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Can I Take My Baby to the Movies?

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Question: Can I Take My Baby to the Movies?
A reader asks:

Please advise if it is safe to take my 5-week-old baby to a movie in a movie theater. If not, what is a safe age?

Answer: Yes -- and it will be good for you! I hear parents complain all the time about missing new movies they want to see. Sure, it's cheaper to wait until everything comes out on DVD and just watch all those new releases you missed via NetFlix, but really, now is the best time to take your baby to the theater. He is content to be in your lap, sling or carrier but in a few months, he will be struggling to get down and crawl and soon after that he will want to run the aisles.

The most important part of heading to a show is to keep your baby away from lots of stranger's hands, coughs, sneezes and such. Everyone wants to touch, hold and hover over little babies, but that's exactly how babies get can get sick. Don't allow this at all and don't feel bad about protecting your baby from illness. Bring some hand sanitizer, too, because you're bound to touch something (door handle, arm rest) that someone with a cold or flu touched before you.

Another consideration would be noise as some theaters and halls are noisier than others. Although it's likely that no theaters are going to be so loud as to cause physical damage, some might be loud enough to cause your child a fright. That's going to depend on how sensitive to noise your baby is. Use your best judgment based on what you know of your baby. If your baby is very sensitive, you might end up spending more time outside in the hall with a crying child and miss the movie.

Be sure and take lots of soothing articles like a pacifier if your child takes one, bottle if formula feeding, favorite blanket, etc. If you're nursing, try to plan your movie so that it's time for a feeding and nap about 15-30 minutes into the show. That gives you time to get settled in and allows for plenty of time to relax and enjoy the movie while your baby eats and sleeps.

Also keep in mind that some people are very irritated when parents bring babies into movie theaters and you could be in for some pretty nasty stares should your baby make even the slightest peep. It's kind of like taking a baby onto an airplane. People are already expecting the worst. If you're worried about this or just want to be among other parents with kids, try checking your area for theaters that cater to new parents. Just call your local movie house and ask if they have special showings or any programs like this set up. Many run all year but some come and go or only run in the summer months.

Be aware that these offerings aren't always appropriate if you have other children who are older, either. Those cinemas catering to parents with newborns or very young babies often show adult rated films, so you wouldn't want to take your toddler. Other places show toddler-friendly flicks, but if the show is toddler rated in the first place, then it's unlikely that anyone is going to try and shame you out of the theater when your baby cries.

I hope you enjoy your movie. And just think -- you'll have a clue what's going on when the Oscars are announced.

Do you have a question you'd like to see answered? You can send your questions to me at babyparenting@aboutguide.com and I will answer them here on the site.

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