Dating tips for new parents

Dating tips for new parents

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With all the diapers, laundry, and night feedings crowding your world, date night with your partner may seem like an unnecessary luxury. It's not. Spending time together can be a good reminder of why you became a couple and had a child in the first place.

As one our site 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. Here's how to enjoy those first post-baby dates.

Find a trustworthy sitter

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.

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.

Allow plenty of time to show the sitter the ropes. (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!" says Wendy Smith.

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.

Plan ahead for feedings

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. "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.)

Lose the guilt

"I had this fear that I was a bad mom for leaving my baby. After all, I had waited so long to have her. I thought to myself, 'So she's finally here and you want to go out – how selfish!'" says Alicia Atmueller.

These feelings are common among first-time mothers. But it's perfectly okay – and human – to need a break. 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.

Have realistic expectations

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. So what? The important thing is, you're together.

Maybe you want to take the opportunity to reconnect in a low-stress way. Simply go out to a favorite restaurant. Or if you're both art buffs, check out the latest museum exhibit. If you're outdoorsy types, take a walk in the park.

Whatever activity you choose, you'll probably feel most relaxed if you stick close to home and keep dates short at first.

Movies, plays, and concerts can also be good options as long as they're not epic-length or upsetting. It's a good idea to keep things light – many parents are more sensitive during the postpartum period. "On our first post-baby date, we went to see Zodiac, a creepy, close-to-three-hour-long movie that included a scene of a young child in danger. Bad idea!" says one mom.

Remember, the important thing is spending time together, so don't worry if your date lacks scintillating conversation or a make-out session.

"I don't even remember what we talked about at dinner," says Rachel Schwartz of her first post-baby date with her partner. "But even though we were exhausted and missing the baby, it was worth it and very important to reconnect."

Limit the baby talk

There's nothing wrong with talking about the baby on your date, but stick to how cute her toes are, or how you can tell she's a genius by the way she smiles at the mobile. Save concerns about spit-up and fussiness for non-date time.

Date night is actually a good time to set aside baby concerns altogether – or at least as much as you can. One our site member offers this advice, "My tip for new parents on date night is to make a rule that you're not allowed to talk about the kids. When the little ones consume your world, it's hard not to talk about them. Sometimes it's hard to remember what the two of you used to talk about and enjoy before parenthood. For us, it's part of keeping the magic alive."

Watch the video: ADVICE for SINGLE PARENTS dating! (July 2022).


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