Long gone are my maternity leave days but Summer will always remind me of hanging out with Baby Munch last year. One thing we loved was heading out to local cinemas for baby-friendly showings. Amazing! Hanging out with the new member of the family whilst watching a film. Even cooler during newborn days when baby just wanted to snuggle up and nap a lot. More importantly, it gets you out of the house and it’s a brilliant thing to do on rainy days. It’s definitely something I wish I did more with the babies before they reached one. Baby cinema was also a great option for daytime dates with daddy (and baby). Here are my top 7 tips for enjoying baby cinema outings…
1. Check the buggy access…if you prefer to have your buggy nearby during the film check if you can actually take it into the cinema auditorium. Some might have space at the back or front of the auditorium. Some cinemas we’ve been to ask you to fold up buggies so they can be stored away. Or perhaps buggies need to be kept in the reception area when the auditorium is upstairs.
2. Take the baby’s car seat or sling it…if you’d like to have your hands free for drinking a hot drink, holding your large popcorn box (scoff away!) or your lunch then consider taking your baby’s car seat. This means baby has a little seat and with some cinema seats you can put the car seat facing you or inwards or you can always pop it on the floor beside you (which might be a little darker for their snooze time). Another option is to bring your sling. This keeps baby cosy and close to you especially when they’re likely to snooze during some point during the film. It’s also a bit easier if you need to stroll around and rock baby to sleep without missing out on the movie.
3. Expect it to be noisy and maybe a bit brighter…it’s baby cinema right so babies will at some point be crying or babbling away. So embrace the noise which also means if your baby is loud at any point it’s totally OK! No need to feel embarrassed or walk out if your baby’s unsettled or being really loud. The whole point of baby cinema is to watch the film whatever your baby needs to do. With some showings they don’t fully dim the lights so you can actually see your baby and the inside of your changing bag.
4. Snack time! Bring your own treats and use this time as an opportunity to eat your lunch. It’s critical to eat well in those newborn days and when your baby is a bit bigger. Cinemas like Everyman have great cinema cafes where you can buy healthy food. If your baby’s a bit bigger bring their water bottle, lunch and snacks.
5. Pop baby cinema day in your diary…showings tend to be weekly so keep an eye on the schedule. Depending on the cinemas they show blockbuster films as well as quirky more independent ones. Some cinemas may only show PG or 12 rated films due to early morning showings. I sometimes missed out on showings as I forgot what day it was (trust me, very easy to do in those newborn days!) Baby cinema also make great mummy pal dates and dates for couples who are both at home. They rarely have a full house at baby friendly showings so you usually have a good choice of seats and lots of room to spread out. Always check if there are showings during the Summer and over the Christmas period. Annoyingly, a lot of cinemas don’t do baby cinema showings during the school holidays or half-terms. Remember showings are during the day and you usually need to be the parent or guardian of the baby to go along. Randomly I did see two old ladies trying to get into baby cinema as the showing time suited them. They were refused entry! A few links to baby cinemas are below in case you need to find your local movie spots.
6. Pack what you need for your cinema outing (and in one bag)…Most mummies and daddies will use changing bags. It’s handy to have everything you need in one bag in case you have to leave the buggy in reception of further away from your seat than planned. Things I used to take along included changing kit, blanket for baby, sling or car seat, snacks for me (and baby when she started munching), feeding scarf of feeding apron and some toys or teething toys to keep baby entertained when she switched off from the movie. When our first babies were starting to sit up we brought a big blanket and a few toys. You can then set up a play area at the front row. Watch out if your baby is really on the move as you may just be chasing them up and down the cinema aisles.
7. Don’t expect to watch the whole film… At some point you’ll need to pop to the bathroom to change baby or stand up at the side or back of the cinema to rock your baby to sleep. You may also be busy chatting (or whispering) to your mummy mates. So it’s not like seeing a movie as grown ups on your own. Don’t be surprised if you miss out on critical movie moments including the cliffhangers or the ending! But don’t worry, as films will soon come out for home rental or your mates will tell you what you missed.
Have you been to baby cinema before? What are your top tips? What did you love about baby cinema? Share the baby-cinema know-how and leave a comment below.
Cinemas with baby showings…remember to check if they’re on during school holidays
For London cinemas – Check out this really handy post by Mummy Blogger Uju from Babes About Town