It wasn’t until we reached the pay lot that it dawned on me we’d forgotten the one thing parents needs to bring to a concert: baby headphones. Already, our first family outing was veering sideways.
I was going to be different than the rest of my friends with kids – I was gonna be the “cool mom“. The “cool mom” takes her newborn to see Still Woozy at The Hammer Museum. She has magically clean hair and a coordinating black and grey parent/kid ensemble. She breastfeeds with the ease of Gisele surrounded by assistants.
I am not this unicorn of a mother. I’m the new mom who manages to put on a cute outfit, blow dry her hair, and put on cute high-heeled boots. I’m the new mom whose husband got out early from work and picked up friends on the way to the show. I’m the new mom who felt pretty damn put together… until she remembered the headphones after it was already too late to pack them. Then I was the new mom sobbing in a parking lot in front of a newborn, friends, and a helpless partner.
The rest of the night was spent breastfeeding and hiding from the music. Tinnitus might not have been my main concern before I became a mom, but it turns out that even at “family friendly” events, the music is about ten times louder than my two-month old son’s fragile ear drums could be expected to handle. Turns out, he was as disinterested in watching a DJ as you might expect. All in all, I did get to enjoy the new “Made in L.A.” exhibit, but as for the music… my review could be summed up in three very Grandpa-ish words: too damn loud.
Are you a new mama thinking of braving the elements to see your fave band? Don’t sweat it. I’ve learned a lot since that first concert. Below is my best “Baby’s First Concert” advice:
- Buy two sets of baby headphones. Keep one in the car and one at home. Our apartment complex is plagued with a bunch of kids who love pulling the fire alarm (yes, I’m aware I sound like Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace), so having a home set is required. But honestly, loud noises can strike at any moment. It will give you peace of mind, and the average set is pretty cheap. We love Baby Banz.
- Bring snacks FOR YOURSELF. Breastfeeding is like a non-stop workout for your boobs. Hunger can strike at any moment. I have a rotation of granola bars in our house and eat on average two a day (sometimes three when we have a full-length feeding session in the early am). Kind bars and Health Warrior Chia bars are just a couple of my go-tos.
- Heeled boots make any outfit feel dressy. Heels are not my thing, but when you’re covered in piss and breastmilk, it’s the little things that make you feel human. A pair of comfortable boots gave me the confidence to walk around the museum with a baby attached to my tit.
- Keep it to the family unit. We made the mistake of inviting everyone we hadn’t seen since the baby was born. Which made every learning moment a very public affair. For your first time out, make it a strictly family affair. That way the only person you have to answer to is you, your baby, your partner, and a room full of strangers.
- Bring bottled milk. I hadn’t started pumping by the time of the concert, so I was solo when it came to fulfilling his needs. My advice? Schedule your first concert around your first pumping week so you won’t have to miss so much of the show.
- Find the quiet spaces. Even in the middle of a crowded event, there’s bound to be hidden areas where you and the baby can chill. Newborns are easily overstimulated, so don’t be afraid to tell your group “Hey, we gotta go.” At the Hammer Museum, I found a bench by the bathroom, a couch by the gift shop’s entrance, and a chair inside the exhibit.
- Wear your emotions on your sleeve. It’s okay to get upset. Your emotions are valid (even if they do stem from a lack of sparkling water at the cash bar). Keep your partner in the loop! You may feel like they should be able to read you, but they’re tired too.
- Download the right e-book. It might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes when you’re tired and there’s a succubus on your teat, the right book may lift your spirits and help you carry on. David Sedaris has been my new mom savior; his writing contains the real life grit and humor a mom needs to get her through the day.
“While at the beach we sensed more than ever that our lives were governed by luck. When we had it – when it was sunny – my sisters and I felt as if we were somehow personally responsible. We were a fortunate family, and therefore everyone around us was allowed to swim and dig in the sand. When it rained, we were unlucky, and stayed indoors to search our souls. ” – David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Since little buddy’s first concert*, we’ve gone to another museum concert. It was a Natural History Museum “Summer Nights in the Garden” event. We went early and left early. I was fairly relaxed. The baby slept most of the time. At one point we found a spot behind the DJ booth and he bounced a bit with his headphones on. Victory!
*Baby’s first concert GIF below. As you can see…he was thrilled.