First off, I cannot get over how tiny Allie looks in the above photo. I just had to point that out. I think she was maybe 3 months old at the time? Somewhere around there. That sun hat doesn’t even fit her anymore! Where has the time even gone?! It’s so sad!!
Okay anyways so the point of this post: back in July, we took Allie to her first ever baseball game. The Red Sox were up in Anaheim so we decided to be spontaneous and make the two-hour trip north to see them. Allie was 8 weeks old at the time and it was the furthest from home we’ve taken her. It was also the longest we’ve had her out of the house as well so the entire day was brand new to us. It was a great trip but we definitely made a few mistakes and learned a lot from Allie’s first sporting event.
In September, we took her to a second baseball game as well as a college football game. These two outings were both here in San Diego so we didn’t have to do any traveling or anything like that. Also, the tickets for both games were totally free to us, so it wasn’t as stressful taking a baby because we knew we could leave at any point if needed. But both outings went super smoothly and we had so much fun at both!
Taking a baby out can be scary at first and taking to a baby to sporting events is a whole other ballgame (pun intended! haha). It’s just not the same as taking a baby grocery shopping so I’ve gathered my top tips on how to survive any sporting event with a little one!
Don’t be afraid to “overpack”.
In my opinion, it’s much better to pack too much than to not have enough. Being outside in the summertime, I knew I wanted to have extra bottles with me to keep her hydrated. Because of this, I literally packed enough formula for 6 bottles when we drove up to Anaheim. Did we need 6? No, we didn’t. We used 3 of them. But I had them if she needed them and I know they would have been used if the game had gone into overtime or if we had hit extra traffic going there or coming home.
I also packed close to 10 diapers for that trip as well. Again, you never know. I had 3 extra outfits. She went through 2 of them. I didn’t pack as much for our Padres game since we were so close to home and weren’t going to be gone as long but it’s just so much less stressful when you’re prepared for those inconvenient moments and emergencies.
Pack the right items.
I did an excellent job with my packing for the Anaheim game…except for her bottles. I packed the wrong bottles and nipples and man was that a mistake. I honestly felt like a failure as a mom. So think ahead!! Bring exactly what your child needs and what works best for them. With our Padres game, I made sure to pack the right bottles and the right nipples and it made feedings so much less stressful.
Plan out your seats.
If you’re able to, then strategically plan out your seats! Aisle seats are ideal because it allows you to easily get up and down if your little one needs a diaper change or a bottle or even just a walk around the ballpark or stadium to calm a tantrum. I hate having to step over people a million times and it makes me feel bad too so aisle seats are amazing.
Another thing you want to look for is your nearest bathroom or family room. We had a family room directly below where we were sitting at both baseball games so if we ever had to get up to change her, we didn’t have to go far or waste time looking for it.
Lastly, you want to look for shade if you’re at an outdoor event. Especially if you’re going to a day game. This may be more challenging to find and it may mean you have to sit further from the field. But it was SO nice at the Anaheim game to be able to keep Allie out of the sun. I could relax and enjoy the game rather than worrying if she was getting burnt or developing heat stroke or something. Everyone was much more comfortable! We weren’t as lucky with the San Diego game, but the tickets were given to us by a guy Zack works with so we had no control over that one.
Plan out diapers and feedings (if possible).
I know it can be next to impossible to put a baby on an actual schedule but if you’re able to then I highly suggest planning ahead with diapers and feedings. For example, I know that Allie typically eats every 2-3 hours or so. So I keep this schedule in mind when planning the day.
For our trip to Anaheim, I fed and changed Allie before leaving the house that way she’d be all set for the two-hour car ride. I then figured by the time we got to Anaheim and were parked and all that then she’d be at the 3-hour mark since her last bottle. So I fed and changed her again before going in. And then her last bottle before heading home occurred in the final inning. It worked beautifully!
With our Padres game, I fed her before leaving the house and again when we arrived. She then had a bottle in the 6th inning before we headed home and another not too long after we got home. I made sure that we were always in a place where she could eat when she got hungry which made it so much less stressful and easier. Of course, things happen, though so it’s good to be flexible.
I failed here both times. Totally wore sandals because it was so warm out. Normally it’s totally fine but I felt super uncomfortable holding her on my chest with sandals on. Especially walking up and down the stairs to our seat. They’re just so steep so I was terrified of tripping with her in my arms. So I would have felt safer in sneakers.
Bring a good baby carrier.
A sporting event is not typically stroller-friendly so it’s important to have a good carrier if your little one isn’t sitting in their own seat yet. It’s great to be hands-free! We used an Infantino carrier at both baseball games as well as the football game and I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s super comfortable and easy to put her in and take her out. There’s also a lot of back support with it so I’m not left with a sore and achy back afterward either. So test out a few carriers and find a good one that works for you!
Don’t forget sun protection.
Not all seats in a ballpark are covered (depending on the ballpark) so be sure to bring sun protection for the whole family: a sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are always with me for when I take Allie outdoors. And although Allie was under 6 months old for both these games, I still absolutely put sunscreen on that child both times. To me, the risk for sunburns and skin cancer is much higher than the risk of an allergic reaction.
The sunscreen I use for Allie is by The Honest Company. It’s the Honest Mineral Sunscreen. I don’t remember what brand mine is but all that matters is that you’re protected! Allie also loves her sun hat and sunglasses (thank God) so I keep those on her as much as I can. Thankfully we were in a shady area in Anaheim so I stuck with just a thin layer of sunscreen on her. At the Padres game, I did a thicker layer and made sure to reapply it every couple hours or so.
One big thing I want to point out here with sun protection: you can still burn on a cloudy day. The sun does not have to be out for you to get a sunburn. At the Padres game, I put sunscreen all over Allie’s body regardless of it being cloudy. The only place I didn’t apply it was her face. She was wearing a sun hat and I didn’t want her rubbing the sunscreen into her eyes. So I skipped the face. Big mistake. The poor girl woke up the next day with rosy cheeks and I felt so horrible! So please don’t skip out on sun protection just because it’s cloudy! Stay protected!
Give yourself extra time.
I find this to be a super important one! Anaheim was only 1.5 to 2 hours away and we left three hours early just in case. I’m glad we did because we had to make a quick stop to change her on the drive up and it also gave us time when we parked to change and feed her in the car before going in.
When we saw the Padres, we left an hour and a half early and again, it gave me time to change her in the car and get her settled into her carrier. This was so much less stressful because no one was in a hurry. We had plenty of time and still had 30 minutes before game time by the time we walked in and got to our seats.
Another crucial one! Things happen. Babies spit up, they have blowout diapers at inconvenient times, they get hungry, they break down in tears when you least expect it. It happens. I might make it sound like Allie’s an excellent baby (which she is) but I promise you, she has her moments just like any other child. Bringing a baby out can be unpredictable sometimes so regardless of how great your baby is, be sure to set realistic expectations and learn to go with the flow of the day.
Lastly, stay calm. Seriously. I know that’s easier said than done sometimes but the more relaxed you are, the smoother the day will go. When we drove to Anaheim, Allie peed all over the back seat of my brand new 2017 Jeep Cherokee Sport. Like a whole puddle collected on the back seat . . . I laughed because it was totally my fault. I was going with the motions and was a bit distracted chatting with Zack. I wasn’t thinking so I had removed her dirty diaper before having her new one ready. Thankfully I have shampoo in the car for the seats due to having a German Shepard who rides in the back seat so I didn’t panic too much. But laughing about it made that moment so much less stressful and frustrating. It happens. No biggie!
Having a baby doesn’t mean you have to sit at home all day, every day, scared to leave the house with them. Bringing a baby out to a public place can be nerve-racking, but it gets so much easier the more you do it. Your child gets more used to it and it allows you to get to know your child more so that you know how to prepare for longer outings. So if you want to be daring and get out of the house to attend a sporting event then my advice to you is to just do it!
What are your top tips for bringing a baby to a sporting event? How old was your little one when they attended their first game?