My husband and I used to go out ALL the time before we had our baby – as I’m sure many pre-parents did! We did the movies almost every week, dinner dates, went out to watch bands play at bars late at night, spent hours at the beach, we’d go on long drives…but having kids totally changes that spontaneous dynamic!
Don’t get me wrong, we definitely have gone out several times since having our first baby in 2017 (we went out once a week or so every week since she was born) – but it’s just not the same to try and have a romantic date night together, let alone have it be spontaneous.
Lots of “date nights with baby” point to more of a stay at home/stay in type of deal, but there’s just some nights where all we want to do is dress up go out and not be stuck at home. If hiring a babysitter just isn’t in the cards yet (hello, they’re expensive!!), and if you don’t have parents who live close by to watch your littles (my own mom lives an hour away and my husband’s family is in a different state), then just take the kids with you! We’ve done it for ~80% of our date nights, and it’s actually worked out pretty well. Keep reading for our tips and tricks on how to do a really fun date night – with your new baby in tow!
1. plan it in advance.
Now this may seem like a “duh, everything needs to be planned in advance with a baby,” but when it comes to date nights, having a set day/time/place to go on the calendar gives you both something to look forward to at the end of the week! It also makes sure it happens and doesn’t fall through.
In our case, I’m a work from home/stay at home mom. My husband works nights, and sleeps during the days. We hardly ever see each other! So we take turns planning fun date nights throughout the month, making sure we have a set plan and time so we can prepare for it with the baby as it gets closer.
2. start earlier in the evening.
Dinner rush is usually around 6:30pm – so go to dinner at 5pm instead! By going out earlier in the evening you are able to beat traffic, beat the dinner rush, do happy hour, and have time for dessert afterwards.
One of my favorite dates in San Diego that we did was made reservations at Monello in Little Italy (located in downtown San Diego) and made sure they would have room for the stroller (no awkward “excuse me’s” and worrying about people bumping into our baby at that time of day, anyway). We even were asked if we wanted to move to the bar for happy hour prices. Um, YES. Yes we would. 😉 Another couple must have had the same idea as us for their date night that night, because they brought in their stroller and sat at the bar too! Double score – date night AND the chance to meet new parent friends who can relate!
After dinner we walked over to this cute little outdoor theater area where we watched an Italian movie with English subtitles while eating crepes and getting our snuggle on. Plus, the baby slept through the entire thing.
3. wear something that is nursing friendly and makes you feel sexy.
Postpartum bodies are amazing because of what they did to bring life into this world – but let’s be real, having squishy bits and awkward breastfeeding boobs and hanging on to those extra 10-20 lbs for a couple months afterwards doesn’t exactly make me feel sexy for my husband.
So when I dress up for our date night, I usually go for a Wrap Dress. Perfect for nursing, perfect for dressing up, and perfect for showing off some décolletage ❤
I bought this yellow wrap dress from Brick & Main Co. and though it’s technically not a nursing dress, it does the job! I was even able to style it all throughout my pregnancy. With the wrap dress snap at the neckline plus using my Milk Snob nursing cover, you’re set to comfortably nurse no matter where you end up.
4. make your date night creative and full of quality time to talk.
During the day when you’ve got your mom-voice game strong and your conversations with your husband consist of baby stories and asking what he wants for dinner….you’re going to want a date night where you can actually talk together like adults.
Quality conversation would include dates such as: dinner, happy hour, frozen yogurt, a class (cooking, pottery, sip + paint, etc.), on a walk, picnic at the beach, etc.
When you’re looking for things to do that are baby-friendly make sure it hits these marks:
– Is it cost effective? Dinner during happy hour means same quality of food but more perks for drinks and apps, and if you do what we did with an outdoor movie experience it’s almost always free or has a “suggested donation.”
– Is it baby friendly? Believe it or not, we’ve even done wine tasting at a winery with both of our kids in tow! You can also babywear your little one if you’ll be walking or standing (ex: brewery)
– Is it stroller friendly? It’s so annoying to go to places that can’t accommodate a stroller or infant car seat.
– Will you have a chance to have quality conversation? Movies are great but talking and laughing with your SO is even better.
5. don’t expect it to be perfect.
Going out with a newborn or baby in tow is no simple task. Before you can even leave, there was nursing to be done/diapers to be changed/diaper bags to be prepped and checked/wallets to be grabbed/car seats to be lugged…and I chat all about this in my latest blog post on How To Leave The House With Kids.
It can get messy, it can test your patience (think trying to style your bedhead hair and actually do a full face of makeup while your baby is crying out for attention while your husband is rushing to get the diaper bag ready and put his shoes on..) but it is SO worth it in the end.
Because you have the chance to go OUT with your new little family, show the world that you CAN make it happen with a baby in tow! People come up to us all the time and say things like WOW YOU’RE SO BRAVE! OMG YOU BROUGHT YOUR BABY TOO? I COULD NEVER HAVE DONE THAT WHEN I HAD KIDS! GOOD FOR YOU! …and it will make you feel like super parents who have their ish together. And that is a GREAT feeling, even if it’s just until you get back home. ❤
other ideas for date nights – with your baby
- Try to go out on weeknights! Less people are out, which means more spots to yourselves, better seats, more fun happy hours (lots of places have dinner/apps/drink specials during the week days to draw traffic in) and less heads to turn if your babe starts to fuss or cry.
- Go on a stroller walk somewhere FUN! Head down to walk the waterfront while stopping to grab dessert, coffee, tea, or pop in for an early happy hour. Baby will fall asleep (most likely) in the stroller, and you and the hubs can hold hands and have time to have intentional conversation while getting some exercise in. Win win.
- Have a sunset picnic! Bring a huge blanket to sit on and so that baby has a safe place to lounge around on. Bring their playmat, some sensory toys, or an activity gym to keep them entertained while you and the hubs clink wine glasses and munch on olives, hummus dip with veggies, and test out some fancy cheeses. All the other parents will look at you like you’re some kind of date night god.
- The Zoo has some pretty decent “adult” experiences – a couple of which are “bring the baby along” appropriate! Check out these upcoming events that offer dinner, brews, and animal experiences. And if you didn’t want to shell out money for a fancy zoo dinner, think about just heading to the zoo during the day instead. There’s lots of fun animal experiences that happen before zoo operating hours, or by ticket/free reservation only.
- Two words: BABY WEARING! There’s a whole new world of fun date nights that opens up when you consider just wearing your baby instead. Think short hikes (nothing too intense unless you have a baby hiking backpack), walks along the beach, mini golfing, furniture shopping (hey this counts as date night when you’re adults and wanting to spruce up your house a bit), Downtown Disney for the day (get your Disneyland fix in without spending the big bucks), etc.!
I hope these ideas encourage and motivate you to plan some fun date nights out with your baby in tow. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve braved date night out with babies!