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"I finally found one, but it was frustrating not to have it right when I needed it."If you're breastfeeding and haven't introduced the bottle yet, you'll probably want to nurse right before you leave and as soon as you return home.Try to time your date so it falls between regular nursing sessions.(Some moms have even brought a portable breast pump along on dates to avoid that uncomfortably full feeling, but it's usually easier to just cut your date a little short.)"I had this fear that I was a bad mom for leaving my baby. I thought to myself, 'So she's finally here and you want to go out – how selfish! These feelings are common among first-time mothers.
The time away will recharge you, giving you more energy for your baby in the long run."I remember feeling a reconnection with the world," says Christina Chenet, who went to a hockey game with her husband for her first post-baby date."And I had the best feeling coming home and seeing my baby snoozing away safely in her crib."Your child benefits from being raised by parents in a strong, connected relationship.If it helps soothe your guilt, tell yourself you're spending time with your partner for your baby's sake. Maybe you want to take the opportunity to reconnect in a low-stress way. Or if you're both art buffs, check out the latest museum exhibit.You and your partner may be so tired that all you feel like doing is slumping against each other while munching sandwiches on a park bench. If you're outdoorsy types, take a walk in the park.If you don't have a nearby relative to help, it's also fine to take the plunge and hire a sitter.The important thing is to find someone you trust and prepare that person for the job. (This applies to grandparents as well.) Baby products have changed a lot, and some may be unfamiliar to the older generation."When we went on our first date, my mother, who had been a pediatric nurse and raised five children of her own, put hand sanitizer on the baby instead of diaper cream! Another tip: Set a time to check in with the sitter before you leave the house.
That way, you won't end up racing home in a panic because she was rocking the baby and didn't hear the phone.
If you're bottle-feeding, leave the sitter with ample formula or pumped breast milk, clear instructions about how to warm it up, and bottles and nipples that match."My new granddaughter was crying her head off, and I couldn't find a nipple and ring to fit her bottle," says veteran grandmother Kathy Bradford.
With all the diapers, laundry, and night feedings crowding your world, date night with your partner may seem like an unnecessary luxury. Spending time together can be a good reminder of why you became a couple and had a child in the first place.
As one Baby Center member put it, "If couples don't continue to reconnect during the years their kids are young (and still at home), where do you think those couples end up when the kids leave the house?
" It may take more planning than before your baby arrived, but going out on a date together is worth the effort. On your first date night away from your baby, you may feel most comfortable asking your mother, mother-in-law, or a close friend to babysit.
And don't worry – rather than being an imposition on your relative and a hardship on your baby, it's likely to be a great experience for both.