clbent04

How Do Parents Deal with Babies and Church Attendance?

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My wife and I have a baby who is 9 months old now.  The thought of going to church with even just one very active baby seems overwhelming.  How do parents typically deal with going to church with a baby?  

Do you switch off with your spouse keeping the baby entertained the whole the 3 hours?

Does one spouse stay home with the baby one Sunday so the other spouse can attend services, and then switch the next Sunday?

Do you only go for the sacrament meeting hour?

Do you wait to go back to church until your child is 18 months old so you have the help of the nursery as you and your spouse attend all 3 hours? (I know this idea would not be recommended by the church, and also problematic for families who continue having kids. Just curious if anyone takes this approach)

Edited by clbent04

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3 hours ago, clbent04 said:

My wife and I have a baby who is 9 months old now.  The thought of going to church with even just one very active baby seems overwhelming.  How do parents typically deal with going to church with a baby?  

I've always gone with my baby, all three hours, with just me (my husband is not a member).  The first step is to have realistic expectations of yourself and little one.  You (the parent) aren't going to be able to listen to the speakers as attentively as you did without kids, because your focus is now on teaching little one how to (eventually) listen and be quiet.  Eventually = by age 10.  Right now little one is not going to be silent nor perfectly still, so don't even try for that.  Rather, try for not screaming and hanging out in the vicinity of the pew.  It really is easier to teach them this at 9 months, before they can run away from you.  

Something that is not the end of the world: your kid screaming at the top of their lungs and running up to the podium-- it happens.  And on that week all the other parents will be grateful it's your kid screaming the loudest that week.  And next week you will be grateful when it's their kid who is screaming and throwing toys.

Speaking of toys: a few (~3) quiet toys or snacks is are good to have.

If they totally tantrum and need to be taken out, you make that more miserable that being behaved in sacrament meeting.  Note: tantrum means actually tantrum, something like a newborn expressing they need to eat.

3 hours ago, clbent04 said:

Do you switch off with your spouse keeping the baby entertained the whole the 3 hours?

If you have that luxury, it's great.  Gives each parent some breathing space.  

If one parent has a teaching assignment, the other can take the kid.  If it's just one parent, then there's other alternative too.  

3 hours ago, clbent04 said:

Does one spouse stay home with the baby one Sunday so the other spouse can attend services, and then switch the next Sunday?

Do you only go for the sacrament meeting hour?

Do you wait to go back to church until your child is 18 months old so you have the help of the nursery as you and your spouse attend all 3 hours? (I know this idea would not be recommended by the church, and also problematic for families who continue having kids. Just curious if anyone takes this approach)

No.

Church time is family time.  

Every one comes, everyone learns.  Yes, this is work- work is part of teaching children to walk with Christ.  The kids see with their own eyes how important church and Christ are to you.  You show them how to worship, that this is in the church building and in home.  

 

 

I know it's common in other Christian churches to have a "Children's Church"-- aka ship the kids off to a gymnasium where they run around and play, rather than sitting and learning about Christ.  My husband grew up in one, I have friends who currently send their kids to them.  In term this seems great: have someone else watch the kids!   And if you want to raise an atheist, I totally recommend it.  It teaches toddlers that church = recess.  They don't see you worship-- and the thought of staying with you and worshipping become repulsive.  And they stay that way as the grow up: all they want is recess and to be entertained, not to cultivate a relationship with Christ.

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24 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I've always gone with my baby, all three hours, with just me (my husband is not a member)

My hat is off to you. I don't know if I could single parent the 3 hours with a newborn

24 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

Church time is family time.  

Yeah, I agree. It would be kind of sad switching off and going by yourself anyway

24 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

I know it's common in other Christian churches to have a "Children's Church"-- aka ship the kids off to a gymnasium where they run around and play, rather than sitting and learning about Christ.  My husband grew up in one, I have friends who currently send their kids to them.  In term this seems great: have someone else watch the kids!   And if you want to raise an atheist, I totally recommend it.  It teaches toddlers that church = recess.  They don't see you worship-- and the thought of staying with you and worshipping become repulsive.  And they stay that way as the grow up: all they want is recess and to be entertained, not to cultivate a relationship with Christ.

I would have loved the gymnasium as a kid! Church was sooooooo boring to me at that age. But out of all of it, going to church did teach me who Jesus Christ is and how to cultivate a relationship with Him just like you said. So the trade off on letting your kids have fun verses helping them develop a relationship with their Savior seems like a no brainer

Edited by clbent04

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10 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

I would have loved the gymnasium as a kid! Church was sooooooo boring to me at that age. But out of all of it, going to church did teach me who Jesus Christ is and how to cultivate a relationship with Him just like you said. So the trade off on letting your kids have fun verses helping them develop a relationship with their Savior seems like a no brainer

I think a better way to say the bolded part would be simply: it is best to simply have your kids learn about Christ, even if it is boring at times.  It is important, and many times can indeed be fun- I was particularly fond of Sunday School wiggle songs.  And the kids do still color, play games, and move around.  It's just not recess.  Recess is Sunday afternoon during family park time!

Edited by Jane_Doe

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1 minute ago, Jane_Doe said:

I think a better way to say the bolded part would be simply: it is best to simply have your kids learn about Christ, even if it is boring at times.  It is important, and many times can indeed be fun- I was particularly fond of Sunday School wiggle songs.  And the kids do still color, play games, and move around.  It's just not recess.  

That is a better way to say it. Many times it can be fun for kids. Me personally though I don't have many fond memories of going to church as a kid. I just had to buckle down and get through it each Sunday

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21 hours ago, clbent04 said:
  1. How do parents typically deal with going to church with a baby?  
  2. Do you switch off with your spouse keeping the baby entertained the whole the 3 hours?
  3. Does one spouse stay home with the baby one Sunday so the other spouse can attend services, and then switch the next Sunday?
  4. Do you only go for the sacrament meeting hour?
  5. Do you wait to go back to church until your child is 18 months old so you have the help of the nursery as you and your spouse attend all 3 hours?
  1. Do you have some particulars that you are concerned about?  We could address that much better than the open ended question.  The main thing is don't stress.  Just deal.
  2. "Entertained"?  No.  My wife timed her feedings (she nursed) to just before and just after Church.  During church, I'd carry the baby around to give her a break.  You don't need to entertain the baby.  The baby entertains you.
  3. No. NO. NO.  Just go to church.  There are other babies there.  People understand if your baby cries.  Why would you skip church for the baby?
  4. No. NO. NO.  Just go to church.  There are other babies there.  People understand if your baby cries.  Why would you skip church for the baby?
  5. No. NO. NO.  Just go to church.  There are other babies there.  People understand if your baby cries.  Why would you skip church for the baby?

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One of the responsibilities of parents is to sacrifice for you kids for their education and development.

By taking and dealing with your kid at church you are  sacrificing your own spiritual learning and growth in some ways.  This is normal and expected.

Kids learn a bit differently.  They learn by repetition and example, and that is exactly what taking your kid to church every time sets up.  By teaching them that church is the place to be then you open the door for them to learn what is being taught when they reach that point in their development.

Sure it can be a bit of a rough road at times but what can we say other then welcome to parent-hood.

 

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23 hours ago, clbent04 said:
  1. How do parents typically deal with going to church with a baby?  
  2. Do you switch off with your spouse keeping the baby entertained the whole the 3 hours?
  3. Does one spouse stay home with the baby one Sunday so the other spouse can attend services, and then switch the next Sunday?
  4. Do you only go for the sacrament meeting hour?
  5. Do you wait to go back to church until your child is 18 months old so you have the help of the nursery as you and your spouse attend all 3 hours?

 

1 hour ago, Carborendum said:
  1. Do you have some particulars that you are concerned about?  We could address that much better than the open ended question.  The main thing is don't stress.  Just deal.
  2. "Entertained"?  No.  My wife timed her feedings (she nursed) to just before and just after Church.  During church, I'd carry the baby around to give her a break.  You don't need to entertain the baby.  The baby entertains you.

Mostly just concerned with the effort it takes to keep her entertained. She is a wiggle worm! And if she gets bored even for a second, she'll be loud to get your attention until she finds something interesting. So it pretty much takes your entire attention with her unless she has the liberty to crawl around in an open space with plenty of toys

 

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27 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

 

Mostly just concerned with the effort it takes to keep her entertained. She is a wiggle worm! And if she gets bored even for a second, she'll be loud to get your attention until she finds something interesting. So it pretty much takes your entire attention with her unless she has the liberty to crawl around in an open space with plenty of toys

 

She can crawl in the foot room, that's totally fine.  And kids to need to learn to be without constantly having a parent's attention-- for your own sanity!!  

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3 hours ago, clbent04 said:

Mostly just concerned with the effort it takes to keep her entertained. She is a wiggle worm! And if she gets bored even for a second, she'll be loud to get your attention until she finds something interesting. So it pretty much takes your entire attention with her unless she has the liberty to crawl around in an open space with plenty of toys

And?

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5 minutes ago, clbent04 said:

And basically just trying to get an idea on how parents handle very active babies

I don't know what you're used to seeing.  But all my babies were like what you described.  Stop thinking it is unusual.  Seriously, that is the first step.  Babies are babies.  They cry.  They wiggle.  They crawl. They make noise.  They poop. They throw up. They pee on you when changing their diaper.  Sometimes they poop while you're changing the diaper they messed in 10 minutes ago.  

One wonders how they manage to obey the laws of thermodynamics for the volume of vomit, urine, and poop they expel.  I doubt they ate that much.  So, where does it come from?

But seriously.  Just deal with each item as it comes.  Once you get rid of the notion that your baby is more difficult than the average baby, then you just figure it out.  Do your best.  Try different things. Eventually you and the baby just fit into a groove.  I honestly think it would be doing you a disservice to say how we did it because it may not fit your style or your babies.  The important thing is the attitude and trusting in the Lord to inspire you to do the right thing.

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A couple weeks ago I witnessed a young mom carrying her infant while sliding into a pew.  The infant hovering over the pew in front picked that moment to spit-up...  Onto the head and hair of two young girls below.  It was gross (and because I was not involved,   funny), but what can you do other then clean up as best you can and move on with life?

 

 

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22 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

A couple weeks ago I witnessed a young mom carrying her infant while sliding into a pew.  The infant hovering over the pew in front picked that moment to spit-up...  Onto the head and hair of two young girls below.  It was gross (and because I was not involved,   funny), but what can you do other then clean up as best you can and move on with life?

 

 

Naturally you look on the bright side: infant vomit is just curdled milk.  It could have been a toddler that vomited all over them!

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On 8/12/2017 at 1:39 PM, clbent04 said:

1. My wife and I have a baby who is 9 months old now.  The thought of going to church with even just one very active baby seems overwhelming.  How do parents typically deal with going to church with a baby?  

2. Do you switch off with your spouse keeping the baby entertained the whole the 3 hours?

3. Does one spouse stay home with the baby one Sunday so the other spouse can attend services, and then switch the next Sunday?

4. Do you only go for the sacrament meeting hour?

5. Do you wait to go back to church until your child is 18 months old so you have the help of the nursery as you and your spouse attend all 3 hours? (I know this idea would not be recommended by the church, and also problematic for families who continue having kids. Just curious if anyone takes this approach)

1.)  Same way with going anywhere with a baby.  And no, please don't take your baby to a non-G-rated movie.  People paid good money to enjoy that movie not to hear babies crying.  Yes, please don't worry about grumpy people on the airplane.  Please take your baby on the airplane to see grandma even if it's halfway around the planet and you have to fly over the vast Pacific.  The grumpy ones like Neal Boortz can go blow strawberries.

2.)  We didn't.  I am mother, I considered it my job to take care of the baby.  I didn't really think of it as "entertaining the baby" either.  I simply stuck to the same routine - eat (nursed), sleep, join the world.  Yes, a lot of times, I spent sacrament meeting in the hallways.  Nobody cared that the baby is gurgling in Sunday School and Relief Society, well, everybody wanted to hold my baby then.

3.)  That's a horrible idea.

4.)  Another horrible idea.

5.)  Even worse.

Babies are members of the community.  Everybody has met one, I would hope.  And if we're talking about the LDS Church, most everybody has had one at some point in their lives.  We know what babies do, we know what babies need.  We don't exclude them from society just because they are needy.  Babies start learning at the age of ZERO.  Discipline and instruction, therefore, also start at age zero.  My kids grew up loving Church.  All 3 hours.  They couldn't wait until they can go to Church on Wednesdays too.

 

 

 

 

Edited by anatess2

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4 hours ago, anatess2 said:

1.)  Same way with going anywhere with a baby.  And no, please don't take your baby to a non-G-rated movie.  People paid good money to enjoy that movie not to hear babies crying.  Yes, please don't worry about grumpy people on the airplane.  Please take your baby on the airplane to see grandma even if it's halfway around the planet and you have to fly over the vast Pacific.  The grumpy ones like Neal Boortz can go blow strawberries.

2.)  We didn't.  I am mother, I considered it my job to take care of the baby.  I didn't really think of it as "entertaining the baby" either.  I simply stuck to the same routine - eat (nursed), sleep, join the world.  Yes, a lot of times, I spent sacrament meeting in the hallways.  Nobody cared that the baby is gurgling in Sunday School and Relief Society, well, everybody wanted to hold my baby then.

3.)  That's a horrible idea.

4.)  Another horrible idea.

5.)  Even worse.

Babies are members of the community.  Everybody has met one, I would hope.  And if we're talking about the LDS Church, most everybody has had one at some point in their lives.  We know what babies do, we know what babies need.  We don't exclude them from society just because they are needy.  Babies start learning at the age of ZERO.  Discipline and instruction, therefore, also start at age zero.  My kids grew up loving Church.  All 3 hours.  They couldn't wait until they can go to Church on Wednesdays too.

 

 

 

 

Had a two week old at church Sunday.  The parents took turns with him when they felt he needed to be out of the room.  There are so many kids at the services I can't' imagine another would be a distraction.

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Having been a health care professional, I would not ever bring a newborn infant, especially one that is 2 weeks old into a place where they are exposed to lots of things their little bodies aren't ready to be exposed to. The minimum recommended age for a newborn infant to be out and about is at least 6 weeks. The vast majority of paediatricians and ER doctors will tell you this is an important consideration for your newborn infant's health. As far as being able to attend church or anything that requires a degree of 'quietness', you may not have that luxury for up to a year, maybe more than that :) But don't let people guilt trip you into staying home if you need to. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. I'm sure your Lord and Saviour isn't blind... right? He knows your good intentions...

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8 hours ago, anatess2 said:

My kids grew up loving Church.  All 3 hours.  They couldn't wait until they can go to Church on Wednesdays too.

Do you mind sharing what you think your kids found most enjoyable about going to church on Sundays? Was it the lessons, teachers, friends, something you did to help them see the value in it?

Edited by clbent04

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3 hours ago, Bini said:

Having been a health care professional, I would not ever bring a newborn infant, especially one that is 2 weeks old into a place where they are exposed to lots of things their little bodies aren't ready to be exposed to. The minimum recommended age for a newborn infant to be out and about is at least 6 weeks. The vast majority of paediatricians and ER doctors will tell you this is an important consideration for your newborn infant's health. As far as being able to attend church or anything that requires a degree of 'quietness', you may not have that luxury for up to a year, maybe more than that :) But don't let people guilt trip you into staying home if you need to. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. I'm sure your Lord and Saviour isn't blind... right? He knows your good intentions...

I took our 5-week old on his first outing... to the Football Stadium.  Yep.  My husband couldn't wait and he wouldn't go without me.  So, I said... ok, we're going.  Baby slept through everything including the fireworks... and yes, I nursed him when it was time right there within range of the TV crowd cameras.  Never made it to National TV though!  Bummer.

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3 hours ago, Bini said:

Having been a health care professional, I would not ever bring a newborn infant, especially one that is 2 weeks old into a place where they are exposed to lots of things their little bodies aren't ready to be exposed to. The minimum recommended age for a newborn infant to be out and about is at least 6 weeks. The vast majority of paediatricians and ER doctors will tell you this is an important consideration for your newborn infant's health. As far as being able to attend church or anything that requires a degree of 'quietness', you may not have that luxury for up to a year, maybe more than that :) But don't let people guilt trip you into staying home if you need to. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. I'm sure your Lord and Saviour isn't blind... right? He knows your good intentions...

Yep, you bring up a good point about the weeks immediately following the birth.  The wife obviously needed some recoup time after delivery.  She stayed home for a few weeks with the baby while I took the rest of the kids to church.  But about 3 to 5 weeks (depending on the baby and how she felt) she got up and came with us.  Our midwives told us two weeks was all the baby needed.  But the mom was who really needed the rest.  Mrs. Carb is just one of those ladies that you just can't keep down for long.

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2 hours ago, clbent04 said:

Do you mind sharing what you think your kids found most enjoyable about going to church on Sundays? Was it the lessons, teachers, friends, something you did to help them see the value in it?

Church is fun!  Well, of course, my husband and I both think Church is fun, even when being quiet for the talks.  I didn't really do anything special to make it fun for them.  It's just another one of the fun  things the family does.  Like visiting grandma and watching football.  When they were babies, I would put a necklace or a shawl that has little grab things attached to it - like the color rings.  I can just put them in the baby bjorn and they just occupy themselves with my necklace when they're awake.  When my first born started crawling/walking, I would strap him into his airline chair (we travel so much so I got this stroller that becomes an airplane chair that is FAA approved) for the entire meeting.  He would just sit in the stroller on the aisle next to the pew.  It's about the same length of time as a flight from Florida to Atlanta.  Or a drive from Orlando to Tampa so he's used to it.  If he gets fussy, I just wheel the thing out to the hallway.   Yes, there were times when I spend more time out in the hallway than in the chapel, but he learned reverence eventually.  My 2nd born was never into running off, so I would just plop him next to me on the pew.

When they got older, I started bringing an activity bag.  It's not regular toys.  The bag only gets used on Sundays and FHE.  So, they have puzzles of different pictures of Jesus (they're very common LDS posters, like the First Vision, the one with Jesus with a child on his lap, etc.).  They loved those.  They also have Book of Mormon figurines.  That one is one of their favorites.  The case is the golden plates and when you open it, you can find different characters from the Book of Mormon.  Captain Moroni has this sword and flag so he's one of their favorites.  Helaman is on a horse, Ammon has a sword and a sheep and King Noah has a tiger.  So they love those guys too.  So, they love hearing their stories because they move the figurines with the story.  But, those figurines can cause them to make noises (galloping horse especially!) during sacrament so I have to give them "the look" to quiet down.  They also loved bingo... we would have bingo cards with pictures on them - like Jesus, Family, Scriptures, Prayer, etc. - and when the speaker mentions the word, they would put the magnet to mark  it.  Yes, I've had a kid yell bingo in the middle of a talk.  No biggie.  

Then one time, when I had the missionaries over for dinner, they gave my 2 sons a name tag that says "Future Missionary".  They were about 6 and 4 years old and they wore the name tags to church so they would pretend to be missionaries and sit with the elders and be very still and quiet.  One of the elders love to draw and he would take the entire talk to draw a picture about the talk and give it to one of my kids.  He would then draw another one for the next talk and give it to my other kid.  That went on until the elder got transferred and my kids started sitting with us again.  But those Sundays, I think, was the time when my kids started to just sit still and be quiet during sacrament meeting without having to pull out the stuff in the activity bag.

Anyway, nursery for them was a blast.  There were times when they wouldn't want to leave.  This was about the time that our ward split so our nursery ended up very small so they had tons of attention by the teachers.  Primary was also a blast.  They just loved all the activities and singing time and the stories and their friends.  I was their singing time leader for a while and man, that was the best calling ever.  It was super fun!  And then scouts started.  They were big into that because their dad and grandpa are big time scout dudes.  It just kept going from there.  One of my kids is now a Priest and the other is about to be a Teacher.  They are gung-ho over those callings - we have a small youth program so they both ended up taking their turn as president of their quorums.  So they became very close to their church friends having to support each other in their callings.

So yeah, I really didn't do anything special besides having them join the church activities.

Edited by anatess2

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19 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Yep, you bring up a good point about the weeks immediately following the birth.  The wife obviously needed some recoup time after delivery.  She stayed home for a few weeks with the baby while I took the rest of the kids to church.  But about 3 to 5 weeks (depending on the baby and how she felt) she got up and came with us.  Our midwives told us two weeks was all the baby needed.  But the mom was who really needed the rest.  Mrs. Carb is just one of those ladies that you just can't keep down for long.

Both of mine were blessed at 6 weeks.  But yeah, we've had baby blessings at Church as early as 2 weeks.  My holistic pediatrician said the same thing your midwives said - give it at least 2 weeks before our first in-office doctor's visit.  She, of course, visited the babies at the hospital.  I was at the hospital for 2 weeks for both kids!

Edited by anatess2

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