Looking for advice from parents: Gaming with baby


The last group I played in the GM (who hosted the game his house) and his wife had a baby. It was no big deal to us because he slept through the whole session most of the time. When the baby got a little upset his wife would take a break and we woul play her character for her while she was gone and sometimes we would just take a break for 15-20 min and get back to it. I guess as long as all the players are ok with it go for it.

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First Post
My son is 8 months old now, and we haven't gamed since my wife was about 6 months pregnant (so there go 14 months of no gaming). He doesn't sleep during the day at all, and once he sleeps (at around 7 PM), both my wife and I are too tired to stay up for long (she crashes at 9 PM at most, I sometimes - when Lost is on, for instance - stay up until 10 PM). Of course, the three of us get up around 5-6 AM.

So until my wife's mother recovers from a recent surgery, no gaming for us. Once she's better, we'll schedule for her to come babysit during one Sunday afternoon per month, so we can game.


First Post
Our gaming group has 6 people, 2 sets of couples and then 2 guys... betweeen us, 7 kids. Aged 8 to 2.5. One guys lives 40 min away and his wife takes care of the kids. The others all live within 4 houses of each other and we roate houses. As DM, our girls (4.5 and 2.5) usually either have a babysitter or go down to my dad's... babysitting is expensive, but we only play once a month or so...

When little, the girls were a blast to play with... I could give them dice or paper 'minatures' (laminated cardboard cutouts, near indestructable) to play with all day long...


First Post
jtone said:
Our group is quite tolerant of these interruptions, but they would probably drive someone without kids nuts.

I have to admit, this is what happened with me. I don't have children, but at one point was gaming with two couples who both had young children. A 4-hour game session would consist of maybe 20 minutes of gameplay with everyone involved - the rest of the time was one interruption after another. About the time I noticed that it was common for 3 of the 4 players to be absent from the table at the same time, I knew we had a problem.

We agreed to essentially ban kids from game night. Now we only game twice a month (and sometimes miss a session) rather than weekly, as babysitting costs add up quickly. And sessions still start late, as it's sometimes hard for parents to get away on time. But it's a big improvement all around. Everyone can focus on the game. The kids don't feel left out, ignored, or in trouble for just being kids. And they can always come over when we're not roleplaying.

Not necessarily a solution for everyone, but it works for us.


First Post
While all three of my kids were adopted at older ages (4,6,9), I have two couples in games that have children, and we work it out okay.

A baby at the table can be a serious distraction, but if you're all laid back it's not too bad.

The baby in the crib idea works once they're a little older, another option is to ask them to come to your house for the first few months and you'll go to theirs for the second few months.

It's going to change things, no question there, but that's true for your entire life, not just your gaming :D.

We (my wife) also buys the pillow D20s (the little dog-toy sized plush dice) for the babies, and we let them play with them. Have to start those gamers out early.


First Post
We have three children (currently 5, 4 & 2) and my husband and I "co-DM" a game and participte in another as players.

We are very lucky. We play with parents who have children in the same age range and some very very patient players who don't have children. We also play once a month - so sometimes we are able to spring for a sitter.

Many times infants are fine - some babies cry a lot though unless mom or dad walks with them, or if their routine is different, etc. You never can tell what to expect until they come.

A lot depends on your baby, your group's tolerance and flexibility, how often you play, and whether grandma and grandpa are close.


Mythmere1 said:
Chiming in with consensus, but yes, babies are easy - toddlers make you have to game after bedtime only.

Not in my experience. I'm sure this is a "it depends on the toddler."

The couple whose house we play in have a soon to be 4 year old. He's been at the gaming table since he was born.

He's usually at the gaming table, although he'll often wander off. He can be a distraction, but usually for one player or the other. Initially, he would spend most of the game on my lap. He needed his own dice and would ask when it was "his turn" to roll the dice. As long as we gave him a turn periodically (which had no connection to the game) he was fine.

Now, there are a few players that tend to deal with him. Everyone likes playing with him, and he'll wander off and play on his own some nights.

The biggest issue is usually bedtime, since we'll get together at 6pm and usually game until 11pm-1am. With that many "friends" visiting, getting him to go to bed is occasionally an issue.

It's not that there are disadvantages to this. However, the option would be to lose this couple and we don't to do that. Their house is, by far, the best place to play (they even have a second family room downstairs with an attached kitchen).


First Post
Mapleaxe said:
Parents out there, particularly those in gaming households, how have you you dealt with managing baby and gaming?

Expose a baby to a moderate leevel of noise and activity and they will get used to it and not be a big pain in the butt durign gaming sessions.
My kids were never any gaming related trouble to speak of. The only reason two year olds are ever a problem is because parents are weak and infrim on discipline and attention. Give them lots of attention (hwne not gaming) and maintain discipline and they will let you game without being a pain in the butt. Kids (unless they have serious problems) only act out of line to get attention even if they don't realize they are doing it. A child will do whatever it can to get the amount of attention it thinks it deserves, give them the chance to get that attention and they aren't gonna be breaking your miniautres or swallowing dice.


First Post
Since you mentioned that, I have to mention my alternate ;)

Marry a gamer. Don't have kids :D

(Just kibitzing!)

Cutter XXIII said:
Simple: marry a non-gamer.

Just be ready to watch the baby when your S.O. goes out for their "night with friends."


First Post
After having my first baby in December, I ended up trying out pbp D&D and have really enjoyed it. I convinced a couple of old gaming friends of mine to join up and I am now DMing them through my first pbp game. Of course, this is all after wife and kid go to bed. Very enjoyable. No dice, minimal paper. Lots of fun. (of course, if your wife is a fellow gamer, you'll probably have to share posting time with her or have 2 computers for the house).

Congratulations, a child is, by far, a much more intensive and involved RPG than any game you could play.

TheGM said:
We (my wife) also buys the pillow D20s (the little dog-toy sized plush dice) for the babies, and we let them play with them. Have to start those gamers out early.

But they need to roll hit points & damage, too! You need this:


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The Sigil

Mr. 3000 (Words per post)
Slightly OT, but I remember when my wife was expecting our first. I was GMing a Saturday game session, the players were 3rd or 4th level and were tomb-crawling and had just been set upon by a pair of mummies (this was about two or three months after 3e came out).

In round 2 of combat, the phone rang. It was my wife, at work. "Honey, I need you to come get me now, I haven't felt the baby move for over a day." The look on my face told my players something was seriously wrong when I said, "we'll leave off right here, I have to go RIGHT NOW, I will see you all next week if all is well." That's right, I dropped everything, in the middle of a combat round, and walked directly to the car. They cleaned up, and noted the iniatitive counts and marked where we were in the order for the next session (I had good players).

Of course, while I was on my way to pick her up, the baby started kicking and all was well... my wife had gotten some "scary stories" about stillborn babies at work and freaked when she realized the baby hadn't kicked her for a while. "The baby" is now 4.5 and doing quite well, thank you.

The funny part of this is that one of the veteran players looked up the Mummy in his brand-new MM that week, and called one of the other guys.
"Hey, um, have you seen the mummy entry?"
"You might want to open up your Monster Manual..."
"Okay... what?"
"Look at the mummy rot ability."

They told me about this at the next session (one of my rules was PHBs at the table, but after the session, you can look at other reference books, so I wasn't mad). A moment I would not have been able to appreciate had my baby not interrupted me.

As others have said, newborns are easy. It's the 2-year-olds you have to watch out for. Especially the fiery ones. Like my daughter. *rolls eyes*

--The Sigil


First Post
more suggestions please

The wife and I are expecting our first in Feb/Mar, so this is a good time for us to start thinking about it.

I know that a kid will change our gaming lives and might well end it, so any kind of suggestions beyond the ones displayed here would really help.


2 year olds are evil

Reynard said:
A baby isn't the problem. In a crib, sleeping in a carrier, or hanging out in the porta-crib are all easy compared to the dice swallowing, paper tearing, mini-sling power of a 2 year old.

Man I feel your pain, my wifes first experience into role-playing was when my son grabbed one of those huge Grey Dragon Dice I had gotten for free somewhere out of my bag and decided to bounce it off her forehead. Ohh and they like to try and tear the nice pictures out of the books. The old Books are also targets for crayons since he wants to color them up a bit/ Needless to say everything has been moved to the top shelf. Next is a laser encoded padlock to keep him out.
(oh and miniatures are also used as bendable actions figures to him)



get the kid in a routine as quick as possible in there own area, if you are visiting bring a small DVD player and lots of Baby Einstein DVD's, its like crack for babies. Before you know it you'll be watching it with your kid, blank stare,head tilted to the side with a little drool rolling out too!
Newborns are not that bad, but seriously get a routine and STICK to it. My family knew that if they didnt follow it and my son woke up in the middle of the night, Id kill them. I'd also call them in the middle of the night to share the news.
Doctore will tell you all the textbook things to do, so you dont sue them. As soon as you feel comfortable put a little rice cereal in the babies milk and they will sleep all night, it keeps them full. MY kid sleet every night, I even had to go wake him up sometimes.
Like I said babies are not really hard, routine routine routine, if it goes to sleep at a certain time, game or no game you take a break and put the child to sleep, or he or she will make you pay for it!!!


First Post
Barendd Nobeard said:
But they need to roll hit points & damage, too! You need this:

Heheh. Yeah, conveniently my wife owns one of those (I bought it for her), but the kids all get D20s.

I think it's a subltle slap at me over 3.5 - she really hates that a natural 20 is not a crit, but I won't houserule it :p.


First Post
Harmon said:
The wife and I are expecting our first in Feb/Mar, so this is a good time for us to start thinking about it.

I know that a kid will change our gaming lives and might well end it, so any kind of suggestions beyond the ones displayed here would really help.

At this point there are online games for just about any system... I'd start hunting some out and get acquainted. Check out here at ENWorld, Kenzer and Co has some for D20 and HM, I run some for HM... I know for a fact there are others, they're just not coming to mind right now. Anyone?

I'm not saying you can't play tabletop, just that it's more difficult.

Another option is to start talking with your group about playing at your house. Then you've got all you need for the baby, and there's much less hassle.



First Post
Harmon said:
The wife and I are expecting our first in Feb/Mar, so this is a good time for us to start thinking about it.

I know that a kid will change our gaming lives and might well end it, so any kind of suggestions beyond the ones displayed here would really help.

Make sure you have a vehicle with plenty of trunk room. Because now instead of just having to pack character sheets, a dozen rule books, dice, miniature cases, and snacks you'll also add-in:

pack n' play (portable crib/containment device)

jhonny jump-up or exersaucer (after they can sit up on their own - yeah it only keeps them occupied for 10-20 minutes - but that's another 10 - 20 minutes you can play)

one huge diaper bag filled with everything you think you might need (this includes the bulb syringe they give you at the hospital, baby tylenol drops, rattles, extra changes of clothes, and of course diapers and wipes - hehe it's a first child thing that you fall prey to. With my third child we threw the diapers and wipes in with the dice box and skipped the bag altogether.)

bottles, pacifiers, jars of formula, boxes of rice (the suggesstion above about putting the rice in their formula - once the dr. OK's it - is a great one. When you start, do it for the bottle before bedtime rather than the daytime meals. The added bulk will keep baby sleepy and his/her tummy full longer - hopefully helping him sleep longer, but also making bedtime easier.)

comfort item (some kids latch onto a blanket of stuffed animal and woe to you if you don't remember it.)

cheerieos (when they are old enough, cause pringles, cheetoes and guacamole are usually not good first foods. Besides they'll chase those things around the tray of the exersaucer or high chair for another ten minutes of game time.)

car seat (when they are young you get an occasional lucky night where they go to sleep in the car on the way over. It's quite comical to watch the ritual of trying to get car seat out of the car carefully enough to not disturb the sleeping baby, finding a quiet room, covering the seat with a blanket to keep out the light, and hoping the baby will sleep through the first big combat.)

Anyways I guess the one thing I remember even more than all the stuff you pack around is sleep deprivation. If you play every week you may want to take a one or two month hiatus to get adjusted. (Most good DM's can work it in if you give them the heads up) It's no fun to go to a session so beat that you kill your PC off due to just not being able to think because you are so tired.

If you play once a month, and both of you game: Splurge on a sitter or impose on a close relative, because you want to find a balance and keep your sanity. Having a newborn puts your whole life in a juggle cycle for a while. You do eventually adjust and things calm down, routines get established, and the baby starts sleeping at night and for more than two hours at a crack, but it will seem like forever when you are living through it.

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