How To Go Out With Your Baby Without Disruption

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How To Go Out With Your Baby without ruining the routine. Tips for being flexible with your baby and what gear you need.

mom and baby smiling for the camera

We all need to get out of our houses for our own sanity. Our children also need to get out of the house sometimes.

When it comes time to actually get out, it can seem really stressful. How do you keep baby safe? What gear do you need?

And how do you do it without killing your schedule or routine?

The stress is there, but so is the need to get out. Not only for sanity, but for relationship building, having a life with friends, errands, and appointments (just to name a few).

So yes, disruptions to your routine are okay and even necessary.

Some people view the fact that a schedule gets disrupted as a reason to not bother with a schedule at all.

I don’t think you have to go that extreme. You can still have a baby schedule and learn to manage disruptions. There are many compelling reasons to have a baby schedule. So do not give up! 

I have always been one to keep disruptions to a minimum. Here are some principles I operate by to keep going out as least disruptive as possible.

I will also share good baby gear to make getting out easier.

How to Get Out of the House with Your Baby

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are disrupting your routine.

Maintain Your Morning Nap

If you have a baby who sleeps in the morning, avoid going out in the morning if at all possible.

You want to keep that regular nap time in the morning.

Missing that first nap is the fastest way to mess up your whole day. If you can get that first nap in before going out, the other naps are easier to work with.

There are exceptions to this.

When Kaitlyn was a baby, our church was from 9-12 AM, so Kaitlyn missed her morning nap every Sunday.

Church is more important to me than keeping a consistent schedule for that day.

However, Kaitlyn was also old enough (11 months) at that point that missing that morning nap didn’t throw her entire day off.

She went home from church and took a longer afternoon nap. She then also goes down for bedtime early. The age your baby can do the same will depend on your baby.

>>>Read: Going to Church Without Ruining Your Baby’s Sleep

Space Out Disruptions

I try to keep days with a disruption spaced out. So for me, Monday was a day we are home all day because Sunday was disrupted by church.

I always give my kids time to bounce back before disrupting them again.

We had church disruption to our routine on Sunday, so we kept Monday uninterrupted.

If you know you have an appointment Thursday, try to keep Wednesday and Friday as normal as possible.

Recognize and Accept Your Child’s Limitations

When Kaitlyn was a younger baby, our church was 1-4. For that time, Brayden missed his afternoon nap, which was hard since it was his only nap of the day.

He went to bed early those days since he hadn’t had a nap.

We also came to realize he really couldn’t miss a nap two days in a row. Saturday and Monday he really needed his nap.

Some Saturdays we had to miss nap for things, but we certainly paid for it for a few days with his behavior.

We also noticed that he couldn’t miss more than two naps a week and maintain grace.

Another thing with Brayden is that when he was a baby, bedtime was imperative. He was not a happy baby beyond bedtime.

So for us, we were home by his bedtime. That was our life for that time period.

There were plenty of times we would have liked to have stayed out instead of having such an early curfew ourselves, but it was necessary for our baby to be home by bedtime. Otherwise, we had a very fussy baby who wouldn’t sleep.

Parenting often requires sacrifice. Once he got older, both he and Kaitlyn could handle getting to bed late, so we were able to stay out later some nights if needed.

Take note that your baby will not always have the same level of flexibility nor the same sensitivity to disruptions.

For example, newborn babies typically will sleep anytime anywhere. You can go out easier with a newborn because of that. That same newborn who would sleep anywhere might be super particular by 9 months old.

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Maintain Baby’s Schedule When Possible

Having a baby on a routine or schedule doesn’t mean you can no longer have a social life or stay in touch with your circle of friends.

In addition to what I shared above, you can make going out easier with the right baby gear.

If we went to a friend’s house or family’s house, we brought along the pack and play so Kaitlyn could try to nap while we were there.

I realized she might not nap as long as usual, or maybe not at all, but it was worth a shot.

I did the same with McKenna and Brinley. We took a peapod or bassinet along so they had a safe place to sleep when it was nap time.

If your children will sleep in the car (mine would not), you can try to time travel time so that it lines up with naptime or bedtime.

Plan Wisely

During the Christmas season when Kaitlyn was a baby, we went shopping a lot.

Kaitlyn was 7-8 months old and had 3 naps a day. This was before online shopping was huge, so we had to go out a lot.

She wouldn’t sleep in her car seat or on the go, but we couldn’t get our shopping done while working around that 3rd nap.

Well, that nap wasn’t all that important to her happiness. She was at an age where many drop it anyway.

If we were home, she would sleep 1.5 hours, but if we were out, she stayed awake. That nap was the best for her to miss.

Because of that, we planned for our disruption to her routine to be during that third nap. We planned wisely.

We just put her to bed early to make up for the lost sleep.

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Be Prepared for Disruptions

When you disrupt the routine of your child, be fully aware that your child will likely be disrupted in some way.

It might be with behavior, disposition, sleep, eating, etc.

This will depend on the personality of your child. But always remember that it isn’t fair to expect an overly tired child to be obedient or happy.

Be mentally prepared for these disruptions so you can respond to them well.

Hire a Babysitter

When you want time with moms or have something else going on, it doesn’t always mean you have to disrupt your baby.

If you are comfortable with it, get someone to watch your children while you go out.

We had kids who went to bed early. If we wanted to go out beyond their bedtime, we got a sitter (who happens to be my parents).

It can be easy to get a babysitter after bedtime because they are there while the kids sleep.

If you left your home after the kids were in bed, you basically only need someone to come to your home and watch movies while your kids sleep.

My kids will often sleep over at my parents’ house while we go out on a date. That is another perk of Babywise. My kids sleep well and sleep 11-12 hours, so it isn’t a chore for my parents to watch them overnight.

They don’t have to wake in the night with the kids.

All grandparents are thrilled to watch their grandkids, but even more so when it is easy and fun.

Be Flexible

The schedule can be disrupted at times if you need to disrupt it for an activity. I don’t see a problem with going out on occasion if you need to, but I would be prepared to have to come home early if the baby loses it.

You need to keep baby’s needs in mind while you are out. If baby needs to go home and go to bed, be prepared to go home to accommodate.

I know it is hard and disappointing.

Keep in mind that it is a short season. As I said, parenting requires sacrifices. It gets easier to take your kids places as they get older.

Baby Gear You Need

Having the right gear on hand can make going out much easier.

Baby Carrier

A baby carrier of some sort is super helpful for going out with your baby.

Baby wearing can make it so your baby stays calmer and will maybe even sleep in that position. We always found this helpful when we were out and about for family time, especially with our third and fourth babies.

One note, it is wise to be comfortable with a baby carrier before trying to use it while out and about. It can be stressful to be out already, and if you are trying to figure out how to use something on top of that, it won’t be fun for you.

Bouncy Seat

My kids all loved to sit in their bouncy seat and play. We often took it with us when we were leaving home so they had a familiar safe place to play.

It is easy for baby to get overstimulated while out, especially if he is getting passed around and held a lot. The bouncy seat can be a nice break.

If you don’t have the space for a bouncy seat, try bringing a blanket and a few toys instead.

Alternatively, you can put baby in his infant seat car seat with some toys.

Place to Sleep

Having a place for baby to sleep while you are out and about can really help minimize the disruptions.

As I mentioned above, we used a pack and play, bassinet, and pea pod. We had times we took a swing (you can even get a travel swing). Sometimes baby slept in the infant carrier. At church, our kids often fell asleep in the car seat.

If the place you are going has a place for baby to sleep, you can simply put baby in there. Just don’t forget a swaddle blanket if baby is still swaddled. A sound machine can also help block out strange noises.

Appropriate Clothes

If you will be outside with baby, make sure you have things to keep baby warm, cool, or out of the sun.

Feeding Gear

If your baby will need to eat while you are out, think through what you will need for that. Will you want a cover if you are breastfeeding? Do you have all of your bottle gear if bottle feeding?

If baby is eating solids, where will baby sit to eat (the bouncy seat can work, as can a lap). There are a lot of travel high chair options if you find yourself needing one often.

Do you have the spoons, food, and bibs packed? Think through it all so you have what you need.

>>>Read: Tips for Feeding Baby and Napping Away From Home

Conclusion

Going out with a baby can be a lot of work! As time passes, it will become more of second nature to you.

Do not let stress or fear stop you from giving it a try. Go out and have a fun time!

Reader Questions

  • IzzysMama said…
    Do you have any suggestions for incorporating play groups, library story times and things along those lines, that dont match with your schedule? I dont want to avoid these things just because of the “schedule” but I dont want us to get to far off track either. Thanks!
    March 3, 2008 12:30 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    I would first limit the number of disruptions per week. You don’t want every day to have something that interrupts a nap. The length of time baby is so young that you have to limit yourself is short.Then I would find something that works best with your schedule. If you are out during naptime, be prepared to possibly need to leave if baby is fussy. It helps to bring lots of toys and things to entertain baby with. If you breastfeed and will be out during a feeding time, you can bring a bottle (either pump or formula). I personally wouldn’t do a play group that was during the naptime of my baby. Babies don’t really play together anyway, and it would just set baby up for fussiness and frustration on your part. If you want to do a playgroup, see if you can form one that fits in with your schedule well. It is only a short season :).
    March 3, 2008 3:35 PM

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This post originally appeared on this blog March 2008

Tips for going out with your baby

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30 thoughts on “How To Go Out With Your Baby Without Disruption”

  1. Val-any tips on daycare disruptions? I know they can’t always accomodate our schedule, but I’m just worried there’s going to be a snowball effect after not napping and eating consistently.

    Reply
  2. I am new to Babywise. I want to commend you for the work you are doing. Great blog. Thank God I found you. I have found answers to many of my questions here. May God bless you.

    Reply
  3. HI!! I love your website, and I was thinking since there are so many mom’s that get on here there has to be some mom’s that want to know what Heritage Makers is all about!!! Heritage Makers is storybooking. It is kinda like scrapbooking, but way way easier! I have just completed and ABC book for my kids, and any one can view it if they go to my blog www.krystal-lee.blogspot.com I have recently become a consultant for Heritage Makers, and if anyone is interested in making a book-it could be an ABC book, brag book, baby book, birth stories, geneology books, vacation, etc. The sky is the limit! Anything that you can think of you can do. There are all types of sizes of books as well. So if anyone wants to contact me my email is [email protected] Thanks!! (I hope this wasn’t inappropriate to put on your blog..)

    Reply
  4. Bethers21–I hope you are getting some good info on daycare. I worked in one once, and wouldn’t wish that place on anyone :)(the one I worked for). I don’t know if you can, but I might consider finding a different place if you can. It sounds to me like your daycare isn’t trying to accomdate you and your baby. And for some, it is too hard. Good luck!

    Reply
  5. Hi Valerie,What a great blog you wrote. I REALLY wish I had found your site before my baby came!!!Anyway, I was wondering about disruptions…on Sunday we have church and lunch with my family for Easter. This means that for the first 3 naps of the day my son will def. be missing at least one, having one very short, and either completely missing or having the third disrupted. Due to the holiday I can’t figure out any way around this.My question is, when we do get home- should I let him sleep longer than normal to catch up during daytime naps? What’s the max I can let him sleep?Currently his longest naps during the day are 2.5 hrs.

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  6. I would let him go maybe an extra 30 minutes, and then put him to bed early if he needs it. The next day, he will likely be tired and need shorter waketimes, so pay attention to cues and watch for that. He will likely also take longer naps Monday.

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  7. Thanks Valerie…what is the technical bedtime for a baby that young? The feed before the DF? How would you do that earlier?

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  8. P.S. Say he misses one nap at home, for whatever reason. Do you let them sleep longer the next nap to make up for it, or wake them up to eat at 3 hours?

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  9. Hey! I am so glad I found your blog. It is so helpful…I looked through it all week for help with my 20 week old waking at night and it really helped me problem solve- very hard to do on no sleep!She is doing much better and sleeping from 10:30pm to 6- on some nights crying at 2am. We are late starters with sleep training due to moving across the country when she was only a few weeks old. Hotels and temp housing with our 8 dc had things a bit crazy and I used the pacifier to help her sleep. I have weaned her from it from her morning nap but I think she is waking for it at 2am. I just give it to her and go back to bed. Any advice? I really don’t want to take it away for good yet…maybe I should? I know you did not use a pacifier with your little ones but maybe some of your readers have? thanks again for a great blog!

    Reply
  10. Catherine,I consider bedtime to be the time before the dreamfeed. I consider the dreamfeed to be more like a night feeding.I would let them sleep longer for naps by a bit, then early bedtime. You don’t want to let them sleep so long that you end up dropping a feeding that day.

    Reply
  11. Amy,If you don’t mind continuing the pacifier “game,” you could continue giving it to her at night. Be aware that will continue until she is capable of finding it and putting it back in herself.Moms I know who did pacifiers without disruption all seem to say they would only replace it once, then no more. The reason this would give no disruption is that the baby would have to learn to self-soothe, so would have a back-up method of soothing if the paci wasn’t there.I also know many moms who had to just drop the paci because night disruptions got so bad.

    Reply
  12. Thanks so much! Right now it’s once a night…believe it or not she found the pacifier all by herself yesterday- I thought that was unusual! I’ll check out the link…God bless!

    Reply
  13. I really appreciate your blog…it has really helped with trouble shooting. Here’s one more question I have: I have a 15 week old. She used to sleep really well in her car seat, so it was really easy to run errands while she napped. However, the past few weeks, she’s getting a lot more alert and it’s harder to get her to go to sleep in the car seat and once she’s asleep, she only sleeps for 30 minutes. No amount of swinging the seat or driving seems to get her back to sleep. This of course throws off our schedule…she wants to eat sooner, needs to go down for her next nap sooner, etc. I know the day will come when I can run errands when she’s awake, but right now she can only handle 60-80 minutes of awake time and 40 of that is spent feeding/diapering. Do you have any suggestions on how I can still get grocery shopping, etc done without throwing off her day? Thanks again!

    Reply
  14. It is a hard time. Here are some thoughts on it:1-she should soon drop a nap, so that should make things easier on you…until then…2-Since Brayden took so long for the first few months to eat (60 minutes), I would pump a bottle and feed him in the car as we drove to our destination.3-If you can, you can take turns running errands.4-Just know that you are going to throw off the day. I would try to do the errands in the evening time so the whole day isn’t thrown off. It will get easier before too long. I would also try to get as much done in one day so you don’t throw every day off. 5-Conversely, you could just do one errand a day and try to fit it in your waketime.

    Reply
  15. Hello! First of all, thanks for posting your blog – I have found several great tips and appreciate your insights on all things baby-related. My question is around going out with baby in the evening. My 17-week old baby currently has a 7:30pm bedtime (with her night-time bath routine starting at around 6:30pm) and we have a dinner engagement coming up. I’m wondering if there are any tips you can suggest to help her stay up just a bit longer that evening? She currently takes a late afternoon nap from 4-5pm – should I let her sleep longer for that nap? Also, sometimes she automatically wakes up at around 5pm out of habit so it might be difficult to keep her sleeping beyond her usual time. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  16. For sure let her sleep later if she will. Then take new toys or toys you have hidden away for a few days with you and be prepared to feed early/extra if necessary. Also be prepared to do some dancing with your baby 🙂

    Reply
  17. Do you have any good advice for holiday season coming up? Our family gets together for Christmas Eve late – usually around 6:30 – which is right around when I start my 6 month old’s bedtime routine. I have a hard time deviating from the schedule so needles to say I’m not looking forward to this night. What’s the best way to deal with late night outings like this so its the least disruptive?

    Reply
  18. This will likely be a difficult night. I will suggest a few things and see what works best for you. In the end try to relax and enjoy it and remember it is a special ocassion and just one night :)1-Ask your family if they could get together earlier this year2-See if you can all sleep over at the location if possible so you can just put baby to bed on time3-Put baby to bed at normal time, then just transfer him to the carseat when it is time to go. He will likely wake up and be cranky.4-Have him take a third nap. You could either do it before the party, or at “bedtime” and just treat it like a nap instead of bed.

    Reply
  19. I am involved with a couple different moms groups through my church and a friend's church. They are not meeting during the summer but are having frequent play dates and get togethers throughout the summer. Most of these happen to fall during Noah's first naptime of the day (he's 10.5 months old). I haven't gone to any of them yet, because I know how important that first nap of the day is. Most of the play dates are either at 9 or 10, and his naptime is 9:30-11:30. I would like to be able to go to some of these get togethers though. What would you suggest?

    Reply
  20. Hi, I'm wondering if you missed my question in this thread from June 7th? I haven't received a response yet and I know it usually only takes you a few days. Thanks!

    Reply
  21. Thanks so much for posting these tips! I just eat-up your blog!! On the note about hiring babysitters, another option is forming a baby-sitting coop with other families in your circle of friends, or at church, etc. We started one a few months ago with other families at church and it works wonderfully! The idea is that we swap baby-sitting services with these other families for FREE! That way none of us really have to pay for baby-sitting. Someone always seems to be available to watch you kids, and then you're able to watch their children in return. It makes going out a lot less disruptive, and it's an easy job for the other families when my daughter just sleeps the whole time. :o) And it's FREE! It doesn't get much better than that.

    Reply
  22. Jencwu,I would go to some, but definitely not all. And also, try to not disrupt the morning nap more than once a week. That is the most imortant nap, so preserving it is really important. For the ones that start at 10, you might put him down for an hour and just go a little late. Sorry it took me a while. I have a lot of questions here these days, and not as much time to answer them 🙂

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  23. Paladinos9801, Thanks for that tip! That is a great idea. You also have the bonus of having adults watch your children rather than teenagers, which I think is nice.

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  24. I'm an assistant pastor's wife and our church frequently has week long missions conferences or revival services in the evenings. I have a 2 year old and a 12 week old baby. We usually don't get home from the services till 9 at night or later. My baby normally goes to bed at 7:30, but at church he is in the nursery during the service. The nursery doesn't have cribs or a quiet place to sleep. Usually during the week of conferences there are various events during the day that I'm expected to attend. This further adds to the disruption to my children's schedule. I try to bow out of certain events in order to give them as much rest as possible, but our Pastor and his wife thinks that shows a lack of flexibility. What would you suggest I do to compensate? By the end of the week, my children are cranky and tired.

    Reply
  25. Sarah, One thing I would suggest is perhaps a babysitter so the kids can stay at home and get some rest.Also, I would try to talk to the Pastor and his wife and explain that while your baby is so young, you need to be able to give her consistency. As she gets older, she will be able to be more flexible, but she cannot be flexible if she has no where to return to.

    Reply
  26. This is perfect! I really appreciate the advice given on disruptions. My question is how do I explain this whole scheduling thing to my family and my in-laws? They think that when they are around, or when we are visiting that my son (5 months) should be awake and playing with them. They don't get why we want to be home early, or why naps are so important to us. (Needless to say none of them had great sleepers! 🙂 Any suggestions would be great, thanks!

    Reply
  27. AnnDee,1-you might try giving them the book so they can read for themselves.2-explain that brain synapses form during sleep.3-explain that he is much happier when he gets his rest. If he doesn't, then XYZ happens. 4-Tell them you want to be out doing things, you think it is fun. But you have to make sacrifices to do what is best for your son. Soon he will be able to stay up more and you will have more freedom.Hopefully they are understanding! If not, you are not alone. Hang in there. My philosophy is that they are the adults. They can learn to put their own selfish desires aside for the benefit of the baby. That is just the blunt view of it. So don't feel bad about doing what you know to be best for your son.

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  28. I need help! I'm a new mom. My LO is 10 weeks. He is on a 3 hr schedule, 7-10-1-4-7 with df at 10. I always have to wake him up for his df, but he takes in a full feeding. today we did a trial run for daycare, his gma is watching him, but she lives 45 mins away. I feed him at 7 am, bf. Then he is out the door by 7:40 at the latest. Dh meets gma at a half way point and he gets to gma's house at 8:25, and doesn't sleep in his car seat so he is starting off his day OT (usually he's down for his first nap by 7:45 to 8. Today he only slept a total of 2 hrs at gma's house! My husband picks him up and he gets to our house at 6:10 pm (his last feeding is at 4 at gma's). he didn't sleep when he got home, just fussed on/off until feeding time. And I fed him at 7 and he went down for the night by 8 p.m.he had been doing really good on his 3 hour schedule at home. He went down for naps without crying, and would sleep somewhere between 1 and 2 hours. If he woke early I would rock him or walk him back to sleep so he wouldn't be over tired for next feeding.The past 2 nights he STTN with no MOTN feeding but with this new change in schedule I'm sure that it will get worse 🙁 I've been trying to educate gma on BW and gave her a written schedule to follow, but on bad days like this, I don't even know what to tell her. Any advice I can tell her to help her days go better? Any advice for me? I'm at a complete loss and I feel horrible for my little baby! Will he just adjust and how long will it take?

    Reply

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