It’s Election Day!
Getting out of the house with a new baby can feel overwhelming on a good day.
Getting out of the house with a new baby on Election Day? Monumental.
If you're heading to the polls for the first time since becoming a parent, we've got a few tips to help make your trip go as smooth as possible.
Do Your Research: Spend a little time researching each of your candidates before you leave home to vote. Consider printing a sample ballot, so that you can anticipate what yours might look like on Election Day, and where your choices are located on it. This way, even if your baby gets a little cranky and adds a little pressure to get out of there, you'll be able to swiftly, but accurately, vote for your favorite candidates.
Prep and Pack: Pack a "Go Bag" with an extra diaper or two, a burb cloth, an outfit for Baby (because, blowouts), a nursing cover, pacifier, or bottles if you use them in case Baby gets hungry, and a blanket in case you have an outside wait. Gather everything together before Election Day so you can grab and go without feeling like you’re forgetting anything and can put all of your focus on casting your ballot!
Make A Plan To Get There: Hopefully you know your polling location well ahead of Election Day. But if not, go ahead and research things like how far away from your house it is and what it will take to physically go into the space. Think through things like how long it will take you to get there (Car-Hating Babies, I’m looking at you) and what the parking situation looks like (street parking vs. enclosed parking lot vs. deck parking). Consider bringing a friend or your partner along with you (Yay! Voting Date!) if you're feeling nervous about being out and about with your baby for an unknown period of time. If your partner’s not available… I’m willing to be your (Emerald) Doula might even be willing to help hold your babe while you cast your vote!
Babywear, Babywear, Babywear: Can you bring a stroller to a polling location? Yes. But polling locations are often located in cramped spaces with tight corners, which can be tricky to maneuver with your Bugaboo or double jogger. Instead, opt for a baby carrier, like a ring sling (Hello Maya Wrap with your lovely zippered pocket for keys and phone) or a soft structured carrier (if your baby is old enough, they can ride along on your back!). Baby will be happy because they’ll get extra snuggling time with you, and you’ll be (mostly) hands-free to be sure your vote is counted.
Take A Photo: Not while your IN the voting location of course; but afterwards? Oh yea. No matter how the day turns out, this is certain to be a historic election. You’ll someday (hopefully) want to be able to show your little one their introduction to democracy. Your “Future Voter” will thank you (as will your doulas, when you send us the selfie you're going to take!).