Leaving your baby with a sitter for the first time is a monumental parenting milestone, and you’re likely to be feeling emotional as the big day approaches. All moms are different, and it can take some longer than others to feel ready to make the leap. Don’t rush yourself, wait until you feel ready for that long awaited night out. There’s no pressure, people will understand that you might want to skip a few nights out in favor of spending time with your baby.
When you are ready to take off your mama cap for the night, let your hair down and enjoy some quality adult time, the following tips might help:
- Pick a sitter you trust
To get the most out of your night of freedom, you need to make sure your baby is left in capable hands. If not, you’ll spend most of the evening worrying and texting the sitter. Choose somebody you can trust. Somebody who knows and loves your baby, and who your baby feels comfortable with. Choose somebody who will follow your directions to the letter, somebody who you know will take just as good care of your baby as you would. Many parents choose to enlist the help of a family member or trusted friend as their first sitter. If you book a babysitter via an agency, always make sure his or her background is officially checked, the babysitter is CPR trained and personally interviewed by the agency.
- Leave instructions
Remember that feeling when you were first left alone with your new baby? When you gazed lovingly into her eyes and thought, “Why didn’t this come with an instruction manual?” Well, now you have months of experience so you can be the person to write that manual. Leave clear instructions with your babysitter. Make sure they know how to reach you, where you’ll be and what time you’ll be home. Write down any feeds your baby will be due whilst you’re away, as well as things to try if your baby becomes upset.
- Start small
For your first night out, you may want to stay local so you can get home quickly if needed. It’s also an idea to start out with a shorter engagement that first time. You could go for a meal at your local restaurant or meet friends for a drink at a nearby bar. This short burst of freedom will give you and your baby an opportunity to get used to spending a little bit of time apart. Then when the night comes for you to attend a birthday party out of town, you’ll feel confident that your baby will be ok without you.
- Say goodbye
It can be tempting to just disappear, especially when your baby seems settled with the sitter. Why risk upsetting her before you dash for the door? In reality, however, your baby needs to know that you leaving is nothing to worry about. That means a goodbye kiss and a cheery goodbye. Let your baby know that you’ll be back soon. Your baby may not yet understand all the words you say, but she’ll be able to tell from your body language and tone that there’s nothing to worry about.
- Don’t feel guilty
No, leaving your baby doesn’t make you a terrible mother. No, your baby won’t grow up with severe emotional troubles because you went out to a party. Yes, your baby knows you love her. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about taking a night for yourself. It’s perfectly ok to carve out a little bit of time for yourself amidst the chaos of nappy changes, feeds and night wakings. This is your night of freedom, so start enjoying yourself. Have fun, enjoy the adult conversation, and enjoy feeling a little bit more like you for a change.
How old was your baby when you had your first night out?
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.