In 2015 I gave birth to my rainbow baby, who we named Mason. I use the term "rainbow baby" because I went through a fertility journey, with many lows, before I had Mason. He “magically” appeared when my husband and I pretty much gave up on having a baby at all. (A future blog to share!) I spent the first three months after his birth indoors, in a tiny apartment. It was small, though on the bright side it had lots of sun exposure. The only other place I went was the doctor’s office.
The combination of dealing with sleep deprivation, trying to recover from C-section surgery, and being insecure about my post pregnancy body made me feel too uncomfortable to go out.
Yeah, not too exciting, right?
But learn from my mistake friends, because you actually CAN go out and enjoy your adult life after you had a baby. Feeling insecure? The precious little baby in your arms will draw people’s eyes and attention rather than noticing that you don’t have a make-up on. It seems counter-intuitive but another upside to bringing a baby outside is that you most likely have a better chance to enjoy your meal. Babies like to sleep in the hum and constant noise of places where people are eating, drinking and chatting. You might even be able to have an adult conversation, especially if you happen to go out during nap time!
When I bring my now-toddler to a restaurant nowadays, I pretty much have to be prepared to catch him as he runs away from the table or tries to grab whatever I have in my hand. That could be my wineglass, a phone, my purse - pretty much anything that isn't his own toy. I miss the days when he would just sit in his stroller or bucket seat, and only ate, slept and...well, you know.
I also know that the idea of leaving the house can be daunting - where can you go that's stroller friendly? Nursing-friendly? What if the baby cries? So, with that in mind, these are adult places I loved going with my baby and I hope it will bring a little more fun to your life with this new baby. If you have great ideas, please add a comment below.
All of these places are improved even more if you can bring a best friend, partner, or family member who’ll be willing to hold your baby while you take a sip or two of your adult beverage.
A big open noisy space with drinks is your safe bet! Bring your newborn right after nursing, or during nap time and enjoy your beer if you will. Play bar games, listen to the music, and talk about non-baby things with your child-free friends!
2. Botanical Gardens
We live about 15 minutes from the New York Botanical Garden, where I’d never been until I had a baby. The grounds are beautiful - you'll enjoy expanses of green grass, beautiful flowers, and cafes. There is an open, long road to walk the stroller down, and lots of benches in case you get tired. They even have an area where, on a nice sunny day, you can bring your picnic blanket to have lunch, chill, and nurse.
I loved it so much I became a member to get free passes for a year. It was worth every penny.
Yes, you read that right! The cows and the sheep live in an endless expanse of grass, so strap on that baby carrier. Go north to Stone Barns Farm, in Pocantico Hills, and get a full day of exploring. Stop and grab lunch made from their harvested produce, which always feels like a treat to me. I also like Muscoot Farms.
This is a no-brainer for me. I love beaches, sand, and oceans. A nice breeze somehow makes myself and my baby relax. I always dreamed of living somewhere in the south where people can go to the beach whenever they want (hi, Florida!).
But since we are in New York, we are limited to the summer months. We head to Harbor Island, but also love Rye Playland beach! For more info about beaches check Mommy Poppins.
5. Food Hall
This one is a great one for parents in NYC. Up here in Westchester County we are in need of a good food hall. If you know of one, do share!
For you city dwellers, places like Chelsea Market in Meat Packing District, and Gotham Market, on the Upper West Side will make it hard to decide what food to eat, due to endless delicious choices, but make it easy for adults hang out. Meet up with friends, shop, drink, eat, snack, nurse all you want. Hopefully you will see other moms or dads who are doing the same thing as you.
Being a new parent is tiring, and often isolating. Getting out and doing adult things, especially things you did pre-baby, is an important part of your recovery and adjustment. Getting out, even just to be among other adults you don't know, can be a centering and invigorating experience that a baby can tag along with. It'll be easier than you think.