I’m so pleased to have Allie from Days Like These on the blog today. Her post is super timely for me… I love her suggestions! You can find more great advice on her site, which is full of wonderful posts for moms and book lovers.
When you have your first baby, it can be easy to feel a little stir crazy after the first few weeks. Aside from meandering around Target (not that there’s anything wrong with that) where’s a new mama to go? Can’t justify spending lots of money on expensive classes? Me too. You want to go places that your baby will love and where you will meet other moms, but let’s be honest: you don’t want to spend tons of money on something they won’t even remember. Here’s a round-up of ideas for places to go with your baby that won’t break the bank:
Breastfeeding Support Groups:
If you’re nursing, this is a great free or cheap way to get out with the baby and meet other new moms. I had no idea these types of things were even available until late in my pregnancy when I was doing some online searches. If you have baby/postpartum boutiques in your area (these are also usually the types of stores that sell cloth diapers and rent breast pumps), they often offer low cost breastfeeding support groups with a lactation consultant. Also check with the hospital or birthing center you delivered at: many hospitals also offer times for new moms to come in and get free baby weigh-ins and support from nurses and lactation consultants on staff. Even if things are going well, it’s an excuse to get out and get your questions answered. Start going as soon as you can to make sure breastfeeding is going well for you and baby. Target Age: Newborn and up
Your Local Library Story times:
Sure, your baby can’t walk or talk, but they will enjoy looking at the pictures, listening to words, and seeing other babies. And you will enjoy talking to other moms. So put on your best cheesy smile and sing that “Hello” song like you mean it, new momma. After story time, spend a little time playing in the kids’ area and check out books for you and baby. Target age: 6 months and up
Once your babe can sit up on their own, find a local recreation center that has beach entrance so you and your baby can sit and splash around. Most recreation centers have fairly reasonable resident rates, so be sure to see which one you are zoned for. Plus, children 2 and under are usually free. Bring some stacking cups and water toys and they will love it! Our recreation center even has a lazy river that you can take your baby through. One helpful tip: Bring a stroller so you have a place to set your baby while you change and gather your swim gear in the locker room. Target age: 6 months and up
Once you feel comfortable (and checked with your pediatrician), try the baby swings at the park. Go down the slide with them and bring a blanket to have a snack and let them check out some new scenery. Chances are, there are other parents with young kids who you can strike up conversations with. Target age: 5 months and up
Get some great local produce and get out of the house! The farmer’s market is always a fun place to visit, and once your baby get’s older, it will be fun to show her all the fruits and veggies. Target age: Newborn and up
Meet a friend, put the baby in the stroller and walk and talk. It’s even better if there is a coffee place nearby so you can drink your latte while you walk. If you haven’t noticed, coffee makes every bad day seem a little bit better. If you have a baby carrier like an Ergo or Moby, do some research to see if there are hiking trails in the area so you can get off the beaten path a little. Target age: Newborn and up
Do this on a really hot or really cold day when you need something to do. Take the stroller and walk around. I’m too much of a germaphobe for the play area for babies younger than 1, but you could try it. If you have an Ikea in your area, even better! Target age: Newborn and up
MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), as the name implies, is a nationwide group for moms of preschoolers or younger. Typically held in local churches, these groups are great for moms to meet and hear from speakers around the community. Plus, they have childcare for your little one. Find if there is one near you here: http://www.mops.org Target age: 3 months and up
Find ways to serve others:
Take your little one a walk and visit an elderly neighbor or the nursing home around the block. Find a way to cheer someone’s day (someone who just had surgery, another mom with a baby even younger than yours, etc.). Oftentimes helping others brightens our mood and outlook on life, and serving others will be something your child just always did! Target age: 4 months and up
Without fail, there will be many days when you have a plan to do something and your baby is still sleeping, needs to sleep, or is extremely fussy the second you pull out of the driveway. This is a highly frustrating experience, especially if you are at the point where saying hi to the mailman is your most exciting adult interaction all day. I used to pride myself on being on time and thinking annoying thoughts like “being on time is late.” Welcome to Motherhood—where you are never on time for anything, if you even get there at all. On days like these, give yourself lots of grace, snuggle your baby while they sleep on you, eat some chocolate and watch your Netflix queue.
What are your favorite inexpensive ways to get out with a new baby?
Allie Rasmussen is a Denver-area wife, mom, and naptime writer. She blogs about life, the hilarious antics of her one-year-old, and books at daysliketheseblog.com.