Taking Baby to the Bar Tips
Once you’ve settled into life with a new baby, it’s normal to start wanting to get out of the house. Your friends are clamoring to hang out, and your usual neighborhood brewery is calling your name. If you’re not quite ready to leave the little one with a babysitter, it’s time to face a challenge you might not have anticipated: taking baby to the bar.
When you’re out at a bar, the most important thing to consider is how other people can affect your baby’s health. The most important thing you can do is to protect your child from people who might be carrying infections.
If that sounds scary, you’re not alone — it’s intimidating to bring your little one to a new place, especially when there are risks. But there’s no need to worry; with a bit of planning, taking baby to the bar can be a fun, safe experience. In fact, it can be a great way to feel normal again. Your friends will be delighted to see you and your new baby, and you’ll enjoy the chance to get out of the house.
Staying Safe and Comfortable at a Bar with Baby
1. Talk to Your Doctor
Before you consider taking baby to the bar, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to tell you whether or not your little one’s immune system is ready to handle the outside world. You can also check to make sure that your child has all of the immunizations that are necessary to ward off common ailments.
When you get the go-ahead from your doctor, be sure to mention that you’re planning on taking baby to the bar. The doctor may be able to advise you on which local establishments are safe or not safe for your little one. If it’s cold or flu season, you might get a recommendation to wait.
2. Communicate Your Limits to Friends Ahead of Time
As soon as you arrive at the bar, your friends will want to hold your baby. If you’re uncomfortable with that, it can be difficult to say no in the moment. Don’t worry — you can head off this problem by setting and communicating limits ahead of time.
To start, it’s important to let everyone know that they should stay home if they have any illnesses or early symptoms. Some potential warning signs include:
- Coughing and sore throat
- Runny nose or congestion
- Stomach upset or diarrhea
- Achy muscles
With that covered, think about the things that will make you feel comfortable. You might decide to keep the group size to just a few people, or you could let your friends know that you’re not ready for anyone to hold or touch the baby just yet. By sending out a text or an email ahead of time, you’re free to relax in the moment.
3. Pick the Right Bar and Time
Before you leave the house, choose your bar carefully. Look for one that’s clean and family-friendly. If you’ve seen kids there in the past, and other patrons didn’t seem to mind, you’re probably in the clear. Craft breweries are a great place to start; they’re often relaxed and welcoming to kids. It’s also a good idea to skip college-student bars and look for one with an older, more sophisticated crowd. Finally, make sure your chosen spot has plenty of seating options so you’re not stuck standing and holding your baby.
Once you have a spot in mind for taking baby to the bar, check the calendar. Are there nights with live music or trivia? Avoid those days, as they’re likely to be noisy, crowded, and stressful for your baby. A better option is to choose an early-afternoon time on a weekend or a weekday evening, when it will be quiet and nearly empty. Not sure? Send a friend to do some recon.
4. Pack More Supplies than You Think You Need
If you’ve left the house with your baby, you know that it requires a surprising amount of gear. To prepare for taking baby to the bar, load up your diaper bag with everything you might need. Take extra diapering supplies, and toss in a portable changing pad to make the bar’s changing table a bit more hygienic. Don’t forget a clean set of clothes for the baby — that way, you can do a quick change if there’s a messy diaper. Other things to pack include a bottle or snacks, a burp cloth, a blanket, and your baby’s favorite toy. If you’re planning to allow friends to hold the baby, toss in a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Keep in mind that bars can have unexpected drafts or overactive AC systems; others can get hot and stuffy. To keep your baby comfortable, dress them in layers. That way, you can add or remove clothing to suit the temperature.
5. Choose a Spot Away from the Crowd
When you’re taking baby to the bar, your main goal is to prevent infection and virus transmission. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose a spot away from the crowds. You’ll be able to relax knowing that your child is far from coughing people, and the quieter location can help reduce stressful sounds. Does the bar allow smoking outdoors? Sit away from the doors or windows to avoid respiratory irritation.
Since your friends will want to see the baby, consider finding a spot to elevate the car seat. Set it on a chair at your table, or choose a lounge area where you can set the seat on the floor.
6. Be Strict About Hand-Washing
Are you comfortable allowing your friends to hold the baby? Help prevent the transmission of germs and protect your baby’s immune system by asking everyone to wash their hands first. Once they do, make sure that they don’t touch dirty items on the way back to your seat. This includes the bathroom door handle; ask them to use a paper towel when opening the door. The fewer things they touch, the cleaner their hands will be.
If you’re still nervous, ask everyone to put on hand sanitizer. Don’t feel uncomfortable asking for what you need when taking baby to the bar — your friends will be happy to do anything they can to protect the child and give you peace of mind.
7. Keep Your Alcohol Consumption in Check
When you’ve been holed up at home with a new baby, your tolerance for alcohol can drop. If you’re the one who had the baby, you probably haven’t had a drink in at least 9 months. Why does that matter? Drinks are probably going to have a stronger effect on you than they did pre-baby.
One of the most important things you can do when taking baby to the bar is to limit the alcohol you have. Depending on your situation, you might decide that one parent won’t drink at all. If you do imbibe, consider choosing a beverage with a low alcohol content to start. By feeling out your tolerance, you can ensure that everyone stays in control and safe to drive. Accidentally drink too much? As a sober friend for a ride, or hop in an Uber.
8. Recognize When it’s Time to Leave
When you have a baby, a little whimper can escalate into a full-on crying fit in no time. The last thing you want when taking baby to the bar is to be scrambling to grab your belongings while the little one melts down.
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this situation. Just keep an eye on your child — if you start seeing the warning signs, pack up and leave as soon as possible. Didn’t manage to catch the crying in time? Don’t stress out. Simply pop out to the car and ask a friend to pack up the diaper bag and follow you. If your friends aren’t parents, consider alerting them to this possibility beforehand so they’ll be prepared to help if it happens.
When you go into the situation with a plan, taking baby to the bar doesn’t have to be stressful — in fact, it can be fun. After months of hanging out at home with your little one, it’s exciting to be able to show them off to the world. The trick to feeling comfortable and confident? Know your limits, communicate them with friends, and relax! This step is a great way to start getting to your new life as a parent.