By Jennifer Mearns

When you first have a baby, well-meaning people might tell you not to take your baby in public after he or she is born. In one sense, they are right. You don’t want to take your newborn out where they might be exposed to lots of germs—hospital waiting rooms, drop-in daycares, Wal-Mart—all out. Staying in the house, day in and day out, however, isn’t good for your mental health and may actually contribute to feelings of isolation and even post-partum depression. There are places you can take your baby that both of you will enjoy and that are actually located in the Triad!

1. Hands-On Children’s Museum

Any kind of children’s museum is a great place for preschoolers, so if you have older kids, you may already know about the joys of these kid-friendly spots. There are museums in Greensboro (Greensboro Children’s Museum), Winston-Salem (Kaleideum North and Kaleideum Downtown), and one in Graham (Children’s Museum of Alamance County). All of these museums offer different exhibits for different age groups. Pro-tip: If you have older kids, send them with your partner and settle in with baby where you can relax while your baby plays!

2. Music Classes

Babies love music. Kindermusik, which has classes in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, holds classes for all ages. Their Foundations class is for babies from newborn to eighteen months. They will hear different rhythms, rhymes and melodies and will be able to explore baby-safe instruments and other objects for play. The classes are great for your baby to experience a controlled social environment with you there for comfort and reassurance. The classes are also great for your baby’s neural development and communication skills. There are many other music classes located in the Triad and you can find a list of them on TMoM’s Arts & Enrichment directory here.

3. Parks & Playgrounds

Unless you’re experiencing extreme heat or cold, simply heading out to the park is a great way to get out of the house and let your baby get some fresh air. They may not be able to play on the playground, but your older kids can while the baby hangs out in the stroller or on a blanket. If you go to a park that has a garden, exploring the different plants and flowers with their many colors and textures is also enriching for baby. Definitely plan ahead and pack a diaper bag with all the necessities including bottles, diapers and extra clothes because as soon as you forget something, it will without fail be the one thing you need! If you need help locating one near you, check out TMoM’s directory of favorite parks and playgrounds in the Triad.

4, Mother and Baby Yoga

What better way to bond with your infant and get active at the same time than a mother-baby yoga class? There are several locations throughout the Triad that offer these types of classes, such as public libraries, birthing hospitals, children’s museums, public parks, and also private studios. In the classes you will move through a series of yoga poses that incorporate the baby, and some classes end with a massage for the baby. If only the baby could massage you! TMoM often lists a variety of mother and baby yoga events on their calendar HERE.

5. Pools and Splash Pads

One thing I know from being a mother of three young boys is that babies love water. They love to splash around and the soothing feel of the water on their skin. There are many options for year-round swimming in the Triad. From your local YMCA to the Greensboro Aquatic Center, you can swim from January through December. If you are a member of the YMCA, it’s free (kind of—you still have to pay for membership) to swim or you can check into a guest pass. The Greensboro Aquatic Center also has monthly memberships as well for $45 per month for adults. The day pass, however, is only $5 for you and baby is free. We took our boys to the GAC a few times in the past year and they loved it—especially the baby! With summer around the corner, there are also several splash pads and water parks that are baby and toddler friendly. You can find a great list of splash pads HERE, or a list of local swim clubs HERE!

6. Science Centers and Aquariums

What is more soothing than visiting an aquarium? Watching the fish swim and looking at the different colors and shapes of them can help your baby’s development. Plus, it’s fun for you! You don’t have to go to the coast to find a good one. The Greensboro Science Center has a newly built aquarium that is awesome with many different species of aquatic animals. Your older children will enjoy it too! A little further out of the Triad (in Concord) is the SEA LIFE Aquarium which could make for a fun day trip as well.

7. Farmer’s Markets

Going to the Farmer’s Market is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. Taking your infant there is fun for both of you! There are so many different things to see and touch at the Farmer’s Market that there is no shortage of things for baby to learn. Plus, you can get your produce shopping done, pick out flowers for your garden and even find homemade goods to try out! The Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market has a huge selection of all of the above items. Show your baby the different fruits and vegetables, flowers and plants, and talk about what you see. The Triad has a ton of markets from which to choose, and TMOM has a comprehensive list HERE.

8. Fisher Price Play Area at Hanes Mall

This one might be for older infants. The Fisher Price Play Area at Hanes Mall is an indoor playground for children, toddlers and infants. It features giant size versions of Fisher Price toys including a barn and farm animals, a huge telephone, Thomas the Train and Percy, slides, tunnels and more! If your baby is crawling and pulling up, he or she would love this area. Be watchful of bigger kids that are having too much fun to pay attention to a baby on the floor. If nothing else, baby would love people watching—I’ve found that babies love other kids!

9. The Zoo

If it’s live animals you want to see, head over to the NC Zoo in Asheboro! As the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, there are many animals your baby will encounter. It’s fun for the whole family! There are annual memberships to the zoo and day passes. There is plenty to eat, see and do—and older children love it too! If it’s a smaller zoo experience you’re after, the Greensboro Science Center has a small zoo with plenty of animals to show your baby. My favorite are the tortoises! Plus, nearby is also Tiger World, Zootastic Park  – and even more animal places can be found in TMoM’s Summer Bucket List HERE.

10. Church

This might seem counter-intuitive, but churches love babies! Keep your baby in the service with you so he or she can experience the music. Or you can take them to the nursery where there are lovely people to watch your baby along with other babies his or her age and toys to play with. Find a church with programs for the whole family so it can be enriching for everyone. TMoM has a great list of local churches HERE.

Additionally….

I’m sure with some imagination, you can come up with ten more! No energy for the Farmer’s Market? Go to the grocery store and have a smaller scale experience! Not a Christian? Take baby to Mommy and Me class, often found at churches but Christianity is not a requirement. In addition, check out our parent groups directory HERE.

The point is that because you have a newborn baby, doesn’t mean you have to stay home at all times. Babies are very portable (more so than toddlers) and it’s pretty easy to transport them. Just maintain proper precautions during cold and flu season, but otherwise, the world is your oyster!

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