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Screen time! Movies where you can bring your baby

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My daughter in the cinema (note the mum with pram in the front section!)
My daughter in the cinema (note the mum with pram in the front section!)

A lot of expectant mothers imagine maternity leave as an extended holiday, only to find life with a new baby is anything but a break. In fact, trying to find time to relax or have some ‘me time’ becomes almost impossible. The solution? Activities you can do with bub, like a mother-and-child movie session, can do wonders to make you feel like an adult again, as Lynette Scalo discovers. 

My daughter in the cinema (note the mum with pram in the front section!)

My daughter in the cinema (note the mum with pram in the front section!)

The first time I heard about mum-and-bub movie sessions, I was in a mother’s group meeting talking about how hard I found it to do the things I used to enjoy pre-baby, as everyone nodded along. Stuff like shower alone, sleep in on the weekends, and listen to the radio in the car instead of The Wiggles. But when I got to the part about how I missed going to the movie to check out the latest flicks, that’s when the understanding nods stopped and were replaced by puzzled expressions. ‘But you can go to the movies!’ one mum told me excitedly. ‘Sure,’ I said, ‘but it’s so hard telling someone to watch the baby while I go and watch the Independence Day sequel.’ (Yes, I have a thing for Liam Hemsworth, so what?) ‘No, no, no!’ she said, ‘Haven’t you heard of mum-and-bub movies?’ ‘No,’ I said, and then she went on to explain them, and totally change my level of enjoyment of maternity leave.

If you, like me, didn’t know about mother-and-baby movie sessions, they’re a lifesaver for mums keen to catch up on the latest arthouse movie or even just the latest action movie. The sessions are run by most cinemas under different names. The Event cinemas at Hornsby (pictured) and Macquarie Centre call them Bring Your Bub sessions, while Roseville Cinemas have a Baby Crying Room (a soundproof room for kids) where you can watch the film with bub.

The Bring Your Bub sessions (which I tried) are special screenings featuring lower-than-usual movie volume, so bub doesn’t wake up or get a fright from any unexpected crashing and banging in the movie, plus the house lights are left dim (instead of blacked out) so you can see your baby and feed them or just keep an eye on them during the film.

Mums enjoying the Bring Your Baby sessions

Mums enjoying the Bring Your Baby sessions

After hearing about the sessions I was keen to try one out (along with my seven-month-old daughter), and I was thrilled that I did. For a start, heading to the movies made me feel like I was out in the world and enjoying myself, and connecting with popular culture made me feel less like I was living on Planet Baby and more like I knew what people were talking about on the radio and TV when entertainment segments popped up. I didn’t have to find someone to babysit my little girl, which meant the session could fit into our day whenever I found it convenient. A variety of times also meant I could choose a slot that fit in with our day routine and didn’t leave me with an overtired, cranky baby after the movie. Other mums in my session brought their prams (they’re welcome in the cinema) and simply pushed their bub in the pram until they fell asleep, which was possible thanks to the lower-than-usual movie volume. And of course, the sessions are also attended mostly by mums with kids in tow, so it’s a judgement-free space and you don’t have to worry if (and when) your baby starts crying. Throughout the film, mums paced the aisles with babies in their arms, rocked them in prams, fed them and cuddled them, all while keeping up with the on-screen action.

For me, the movie was a great (and simple way) to connect with the outside world during those first few hazy months of motherhood. If you have a mum’s group, or even a bunch of mum (or dad) mates, mum-and-bub sessions are a great way to hang out (with the babies) while enjoying yourself as well.

Bring Your Bub Movie Sessions: Need to Know

More on motherhood….
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