How To Take A Baby To The Drive-In

Jack is two months old now, no longer a newborn but not really a functioning infant. My whole day revolves around him—which I love, don’t get me wrong. But I missed time with my husband. I kept thinking how nice it would be to have a simple movie date, but I wasn’t ready to leave him for that long yet. And of course a bunch of summer movies are coming out that I want to see, especially A Million Ways To Die In The West. I resolved to be a good mom and rent it when it comes to DVD.

Then my best friend reminded me of something awesome in San Jose. She and her boyfriend went on a date to the drive-in. Suddenly a light bulb went on in my head, we could take Jack! He could sleep while we enjoy a movie date. He goes to bed around 9:00PM and the movies start around 8:45 PM so the timing would work out great. And if he fusses, we just go home. We decided to give it a shot!

The plan was to get him all ready for bed, put him in the car, and leave an hour early to give us plenty of time to get there and get settled. Then nurse him, let him sleep on my lap during the movie, put him back in the car seat, and drive home. If he wakes up when we get home or before, just put him back to sleep when we got home. Sounded simple enough.

First we made sure we he had a fully stocked diaper bag for any situation. Plenty of diapers, blankets, a change of clothes, pacifiers, burp cloths, and etc.. And I brought my nursing pillow so I could be more comfortable holding him.

Then we got him ready for bed. Normally we give him a bath before bed, but he was already sleepy so we just put him in his jammies and put him in his car seat. He started crying while were waiting in line to enter the drive-in because he was tired. At this point I thought we already lost him and would have to leave. But I stayed calm and just consoled him as best I could.

We picked a spot to park and I moved to the front seat with Jack. I put my pillow on my lap, latched him on, and covered his head with my cardigan to block the light from his eyes. He calmed down instantly and went to sleep shortly before the movie started. I set him down on the pillow and freed my hands to munch on popcorn.

Jack started asleep the whole movie! I was surprised. He fussed a bit during a loud part, but I just stroked his head and he calmed again. The movie was really funny and it was so nice to do an adult thing. And I got to hold my husband’s hand and steal some kisses, the best part of all.

When the movie was over, we gently put him back in his car seat, and drove home. He fussed a little but stayed asleep. Once home, we gently took him out and put him in his crib. He stayed asleep, I couldn’t believe it! And he slept till 4:00 AM, a six hour stretch!

The drive-in worked out great! We plan on doing this a few more times this summer. If you are lucky enough to still have a drive-in in your town, I suggest trying it with your baby. Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Don’t have high hopes. Expect that your baby will fuss and that you may need to leave early.That way you won’t be upset if it happens.
  • Let your baby call the shots. If they are super fussy that day, reschedule for a better day. If they are really unhappy during the movie, address their needs quickly. And if you can’t calm them quickly, leave.
  • Bring a fully stocked diaper bag to address any possible issue. And keep your diaper bag within reach while you watch the movie. No one wants to be digging for a burp cloth and miss an important piece of the plot.
  • Arrive with plenty of time to put the baby to sleep. That way you aren’t stressed or rushing anything. And you don’t miss the start of the movie.
  • Get yourself comfortable first. Your baby won’t relax if you aren’t relaxed. And who wants to be uncomfortable for two hours pinned under a baby? I really suggest bringing a nursing pillow.
  • Nurse or feed your baby so they are content. Then make sure they are totally asleep before you set them down on your lap.
  • Make sure you don’t have your radio too loud so the baby doesn’t startle and wake up.
  • Cover your baby’s eyes if they are used to sleeping in the dark like Jack. But make sure their airway is not blocked and they are breathing comfortably.
  • Don’t get too caught up in the movie and forget about the baby. I lifted my wrap cardigan every once and awhile to make sure he was okay.
  • If the baby wakes when you put them back in or take them out of the car seat at home, don’t fret. Just feed them so they are content again and put them back to bed.
I hope Jack is just as good for future movies. And hopefully your baby will be too. Enjoy a fun date with your love!

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