Rachel Figueroa Levin with her nine-day-old daughter, enjoying a drink. (Photo/courtesy of Rachel Figueroa Levin)

Urban Baby Blog: I would take my three-month-old to the movies

Everyone in the nation experienced a collective moment of terror when they learned that a three month old baby was one of the injured from the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. It’s the scariest thing ever. I think everyone in America hugged their kids at the same time. The moment after that moment surprised me a little. People on twitter started asking “who would take a three month old to a midnight movie?” Apart from the fact that victim blaming is disgusting- I really disagree with the idea that you can’t take an infant out with you late at night.

Who would take a three month old to a movie theater at midnight?

I would. Babies aren’t Gremlins. You can take them out (and feed them too!) after midnight. The first time I took my daughter out with me late at night she was 9 days old. I went to a neighborhood tweet-up, at a bar.

I did what? Yeah, I went to a bar with a 9 day old. A dive bar at that.  I just put her in her baby carrier and went out (I was responsible and brought my non-drinking husband as a designated baby wearer for so I could enjoy a drink). Babies like to be on their mothers (or fathers). It doesn’t matter where the mother is.  You can take a baby with you wherever (and whenever) you go.

When my daughter was 5 months old I packed up some diapers and a tummy time mat and the two of us plopped ourselves down right outside of an Apple store on an iPad2 line. Before you judge me for putting my infant daughter through waiting on line for an iPad, you should know I bought one for her too (she did after all, wait in line).

Now that my daughter is a toddler, taking her out with me is a lot harder.  I have to drag a potty seat around, and bring snacks, and entertainment. I have to get a babysitter if I want to go out and have a good time. She’s also a little too old (and a little too big) to sleep in my arms comfortably for an entire evening. Now she talks and runs around and yells and throws things (and generally acts like a toddler). I almost long for the days when she used to sleep all the time and I could go to a movie with her.

It’s easy to judge mothers and their parenting decisions. I hate to admit but I’m guilty of it sometimes. I remember getting looks when I arrived at “not baby friendly” events with a baby. It’s hard to ignore it, but you have to. While I’m not exactly qualified to dispense parenting advice, I genuinely believe that my daughter is (relatively) well behaved at traditionally ‘adult only’ settings because she had so much exposure to them as an infant.

My point is that infants are durable little things and as long as they have their mommy and some milk, they’ll be fine at a movie. Baby is content and mommy gets to pretend for a little while that the life she had pre-child isn’t completely over.

Urban Baby Blog: I would take my three month old to the movies  rachel adis mom parenting family NBC Latino News

Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker.  She is also the creator New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito.  You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican. 


  1. Dan says:

    Keeping small children up to two a.m. can’t be good for them; bringing small children to such a violent film as the Dark Night also can’t be good for them (at the very least it’s inappropriate); and bringing such small children and babies who may well end up crying is simply rude and inconsiderate to the rest of the audience.

    There’s another issue: the effect of such loud and startling sounds as explosions and gunshots blasting at high volume from huge speakers upon the brains of infants. For one thing, such loud noises will more than likely disturb an infant who is in the REM stage of sleep – thereby causing unecessary stress. I don’t buy the “my baby sleeps through anything” excuse. Furthermore, even loud music can damage an infant’s hearing.

    The brains of babies develop at an incredible rate, and all stimulus has a significant impact on this development – even upon the physiological structure of the brain and how it wires itself. Taking a chance that “this one time” won’t cause any harm to one’s infant is grossly negligent – and yes, utterly selfish on the parts of the parents. They could at least have waited for the DVD to come out. But you can probably figure that parents that did it once, probably do it more than once – as the author of this blog admits..

    The other entities that need to re-assess their priorities are the theatres. Why the hell are they letting small kids in to these movies, at such late hours? Even if they don’t believe in corporate responsibility, they could at least care about all the potential patrons who won’t go to the movies anymore because of such anti-social behaviour.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t be nice about it – the care of our children should have a higher priority than the immediate gratification of the parents. It’s astounding that anyone would even debate this.

  2. Melissa says:

    P.S. Alternatively, give me a call next time you’re set on seeing a movie at night that’s not appropriate for kids. I’ll be happy to babysit or refer to the sitters I use in NYC.

  3. Melissa says:

    A six-year old who was attending the midnight showing at Aurora was one of the twelve who were killed. This is a horribly tragedy and I can’t imagine the pain her family is going through now. It’s hard to understand why brining a 6-year old girl to a midnight showing of DARK KNIGHT seemed like a good idea. This isn’t “Brave” or some other Pixar/Disney movie appropriate for young kids; this is — by all accounts — a dark, violent movie with adult themes not appropriate for most 6 year olds. At MIDNIGHT. Perhaps Mom didn’t have babysitting help available.

    I’m firmly in the camp that does not appreciate seeing small children at movies in the evening after 9 pm that are not age-appropriate for the kids. Don’t care what parents do, but feel very bad for kids subjected to movies that are too mature for them and contain material that is a) too loud for them and b) contains scary or inappropriate scenes. I think a lot of parents may be strapped financially and don’t have babysitting help, but being a parent of a young child means sacrificing the movie experience until you can sort out arrangements for your kid(s).

    I think kids deserve a good night’s sleep and the right to not be exposed to scary, violent or disturbing scenes at volumes which could be damaging to their hearing.

    I went to a 930 pm screening of Avatar and one family brought a 3 year old and another couple brought an infant (less than 6 months old). Thirty minutes into the film, both children were screaming. Presumably the baby was distressed by the noise; and the 3 year old was definitely scared by the material. I went to the management and asked that the kids be taken out of the theater. It was upsetting to see the children subjected to that.

    If I bump into you carrying your baby into a theater to see a movie that is too loud and/or not age appropriate and after 9 pm, I’ll have no problem telling you and/or talking to management. If you can’t make smart decisions about caring for your kids, then you’ll need to be prepared to deal with escalations.

  4. Are you considering the experience that the other people who paid too much money to sit in a darkened room and watch a big TV might be having? A bar or a line outside doesn’t sound like it is going to ruin anyone’s day – but I have a kid, and there is no way I would take him to a movie. If he is super-well behaved, then the best I have done is subject a kid to a late night and a lot of loud noise featuring content that I’m not too interested in having him absorb, much less replicate. If I paid to see a movie at midnight, and someone brought a kid, who started a scene? I’d get an user to get the kid (and, one assumes, the parent) removed, no different than if the adult was the one ruining the movie. However, unlike a dumb adult, I’d be doubly pissed in the kid scenario, because it wasn’t just bad judgement on how to behave when bringing a kid to a theatre – rather, bad judgement on parenting COMBINED with bringing a kid to a theatre. You could have the most angelic kid ever, but if that night is the night of bad gas, or angry stares, or tantrum teeth, EVERYONE is going to have a horrible night because of a selfish decision on the part of the parent, completely ignoring the expectations of the adults paying the same money for an experience that is, by nature, meant to be infant-free.

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