Frankly, I'd say if you don't want to leave her, don't! Take her along! Unless you feel like you really need some alone time or couple time or whatever. I didn't realize how much I'd missed just talking to my husband until we had our date on T-giving weekend--we really needed that time. From the baby's perspective, I don't think they "need" time away from *you,* but in most cases it won't hurt anything! Especially at 2 months, when they're still pretty laid-back about who they're with.
I had to look in my Baby Journal to refresh my memory, but I first left her with my husband for a couple of hours when she was two months old. I just needed some solitude so I went out shopping by myself. (I'm a person who needs solitude periodically in order to stay sane.) Even though I needed the time, it was weird being away from her. Of course, now I don't even give it a second thought when I leave her with my husband. Except for the boobs, he's pretty much the same as me, parent-wise!
And he's had lots of practice, since I returned to work part-time when she was 3 months, and we "juggled" caring for her.
Her first time with "strangers" (our neighbors, who really aren't strangers at all) was when we went out to a restaurant for our anniversary when she was just under 4 months old. We also left her with my mom and sister over Thanksgiving weekend to go out on a "date" for a couple of hours. Very nice to re-connect and really TALK without feeling distracted by the (gorgeous, lovable, but very distracting :LOL) baby! Then, most recently, we left her with friends and their same-age baby while we went to see "Return of the King" a few weeks ago--the only movie that I'd leave her for that long in order to see!! It was rough on us, since we'd never left her for that long before, but everyone came through it unscathed! :LOL
I know not all mamas here would feel like seeing a movie is reason enough to leave your baby with non-family, but these are very close friends, besides which she's a fairly independent kid--just depends on the type of baby you have as to whether it's going to work out well or not, and of course how well you trust the people you leave the baby with. When she went through her "stranger anxiety" phase (4-7 mos., more or less), we didn't leave her with anybody--she would cry just *looking* at people who weren't Mommy or Daddy! She still a little picky about who holds her (whatta diva!
), but overall she's fine with other folks.
As for your group of friends, it strikes me as odd that they don't bring their babies to the dinners. Is it because they meet in a bar? I go out to lunch with my friends who have same-age babies, but we always bring the babies. But then again we always meet in smoke-free or non-smoking-section places, so I'm sure that would make a difference. Maybe they wouldn't mind if you bring her along?? Or perhaps you could suggest they meet somewhere where everyone can bring their little ones?