Being a newly minted parent anywhere comes with a specific set of challenges (i.e. changing poopy diapers in the dark). But for brand new moms in the DMV, things can get particularly complicated. From maneuvering traffic on the Beltway with a fussy baby in tow to scoring mommy-and-me time that’s not in the middle of a tourist crush, here’s how to make being a first time mom—by way of D.C.—a piece of (smash) cake.

Photo: Tzuhsun Hsu via Flickr

1. You don’t have to cancel your gym membership. MINT Dupont, known for its bright and airy layout, is one of the many local gyms to start offering baby-care (in an equally bright and airy play room). For mamas and papas at MINT with a Family membership ($237 per month with classes or $157 without classes), the service is free and starts at four months old. If you’re an individual member, childcare costs $10 for 90 minutes, which is plenty of time for a serious sweat session, or you can add unlimited childcare for an extra $30 per month. 1724 California St., NW, Dupont Circle

2. Some movie theaters actually want you to bring your newborn. At least the Angelika in Fairfax’s Mosaic District does (on Mondays at 11 am for $8). Angelika’s Crybaby Matinee lets you relax and enjoy grown-up films like Fifty Shades Freed, without worrying about unexpected tantrums or feedings in the dark. Lights are dimmed, the volume stays low, and there’s even a changing table in the back of the theater.  2911 District Ave., Fairfax, Va


Photo: Aktiv I via Flickr

3. Infants—even crying ones—are welcomed at the library. D.C.’s public libraries are chock full of great early literacy programs for itty bittys. There is a 20-minute baby story time at Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library, which caters to just-borns through one-year-olds with interactive lapsit time full of songs, rhymes and super-short stories. If your little one gets fussy, it’s all good—their new baby BFF’s have been there and understand. 3160 16th St., NW, Columbia Heights 

4. Three words: Nordstrom’s. Women’s. Lounge. The Nordstrom’s located in Tyson’s Corner Mall is outfitted with a spiffy women’s room that is a haven for breast feeding mamas who prefer privacy. The clean, plush lounge area (outside of the restroom) comes with cozy chairs just for nursing mothers, and is a perfectly peaceful spot for feeding or just taking a chill out moment from the hustle and bustle of the mall. 8075 Tyson’s Corner Ctr., McLean, Va

5. The DC Urban Moms and Dads forum will save you hours of research. You pose a question—about what to do when baby can’t sleep, won’t eat, or whatever—and receive a slew of responses from other parents within a day. It’s really that easy.

Photo: Jonah’s Treehouse via Facebook

6. Indoor play spaces aren’t just for older kiddos. At Kidville babies rule the roost. Gym classes for kids under 12 months focus on free climbing and interactive play. Babies and toddlers stay close to their grown-ups as they navigate mazes, crawl through tunnels, and dance until they’re all tuckered out. 4825 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda, Md

7. You won’t get the stink eye if you order a beer at Comet Ping Pong with baby in tow. The hipster-heavy pizza parlor is a favorite for families with babies and young kids. The thin crust pies are tasty, the beer line-up is extensive, and there’s table tennis galore. 5037 Connecticut Ave., NW, Chevy Chase

8. A good night’s sleep is a phone call away. If you’re desperately seeking a full eight hours of shut eye, contact Hush Hush Little Baby. The local company offers registered baby nurses for overnight care and baby sleep consultations.

Photo: Wee-Sale Children’s Consignment Sale via Facebook

9. You don’t have to spend all of your savings on baby clothes. Sure, you get a slew of clothes at your shower for newborns, but what about month 3 and 9 and 12. Kids grow like weeds, but there’s no reason to pay full price for cool threads. Wee-Sale is a GINORMOUS seasonal consignment sale in Maryland that stocks gymnasium amounts of gently used and brand name baby gear. It’s also one of the most organized consignment sales we’ve ever witnessed.

10. Get your java fix on the go. The weather’s bad. You’ve got a fussy babe. You’re still in your pajamas. Make scoring a fresh cup of coffee a breeze by pulling up to one of the D.C.-area’s drive-thru coffeehouses. Zu Coffee in Annapolis, Maryland has a kicky Orange Cappuccino that’s a must-try. And, ye olde standby Starbucks now has a drive-up location in Alexandria (with super chipper baristas, to boot).

11. Find plenty of breastfeeding support. If you’re looking for parenting and breastfeeding support you’ll find new BFFs (breastfeeding friends!) at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. The center is committed to providing expert-led, free and low-cost classes and private consultations to help make your breastfeeding experience successful. Take advantage of their breastfeeding boutique, off-site classes, nursing lounge and milk depot.

Photo: Intel Free Press via flickr

12. Get free, expert help installing your child’s car seat. You can rest assured that you’ve checked all the safety boxes by letting experts inspect the installation of your child’s car seat. The District Dept. of Transportation offers free car seat inspections as a courtesy to all residents. By appointment, Mon.-Fri. 9am to 3pm. 55 M St., SE Suite 400.

13. Dance at the zoo. If there’s anything kids love more than music and animals, we don’t know what it is. The Zoo Tunes program at the National Zoo lets toddlers bop around to animal-themed tunes, explore musical instruments and listen to a story. It’s the perfect way for you and your tot to spend a weekday morning. Plus, after class, you can stroll through the zoo. Thursday and Friday mornings at 10 a.m. 3001 Connecticut Ave. (Woodley Park)

14. Enjoy a kid-friendly hotel staycation. If you want to get away without the bother of planes, trains, or automobiles, take a staycation at The Darcy, DC’s kid-friendliest hotel. Check in begins with chocolate cookies and Oreo ice cream sandwiches for the kids, plus a Jameson ice cream sandwich for you (nice!). Before you head out to see the sights, grab your complimentary themed backpack filled with activities related to DC’s major attractions. 1515 Rhode Island Ave., NW.

15. Parents Day Out classes are the truth. You may not be ready for your bambino to go to a daycare every day or for a regular nanny. But, you’d love a morning or two a week to do grown-up things like laundry, doctor appointments…or, wash your hair in peace. Enter Parents Day Out classes, which are offered at many daycares and preschools around the district. Your best bet is to do a Google search and schedule a tour. Your scalp deserves it.

—Jamy Bond and Ayren Jackson-Cannady



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