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First night away from baby

Spending your first night away from baby

There’s no “right” time to try your first night away from baby. Whether it’s now, or a year from now, the best time depends on what feels right to you. And, when you do decide you’re ready, it’s normal to worry about leaving your baby in someone else’s care. But, by planning ahead you can make sure your break is more enjoyable for you, and for your baby.

Give yourself permission to go
If your stomach flips every time you think about leaving your little one overnight for the first time, you’re not alone. You may be anxious and even feel guilty, but it’s important to put these feelings in perspective and look at the bigger picture. For instance, spending time away from your baby will help you reconnect with yourself and your partner. Plus, time away is an opportunity for your baby to learn that she can trust other people and have happy moments without you, and these early experiences will make her more confident and independent as she grows.

Pick the right sitter
Entrusting someone to take care of your young child requires assurance that your child is in capable hands. What will ease your anxiety and boost your confidence most is if you completely trust the babysitter with the care of your child. Often, this trustworthy person is a parent or sibling. While it makes sense to turn to your family first, you may need to consider whether or not they are up to the task. Take into account whether they are capable and willing to be up at night for bottle feeds and diaper changes. You may also have preferences and rules that your relatives are not aware of. Do you prefer that your child have a water bottle over milk at bedtime, or that they go to bed at a specific hour? Does your child have certain nighttime rituals or habits? Talk specifics with your caregiver and make sure they’ll follow your guidelines.

Leave clear instructions
Knowing that your sitter has all the information she needs will give you peace of mind. Create a detailed list with the baby’s feeding times, bedtime rituals and likes and dislikes. Just keep your notes clear and brief so that they’re easy for the sitter to understand. You should also leave your child’s health card and all the necessary contact information for where you’re staying, as well as phone numbers for your cell phone, your paediatrician and a few emergency contacts, including a close family member (here’s where your mom can be a big help, even if she doesn’t live nearby). Post all of your notes in a central spot for easy access.

Prepare to step back
If it gives you comfort, call and check in occasionally, but keep in mind that you’re defeating the purpose of your getaway if you’re constantly calling home. You have ensured that your baby is well taken care of, so now’s the time to take care of you. Keep in mind, however, If your feelings of anxiety escalate to the point where you can’t cope or it seems impossible for you to leave, call your doctor—this level of separation anxiety may require some guidance to help overcome.