Leaving Your Baby Alone Overnight For The First Time: 5 Tips To Make It Easier
As a new parent, leaving your baby overnight for the first time is absolutely terrifying. In fact, it doesn’t get any easier when you have more kids and that first night apart is always tough. But at some point, you need to have some time for yourself or you will drive yourself mad. Your baby needs to learn to cope without you too, otherwise, they will struggle to be independent as they grow up.
You already know this, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it actually comes time to leave your baby, even though you know that a night without any nappy changes or feeds in the middle of the night is long overdue. If you are soon going to be leaving your baby overnight for the first time, here are some tips to help make the transition smoother.
Don’t Feel Guilty
This one is much easier said than done and it’s likely that you will feel some guilt. But you have to remember that you’ve worked so hard and you’ve spent every waking moment with your baby, caring for them and making sure that they have everything they need. The thing is, you need to look after yourself too, and time alone is important for your mental health.
Reframing the way that you think about this time is helpful if you want to get rid of the guilt. If you are burned out and stressed, you will not be the best possible parent you can be. So, in the long run, taking this time away from your baby is for them just as much as it is for you.
Choose The Right Person To Leave Them With
You will feel so much better knowing that you can trust the person you leave your baby with, so pick wisely. If your sister-in-law is clumsy and a bit forgetful, for example, maybe don’t choose her. You’ll spend your whole evening worrying about whether she’s remembered to feed the baby and if she’s keeping your baby safe. All that worry means that you’re not getting the break you need, so pick somebody more trustworthy.
Often, leaving your baby with grandparents is the best choice for the first time. You already know that they managed to do a good job with you and they’ve got plenty of experience, so you will feel much more comfortable.
Preparation Is Key
Preparation is another way to put your mind at ease when leaving your baby. If you know that they have everything they need to be comfortable and happy, you’ll be much happier too. It’s worth investing in a good pack n play so your baby has somewhere comfortable to sleep and play. Knowing that they have their own space and you can easily set it up wherever they are staying, so they are familiar with it, will be a big help for you.
Bring plenty of toys along too to keep your child entertained. The more familiar items they have around them, the happier they will be adjusting to their new environment. When you know that they are happy and calm, you will feel the same.
It’s also important to prepare whoever you are leaving your baby with by giving them all of the instructions they need. Everybody has their own unique way of parenting and this is partly the reason why you feel so anxious about leaving your baby. What if somebody does things differently and your baby gets into bad habits? The best way to avoid that is to give clear instructions about everything, so your baby is looked after in the way that you want them to be.
Finally, make preparations for emergencies. Although thinking about these worst-case scenarios will initially make you more nervous, it will make you feel more relaxed when you leave your baby because you know that there is a plan in place should something go wrong. Give all of the relevant phone numbers, including a backup contact in case you are unreachable, and make sure that you leave any relevant medical information too.
Don’t Ask For Updates
This sounds a bit harsh, but you should try to forget about your baby as much as possible. Unfortunately, a lot of parents spend their first night away glued to their phone hoping for a message or a picture. You might think that this will make you feel better but it won’t. All it will do is make you miss them more and make you feel guilty for leaving them. It also means that you are distracted the whole night and you can’t actually enjoy whatever it is that you are doing. You’re doing this to have a break, so make sure you actually have a break and don’t ask for any updates.
If you absolutely have to have updates, always ask for positive ones. Messages about how much your baby is missing you are not going to help anybody. But photos of them having fun and laughing will show you that they are absolutely fine without you, so you can get on with enjoying your evening.
Don’t Hang Around When Dropping Them Off
When you drop your baby off, you want it to be a quick operation with as little hanging around as possible. If you drop your baby off and then decide to stay for a cup of tea to make sure they settle in, that won’t make things easier and you’ll get into the habit of being a pushy parent. In fact, it just gives you more time to worry and makes it much harder when you do eventually have to leave. Don’t make excuses to stick around, just drop them off, say your goodbyes and leave. If you pack their stuff well so you can get everything in, that makes it easier to pull off a quick drop-off. It’s hard enough to find time to yourself, so drop your baby off and then go and make the most of it.
Leaving your baby alone for the first time is one of the hardest milestones that any mum has to face. You’ve spent all of your time with them so far and being without them feels strange and scary. But remember, they will be absolutely fine, and it’s just one night, so enjoy yourself.