As a new mom who has carried her baby around with her for at least months, leaving your baby for the first time is a naturally nerve wracking experience. You worry that your baby will cry the entire time, that an accident might happen, or that the person you are leaving your baby with is actually an undercover kidnapper. The worst case scenarios are haunting you, and you think that it might be better if you just stay at home. But it isn’t.
To be honest, having some time for yourself, even if it is just to do errands, is healthy. The first time might cause you anxiety,, but there are a few things you can do to make the entire experience of leaving your baby less stressful. Here are our tips:
1. Schedule your time out during nap time, or bedtime. If you’re worrying about what might go wrong while you are away, scheduling your trip while your baby is asleep might be the path of least resistance. Being away from your baby while she is sleeping minimizes feelings of guilt, and decreases the chances of anything undesirable happening while you are away.
2. Leave your child with family or a trusted friend. If you aren’t comfortable with your child’s nanny yet, leave your child with family or a trusted friend. Grandparents and siblings are always the go-to babysitters for working moms, or even just for a weekend date night. At the very least, you will be at peace knowing that you’ll be leaving your baby with people who love them as much (if not almost as much) as you.
3. Leave emergency numbers. Provide your baby with all the pertinent emergency numbers, such as your child’s pediatrician, the nearest hospital, police station, fire department, and poison control. In case something happens, it will be helpful if they have other numbers to call outside of yours.
4. Call once…not every 15 minutes. If you’ll only be away for a few hours, try to resist the temptation to call every 15 minutes. For your own peace of mind, it might be good to call to check in on your baby, and on your babysitter. They may have questions, or need advice….or they might be perfectly fine and handling the entire situation like a pro.
5. Leave a cheat sheet. Depending on your level of OC, your list can be as short as 5 points, or as long as 2 pages. You know your baby best, and your babysitters will surely appreciate tips on how to soothe your baby, how to put him/her to sleep, how to change the diapers, and even how to prepare a bottle of milk!
6. Use a camera. It has never been easier to check on your baby! Modern baby cams now connect to wi-fi, which means you can watch your baby in real time through your mobile phone. A word of warning, resist the temptation to spend your entire time away glued to the screen of your phone because it may delay your return (by distracting you from your tasks) or completely defeat the purpose of you going out for a quick break.
7. Remember that going out is good for you! While being attached to your baby is completely normal, remember that some time away may give you the mental and physical space that you need to make you a better mom. It might make you nervous at first, but you will eventually come to get used to it, and even really appreciate it!