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Baby Milestones 0-4 Months: Mall Crawl

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You may have been told to keep your newborn away from crowds, but sometimes you just have to get out. And your baby will likely pick up on your happy cues, especially when you find jeans that fit. To keep your shopping buddy healthy and happy:

Ward off germs. Drape a lightweight blanket across your baby in his stroller so well-meaning strangers won't be tempted to touch. Or wear your little guy in a baby carrier so he's close to you and away from others' colds. Newborns can't fight infections the way older babies can, so minimal exposure to other people is ideal, says Henry Bernstein, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire. And don't worry about looking like a squirrel with OCD: Rub your hands with antibacterial sanitizer as often as you want.

Shop while he sleeps. Not every nap has to be in his crib, after all!

Know his personality. The crowds! The Muzak! The bright lights! Your newborn may not notice any of it, says Claire Lerner, a developmental expert at Zero to Three in Washington, DC. When faced with so much stimuli, newborns often shut down, tune out, and sleep. If you think your baby might be overwhelmed (some infants are especially sensitive): Go early or on a weekday when it's quiet, bring favorite toys to distract him, and keep your expectations low -- two purchases equals success.

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