Bringing Home Baby

One mother shares everything she wishes she’d known about those critical days after birth


Published:

COURTESY

I cried through my mom’s 58th birthday party. Through the candle blowing, the cake eating, the present opening, tears silently streamed down my face. 

“I’m so happy, honestly,” I said to everyone who wasn’t awkwardly avoiding eye contact: my husband, my mom, my dad, my sister, my brother, and my brother’s brand-new girlfriend (sigh). “I don’t even know why I’m crying.” 

Three days prior, on June 22, 2018, at 12:34 a.m., my son, Jacob Marshall Portillo, was born. He was 7 pounds, 11 ounces of milky-skinned, dark-haired beauty ... and NEED. Pure need. 

At a time when my body was telling me I needed to sleep for three days, his body told him it was time to eat from my raw, bruised, and chapped boobs every three hours. And when he struggled to latch, I had to put those raw, bruised, and chapped boobs inside some electric suction cups and pump milk for him. Then I’d settle in for 90 minutes of sleep before it started all over again.  

That was just the boobs. Everything below the waist was pretty damn achy, too. I was induced—a vaginal birth—with only second-degree tearing. By all standards, I walked out of Novant Health’s Presbyterian Medical Center in Elizabeth in good shape. But my body still bore the impact of pushing out a nearly 8-pound baby 72 hours before. It didn’t really hurt to stand, but who wants to stand when you’re exhausted? Sitting, however, was precarious—no plopping down like I’d done nearly every day of my 31 years. I had to ease myself down, taking care not to put too much pressure on the stitches or else a sharp pain would remind me to recalibrate my position. 



COURTESY

And the hormones. Oh, the hormones! These were the real culprit behind my waterworks during the birthday party. After the baby’s exodus from my body, my estrogen and progesterone levels plummeted. This jolt to the system can cause mood swings, sadness, and irritability. Translation: let the roller coaster of emotions begin. Because amid the tiredness, the irritability, the bodily pain, I was also madly, overwhelmingly in love with every inch of that little needy baby who could barely open his big blue eyes. 

The bottom line: No amount of preparing the nursery or hanging dozens of onesies up for an Instagram-worthy closet prepared me for the first few days of motherhood. I’ve often wondered why nobody warned me. Why was I so ill-prepared, even after three baby showers? Was my experience so different from that of other new mothers? As I started texting my friends about my newfound reality, the stories flooded in: 

“I cried every single time I breastfed, it hurt so bad,” one said. “Gotta let those nipples get callused. Then it gets better.” 

“I walked around with cabbage leaves on my cracked, bleeding boobs for weeks,” said another. 

“Trying to meet the needs of that little baby is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do, and you’re never sure you’re doing it right,” said a third. 

I was stunned—and validated. I resolved to be more transparent with other moms-to-be. Here are the things I wish someone had told me before I brought home my baby boy: 

 

You’re about to become obsessed with bodily fluids. Your own included. 
Right after you give birth, it hurts to pee—and poop. The hospital gives you a squirt bottle you’re supposed to fill with warm water to minimize the amount of wiping you have to do, and you can expect to use maxi pads the size of bricks. Even more than your own bodily fluids, you’ll be consumed with how often your baby poops, pees, and spits up. For the first few weeks, you might as well keep track of each diaper change in a Google doc because your pediatrician will ask you how often it all happens. 

In the span of a week, your child may go from pooping four times a day to nothing for four days. You’ll freak out and send the doctor a note. When the pediatrician tells you to relax, that it’s completely normal, you’ll scoff and think: “Relax? Really? Have you had a newborn?”

 

Modesty: gone.
Before I gave birth, I dreaded a room full of people looking at all of me completely exposed. As soon as Jacob was born, my qualms were gone. I was too exhausted, too spent, too consumed with the task at hand to care. I breastfed and pumped in front of my dad. I let my mom inspect my sore nipples. My mother-in-law, who came to help after the birth, saw more of my bare boobs in 10 days than she’d seen of me in jeans in the previous 10 years combined. And when I visited a lactation consultant a few times after my hospital discharge (Novant’s Nursing Mothers Place was wonderful), I took off my top and let that sweet, older woman massage my swollen breasts to increase my milk output like it was no big thing. 

 

Breastfeeding hurts like hell. Until it just doesn’t anymore.
Soon after Jacob was born, a lactation consultant told me that if breastfeeding hurt, I “wasn’t doing it right.” Another one—a mother herself—was more realistic: “The pain is pretty toe curling, isn’t it?”

I mean, how could it not be? You have a little one sucking at your breast like his life depends on it. And while it’s an instinctive motion, he’s no expert yet. And neither are you. If you worry you’ll spend every three hours of the foreseeable future weeping in excruciating pain, know this: it hurts like hell for a little while. Then, one day, it just stops. It’s like your boobs go numb. They get callused. They get used to it. And instead of that toe-curling pain, you feel sweet relief.

 

A little fresh air can do wonders.
When you’re awake at 3:30 a.m. to change your 15th diaper of the day, wishing you could change your shirt (thanks, leaking boobs), and dreaming of the days when you showered every morning, it’s hard to imagine a day when you’ll feel like yourself again. You ache for it. You’ve been confined to your bed, the rocker, and the changing table. At my son’s first doctor’s visit, a few days after he was born, I found myself in that room, yet again, with teary eyes. Before she left, the nurse practitioner rubbed my back and said, “It’ll be OK. Go on a walk. A little fresh air will do all of you a world of good.”

So that afternoon, my husband and I buckled our newborn into the stroller and turned a whirring mini-fan on his face to combat the July heat. People we passed grinned and congratulated us. A coworker driving by saw us and honked her horn. I smiled and took a deep breath, steering the stroller with one hand and holding my husband’s with the other. It is going to be OK, I told myself. And this is the beginning of a wonderful new adventure. 

 

5 Tips for Moms-to-Be on Breastfeeding and Pumping

1. Learn how to use the breast pump before you give birth. I made the mistake of not taking mine out of the box pre-birth, and I paid for it in frustrated tears (again, hormones).

2. Buy extra pump parts. The standard set comes with two flanges and two cups for the milk. Trust me: You’ll want more than that. Otherwise, you’ll be washing those parts three or four times a night, eating into that precious sleep. Buy an extra set or two of flanges through the pump company, and then buy some off-brand extra cups (made for your pump model) from Amazon. 

3. Embrace the hands-free pumping bra (and bring it to the hospital). Get a couple at Target, Amazon, or anywhere they’re sold. Like a strapless bra with cut-outs near the boobs, these allow you to tuck your pump parts in and let go. You can’t imagine the liberation when you don’t have to hold two flanges perfectly still on your breasts for 15 minutes. With the hands-free bra, you can read a book, text your mom, hell, even just scratch your nose, without losing suction and spilling milk. 

4. Don’t be afraid to visit a lactation consultant. Hospitals have them at the ready right after you give birth, but if your child struggles to latch once you’re home, don’t be shy: make an appointment. Insurance often covers these visits, and it’s a relaxing environment. My sweet consultant was helpful, understanding, and often just let me cry. Which I needed.

5. Don’t idolize breastfeeding. When you’re in the hospital, breastfeeding is king. When you read mommy blogs, it seems like the only legitimate way to feed your child. It’s not. According to the CDC, only about half of babies are breastfed until 6 months old, and once I started talking to people about it, I could believe how many friends and acquaintances either weren’t able to breastfeed at all, only did it for a few weeks, or bowed out when they returned to work. (Pumping every few hours in the workplace is a commitment many women can’t make). The #FedisBest campaign is right: if you need to use formula, use formula. You’ll still get plenty of snuggles and sweet little coos with a bottle. 

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May 2020

Join us for the 6th Annual Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon and Fun Run. This non-timed and non-competitive race for kids of all abilities is followed by a family festival full of fun, music and...

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Ingersoll Rand
800 Beaty St.
Davidson, NC
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Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

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Sugar Creek Library
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The Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center (LJCC) will host its annual kids triathlon to benefit rehabilitation programs at Levine Children’s Hospital and...

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Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
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A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

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Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
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Classes for adaptive learning and sensory needs meet at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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Sun Valley High School
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Experience age-level appropriate Sunday school classes at 9:30 and 11 a.m. that connect families with larger church programs and ministries while creating a welcoming environment for all families.

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Matthews United Methodist Church
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Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and younger must wear a life jacket in the water. Ages 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

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The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
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On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

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Abari Game Bar
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Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

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Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
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Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

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Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

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NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
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This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
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Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
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This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

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Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
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Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

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SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
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Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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The Salisbury Kennel Club will present this all-breed dog show.

Cost: Free, $5 for parking

Where:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
4751 NC Hwy. 49 N.
Concord, NC
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This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
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A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
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Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
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Website »

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George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
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Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
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Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

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Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
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On the first Sunday of the month from April through December, explore food trucks, mobile shops and live music at Sycamore Brewing. 

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Sycamore Brewing
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Participants of all ages will learn proper Jazz dance technique. No previous dance experience required.

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Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
, NC
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Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

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Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet with a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) who will teach you the correct way to install your child's seat, provide safety recommendations and answer questions....

Cost: Free

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Flint Hill Fire Dept. Station 1
1950 Hwy. 21 Bypass
Fort Mill, SC
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Sponsor: Britax Child Safety
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Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This workshop is open to all ages. No previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Recreation Site
500 Bilmark Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families of children with special needs can enjoy a special jump session the first Tuesday of each month. Defy Gravity grip socks, $3, are required.

Cost: $7 per hour for each jumper with special needs and immediate family members

Where:
Defy Gravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
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Website »

More information

Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment. The class is open to all ages and no previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Belle Johnston Community Center
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
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Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Recreation Center
5027 North Idlewild Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project. Call 704-416-4400 to register.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Afrobics is a full body, fun experience—a dance fitness class combining Afrofusion movement to an African beat.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear live music every Thursday, June 4 through August 13. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for lineup.

Cost: $5 per person (free for members); $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Ln.
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A dynamic stage performer has been cast as Blippi to entertain and thrill audiences in a live musical.

Cost: $24.75-$65

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host families and friends on the first Friday of the month for a night of fun and food.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Warehouses on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Fans will enjoy Friday Night Fireworks and Scout Sleepover. 

Cost: $13+

Where:
BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Caregivers and their littles learn new yoga poses with songs and games. Multiple class rates available.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the SingPlayMove experience in the comfort of your own home. This 30-minute class is presented through Zoom.  Each week's class will have a unique Zoom Meeting ID and...

Cost: $12 per child

Where:
Online
345 N. College St.
, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

rab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Resident Culture Brewing Company
2101 Central Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Treat the kids and yourself to a fun night out! Drop kids off to run, play and dance. Pizza dinner is included.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host each first Friday for a night of fun and food!

Cost: Free

Where:
Warehouse on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

The DJ and beverage garden will kick off at 6pm, and featured bands will start at 7pm. Food will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
Main Street
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Taste of Charlotte is a three-day festival featuring samples from area restaurants along with live entertainment, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, performances...

Cost: Free admission, cost for food

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
5th Street to Stonewall
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Check out more than 100 vendors, 18 free rides, fireworks and live music. Shuttle locations to parking will be available.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crooked Creek Park
5900 Oakwood Lane
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy this outdoor musical celebration. Tailgating spaces will be available. Salisbury Swing Band will perform at 5pm; the Salisbury Symphony will perform at 7:30pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Salisbury, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience storyteller, Carolyn Evans as she portrays moments from Harriet Tubman's life and work with the Underground Railroad. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to reserve your seat.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Performing storyteller, Carolyn Evans will portray moments from Harriet Tubman's life in this Histo-Drama about her life and work with the Underground Railroad. Light refreshments will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

More information

Get ready for the ultimate rock and worship experience at Rock the Park in the Carowinds’ Paladium Amphitheatre.

Cost: TBA

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a free certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Home Depot
4750 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore art and music through the eyes of your child. Registration includes access to Family Portrait and Musical Saturdays programs.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
The Bridge
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and younger must wear a life jacket in the water. Ages 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15-$20 per person, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Website »

More information

The City of Charlotte's Animal Care and Control will bring a selection of dogs, puppies, cats and kittens to the center court inside the mall for adoption.

Cost: Adoption prices may vary per pet

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let Arts+ teaching artists guide you towards your artistic goals. Any young artist interested in a career in the arts can benefit from this collaborative creative environment.

Cost: $10

Where:
The Bridge
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Taste of Charlotte is a three-day festival featuring samples from area restaurants along with live entertainment, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, performances...

Cost: Free admission, cost for food

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
5th Street to Stonewall
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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