Just two months ago, we welcomed the newest member of our family – a bouncing baby boy, Peter. We are overjoyed, of course, but we are also tired. Unfortunately, my toddler doesn’t particularly care how tired we are, with her own boundless energy and lack of interest in laying on the couch all day (the nerve!).
So we’ve been out and about earlier this time around, for our toddler’s sanity and I suppose ours, as well. Newborns are easy in one sense because they can be carted around without attempting to run away, but they are also needy creatures with piercing, unrelenting screams when said needs are not met. This plus a, um, feisty-but-fun toddler can present a challenge.
Still, it’s possible to have a successful outing with a little strategizing in advance. Here are a few tips and outing ideas.
- Bring the right gear. Some babies do really well in a stroller – mine is not one of them. For us, babywearing is non-negotiable. I personally prefer the K’tan wrap, but there are so many options available. The plus of babywearing for outings is that it leaves your hands free for wrangling – er, playing with – my toddler, but keeps the baby with me at all times. Plus, in a possibly loud, overstimulating environment, the wrap keeps the baby feeling calm and secure.
- Assume the baby will need to eat. Babies eat so frequently that it’s almost impossible to plan an outing around a feeding. So either pack a bottle of pumped breastmilk or formula, or have a plan for nursing. If you are someone who can just whip it out in public, good for you. I am not super comfortable doing that so I at least need to make sure I have a cover handy. I also like to scout out any available nursing rooms. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has a fantastic one near the entrance (there are two chairs with a privacy divider inside – so even if it says occupied, it’s worth checking). The Children’s Museum of Cleveland also has one, but you’ll need to see a staff member for access (I’m told they are adding an easily accessible one when the next exhibit opens).
- Be smart about dining out. Timing and location are both important here, but you can enjoy the local food scene! Evenings get dicey for many babies (and toddlers), so we tend to eat out closer to mid-afternoon/early evening. This prevents anyone from getting hangry, meaning we all get to enjoy ourselves a little more. It also means we can avoid being out for the baby’s witching hour in the evening. We also choose restaurants that are a little more casual and loud so that our kids’ loud noises (laughter or crying) are easily absorbed. Masthead and Barrio are recent favorites (again, going as early as possible to avoid crowds and waits.)
Carting a newborn around town isn’t always easy – but it’s definitely doable!