Since day one, you’ve nurtured and cared for your baby. And now it’s been a while since the first day you brought baby home. You may feel the need to take some time out for yourself and to reconnect with the world outside of parenthood. There’s one problem. The thought of leaving your little one behind for a date night, meeting up with friends, or a business trip gives you crippling anxiety–I’ve been there too. Don’t let anyone make you think it’s not a big deal.
I’m what they consider a classic worrywart mom. And if you are too, no shame to you. I’ve been there and done that, and now have seven essential tips that have personally helped me so I can share them all with new moms. With a little preparation, the first night out without your new baby can be a smooth and worry-free experience. Let’s get into the seven tips–I’m laying out all the pro insights!
1. Run through your usual nighttime routine the day before and make a list of essentials.
The first thing you should do is walk through your baby’s entire evening routine and write down everything you use and need as you’re going through the motions. When you rub lavender lotion on your baby before bed, write it down. Turn that special ceiling projector night light on, and write that down too. Don’t forget about the necessities for night feeds either. From baby’s diaper stash and bottles to favorite toys and pajamas, write down everything your baby could possibly need while you’re out.
After your evening routine is over, you should have a solid list of baby essentials for your night away. Making a list of these necessities will help you pack and set up appropriately and avoid last-minute panic or forgotten items. Meaning, a happier and more relaxed mom!
2. If you can, don’t travel too far.
Sometimes you just can’t help what your first night away from baby looks like, especially for work trips. But if you can control it, staying close to home–or wherever your sitter happens to be–helps lessen any anxieties you might have. I personally only went out 15 minutes away from my baby.
Whatever the distance is, it’s important that you’re comfortable with it, if you can be. You’ll get more of a sense of security and comfort knowing you’re only a short drive away in the event you need to pick your little one up or head home. This gives you more time to relax and enjoy your much-deserved time out.
3. Ask for pictures, often.
Asking for pictures is not a sign of overprotectiveness or distrust. It’s a natural and healthy way to stay connected with your baby while you’re gone. I texted my sitter every 45 minutes asking for pictures on my first night out–and I don’t feel bad either.
Please don’t hesitate to bug your babysitter, family member, or trusted friend. When you’re out and about, receiving pictures of your little one definitely brings a sense of comfort and reassurance. A new mom’s mind can be… well, a bit overwhelming. But when you physically witness your baby’s happiness and safety from a photo or video, you’ll get a big breath of relief. Just the sight of their cute smiling face or peaceful slumber can help put your mind at ease.
4. Don’t be afraid to write out instructions.
Write out a whole book if you have to. This tip saved me so much worry and anxiety about steps being missed or major routines being forgotten. Even if your sitter has experience with newborn babies, every kid is unique and may have specific needs or preferences. Don’t feel bad listing everything out.
Providing clear and detailed instructions for your sitter will ensure they have all the tools they need to take care of your little one. Then you can enjoy some much-needed time for yourself knowing your newborn baby literally comes with a manual for everything they need.
5. Don’t plan too much.
If you’re having anxiety about being away, try not to overload your schedule with too many activities. Funny enough, my dad actually gave me this advice. The first time he and my mom were away from me they planned dinner, bowling, and a movie. Long story short, they only made it through dinner and quickly headed back home to me.
Keep your night out simple if you can, and leave room for flexibility. Remember, if you’re having a hard time you can cut the night short anytime you want, even if it’s just a couple of hours–there are no penalties.
6. Have backups of everything.
When it comes to baby essentials, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I’m sure you know by now that diaper blowouts aren’t that rare. And that accidentally spilling a bottle and wasting milk isn’t out of the question.
The best thing you can do is prepare an extra set of clothes, diapers, bottles, and milk. Plus, here’s your little reminder that breastfeeding parents will need to pump double breast milk too. Having backups will give you peace of mind and ensure everything goes smoothly, even if messy situations arise.
7. Trust your gut – spell out your list of no-nos.
As a parent, you know your baby best. Whenever you are uncomfortable or don’t want your babysitter to do certain things, please let them know.
This was on my no-no list for my first night out:
- Don’t use any blankets or pillows for baby
- Only lay baby to sleep on their back
- Baby should only sleep in their crib or bassinet (not on an adult bed or couch)
- Always use the monitor if away from baby
- Only give bottles, no solid foods
Don’t feel bad giving your sitter this list. Trust your instincts and clearly communicate your preferences. Getting everyone on the same page will help create a positive and safe experience for both you and your baby.
Hey Mom, you’ve got this!
The first night out without your baby can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for new parents. But trust me, with these seven tips in your pocket, your night will be less anxious and more relaxing.
Know your little one is well-cared for because you did all the work before like writing out instructions, preparing duplicates, and providing a no-no list. These early days of parenthood can be stressful, but you’ve got this. Feel that big sigh of relief yet? As first time parents, you’re now ready to embrace the first night out without your baby to reconnect with yourself to return home feeling refreshed and ready to continue being the amazing parent you are.