Five Tips for Continuing Your Craft Brewery Adventures With a Baby in Tow
Prior to welcoming our beautiful baby girl into the world in May, my husband and I spent many weekends exploring Michigan’s amazing craft beer scene together. When we were dating, many conversations took place over our favorite IPA at the local brewery or while trying somewhere new that neither of us had ever been to. Craft beer is our passion and hobby, but this came to a screeching halt when our little one arrived. Suddenly, beers were replaced with bottles, and sleep became our most precious commodity. After a few weeks, though, we had a strong desire to find a way to incorporate our pre-baby interests into this new adventure we were on, and we set out to bring our daughter to her first brewery. Since then, we have learned a lot about what makes or breaks a night out on the town with a newborn in tow, and we felt a desire to share our wisdom with our fellow craft beer lovers to let you know that IT IS POSSIBLE to enjoy spending time with your little one AND to indulge in a night out with a good craft brew.
This one seems obvious, but going anywhere with a newborn requires an incredible amount of STUFF. The first time my husband and I planned to go out to dinner with our daughter, I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out what I needed to bring and I still forgot something essential (the top to the bottle I had prepared!). To make life easier on myself, I have since created a list of items that must go with us anytime we leave the house for an extended period of time. For example, during an early adventure out, our daughter had a huge “accident” in this adorable floral romper I had dressed her in. I realized I had not packed extra clothes, so she was wrapped in a blanket in nothing but a diaper for the rest of our evening. Needless to say, “extra onesie” was added to The List. Other items that you may find helpful include a baby carrier (because babies tend to wake up the second dinner arrives at your table…), a travel bottle warmer (or simply ask the bartender for a cup of hot water!), a burp clothe, a bottle if you are not comfortable nursing in public, a pacifier (or three as these tend to fall on the ground!), and of course, LOTS of diapers!
Go early or at odd times of the day
With newborns, timing is everything. After the first few crazy weeks, you will hopefully find yourself settled into a somewhat predictable routine, which will help you to maximize your time out and about. We have found that the best time for us to go out for a brew is just after her late afternoon/early evening feeding. In theory, this blesses us with about 2.5 hours before she will get “hangry” again. Also, this is a great time to go out to eat as most breweries can seat you immediately if you arrive in the early evening. Nothing is worse than spending so much time waiting to be seated that your little one’s “dinner time” arrives just when your food hits the table. It is also great to go at odd times because you will most likely have your choice of where to sit (see below for why this is vital!). Finally, going out early allows you to get home in time to do your normal bed time routine with your little one and to hit the hay, as we all know how precious mommy and daddy’s sleep is during those first hectic months!
Scope out your location
As we have begun to venture back out into the craft beer world, my husband and I have learned that some brewery settings are definitely better than others when it comes to having a newborn tag along. If you are going to be indoors, large, open breweries with actual booths or tables are key. Recently, we visited a new brewery when we were out of town, and we immediately realized that we were going to have to move on unless we wanted our baby to sit underneath our table or on a strangers’ lap. The ideal space is a beer garden, as there is room to stand, walk around, or utilize a whole picnic table if need be. Also, it is WAY less stressful if you are outside rather than in a crowded bar for that time when your baby starts freaking out because it is taking too long for the bottle to warm up (not that that has happened to us…). Finally, I have learned that when the hostess asks me, ”How many?” to say, “2 adults and a car seat” because then they usually seat us in a space that will comfortably accommodate us.
Speaking of crying…
Remember that, in general, it is going to bother you way more than it is going to bother anyone else if baby starts to fuss. The number one reason that some of my friends are afraid to venture out with their little ones is because they worry their babe will start to cry and be a nuisance to those around them. First of all, many breweries have live music or a loud enough hum of noise that those sitting near you will not even hear your baby’s little cries in the first place. Second of all, we have found that most people find our daughter’s crying to be way more funny or adorable than we do! Although we have had a few people question if is appropriate to bring our little one out and about so soon, most people have actually congratulated us on being brave and allowing her to experience new situations.
And, finally, take it slow and be smart!
Remember, momma, it has most likely been 9 months since you have last indulged in your favorite craft brew. Those first few IPAs may affect you a little differently than they did in the past, so savor each hoppy sip and drink lots of water. As always, be safe, as not even a good brew is worth risking your new little ones’ safety!
Having an infant is challenging and changes your life in so many ways, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop living! Cheers to you for carrying on your brewery adventures, my fellow newborn parents!