It’s festival season in New Orleans. The food, the drinks, the socializing, and the music make you think about throwing off responsibilities for the rest of your life. Now add a child to that mix. Responsibility is back, but that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge and let loose.
As new parents, the convenience and exuberance of festival season was too appealing to pass up, even with a newborn. (In retrospect, 8 days old was probably a little young for Edith’s first French Quarter Fest.)
Maybe we were foolish to expose such a tiny baby to so much so early, or perhaps just a bit overzealous about introducing her to her new home and community. Regardless, festivals with Edith are some of our most precious early memories, and a year later, she’s ready to chow down on some Crawfish Monica and dance to Trombone Shorty.
So here are the FeedithNOLA’s tips for festing with baby:
- Set up base camp. Our ideal home base is somewhere with shade and lots to look at. When we can, we set up our chairs and quilt close to other family groups. Edith loves to watch other kids run around.
- Bring multiple modes of transport. We bring our jogging stroller for easy off-roading as well as a carrier to wear Edith as we walk around. It may be bulky, but remember, the stroller can carry more than just your baby! (Jazzfest won’t allow you to bring in a wagon or pull cart, but you can bring a stroller!)
- Drink daiquiris over beer. It’s no use crying over spilled milk, but a spilled $7 festival beer can bring anyone to their knees. With a cruising 1-year-old, it’s pretty much inevitable. Beverages with lids can prevent this disastrous moment. Also, it’s a lot easier to drink from a straw if you’re walking & wearing your baby.
- Pack wisely. Make sure you think through your baby’s regular schedule for the hours you plan to be at the festival and pack accordingly. Even though Edith usually eats what we eat, we always pack extra snacks in case the lines are slow. Hanger has no place at a festival. (Check here for prohibited items at Jazz Fest.)
- Take a walk. There’s so much to see at every festival. Treat the crafts markets as an art museum and point out different colors. Practice waving to people as they pass by. Dance as you walk by each stage. Where ever you go, soak it up and enjoy the experience with your new family.