John 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 late at night at bars, went to the beach for hours, we’d go on long drives…and don’t get me wrong, we definitely have gone out several times since having izzy (think once a week or so, and she’s 10 weeks old now) – 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. Netflix and chill just doooooesn’t cut it for date night, ya know?
John and I don’t want to get a babysitter yet for Izzy and my mom lives about an hour away, so the only idea we had for making a fun date night happen was to bring our baby with us! Which ended up working 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! In our case, I’m currently on maternity leave – which means I’m running the home front and watching a baby full time – which turned me into a somewhat zombie momster trying to get used to my transition to SAHMomhood – so I asked John very nicely to take charge on planning a fun date night for us so we could get out of the house together and to save my sanity from living in PJ’s 24/7 with unwashed hair wearing my new signature scent: eu de baby spit up.
2. start earlier in the evening.
Dinner rush is usually around 6:30pm – so we went to dinner at 5pm instead! By going out earlier in the evening, we were able to beat traffic, beat the dinner rush, and had time plus an appetite for dessert afterwards.
We got a great table at Monello in Little Italy (located in downtown San Diego) with room for the stroller (no awkward “excuse me’s” and worrying about people bumping into our baby at that time of day, yay!). 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!
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 exaaaactyly make me feel sexy for my husband. So when I dressed up for our date night, I went for The Wrap Dress. Perfect for nursing, perfect for dressing up, and perfect for showing off some décolletage while hiding those extra lbs hanging out on my lower tummy and thighs ❤
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. I had to nurse izzy twice while we were out, and with the wrap dress snap at the neckline plus using my Milk Snob nursing cover, I was set to comfortably nurse in the restaurant without there being a ton of people around eating AND at our outdoor movie experience – part 2 of our romantic night out.
Other options for nursing friendly wrap dresses that are flirty and fun:
4. MAKE IT CREATIVE – LIKE AN outdoor movie night!
John is pretty creative when it comes to dates, and he set the bar high for our first romantic date night out when he planned this outing. Not only did we do dinner and happy hour, we followed that with frozen yogurt (pre-game dessert) then walked over to this cute little outdoor theater area where we would watch an Italian movie with English subtitles while eating crepes and getting our snuggle on. It. Was. SO! Romantic! (cue Bella Nota theme song from Lady and the Tramp).
It hit all the marks:
– It was cost effective!!! Dinner during happy hour meant same quality of food but more perks for drinks and apps, fro-yo is always inexpensive (unless you’re John and load your entire cup up with toppings so that it weighs literally ten pounds.), and the outdoor movie experience was “suggested donation” based at $5 a person. Plus they had free snacks like cookies, hot chocolate and tea.
– It was a unique date night: “dinner and a movie” but like, 2.0!!
– It was baby friendly!!!
– It was stroller friendly
– It was comfortable seating (John even brought comfy cozy blankets for us to snuggle in at the outdoor theater – it was like stadium seating)
– I was able to fold the stroller and have izzy nap in her car seat almost the entire time during the movie minus once to nurse her
– The outdoor theater was right next to this cute little crepe dessert bar and John sneaked off to grab us a chocolate one with strawberry filling to share during the movie! YUM!
– We were able to snuggle and sit close without a baby interrupting us since movie started around her bedtime.
5. don’t expect it to be perfect.
Going out with a small baby in tow is no simple task – before we even left, 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…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 will 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 literally came up to us and said things like WOW YOU’RE SO BRAVE! OMG YOU BROUGHT YOUR BABY TOO? I COULD NEVER HAVE DONE THAT WHEN I HAD KIDS! Blah blah 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!