Why shouldn’t you take your baby to the movies? It’s the perfect place for them.
There was a kerfuffle in the British press today when Sam Ross tried to take her 11-month-old baby to see Bad Neighbours, an R15 movie, at her local cinema in Cambridge.
She was asked to leave the session, because her child wasn't old enough to legally see the movie, and the cinema later said that they should never have sold her a ticket.
Cue cries of how inappropriate that is, and that cinemas are no place for babies, what with all that noise and all those flashing lights and all that...popcorn.
Well, guess what? When my babies were little, the cinema was my weekly refuge.
I discovered 'Mums and Bubs' Monday morning sessions at my local cinema when my daughter was about six weeks old, and that was me hooked. I went religiously, every week. And here's why:
Move theatres are the perfect place for a small baby. Usually, the movie is so loud you can't hear them cry. At a mums' session, you can get up and walk around, jiggling your restless bundle, and not miss the entertainment.
I could sit and breastfeed, and then my daughter would quite reliably fall asleep in my arms, and I'd get 90 minutes of cuddly sleep from her, and eye candy for me (apart from that one time, when I took her Letters To Juliet, and she screamed all the way through. Who could blame her?)
But here are the two real reasons why it's fine to take your small baby to the movies:
1. You will never go to the movies ever again. At least, not for years and years, when every movie will be a surround-vision, 4D, all-senses experience that you'll have to wear a helmet for, and then your Choc-Top days are over. I don't think I've been to the movies since my kids were tiny. Because I used to love films but now, if I have a night off, I want to actually talk to the friends I never get to see any more. Or maybe even my partner. And I want to drink wine. So the movies are no good.
2. When you're at home with a tiny baby (let's say 11 weeks), there's nothing much that's about you. You are a 24-7 feeding machine. Your needs have slid waaaaaay down the list of priorities and you're constantly bombarded by information about what you should be doing. There has NEVER been a more tempting time to plug your brain into some mindless entertainment somewhere where no-one can hear you (or your baby) scream. Plus, it's dark, so no-one can see your eyebags. And you might even get to drink a cup of coffee.
As for the approprateness of the movie? I saw some pretty loud, violent movies at "mums and bubs club", but my daughter didn't care. I would not take a toddler with me to these films, but a baby has no idea what is going on, what that noise is, what they're (sometimes) looking at.
So back off, over-zealous cinema staff. Sometimes all a new mum needs is a dark room, her baby and a shoot-em-up 3D feature.
Have you got a problem with that?
What do you think? Is there any place for babies at the movies?