Liz Wilkes, Midwife and Philips Avent Ambassador shares a few tips for heading out for the first time without your little one.
It is important for new parents to make time for themselves to reconnect and while you might feel romance means you need to schedule in that long overdue ‘date night’, keep in mind that an evening away from bub can be stressful for Mum and Dad. Rest assured that some careful planning can go a long way in creating a romantic, stress-free evening.
1. Trust your babysitter
The person caring for your bub should be someone you really trust; grandmothers are the perfect candidate if they are nearby, or close family or friends are also a great option. Otherwise, there are many nanny and babysitting agencies with professionals who are specifically experienced in caring for newborns. It is worth reaching out to these agencies rather than asking someone who is inexperienced in newborn childcare.
Trust your baby is in good hands. Image: iStock.
2. Plan the day as well as the evening
It’s a great idea to have a quiet day at home with baby before leaving them for the evening. Babies can become overstimulated easily, especially if they are out all day with lots of people around. If your bub is fairly settled and mum is well rested, this will create an easier night for both parties.
3. Prepare to pump
Getting enough breastmilk stored for feeds while you are out can take time if you are not used to it. Make sure you don't overstimulate and end up with an increased supply. Expressing for a few minutes after each feed for a day will give you enough milk to store. Depending on how long you will be out, 100-150 mls of expressed milk on standby should be enough for a small baby.
Show faith in your school. Prepare your children to work hard so that teachers can help them to learn well. Establish rights, rules, responsibilities and routines in your household and let every child do their bit. Give them chores, square meals, the time to talk and the sleep they need.
4. Relax and step away
Don't panic if your baby seems unsettled or upset when you leave. Take a deep breath and know that your baby is in safe hands with your trusted carer. If you are using a soother, make sure you have it available while settling bub. Many parents also feel like they need to wait until their baby is asleep to leave, however, this can make the situation worse. The carer can sit and cuddle bub the whole time you are out if needed – that’s what they are there for! To help keep your mind at rest, know they are only a phone call away.
5. Don’t push yourself
An evening out should help you relax and reconnect with your partner, but if you’re not ready for a night out, don't stress. Sometimes mums are so tired and feel they cannot 'do' a date night, especially early on, so even setting aside time to order a delicious meal and watch Netflix is an option. Be creative when making ‘me’ time or ‘mum and dad’ time, but don’t let it stress or tire you out further.