The last thing new parents are thinking about is romance. However, it is so important mum and dad to make time for themselves to reconnect, especially during the first few months of parenthood.
Leaving bub at home for the first time can also be stressful for parents. Never fear! Midwife and Philips Avent Ambassador Liz Wilkes has provided some useful tips on how to create a relaxing and stress-free date night.
Question: How can new parents still practice romantic gestures in their home?
Liz Wilkes: Most people associate romance with lavish surprises and special date nights, but for new mums, small gestures can be all they need to feel special. Simple things such as letting a new mum sleep in for an extra hour, bringing her a coffee in bed or running a hot bath while bub is being settled will be greatly appreciated.
Question: How important is romantically reconnecting for new parents?
Liz Wilkes: It is very important for new parents to stay as connected as possible, while also understanding what this means to each other and what the expectations are. For example, it might mean watching a Netflix series together and discussing it, so that the conversation is not entirely focused on bub. Sleeping is a priority for both parents, and having a clear roster for getting up with bub through the night will help each other get as much rest as possible. Or snuggling up in bed before going to sleep is another way to get some quality time together.
Question: Can you share your ideas for reconnecting with your partner as a new mum?
Liz Wilkes: Having a baby creates a shift in all elements of a parent's life, including the relationship they have between each other. It can take a few months to adjust to new routines, and it is so important to acknowledge the things which seemed important in the past, may no longer be a priority. Talking to each other about these changes will help new parents understand any concerns or anxieties. Being aware of these feelings will help to create new ways to make each other feel supported connected.
Question: How can parents feel comfortable leaving their bub at home for the first time to go out on a date night?
Liz Wilkes: New parents will not feel completely comfortable leaving their new bub at home, but preparation is the best way to help feel that they will be secure and safe so that you can enjoy your time away.
Question: Can you share your useful tips on how to create a relaxing and stress-free date night?
Liz Wilkes: Trust your baby-sitter
The person caring for your bub should be someone you really trust; grandmothers are the perfect candidate if they are nearby, or close family or friends are also a great option. Otherwise, there are many nanny and babysitting agencies with professionals who are specifically experienced in caring for newborns. It is worth reaching out to these agencies rather than asking someone who is inexperienced in newborn childcare.
Plan the day as well as the evening
It's a great idea to have a quiet day at home with baby before leaving them for the evening. Babies can become overstimulated easily, especially if they are out all day with lots of people around. If your bub is fairly settled and mum is well rested, this will create an easier night for both parties.
Prepare to pump
Getting enough breastmilk stored for feeds while you are out can take time if you are not used to it. Make sure you don't overstimulate and end up with an increased supply. Expressing for a few minutes after each feed for a day will give you enough milk to store and using a quality pump like the Philips Avent single electric pump should help do the trick. Depending on how long you will be out, 100-150 mls of expressed milk on standby should be enough for a small baby.
Relax and step away
Don't panic if your baby seems unsettled or upset when you leave. Take a deep breath and know that your baby is in safe hands with your trusted carer. If you are using a soother, make sure you have it available while settling bub. Many parents also feel like they need to wait until their baby is asleep to leave, however this can make the situation worse. The carer can sit and cuddle bub the whole time you are out if needed – that's what they are there for! To help keep your mind at rest, know they are only a phone call away.
Don't push yourself
An evening out should help you relax and reconnect with your partner, but if you're not ready for a night out, don't stress. Sometimes mums are so tired and feel they cannot 'do' a date night, especially early on, so even setting aside time to order a delicious meal and watch Netflix is an option. Be creative when making 'me' time or 'mum and dad' time, but don't let it stress or tire you out further.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash