Picture this: you, your other half, alone, in a hotel, child-free and without the prospect of a nappy to change or a highchair to wipe for at least the next 24 hours. Sounds marvellous doesn’t it.
Yet leaving your baby overnight for the first time isn’t as straightforward as it sounds.
At 13 months old we’ve just left Littlest B overnight for the first time and even though she’s baby number three and I’ve done it not once but twice before it still took weeks of mental preparation for me to be ready to do it, and even then I considered bailing out at the last minute.
So how can you make leaving your baby overnight for the first time as painless as possible – both for you and for them? I asked some mums and dads for their best words of wisdom here’s what they said.
10 top tips for leaving your baby overnight for the first time
1. Don’t feel guilty. “It’s important to try and not feel guilty as time to yourself is vital,” says Victoria at Lylia Rose. “Call and text for reassurance if you need to.”
2. Planning is key. “I felt at ease leaving my first born to my parents because I had prepared well,” says Veronica at My Parenting Journey. “I briefed them well and even listed everything on paper just to be sure they could access it quickly instead of the phone. It had ‘if – then’ kind of situations listed.”
3. Remember they will be fine. “Drop and run and enjoy,” says Frances at Whinge Whinge Wine. “Honest, they will be absolutely fine and spoiled to death. Their grandparents did ok with you/your partner or you wouldn’t be leaving them!”
4. Make sure their favourite things are close by. “My daughter loved In The Night Garden and the music always helped soothe her,” says Pete at Household Money Saving. “If she ever got upset when we were away, my parents would put the CD on to cheer her up.”
5. Have them looked after at your house instead of someone else’s. “That way the babyis surrounded by all his familiar sights and sounds,” says Vikki at Family Travel With Ellie. “I also left an unwashed shirt of mine (sorry!) for the baby to snuggle so it had my scent and that really comforted him I believe.”
6. Only ask for positive updates. “One thing I asked for the grandparents not to do was tell me that he’s missing me, as I knew that would make me feel worse,” says Sarah at Just Buttons Blog. “Instead I asked them to send me lots of photos of him having fun and it made it so much easier!”
7. Don’t ask for updates at all. “The first time I left mine with their grandparents my mum told me that they were only sad when they could see me,” says Sara-Jayne at Keep Up With The Jones Family. “So I resisted the temptation to call and say goodnight to them, or to Facetime, and I know it sounds harsh but I tried so hard not to think about them. They had the best time, my parents enjoyed the bonding time, and I got a little break!”
8. Remember babies have no concept of time. “Don’t make too much of a fuss when you leave them and remember that they will most likely forget that you went away,” says Suzy at Our Bucket List Lives.
9. Nerves are normal. “I left mine overnight for the first time at three months and it was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying,” says Christy at Welsh Mum.
10. Remember why you booked the trip in the first place. “Remember that you’ll be a better, fresher parent going back,” says Eileen at 2 Nerds & A Baby.
Do you remember leaving your baby overnight for the first time? Do you have any top tips?