Leaving Your Baby Overnight Does Not Make You A Bad Mother
As soon as I got myself back on my feet after having a baby, when a floppy infant started to make sense at about three months, I was all about the babysitting. I had been pregnant for nine long months. I just wanted to go out in public and have a few drinks with my husband. A vacation to a tropical getaway would be even better, thanks for asking.
Without even thinking twice about it, my husband and I took my mom up on her generous offer to babysit when my first son was five months old. I had some major cabin fever from being pregnant. I was stir crazy and just wanted a quick break.
My mom happily watched my five-month-old son for five days while we went on a cruise out of California. Leading up to the trip, I pumped tons and tons of breast milk so that my son would have more than enough to eat while I was gone. We also had formula as backup, just in case. My mom felt really confident about the whole ordeal, so that set our minds at ease. SPOILER ALERT—we had a great trip that was much-needed as new parents, and we only missed my son a little bit.
Since then, we’ve had as many overnights as my mom will allow. She lives out of town, which means that she will babysit for a short vacation for us a few times a year. I feel very fortunate that she is so willing to take care of both of our kids at a moment’s notice.
Now that my kids are little older, I had no clue that parents often didn’t leave their babies overnight. Many parents feel downright uncomfortable at the thought of leaving a helpless baby with a trusted caretaker for an overnight getaway:
I get that DH need time to ourselves but I would rather have her babysit for a few hours while we go out. My niece is 3 1/2 and started staying the night off at around 2 1/2, maybe even closer to 3. My nephews (bff’s boys) have only stayed the night away twice. Actually 1yr nephew never has, 3yr has twice. When my sister wouldn’t let me keep my niece at first I didn’t understand. By the time my nephews came around I understood, and now that I have DS I think at least 2 years, but I can’t even consider it until 1yr. Who knows I might change my mind.
I completely understand. I have a 4 month old and MIL has been begging for her to spend the night since 3 weeks. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her it’s not happeneing. She went so far as to try to book a hotel room for DH and I saying we needed to get away from lo overnight. Not wanting to be away from your lo this early is completely normal.
My daughter is 7 months and I have never left her overnight. I am BEYOND overprotective. Today is actually the first time I have been away from her (she is with her aunt and uncle for a few hours) and it is KILLING me being away from her.
As I scoured Internet forums, one thing stuck out to me. Most of the women struggling with whether or not to leave their babies overnight fell back on the worry of being a “bad mom.” While not every mom will feel comfortable leaving an infant overnight, I firmly believe that a little healthy separation is good for mother and baby. If you’re planning an overnight trip, enjoy yourself without guilt and lose the “bad mom” label. Your baby is going to be fine.
(Image: Ana Blazic Pavlovic/Shutterstock)