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Infants too young for late-night movies?

Posted by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 4:28 PM
  • 50 Replies

A movie? A meal out? A haircut?

Were those events even possible right after my daughter was born?

The news of a 3-month-old among the injured at a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" has already led to online criticism of parents who would bring a baby to such a movie.

Some of the comments at CNN.com included: "What kind of parent takes a three-month old child to a midnight screening of a movie?" "Bad parenting!!!"

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To which I say: Back off on the judgment. Do you think anyone -- a parent or not -- would go to a movie if they could predict there would be a mass shooting?

"Judging parents at a time like this is unbelievable to me," says parenting expert Laura Markham, a psychologist and founding editor of AhaParenting.com. "We are always so quick to judge other parents when their child gets hurt, because if we can make ourselves different -- if we would never have done that -- then our child is safe.

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"If the baby drops off to sleep while you're walking him outside, but you know he will be up in two hours, and he can still sleep through anything, I can certainly understand why a parent might decide to catch a movie."

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The comfort of other moviegoers is a whole other consideration (and conversation), but when it comes to bringing a baby to a movie, it's not necessarily harmful to the kid. Plus, it can be a vital pick-me-up for an exhausted and culture-deprived new parent.

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All sense of day or night seems to disappear with the arrival of that wiggly munchkin. During those first few months after the birth of a child, parents sleep whenever we can, wear whatever is clean (and maybe not so clean) and (for the mamas who breast-feed) eat with one hand while holding the baby to breast-feed at the same time.

That's because babies emerge from the womb having slept mostly during the day and staying awake during the night. It takes at least four weeks for their melatonin production to kick in and for babies gradually to switch to nighttime sleeping, says Dr. Ari Brown, author of "Baby 411" and a pediatrician in Austin, Texas. A 3-month-old might be feeding at midnight, but the baby would not be expected to sleep through the night.

"From zero to three months, when it comes to sleep, you do what you gotta do," Brown says. "The concept of having a schedule or real sleep pattern is an oxymoron. It's just not there."

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That's why parents tend to become nocturnal creatures, feeding, changing diapers and doing laundry whenever we can. Everything else takes a back seat to meeting the basic needs of a human tadpole. Scheduling a daytime haircut requires precision military planning, lest parents are away when the little angel is hungry and lets loose with his or her piercing cries. I would have tried to go to a late-night movie if I wasn't trying to sleep.

When Atlanta mother Leah Case's daughter was 3 months old, Case and her husband would join friends for dinner, bringing along their soundly sleeping baby in a car seat. "I am an extremely regimented, scheduled parent, but if I thought my child would sleep through a movie at that age, I absolutely would have taken them," said Case, whose daughter is now 10 months. "She honestly slept like a rock anywhere we went until she was about 5 months."

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It's true that several movie theater chains have capitalized on the cries for help from movie-deprived new parents. California-based Krikorian Premiere Theatres offers "Mommy Movie Mondays" with amenities such as stroller check-in and changing tables. The "Crybaby Matinee" at Hawaii's Consolidated Theaters lowers the volume to protect babies' sensitive ears and brightens the lights so parents can easily come and go for feedings or tantrums.

With her 8-week-old son sleeping no more than three hours at a time, new parent Katie Feeney said she couldn't imagine having enough energy to make it to an early or late movie with or without her son.

Feeney, a stay-at-home mother in Brighton, Massachusetts, tends to stay awake during the day so she's exhausted by day's end. When her son wakes up for nighttime feedings, a duty she shares with her husband, she simply watches whatever she's recorded on her DVR to get her through the night.

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Do you think it's a dreadful idea to bring a baby to a movie? Or do you sympathize with parents just looking to get out of the house for some entertainment?

by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 4:28 PM
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Replies (1-10):
atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM
Stupid parents. I never took an infant out late anywhere, let alone midnight.
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atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 21, 2012 at 5:02 PM
1 mom liked this
Go at a normal.time and hire a sitter.
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Marimaru
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 5:34 PM

I would take Isabelle to a restaurant at that age.  I would not take her to a movie theater.  I don't think infants belong in movie theaters, except for maybe a kid's show with your older kids or something. 

I saw a movie when I was pregnant with Isabelle, and didn't see another until a few weeks ago.  She is 2 1/2.  I don't live near family and we haven't found someone for babysitting so we don't go.  We saw a movie when we were visiting my mom because she could watch Isabelle.  I don't think Isabelle is ready for a movie at this point yet either, but whenever she is, if Valerie isn't, then one of us will do something with Valerie while the other takes Isabelle to the movies.

i43tinker
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 6:54 PM

My son did attend movies at that age because he was yound enough to sleep through the movie because we have other kids who wanted to go to the movies who on earth would take thier child to a movie like that is insane exspecially that late 

VarelaClan
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 7:09 PM
2 moms liked this
I guess those critiquing the parenting of these parents have never ever done anything wrong when it comes to parenting, never raised a voice, never fed their kid junk, etc. Get over yourselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking an infant out late at night. Last I heard, there are no laws on what time kids have to be home, especially if they are out with their parents. we don't know their situation. For all we know they may have a work schedule that has them awake at night and asleep during the day. How about instead of bashing other parents, we encourage them, lift them up in such a difficult time as this. Quit judging others and realize we all live our own lives and get to make decisions for our own families. Quit telling other people what they are doing wrong (unless it's really hurting a child) and worry about your own problems.
MIA0223
by Michelle on Jul. 21, 2012 at 7:46 PM
1 mom liked this
I will be taking a tiny one to the hunger games midnight showing. My sister and I go to two midnight premieres a year, and since I breastfeed I will have to take the tiny one!
Not a big deal IMO. They sleep and nurse at that age.
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atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 21, 2012 at 8:37 PM
Lol, no one is saying that. We are answering the question. My girls are grown. I never took babies or toddlers out late ever especially to the movies. We are responding to this particular question. This is a message board and we can judge however we would like to. You put your opinion and we are free to put ours also. Get over it.

Quoting VarelaClan:

I guess those critiquing the parenting of these parents have never ever done anything wrong when it comes to parenting, never raised a voice, never fed their kid junk, etc. Get over yourselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking an infant out late at night. Last I heard, there are no laws on what time kids have to be home, especially if they are out with their parents. we don't know their situation. For all we know they may have a work schedule that has them awake at night and asleep during the day. How about instead of bashing other parents, we encourage them, lift them up in such a difficult time as this. Quit judging others and realize we all live our own lives and get to make decisions for our own families. Quit telling other people what they are doing wrong (unless it's really hurting a child) and worry about your own problems.


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steveiguana
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 9:11 PM


Quoting MIA0223:

I will be taking a tiny one to the hunger games midnight showing. My sister and I go to two midnight premieres a year, and since I breastfeed I will have to take the tiny one!
Not a big deal IMO. They sleep and nurse at that age.

I missed something are you expecting? If so congrats!

MIA0223
by Michelle on Jul. 21, 2012 at 9:12 PM
Yes, complete shock, I am 4 months along!


Quoting steveiguana:



Quoting MIA0223:

I will be taking a tiny one to the hunger games midnight showing. My sister and I go to two midnight premieres a year, and since I breastfeed I will have to take the tiny one!

Not a big deal IMO. They sleep and nurse at that age.

I missed something are you expecting? If so congrats!


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steveiguana
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 9:19 PM

congrats on your surprise lots of new babies coming to the cafe it seems!

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