You Brought a Baby Where?!

Sometimes I see people with a brand-new baby in a wildly inappropriate place -- like, say, a baseball game or a bar -- and I wonder whether those parents were so desperate to regain some semblance of their former life that they thought, "Intense sun exposure and second-hand smoke be damned, we're bringing the baby!"

Now, I'm not one to talk. My son's very first outing was to an Irish pub to celebrate my birthday. We sat on the patio and propped him up next to a pint of Guinness for a photo opp. But at some point I realized that nursing in the car and changing diapers in ridiculously inconvenient changing stations in dirty public bathrooms was not how I wanted to spend my time.

Besides, while newborns are quite portable and often quiet, babies that are a little older are not. When Miles was about 5 mos. old we took him to a museum, where he screeched and bellowed the whole time because he liked the way it echoed throughout the silent, marble-floored galleries. Shockingly, no one asked us if we were interested in a museum membership that day.

If you feel you MUST get off the couch and out of your sweatpants for an outing with a small baby, here are some suggestions:

A street fair. If it’s not too hot or too crowded, an afternoon of al-fresco people-watching is a new-parent friendly activity. Especially if you carry your baby in a sling or carrier so you don’t have to worry about running into people’s ankles with a stroller. Of course, you must accept the inherent risks of eating street food and using a Porta-potty. Tip: bring lots of hand sanitizer.

An outdoor concert. And I don’t mean a Metallica cover band in a liquor-store parking lot. I’m thinking more along the lines of smooth jazz under the stars or Mozart in the park. Around here, there’s a popular Friday-night concert series with family-friendly reggae and Jimmy Buffet-type bands. Although, again: Porta-potties.

The zoo. If your baby’s old enough to see more than a foot in front of his face, he may enjoy looking at wildlife, especially animals like elephants and giraffes that are large enough for him to actually see. Or, he may be terrified of the chimpanzees. You won’t know till you try.

The mall. So it’s not exotic or educational. At least they have refreshments and indoor bathrooms. Plus, if there’s a Nordstrom’s or another upscale department store, you may find a clean, comfortable “mother’s room” where you can feed and change your baby without gagging.

Avoid places that are quiet and frequented by lots of old people. That may be the day your precious little one gets colic. And note that some places (like the aquarium in our city) ban strollers, so you may have to haul your hefty tot around in your arms all day.

If you really want my opinion, I say stay home. There will come a time soon enough when you’ll have to take your child to such insidious places as Chuck-E-Cheese and Gymboree. Why rush things?

LINK O' THE WEEK: For club-kids who grew up and had their own kids, Baby Loves Disco is like a nightclub for tots. Only during the day. And with snacks. I like the idea, but when it came to my area it was $60+ for a family of 4. Too steep, IMO. But check out the tour dates -- in some places it's free.


YUMMama said...

I gave you a blog award.

Caitlin said...

I have a picture of my son in a stroller in front of the same giraffe house!

Fun ideas!

Chic Mamá said...

Great places to go. I love having picnics and bringing music outside. I'd never bring my kiddo to a bar. It's called hiring a sitter lol

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

Couldn't agree more! In fact, we went to a street fair over the weekend, and my newborn did great! And I've got to reacquaint myself with the mother's room at our local Macy's, cause it was a lifesaver with my first child, and I've got to go jeans shopping (argh).

You know, I've found another strangely inappropriate place to bring a baby: the children's section at the library. You'd think it would be okay for a baby to fuss there, but when mine started screaming the other day I felt lots of eyeballs on my back. Shoulda gone to the mall. ;-)

Mom2Miles said...

Thank you, YUMMama! I just tried to leave a comment on your blog but got an error message. :(

Shannon, I avoid the library, too. It's too stressful to worry about the baby crying.

Heather said...

I love that you took your newborn to a pub. Kinda funny. I think our very first outing with our newborn was at a little breakfast nook restaurant we frequent often. I remember the days when he would sleep thru an entire meal and friends and onlookers would coo over him in his carrier.

Now as soon as his little heiny graces a restaurant high chair he wants to run about. So we bring toys that he can only play with when we are out, like a little drawing tablet or cars he can race along the table. Its sooo much different with an 18 month old as I'm sure you know.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Heather from Mommy Only Has Two Hands! and Rescue Her!

Zsofi said...

My baby was born in December, so the mall was my haven during the winter months! But I have taken him out to lunch in a pub - maybe not as bad as dinner time? :-)

Zsofi from Grown Ups & Downs

Loukia said...

Oh, man... malls were my best friend when I was on mat leave... I could shop while baby slept and then go to the nursing room to feed my baby... :)

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