Leaving Your Baby for the First Time
41+3 weeks in the womb, 4 weeks on the boob, followed by 12 weeks of general clinginess (mostly on my part) – but as a Mama, sooner or later it’s time to accept that you and your baby need to adapt to spending time apart! The first time leaving your baby can be tough and you will miss them like crazy, but getting used to it early can be beneficial to the both of you in the long run.
More than just a Mama
Obviously the love and attachment you feel towards your baby goes without saying, they are your little best friend after all, but it’s still important to take some time out for yourself once in a while and remember you are more than just a Mama! If you’re planning on returning to work after maternity leave, getting used to spending time apart early on will really help with that adjustment period at the end of maternity (so people keep telling me anyway). Rich and I got married in Skiathos last summer, but it’s still sometimes easy to forget that we’re husband and wife and not just Mummy and Daddy. We’re lucky that we have a big family as we’ll definitely never be short on babysitters!
First night away
We had our first night away when JJ was 16 weeks old. After spending hours scrolling through the likes of Secret Escapes and Wowcher (ooh, four nights in Venice you say?!) we settled on a spa hotel in Berkshire near Ascot Racecourse (it’s all about the compromise). Mama gets some time to relax with a neck and back massage, Daddy gets to try and win some money on the horses, and the in-laws get a weekend with little smiley JJ – everybody wins, right?!
But then the fear sets in, and your brain starts churning out all these potential scenarios that could go wrong.
- Oh no, he’s just sneezed, he might be getting poorly, we’d better stay home.
- He’s dribbling more than normal, I think he’s teething, we can’t leave him if he’s in pain.
- What if there’s no signal where we go, and something happens..
- I hope he doesn’t get constipated..
- What if he gets overtired and won’t settle..
The list goes on..
Feeling anxious is completely normal, but you don’t want your baby to pick up on it before you leave them. It’s sometimes easy to forget that people have looked after babies before. It might have been a fair few years ago for our parents, but they did manage to survive life with a newborn without google (a concept simply unthinkable now!)
Making life easier
I felt it would make life easier for everyone if I made a little list (okay, it was mostly to channel my inner crazy-mama). Just things like feed times, how to make up bottles, how to spot the sleepy signals. At this sort of age, when you’re trying to get your baby into some sort of routine, consistency is helpful.
Back to work
This week I went back to work for the first time to do some KIT days. Rich was at home with JJ and they had lots of fun visiting other family members! I was missing him of course, but it was the wave of different emotions I felt when I was sat at my desk receiving pictures in the afternoon, that really made me feel overwhelmed. Pictures of JJ smiling away (despite looking very sleepy – there was no chance of his big cousins letting him nap!) I felt happiness and relief that he was having fun; concerned that he was getting overtired, slightly guilty that I had come back to work so soon (even though only for a few days); jealous that I was missing out on the fun and even a tinge of sadness that JJ wasn’t missing me!
It sounds crazy, but it was the most overwhelming feeling! I even had to call my mum to check it was normal, and I wasn’t some sort of psycho-mama! The second day was slightly easier and the most important thing is that we were both absolutely FINE spending a bit of time apart. I’m hoping times like this will ensure JJ isn’t too clingy in the future and is always happy to go to other people (even if secretly I want to be his favourite..)
How did you find your first time away from your little one? Do you have any tips for controlling your inner crazy-mama?