Welcome to motherhood. One day you’re slinging your purse over your shoulder to run and meet a friend at a moment’s notice. The next day you’re slogging 20 lbs of baby, carseat and stuff out the door – if you even get off the couch from cluster feedings.
This shift in lifestyle is the part that most people don’t talk about. And for those of us who love to be social and out-and-about it’s quite a shock.
Venturing out of the house the first few times as a new mom can be daunting. Trying to time naps, feedings and the inevitable poop-up-the-back. Be easy on yourself, but don’t let that stop you from getting out. Consider a one-hour outing a success. Heck, walking around the block is a win too.
Baby in Tow? Where to Go
1. Go to the Movies
Yes, you read correctly. You can go see the latest blockbusters or chick flicks at Cineplex Theatres with your baby. And your baby is your perpetual date so don’t worry if no one wants to go with you.
The program is called Stars and Strollers. They offer a baby friendly environment to watch one of two recent film releases available that week. The sound is lower and the lights are up slightly so you can see what you’re doing. They even put a change table right outside the theatre door so you can do a quick diaper change. Stroller parking in the theatre is also permitted. Plus you get $2.00 off regular admission.
If your baby is screaming, don’t worry about it. It is TOTALLY acceptable. You’ll never be in a room with more understanding women. We’ve all been there and we really could care less if your baby is crying. It will bother you more than the rest of the moms. (Seriously that’s a biological fact). Go. Relax. Feed. Hope they sleep. Watch a movie.
Tip: Go before your child is 6 months old. After that babies are usually too wiggly for you to watch the majority of the movie.
2. Find Some Mommy Friends
Having friends that are going through similar ups-and-downs of motherhood are essential. Whether it’s in depth conversations or just a knowing smile can make you feel less alone in the journey.
Where do you meet other moms with babies of the same age?
New Moms Network, offered by Alberta Health, was where I met my best mommy friends. These sessions fill up really quickly because they’re limited to small intimate groups. Which is a great way to connect with moms in your neighbourhood. A nurse runs the program and she provides great health information and support for new moms.
Alternatively, Mommy Connections has a new mom class that focuses on a broader array of topics via guest speakers. Classes are larger and not as intimate as New Moms Network. That being said, many moms I know met at Mommy Connections and grew strong friendships.
3. Get Active
Taking a mom and baby exercise class is another way to meet moms and get out of the house. Plus it’s great for pumping up your endorphins and getting back into shape. Make sure to get your doctor’s ok before you start exercising again. Our bodies have shifted tremendously during pregnancy and need time to recover.
There are tons of classes to take across the city. A few of my favourite are:
- J’Adore Dance’s Salsa Mama class is great for women who love to groove and get in shape. Baby dances with mom in a baby carrier and many are lulled to sleep with the hip swaying movement. So cute to see sleeping babies nestled into their mamas.
- Laeonie Ferguson at Lotus Soul Yoga runs a spiritual and physical post-natal yoga class that will have you bonding with your new babe.
- Kinsmen runs drop-in Strollersize class that is not for the faint at heart. If you were a marathon runner before having a baby, this class is for you. Also check out community rec centres and the YMCA for strollersize classes.
- Or simply walk the river valley or mill creek ravine and enjoy Edmonton’s beautiful parks.
4. Have Coffee
Meeting up for a ‘Doritos playdate’ is easy at a coffee house. No one has to clean, cook or prepare for others to be in their house. Edmonton and area has great coffee options for moms and babies.
Café O’Play offers great coffee from locally roasted Caps Coffee and an indoor playground for kids up to 6 years of age. Since it’s primarily moms, breastfeeding and all things baby related are a common sight and supported. It can get quite loud and noisy with all the playing but I think that’s a sign of kids having fun.
Newest addition to family-friendly businesses is Café Tiramisu on 124th Street. This relaxed coffee shop also serves up a variety of Italian fare. They have a small sit-and-play room with books, blocks, iPads and a few other quiet toys. The vibe is welcoming and calm. The gelato is also a must-try.
What are Your Favourite Places and Spaces?
Edmonton is a fantastic city to raise a family. As you get out-and-about you’ll find more gems and ways to enjoy the city with your child. Please share your suggestions on where to go and what to do with a baby in the comments below.
The more active and engaged we are with our city, the more vibrant it will be.
See you out and about!
Jenifer is a mother of two little ones with the uncompromising need to get out of the house, meet new people and have fun. She approaches each day as an adventure and loves sharing.
This zest for life has cumulated into CityandBaby.com where she celebrates Edmonton’s unique events, baby-friendly businesses and product must-haves from a mommy point of view.
When not wearing the ‘mommy-hat’ you’ll find Jenifer holding a latte while working as a marketing manager at the AMA and providing marketing consultation to local businesses.
NextGen Speaks Out, our guest blogging series, is envisioned as a hub for information and discussion. NextGen is a non-political, non-denominational organization focused on giving all nextgeners a voice. NextGen does not represent the opinions expressed by the individual columnists.