a baby question

the other day I saw a woman and a baby at the supermarket. the baby was so adorable…and SO tiny!

I asked the mom how old the baby was and was shocked to hear “he was born three days ago”.


three days ago?

my first reaction was: lady, stay home for goodness sakes!
what on earth is so important at Albertson’s??
See,I am the family baby. My cousins are my age. I didn’t really see my nephew on a regular basis until he was 5 months old.

So,my second reaction was: I don’t know the first thing about babies, really. maybe it doesn’t matter?
so my questions are:

what is the ideal waiting time?

Is it really such a good idea to take a three day old out shopping? I think if it was me, I’d be dead tired.
I know some cultures wait a while before bringing their baby out in the new world. (If it was my mom’s choice, heck, I’d still be at home. ;))

She may not have a choice. Groceries have to be bought. Baby deliveries can’t be timed; the best efforts at stocking up ahead of time may come to naught if baby comes sooner or later than planned. If there’s no husband or family members to run errands, then necessity is the watchword.

The main guide for Mrs. Bricker and me was What To Expect When You’re Expecting (and the companion What To Expect The First Year). The authors quite reasonably point out that unless your house is connected to the hospital via underground tunnel, the baby has already been out. They don’t recommend frequent excursions that young, but if it’s necessary, they say, it’s not a big problem.

  • Rick

The big concern with very tiny babies is that if a newborn gets sick, he tends to get very sick. The immune system hasn’t really been brought online yet, so even a minor cold virus can be devastating. Though you’ll meet lots of sick people at the grocery store, there are ways to reduce the risk of exposing the baby to these germs if you can’t avoid taking him to the store. Don’t let strangers touch the baby or get close to the baby’s face, avoid hand contact with strangers yourself, and so on.

Barring full bore Arctic blizzards, there’s no inherent risk in taking a baby “outside”. You want to dress the baby appropriately, obviously, and make sure the baby’s temperature stays fairly constant, since tiny newborns don’t regulate their temperature very well. But babies can indeed be taken out at very young ages. In some cultures babies aren’t supposed to be taken outside until a certain age; in others (such as in Scandinavia) fresh air is viewed as essential to good health, starting at an early age. Babies live and thrive under both these extremes and everything in between.

China has a 30 day confinement period for mom and baby. Usually a coming out party at the end of 30 days to show off the little one.

We started taking China bambina out after a month for quick trips. She usually slept the entire time in a pouch carrier or in the stroller.

Of course, the spartans let 'em out the first night…

(You didn’t say, and the baby could very well be adopted but…)

The woman was standing up, at a supermarket, only three days after having a baby?


Well, I’m of Scandinavian extraction and I live in New England, so I’m big on fresh air. While I wouldn’t let strangers touch (or cough on) my newborns, I didn’t worry overly much about germs. My babies were all breastfed, so they were already well-stocked with immunities.

I also really wanted to get out of the house myself and get some air. When my third was born, I walked her older brother to school two days later, though I left her at home because it was very cold. When my last was born, though, it was summer time, so when I took her older siblings to swim lessons four days later she came along.

Childbirth is certainly a rigorous event and can be exhausting. No woman should feel that she has to get out right away, but if she has had an uncomplicated birth, and feels good, there is no reason she shouldn’t.

Like Rue DeDay said, 3 days is early for mom & baby.

But like Bricker said, maybe she had no choice (single mom, no supportive family, etc.). Or maybe she isn’t aware of germ hazards for newborns…or doesn’t see it as a problem.

New parents are not given a standard timeframe to stay in-home, but 3 days does sound very early. I also agree with robinh…an appropriate timeframe is whatever the parents feel comfortable with as long as they are careful about keeping the baby safe.

yeah, that’s what I thought!
I didn’t ask if the baby was adopted. That would be kinda rude, I think. “oh what a cute ababy. Adopted?”

and I didn’t get the impression she was in a bind and had to get groceries, either, but I could be wrong.

Thanks, Baboon!

Very helpful thread you started here. I’m facing these exact questions in a very short time.


It’s been over 22 years since I gave birth, but as I remember, standing up isn’t a problem. SITTING DOWN is the problem.

The germ exposure issue causes many people to ask why babies are born in a hospital, which is where sick people stay. My daughter was born in December and her mother took her out for walks everyday, usually in a backpack while she walked our dog. Regardless of the weather (we lived in Cincinnati at the time, which has erratic weather at best). She is the healthiest kid I have ever seen. Even if she catches cold it last less than a day.

In contrast my son was taken out as much because it’s trickier to get two kids outside. He seems to gets sick at the drop of a hat, although thankfully with only minor ailments. Both were breastfed for a long time. We only weaned my daughter when my son came along; Mrs. ShibbOleth decided to wean my son at about 1 year old because she had been continuously breastfeeding children for almost 4 years and was frankly tired of it.

With both children we left the hospital for home as soon as possible, I think it was the next day. Their mother never took so much as an aspirin throughout the whole of both pregnancies, childbirth, or while the children were breastfeeding. I am fairly sure that both were out somewhere near other people within one week of birth. So there are obviously a number of factors at play here since we have had opposite results with more or less the same regimen followed.

especially activities done sitting down in the bathroom…at least according to mrs beagledave…

so if you don’t mind my asking…
when does this problem go away?
when are you back to feeling ok?

About the sitting down thing:

It depends on the birth. My first time I had to have a lot of stitches and sitting was pretty bad for at least a week. The second time I only had about four stitches and I was feeling pretty much fine the next day.

Re: sitting- I iced my stiches in the hospital 24 hours a day. This was possible, because I was up (only hospitals will wake you up to ask if you’d like something to help you sleep! Retards). Cute side note- the ice pack was a surgical glove filled with crushed ice, so I was getting a very cold grope down under! I would have laughed but it hurt. Ice helped a ton- use it! Keeps swelling down like a dream.

Three days, huh. Wow, she is a warrior. I would have liked to have left the house by day three, but I couldn’t quite manage it. I was out within a week of coming home, though.

I think the idea of not taking the baby out for a month is a wives tale. It probably had more to do with how the mom looked after the birth than the health of the newborn!

If you breastfeed, your baby is getting all the immunities he/she will need, so don’t worry too much. For formula-fed babies, check with your pediatrician to be sure.

Obviously, don’t let people sneeze or cough on the newborn, but most people will keep a good distance if they’re sick.

Number two is due in March, maybe I’ll try to get out just to see if I can!

My baby was a May baby, and we took him out for a few quick trips fairly early. That was more to relieve my cabin fever than anything else. I waited to take him to my office (where he would get a lot of handling) until he was four weeks old. I’d be much more conservative in the winter or fall because of concerns over rotavirus (an illness that babies can get which too often leads to hospitalization). At six weeks, we took Cranky Jr on vacation with us, dragging him across 6 states. They’re so portable at that age.

As for being up and around at three days–it really depends. I just saw my friend 48 hours after her daughter was born and other than the puffy tummy, you’d never know she’d just squeezed a kid out. She was moving well and lively. I was still moving pretty slowly at one week postpartum, but then I’d had a c-section and a coupla other glitches.

My guess is that this is not her first kid.

She probably had left some older children at home with dad or grandma.

Once you’ve got the hang of taking care of a newborn it is not intimidating, especially if you’ve got an easy baby, and most 3 day olds are pretty easy-they mostly sleep alot. When preparing for my first baby, pictures of how to burp a baby in a book looked complicated and difficult. Yesterday I found myself balancing a gassy newborn face down on one arm while browsing through greeting cards and pushing a double stroller with his napping 2 1/2 yr. old brother in it.

Compared to a house full of disgruntled siblings, being in a store with only a newborn can be very restful, almost like being alone. And shopping with a newborn is a piece of cake vs. shopping with a toddler.

Also recovery from birth varies greatly. My baby is my third child. He was born four weeks ago and he was a pound heavier than my next heaviest newborn. I was very surprised at how easy his birth was and astonished at how quickly I recovered physically. He was born at a birthing center and we went home about 6 1/2 hours later. I seriously considered attending a wedding the next day (glad I decided against it though).

Also, if you’ve got a bunch of grubby little kids at home, the baby is probably exposed to fewer germs in the store where most people will keep a respectful distance vs. sibs who want to touch and hug and kiss (and hit and bite…)

I don’t know the answer to your question.

On a personal observation level, an 18 year old friend-of-a-friend had a baby not that long ago, and she was out and about as soon as she got out of hospital. I think she was released on the third day after the birth, and she wasn’t home for the three days after that because she was visiting everyone she’d ever met. She arranged friends to babysit the night after she got out of hosiptal (maybe the night after that) so she could go and play Bingo. In fact, she went to Bingo three times before the baby was two weeks old.

Her friends aren’t impressed. They say the baby is unsettled and cries all the time because she wasn’t settled into a routine, being out visiting all the time in her first week of life. Also the girl who babysat is apparently a slob, with cats all over the house, added to which she’s not too bright, so the friends were disgusted that the baby had been left in her care.