This post is part of the weekly breastfeeding blog hop, hosted by The Slacker Mom, and co-hosted by The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined. This week’s topic is First Time Jitters: Leaving Baby With Someone Else.
I remember when my first child was born. It was absolute torture leaving her with someone else! I worried the whole time we were apart, especially since she breastfed exclusively, and after the first few months, refused all bottles and pacifiers. A few well-meaning friends and families laughed knowingly and assured me I would feel differently with the next baby.
My current nursling is number four, twelve months old, and I can still pretty much count on one hand the times I’ve left him with someone other than my husband (and even those times are pretty rare!). The longest we’ve been apart is the 4.5 hours in September when my awesome man fulfilled a dream of mine by taking me to see Les Miserables.
Suffice it to say, I know a lot about jitters! Personally, I feel like particularly in the first year, mom and baby are a unit that its best to keep together Even so, there are times where we need or want to be apart from our nurslings for a little while.
So what’s a momma to do?
Start Off Slow
It’s generally not a good idea to make your first separation from your exclusively breastfed baby a long one. That can be traumatic for both of you! If you can start with the occasional short errand – a quick run to the store to grab some eggs, while baby stays home with daddy – it can make the whole process go more smoothly. From there you can work up to dinner out while a trusted sitter watches baby (Or maybe just coffee… With your phone at the ready! ). And maybe you’ll be one of those brave souls who will occasionally go out for hours at a time baby-less. I’m not sure what that’s like
A crying baby is no fun for anyone, least of all the baby! If nursing is going well and you feel comfortable pumping, bringing some breastmilk for baby can certainly help. My son took a bottle the first time I offered it to him, at eight months old! If baby is older, it can also be offered in a sippy cup. For a young baby, if they refuse the bottle, a medicine dropper can also be tried. Some babies respond well to soothing with pacifiers, or love being worn in a sling or baby carrier.
Timing is Everything
If you have a choice, try to schedule your first time away from baby at a time when he is usually in a good mood. Baby melts down every day around 5pm? You might want to start with a lunch date If your baby eats on a predictable schedule (mine never have!) take advantage of that and aim to be gone in between feedings. If your baby doesn’t have a schedule, at least try to get a nice solid feeding in right before you leave.
It’s easy to spend that entire first outing completely wrapped up in concerns over whether the baby is ok, crying, eating… And all those thoughts can cause your milk to let-down, which really helps the situation, let me tell you! I need this advice as much as the next mom – try to just breathe and focus on the positive of your time away, instead of worrying the entire time!
Finally, people have a lot of opinions on when the right time is to leave baby for the first time. Some people are sure to think you should do it sooner than you want, and some are sure to think you should never do it at all! Ultimately, you know yourself and your baby. If you aren’t ready to leave your little one, then that is absolutely fine! If you are needing or wanting to get out without baby for a bit, then don’t feel guilty! Start off slow, bring supplies, time it right, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!