Trying to physically go to church with the baby is a new adventure we have recently taken on. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the church doors were closed for quite a while and we were attending online Church from the luxury of our bed. Church from our bed was such a huge blessing for us as new parents. Instead of having to worry about getting out the door and getting to service on Sunday mornings, we would open our eyeballs and stream service through the TV while drinking large mugs of steamy coffee.
After the governor said that churches could have in-person services, I still waited a handful of weeks to return. Every week, I would ask my parents about sanitization practices and how many people were respecting social distancing and wearing masks. While the reports back weren’t stellar, I finally decided that we would go as long as I could sit in the back row and keep my baby inside his carrier or on me the whole time to avoid his face being exposed to anyone.
Here are 6 lessons I’ve learned when taking a baby to church (during a pandemic):
- STOP bringing my coffee to drink during church. Drinking it’s just not going to happen. The cup is another thing to hold and I have to carry the cold coffee home and dump it down the sink. There is no hands-free time when bringing the baby to church, even if he is in his carrier. The second the cup meets my lips, he fusses. (but, you can read more about my love for my espresso machine here> https://www.katieandkristen.com/in-the-kitchen/reviewing-the-breville-barista-express/)
- Bring his swaddle and binky. My kid does not sleep if he’s not swaddled (a blessing and a curse). During our first couple of services back, I didn’t bring a swaddle and he had a really hard time trying to go to sleep.
- Show up on time for the music. We usually are late and miss half the music, but this is my son’s favorite part! He laughs out loud and coos.
- This is a no-brainer, but bring his diaper bag with food and diapers. He’s done everything that a normal baby does during church: spits-up, plays, sleep, poops, pees, and eats.
- Stop feeling pressured to stay for the entirety of the service (the pressure coming from no one but myself). My church is super accepting and loves having the little ones in the sanctuary during service, but sometimes him making noise stresses me out to a point where I’m not comfortable. I’ve learned to give myself permission to tap out and leave if the baby isn’t having it. And I have permitted myself to not feel bad about it.
- Lastly, for safety and health reasons, I do not pass the baby around. It’s hard when you grow up in a church where everyone has known you since the day you were born because they are excited to see your little one! And who doesn’t want to see and hold a fresh babe? I had always pictured freely sharing him with the people I love, but COVID19 has replaced that desire with fear.
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – Matthew 18:20
Trying to go to church in person takes a lot more effort and it takes a lot more planning, but it’s also what God calls us to do. He calls us to come together as the body of Christ. And I choose to bring my son with me because I want him raised in the church. I do believe that God lays a hand of protection over us and the baby. (And at the same time, I also believe in hand sanitizer and handwashing to prevent the spread of germs!)