Movie star mama Uma Thurman unwittingly caught the eye of the parenting police when she was snapped sitting in a cafe with her newborn baby just one day after giving birth. Too much, too soon? Too many germs? Or totally OK? Here's what the experts have to say about going out in public with a newborn.
First of all, for someone who just gave birth, the 42-year-old actress looks remarkably well, perched on a stool in a Woodstock, New York, cafe cradling her baby, who is wrapped snugly in a blanket. In the photo making the rounds, it also appears to be a quiet place; Uma and child are completely off by themselves with no other people around.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for how long to wait before taking newborns out in public, but as Lori Storch-Smith, MD, a pediatrician from Westport, Connecticut, explains, it's prudent to keep newborns away from people- and germ-packed places for about the first eight weeks (other pediatricians echo this sentiment). No one lives in a germ-free environment, of course, but reducing new contact can give Baby a chance to get the immune system up and running, rather than asking her to fight off something she's not ready to handle.
"A walk outside if the weather is nice is fine, but don't take the baby to crowded areas like the mall, other children's schools, places of worship, etc., until about eight weeks of life," Storch-Smith tells BabyZone.
Uma seems to have the 'avoid crowds' part down, but what about the age? Is the notion of keeping newborns on the down-low for eight weeks—two months—realistic? What about the mom going back to work who needs to put her 6-week old in daycare? What about single moms who have no choice but to tote their babies along when they go to the grocery store? At least one mom, Emily Kane from Virginia Beach, Virginia, thinks it all boils down to a matter of personal choice—and common sense. "We took our son out at a local coffee shop at four days old and never looked back. People were quite respectful and no one touched him at all. He was never sick and became so tolerant of noise and activity that he could sleep anywhere."
But Megan Brown, a mom from Cincinnati, OH, thinks Uma may have taken an unnecessary risk. "Good her for bouncing back so quickly, but unless she made sure they had just scrubbed that place down and no one would get close to her, I just don't think it's worth it. Little babies can get sick so suddenly!"
Maybe the café delivers? When was your first outing with your newborn? Did it match the advice given by your pediatrician?