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Infants too young for late-night movies?

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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
Replies (11-20):
sweettigeress
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 9:20 PM
1 mom liked this

Same here. It astounds me that people will just go do whatever whenever no matter if their kids are screaming bloody murder or not. I worked my schedule around my kids' schedule. If it was their nap time, we were at home and them in their bed napping where they're most comfortable. Just because your kid sleeps while out doesn't mean you should drag them everywhere. They eventually get tired and no baby gets the allotted amount of sleep they need while being taken everywhere. I mean...do you REALLY need to go see a movie at midnight? Is it THAT important to you than your kids sleeping at home in their bed where they can get the peaceful sleep they need? 

Quoting atlmom2:

Stupid parents. I never took an infant out late anywhere, let alone midnight.


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VarelaClan
by on Jul. 21, 2012 at 9:30 PM

I don't have a problem with others having a different opinion. What I do have a problem with is calling them bad parents (not you personally, others have though) because they chose to go out late. That's fine that you chose not to take your children out late, but that doesn't mean you're a better parent because you didn't. I'm tired of the I'm a better parent because I breastfeed/formula feed, I'm a better parent because I stay home/work, I'm a better parent because....Other people are calling them bad parents just for taking their child to a late movie. That does NOT make them a bad parent. I wasn't attacking you or what you said, I was however simply replying to the article where others were saying such mean things. I must have hit a nerve that you had to quote me and act as if I was attacking you.

Quoting atlmom2:

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.



Courtney610
by Courtney on Jul. 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM
Ive taken my kids to the drive in movies when they were tiny, but never to the real movies.
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momofsixangels
by Colleen on Jul. 22, 2012 at 12:34 AM

 The baby should have been at home  in its own crib.

Hottmomma607
by Trica on Jul. 22, 2012 at 2:41 AM
Our infants no! Now they are far from babies!
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atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 22, 2012 at 9:58 AM
That is the thing. No one has to see a midnight movie.


Quoting sweettigeress:

Same here. It astounds me that people will just go do whatever whenever no matter if their kids are screaming bloody murder or not. I worked my schedule around my kids' schedule. If it was their nap time, we were at home and them in their bed napping where they're most comfortable. Just because your kid sleeps while out doesn't mean you should drag them everywhere. They eventually get tired and no baby gets the allotted amount of sleep they need while being taken everywhere. I mean...do you REALLY need to go see a movie at midnight? Is it THAT important to you than your kids sleeping at home in their bed where they can get the peaceful sleep they need? 

Quoting atlmom2:

Stupid parents. I never took an infant out late anywhere, let alone midnight.



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mostlymaydays
by Bronze Member on Jul. 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM
The baby isn't going to WATCH the movie. I'm sure most people would rather the baby be sleeping than awake anyway. My family's schedule runs later than most, as my dh either gets home late from work or we're going out to eat after the kids' late sports practices. I'm getting too old for midnight movies but don't think it's crazy to take a nursling along. I don't know if their 4 year-old should have been there and once she starts school that will have to change.


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.

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atlmom2
by Susie on Jul. 22, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Its a lapse in judgement, but not a bad parent?
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amirahsmommy11
by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 10:31 AM
I don't know if I would take her out but she was a newborn she wouldn't sleep until 3 am! So it might not have been a bad idea to take her out somewhere
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CountryLayne
by on Jul. 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I guess I don't see what the big deal is, honestly. To each their own, but if the baby sleeps through a movie in a theater, then by all means, do it.

There are too many variables as to why someone would go see a midnight showing to start with. Maybe their spouse works 2nd shift, and that's the only time they could go. Maybe they function better late at night. Maybe they can't afford a sitter AND to go out. Maybe the sitter canceled. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Maybe they just wanted to bring their baby along with them.



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