When you become a parent, the things you once used to do regularly without even thinking, suddenly become a luxury. Eating out, heading to the grocery store to leisurely pick up the things you need, and even heading to the movies, can all feel like a military operation when you’ve got a baby or toddler in tow.
One of the main activities parents miss when they have a baby is being able to catch a movie. It can be difficult to decide whether you should take baby with you and how old they should be before you take them to the movies for the first time.
If you’re desperate to get out of the house and enjoy a glimpse of the life you once had, below you’ll discover everything you need to know about taking baby to the movies.
How Old Should Baby Be Before You Take Them?
This really depends upon your own preference. It’s perfectly fine to take babies just a few weeks old to catch a movie. However, you personally may not feel comfortable doing so.
There is some stigma regarding taking a baby to the cinema which can be really off-putting; particularly for new parents. There’s also the fear of baby crying throughout and being looked at in disgust by other movie-goers.
Does it make you a bad mom to take baby to the movies? Absolutely not! Many parents take their young babies to catch a movie. All babies are different however, so you need to know whether yours will be comfortable with the loud noises and the dark environment before you go.
It’s also worth keeping in mind there could be germs floating around the movie theater. Young babies are at a higher risk of catching a bug, and in some cases, it could be really dangerous. So, you may want to wait until their immune system is a little more advanced before you head out.
If you do think you’re both ready for your first movie trip, here are a few tips that can help make the experience more enjoyable.
Tips For Taking Baby To The Movies
Before you do take your little one to the movies, there’s a few tips and pieces of advice you’ll want to follow. They may be old enough to go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea or it won’t be stressful. So, let’s look at some of the best tips to ensure you and baby have the best possible experience.
1. Check The Movie Is Suitable For Baby
OK, so we’re not talking about making sure the storyline is suitable for baby here. However, one thing you do need to look out for is the decibel level.
Action films for example, can often have a consistent level of around 90 decibels. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants shouldn’t be exposed to noise levels above 45 decibels. So, if you’re planning on watching a good action flick, you might want to reconsider.
Some movie theatres actually host sensory showings during the day. These are aimed at families with young children and feature bright lights, as well as a quieter environment. As other movie-goers will also be parents during these showings, you’ll also feel much more comfortable if your baby does decide to cry.
2. Length And Timing
You’ll also want to pay attention to the length of the movie. It’s not uncommon these days for movies to run for an average of three hours. This is far too long for a baby. So, if you do go to a long showing, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time outside the theatre trying to soothe and distract your little one.
The actual timing of the movie is also good to look at. If you can coincide the movie with nap time, it will be a lot more relaxing. Providing the movie isn’t too loud or too long, your baby could end up sleeping right through it. Similarly, you should avoid going when you know baby is going to be hungry or over-tired.
3. Take Plenty Of Soothers
If you are worried about your baby crying and refusing to settle during the movie, it helps to take a range of soothers. These could be pacifiers, comfort blankets or a bottle for example. Basically, anything which usually helps to keep baby happy, bring it with you! Distraction is often the best way to diffuse the situation.
4. Avoid Stranger Contact
We mentioned the possibility of germs being passed on to your little one earlier. However, if you don’t want to wait, there are ways you can protect baby against germs while you’re there.
The majority of germs are passed on via touch. So, as difficult as it is, avoid letting strangers hold, touch or kiss your baby. If you notice anybody coughing or sneezing while you’re there, make sure you move away or exit the movie completely to be on the safe side.
Older babies aren’t as susceptible to germs, but it’s still worth following precautions just in case.
5. Consider Wearing A Baby Carrier
Keeping baby in a carrier can help to encourage them to sleep throughout the movie. It also leaves you with free hands to grab everything if you do need to make a speedy exit. A wearable carrier is best as it keeps baby close, providing comfort and reassurance when you’re in strange surroundings.
6. Avoid Going On Opening Day
Even if you’ve been desperate to see a film for months before it’s released, you’ll want to avoid taking baby with you on opening day. Regardless of what time you choose to go, opening day is bound to be packed. So, wait a little while until the excitement has died down before taking your little one with you.
Overall, it is possible to enjoy a trip to the movies with your baby and it’s a great way to get out of the house and enjoy a little “you” time. However, be sure to follow the tips above if you want to ensure it’s a stress-free, enjoyable trip to the movies.