Or a mug of herbal tea, or a blueberry muffin, or a bagel with cream cheese. Coffee shops are eye and ear candy for Baby: people chatting, cups clinking, colorful art. With all the din, few people will get riled up if your little guy gets chatty (or weepy). And gotta love the big, soft chairs—perfect for feeding time and reading time if, fingers crossed, Baby falls asleep.
Plenty of movie theaters around the country are offering show times just for parents and babies, at convenient hours and with lower film volumes. So no worries: that mom next to you with the wailing baby won't bat an eye at yours! You could also try going to the earliest possible showing during weekdays; you, your baby, and that tub o' popcorn might be the only audience members.
Alert the office peeps you're swinging by with the baby. Dress your darling up in some too-cute outfit (and trade in your sweats for some presentable outfit). Drop by the office so they can all meet your new mini boss and, of course, gush about how much they miss you. As you're leaving, be secretly glad you've still got a few weeks left of maternity leave.
There are plenty of opps to get out and exercise—and Spandex is optional! Put Baby into a jogging stroller and hit the ground running or walking; check out Stroller Strides, a total body workout you do with your stroller. Bonus: infants find the motion totally calming. Or head to the gym; some offer stretch/yoga classes for moms with exercises that involve lifting your baby (gently!). Many also feature babysitting for a small fee or even free.
Get Baby snuggled into his car seat, turn on some relaxing music, and hit the road. "Shop" for the house of your dreams in that fancy neighborhood you love. Hit the Starbucks drive-thru. You don't need a destination—this drive is all about the journey. The long, baby-sleeping, mama-chilling journey.
No, we're not talking about the latest U2 tour—babies' ears are delicate things. Try an outdoor jazz or classical music concert. During warmer weather, many cities offer performances in parks, casual events with picnicking on blankets and frolicking tots galore. If Baby gets antsy, you can just stroll around.
The gentle trickle of water, the mesmerizing motion of fish swimming and fronds swaying—aquariums are zen central. During off-season and in the mornings, they're usually deserted (even more zen). You might even find soft-serve ice cream at the snack shop, an awesome mama snack.
It's always enjoyable to appreciate art, even when you have your little creation in tow. Strap on the Baby Bjorn and head to a museum or photo gallery. As you roam, narrate what you're looking at; babies love to listen to their mother's voice. There will be plenty of colorful objects for him to take in and lots of strolling to conk him out, in a most cultural way.
Head to one of those paint-your-own pottery places—ideally, around Baby's naptime so he can crash in his car seat as you channel your inner Picasso. Make a mug, a plate, a piggy bank, whatever. You won't even have to deal with cleanup (we did say it was soothing!).
Sure, you've been taking a million pictures of Baby. But, reality check, how many shots do you really need of her propped in a Bobby on the exact same spot on the rug? Instead, head to the park or a botanical garden. Besides your camera, bring a blanket, an outfit change for Baby, and a little picnic for yourself. Then snap away.
Get Baby off the beaten path with a nature hike or stroll. Check out Trails.com to find a local path. The walk doesn't have to be long (and let's face it, Baby might not let it be long), but the fresh air, the exercise, and the glory of the great outdoors will work wonders for both of you.
As good as it is to get out of the house with your baby, it's key for your sanity to get out without your baby. Organize a babysitting exchange with another mom friend. When it's your turn to leave your little one at her house, head out for a mani-pedi, cruise the mall, or do whatever relaxes you. You deserve it!