Is it too soon to take baby to a party?
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Well, I guess I've sort of answered that question already, as I've now taken my darling little baby boy to two parties, but I thought I'd share my experiences with you and see what you think!
A few week ago, when Mercer was between ten and twelve weeks, we took him to his first party ever. It was at an apartment within walking distance of our house and was a very low-key affair. I mean, it was a birthday party celebrated by playing Wii and later by drinking a very expensive and fabulous tequila, but none of that really took place until after we left, when I assume things got a little rowdier.
We arrived at this first party promptly at seven. It was sure to be a late night affair, and was probably still going on when we gave my son his middle of the night feeding, but we weren't at all sure how things were going to go and wanted to test the waters while it was still early.
Luckily most of the other party-goers arrived right around when we did. Most of them were in pairs. The gals all oohed and aahed over the baby and the guys headed straight for the Wii. We ate a little and my husband had a few drinks (as in two) and we left around 10:00.
My friend who was hosting the party seemed happy to have the baby along. I asked her in advance if it was ok to bring the baby and she said yes. If there is other etiquette involved in this please let me know. Basically, though, it was either bring the baby or I didn't get to come at all. Our gracious hostess invited our wee one into her home as she would any other guest.
Upon arrival Mercer got a little upset from being in the hot, stuffy baby bjorn. We'd hoped he would sleep through the party in the bjorn but he had other plans. My husband took him into the other room which was dark and quiet to calm him down and then returned with a happy baby about five minutes later. My son hung out in my arms for the rest of the time we were there, happy or sleeping. Other attendees marveled at how he slept through all the noisy conversation. To him I guess it was all white noise!
The second party was even better. We did need to take the subway a few stops and again put Mercer in the baby bjorn. He essentially slept through the entire party in the bjorn, waking only once to be fed his evening bottle. This party occurred just this past weekend.
We've altered Mercer's feeding schedule so he gets a bottle of breast milk (his biggest meal) before bed time, meaning he doesn't need a bottle in the middle of the night anymore = more sleep for everyone--yay! Since he is exclusively being breastfed I needed to fit the party into our feeding schedule, which worked out nicely. Had I needed to I would've been able to breastfeed, but luckily everything fit into place perfectly (for a change!).
We were actually a tad disappointed that he slept through the whole party as we wanted to show him off to everyone, who in turn were looking forward to meeting him. I guess baby etiquette dictates it is ok to sleep through the party as long as your parents don't too!
We didn't stay at that party too long either and made it home by about ten. I felt like it was very gracious to be allowed to bring my baby--which could lead to a volatile situation with a lot of crying--and didn't want to keep people from cutting loose because there was a baby in the house.
I also didn't want people to feel like they had to be super quiet around the baby. As I kept explaining to them, when Mercer is out, he is OUT. So, we hung out and had some drinks--I had one small scotch on the rocks with some water which I didn't finish--ate a red velvet cupcake, pausing only for a diaper change before heading back to our pad.
I have to say, thus far my experiences with the baby at parties have been phenomenally good. Maybe I just overestimated the bad things that could happen. Maybe it's because my son is now nearly three months old and trusts that we are going to take care of him, get him what he needs. Maybe it's that both these parties were chock full of people our age who either had jobs to hit the next day or families of their own--meaning, it wasn't like we were at a rave or something.
All in all, both experiences were very good. I wonder, though, if it is too early to have done such a thing. I figured it had less to do with age (vaccinations notwithstanding) and more with my baby's temperament. Turns out he loves people when he is awake and isn't afraid to sleep when he's ready to call it a day, even if mommy and daddy want to hang out and be social.
We were relaxed, and as a result, I think he was relaxed too. We had a good time, and so did he. We didn't pass him off to everyone so he didn't get germ-ified. We didn't leave him in a room asleep somewhere either, as we always keep a watchful eye. Most importantly, we didn't expose him to any bad music (just kidding, although my pals have excellent taste in music, I admit).
So what's your take on all this? Or, did you choose to do anything similar with your kids? I feel like, given these great experiences so far, I'd be willing and eager to take Mercer to another party should we be invited. Of course, someday I hope my husband and I are able to go out on our own and leave our son with a capable babysitter (my mom). Until then, though, I think we're making the best of the situation. What about you?