Even if you've had tons of experience with babies, heading home with one of your very own is pretty terrifying. Having a partner or co-parent by your side can take some of the pressure off while you're adjusting in those early weeks and months. But there will inevitably come a time when you'll be on your own with a little one to care for, and that can be scary. If you're wondering how to survive your first night alone with baby, the first thing to know is you can totally do it. Although it's nerve-wracking to be the only parent at home, with a little pre-planning you'll breeze right through it.
My first night alone with my daughter came when she was about two months old and my husband had to take a trip out of town. Logically I knew that I'd be doing the same things at night as I did during the day— changing diapers, giving her bottles, snuggling her till she fell to sleep. But the thought of doing it all with no back up was incredibly daunting. I was so nervous, but I soon realized it wasn't as stressful as I'd feared it would be because I was well prepared.
As much as I dreaded it and exhausting as it was, I came to be grateful for the experience. Managing without any help gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. Once you can handle a newborn by yourself for 24 hours (or more) straight, you feel like you can do pretty much anything.
Here are seven tips to make it through your first night alone with your baby.
1. Rest Up
You might not get a lot of sleep on your first night alone with your baby. Even if they don't wake up regularly, you may find that your nerves jolt you out of sleep anyway. If it's doable, I recommend trying to get as much rest as you can before a night alone with your little one so you have as much as energy as possible.
2. Do Some Prep Work
Cooking is so much harder with a baby around, so Belly Belly suggested doing some meal prep for days alone. Snacks you can eat with one hand are a plus— think granola bars or even sandwich wraps. And when you're getting your meals ready ahead of time, don't forget that you can prep baby's as well. If you're bottle feeding, make them ahead of time so all you need to do is warm them up.
3. Keep Your Supplies Nearby
The last thing you want to do be doing when you're alone with a baby is searching your house for any supplies you need. About Parenting suggested you make sure you have a good stock of baby essentials on hand like diapers and wipes.
4. Have A Carrier On Hand
Taking care of a baby by yourself for a night is a big job by itself. But chances are, you'll have other things you'll need to take care of too. Whether you have other kids, a pet, or just a mess that must be cleaned up, Kelly Mom noted that you can make it easier on yourself with a baby carrier.
5. Keep Your Baby Close
When you know you're going to be handling all the overnight wake ups, feedings, and anything else that might come up, co-sleeping or safely bed-sharing can be a huge help. What to Expect noted that having your baby in your room overnight can help them sleep easier, and obviously saves you from sleepwalking trips to the nursery.
6. Have Someone On Call
There's no shame in asking for some help when you're handling a night alone with your baby. Cafe Mom suggested inviting a friend or family member over to give you a hand and hang out for a while. If that isn't doable, you still might get some peace of mind from knowing that you have a friend or relative on standby to head your way in case something serious comes up. When my husband is out of town, I always know exactly who I'd call if something unexpected like a trip to the emergency room happened.
7. Don't Stress
No matter how nervous you might be to spend a night alone with your baby, there's a really strong chance that it won't be nearly as tough as you imagine. If there's something you genuinely don't think you can handle on your own, like a pre-bed bath for example, don't feel bad about skipping it. As long as your baby is fed and changed, all that really matters is keeping yourself sane for the evening.