Having a baby is an experience like no other. It’s hard to have “date night” when you have a newborn, but once your little one is about 4 months old (or sleeping through the night!) it’s time to start planning for that first date night. Here are 10 things to expect!
You’ve finally made plans to go out with your partner for the first time post-birth. This can be equal parts exciting and daunting, because, once you factor in your newborn baby, simply popping out for a quick meal with your loved one can seem to take all the planning necessary of a major life event.
Here are 10 things you may experience when you’re heading out unencumbered for the first time.
1. Your baby will interrupt your prep time
If there’s one thing babies are tuned into, it’s when their parent’s energy is focused elsewhere. You know how it is: as soon as you start talking on the phone, they suddenly need something they definitely did not need one second ago when they had your full attention. But one of the fun things about going out is actually having a shower, getting out of those trackies, and into something that makes you feel good.
Solution: ask your sitter to come early to watch your baby while you get ready. If this is not an option, discuss prep time with your partner so they’re ready to care for the baby while you get dressed. Then you can leave the house feeling calm. Probably with a bit of spit-up milk on your shoulder; but still, you’re out of the trackies. Winning.
2. Date night will be more enjoyable if you know and trust your babysitter
The first time you leave your baby is a big deal. You’ve never been apart at night and all of your protective instincts are firmly in place. One thing you can do to increase your chances of a relaxed evening is to use a babysitter you really trust. If you have parents, siblings, or close friends available to care for your baby while you’re out, this is a good option.
If you choose to use a hired sitter, you may want to spend some time with them before the evening to make sure you’re comfortable with them and they have a chance to meet your baby before you head out for the evening.
3. Be prepared to pump and dump
Preparation is key when you have a breastfeeding baby and you’re heading out for the first time. If you’re not already accustomed to expressing milk, give yourself some time to get emotionally and physically adjusted, and invest in a good breast pump that makes the whole process as easy as it can be.
It can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose, but a breast pump like the Lansinoh Compact Single Electric Breast Pump that has a soft breast cushion and five levels of suction for optimum comfort and milk flow is a good option.
You’ll want to leave a supply of milk with the babysitter to cover the time you’ll be away from baby, plus have additional expressed milk to feed your baby during the night if you decide to have a sneaky cocktail or two on your special night out. That way, when you get home, you can just pump and dump and start breastfeeding again the next morning.
4. Baby updates: yay or nay?
You may feel like you’d rather be stabbed with a fork in the eye than be given blow-by-blow updates on how baby’s doing now that you finally have a moment away, or you may feel that updates throughout the evening will be just the thing that allows you to enjoy your time out. If you’re erring towards the latter, let your sitter know exactly what you’d like. Having them send you pictures of your baby through the evening may be just the thing that allows you to have peace of mind and enjoy a date night.
5. Keep expectations low
Your first night out is unlikely to resemble the chilled pre-baby evenings, and that’s okay. Just because you look like a free adult on the outside, doesn’t mean that the sleep deprivation and all the changes of the last few months have just disappeared.
You and your partner may need a minute to even think of anything to say to each other that isn’t about the baby. Be easy on yourself and on them, and know that over the dates to come, your ‘old self’ will come back and you’ll connect again, even if it’s over different things (and a lot of baby things).
6. Be prepared to feel emotional
You’ve been attached to your baby 24/7 and now they’re just not there. You may feel like a limb is missing, like you miss your baby dreadfully, guilty for leaving, or any other number of feelings that you did not use to feel pre-parenthood.
This is all perfectly natural. You’re hormonally bonded to your baby now and you’re not wrong that she needs you, but she will be okay for a few hours. Try not to be hard on yourself if you don’t feel like how you think you’re ‘supposed to. It’s a huge thing to be away for your baby for the first time.
7. You may be back home at 8:30 pm
Despite your fancy cocktail plans, banking on a long evening may be unrealistic. Be prepared that you may need to keep it short and sweet on your first foray out into adult evening time. You’ve endlessly been up to through the night and the effect of the sleep loss plus the effort it takes to get out of the house for this first evening can take it all out of you. Don’t stress if it takes a few months to even want to stay out past 9 pm.
8. Probs there won’t be sex
There might be! But there might not. Your body has gone through huge changes recently, you’ve constantly got a little person at your breast, you’re both low on energy, and you may not be feeling yourself as much as you’d like. This is all normal. Sex will return. Just maybe not tonight.
9. Despite your plans, you may not be ready
You’ll know when you’re ready, so ignore anyone who is suggesting that you Must Go Out. Well-meaning people may say it’s important for your relationship with your partner, and while it’s true that you need quality time together, no one is going to enjoy themselves if one of you is just not ready.
This is perfectly okay. Your baby is little for a short time only, and you’ll know whether a date night is something you and your partner are ready for. So there’s no rush to go out, but when you do, give yourself permission to enjoy.
10. You’ll be REALLY happy to see your baby again
The joy of seeing that little face again after your first time away is real, and after some much-needed bonding time with your partner, this is also really something to look forward to.
To have a good time on your first date night after baby, stay calm and don’t worry about expectations. You may feel emotional when you’re away from the baby, but it’s normal. Sometimes sex isn’t possible (or wanted) at this stage in life – that’s okay too!
It takes some adjusting to have an evening out for just yourself and your partner again, so take things slow. When you have finally had enough of adult conversation or staying out late doesn’t appeal anymore, be sure to get home before bedtime because seeing the little one again will make up for all tiredness over another day without them being there with you consistently.