weeks later was Mother's Day and I really wanted to go hiking in Harper's Ferry. There are several trails to walk but I wanted to hike Maryland Heights which is very strenuous for someone who hadn't hiked in over nine months. I was bound and determined to make it to the overlook with my daughter so we made the hour drive to Harper's Ferry and I put her in the Bjorn for the two hour hike. I was surprised at how easy and enjoyable hiking was with such a little baby and I would recommend to get outdoors with your baby to anyone! She slept the entire uphill hike and woke up for pictures when we got to the top. I brought a bottle with us and fed her while we ate lunch on the rocky overlook. She woke up while we were walking downhill and I could see her look up into the trees with a look of wonder on her face. I was so happy at that moment that I decided to take her with us and expose her to that at an early age. Harper's Ferry is a wonderful place to get away for the day and there is so much to do there besides hike. Check out maps, things to do and events at http://www.nps.gov/hafe/planyourvisit/index.htm
One other product that I would like to mention is the Peltor Kids Earmuffs. I have gone to see the Navy Blue Angels at the Naval Academy in Annapolis each May for as long as I can remember. They put on an incredible show during Commissioning Week in May and I was bound and determined to get there this year. I was worried about the noise and researched to find a product that would work for a 10 week old baby. I purchased them from Amazon; however, I found them on many different sites. Amazingly, my daughter did not squirm once when we put them on and we were able to picnic on the Academy grounds while watching the jets fly by at top speeds. She didn't flinch even a tiny bit. We've since found many uses for them from watching fireworks to going to music concerts. It is well worth the $20 we paid for them not to mention how cute she looked in her hot pink hardshells!
Having a baby doesn't have to change everything. My husband and I may have to purchase extra products and may need to eat at our favorite restaurants at 4:30 but we are exposing our daughter to things that many kids may never get to experience. Live life and show your beautiful babies the world around them! Good luck!