Postpartum Dating 101: Practice Makes Perfect

As a family of two, you and hubby had plenty of time to nurture your relationship as a couple. Then, the most amazing thing ever happened - you became a family of three. Or more of course if you have twins, triplets or quads. But no matter how much numbers wise your family has grown, whether it be by one or by five, finding time for mom and dad to appreciate each other and show the love is now harder to do than ever.

Endless feedings, nighttime wakings, diaper changes and laundry - hey, it’s all good, don’t misunderstand me - but we all know that life now revolves around the baby, this precious being who needs attention around the clock. So, yes the baby needs to be fed, but don’t forget you have to keep your relationship with your man fed, too if you want to continue to grow that healthy marriage.

It goes without saying that besides working as a team to keep the household running smoothly and the family fed and clean, both mom and dad need to work on keeping the connection. Quality time with each other may be at the bottom of the long daily to do list, but the effort’s got to be made to put it back near the top.

We know, you can barely find time to floss your teeth let alone spend time as a couple. But we’d like to suggest something that we think is important. So important that not only will it make you feel great and happy as a couple, but the result will make you great parents, too.

I’m sure you do long for a bit for the lazy days of togetherness, snuggling as a twosome on the couch watching a movie, or window shopping on a warm afternoon. So stop dreaming about a date night for you and hubby and just do it.

Okay, so maybe not everyone feels the same way about a date night, but it’s got to be said - your love affair is key to a happy family life. If you are ready for some twosome time, we’d like to give you seven points to ponder. Get in gear to kick start the connection by considering a postpartum date, keeping these tips in mind.

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6 Are You Ready Physically and Mentally

Go ahead and start planning a date keeping in mind that there are a few factors you need to consider when thinking about time away from baby. If you head out for a time of togetherness with your soulmate, plan accordingly in regards to the feeding time of your sweet babe, or you will be sitting in a restaurant with full boobs ready to burst, and maybe you forgot the nursing pads at home, in the diaper bag of course, and are now leaking like a rushing dam ready to burst.

●Many moms wait until six to eight weeks after the little papoose presents himself to go out for a postpartum date specifically for the reason that feeding schedules most likely will be in place and your breasts will be back to normal in a sense, at least not leaking every time you think of baby Jack or Jill.

Yes, we all have different levels of what we consider ready - when we say physical we aren’t just talking about sex here. Sure, your husband is most likely being patient with you in regards to the recommended six week waiting period, but he’s got to understand that a date for you doesn’t necessarily need to end with sex. Maybe you are not yet in the mood, or just plain too tired, and getting physical between the sheets is still not on the radar.

●We need time to recoup from the 9 months of carrying the baby and the physical work of the delivery. Of course, you may be fully feeling it and ready to kick start the romantic rendezvous, but if you’re not it’s completely okay to wait until you are.

Besides the physical factors, we need to be ready on a mental level, too and many of us take longer than six to eight weeks to want to leave our newborns and head out for a night on the town. Some of us are not all that anxious to leave our little darlings and that is totally fine on all counts. In order to have a good time, you have to be comfortable to the max with wanting your first date after baby.

5 Don’t Feel Guilty

Quite frankly, we think that the main reason many of us don’t feel ready to leave our wee one is the fact that there is a certain degree of guilt; we feel like a part time parent if we want just a few hours away to nurture our adult side. 

What it’s all about here is that we are new to this parenting business - we don’t have it all down pat yet - and we may feel that leaving our little one just feels a bit wrong. Hormones may be playing around with our emotions still, and that’s why we come back to the point that deciding to go out on a postpartum date is a heart and soul decision, a totally personal thing.

Whether you plan that date one year or one month from baby’s birth, it’s important to nourish the bond between mom and dad just as much as it is to build the bond between parents and kids. Parenthood gets hard, you know? With all of the night time feedings, colicky crying sessions and come on, admit it sometimes you get bored and just need to talk to an adult.

There's a reason it's called empty nest syndrome after the kids go, because you focus so much on the external part of yourself and not so much on your own needs, even the relationship ones. Putting your kids first is awesome, but there is no problem in needing time for yourself either. Connecting on a regular basis with your spouse not only keeps you two on the same page, but it also keeps the flames of passion alive. You don't always need to end up between the sheets to be close, but having alone time together is vital to your marriage and relationship.

●If you are staying at home with the baby you may feel cooped up time to time.

●Dad gets to go to work and think about intellectual stuff, go out for company lunches - clearly you deserve a little break.

●You aren’t Superwoman you know, and there is no need to feel the least bit in the wrong about doing what’s right for you and your sweetheart.

And the best part by far is, taking some time out is good and you will be a better parent for it.

4 Think About Your Sitter

One of the easiest ways to feel good about getting out as a couple is knowing that you have left your precious one in good hands. The truth is, not everyone has parents or siblings living close by, or maybe your parents are getting on in age and may not be able to cope with the demands of an infant.

One suggestion we can recommend right off the bat is time sharing. Share your time with a friend who has little ones, and we guarantee the sharing will come right back at you. Suggest that once a month you watch your friend’s little boy while she and hubby go out for a movie and then the favor will be cheerfully reciprocated when it’s your turn.

Maybe you are the first of your friends to start a family. It’s hard to leave your baby with a sitter; we totally get that and know that you are thinking of the risks of the sitter who spends all of the time texting, or who thinks it’s a good idea to feed your baby purple, red and yellow jujubes to stop them from crying.

There are plenty of ways to get that good feeling about hiring a sitter:

Have your sitter come over as a mother’s helper several times before the date night. You can be in the other room reading a magazine, or giving yourself an eye popping manicure. That way you can hear what’s going on and give the babysitter pointers or advice on her reactions to certain situations.

Ask for recommendations from co-workers and neighbors. And feel completely comfortable to ask the babysitter for their CPR certification.

●Plan a date after sweet babe is down for the night, and if he wakes up and you arrive home to find him giggling with the sitter, that’s fine, too. One night of being off the schedule is completely okay and since you and hubby had a fantastic time, all is worth it.

Once you find a baby caregiver that you like, and one your child feels comfortable with, start with mini transitions of leaving your child in their care. Have the sitter come over to play with the child while you do housework or even better, leave the house for a ten minute walk around the block. Even a little exercise will do wonders for you. Gradually lengthen the time until you can leave to do quick errand or pop over to a neighbor’s for coffee. You are now well on your way to your first date night.

3 Where To Go and What To Do

Well, I guess maybe this should be the simple part of a postpartum date. What’s all of the hullabaloo you may ask? But if you are still feeling a bit of confusion about the whole concept of leaving baby behind for a few hours, you may want a few suggestions on how to make the first night out terrific, not terrifying.

Point is, the first date does not have to be at night at all in order to be still be wonderful and full of connect. Keep it light by packing a picnic and going to the local park for a little noontime downtime. Sure, you are on the biggest adventure of your life now that the two of you have the responsibility of raising a child, and likewise keeping it simple is just what you need right now.

●Cheese and crackers and a bottle of red in a cute picnic basket are all you need for a quick pick me up and energy renewal. The date doesn’t need to be long or expensive to be meaningful. Just remember if you are breastfeeding and do indulge in a glass of wine, it takes 2 hours for a small amount of alcohol to leave the system.

●A take out meal and the seating plan of a park bench works wonders for conversation, too.

Focusing on each other is the plan, and yes it is okay to talk non-stop about the baby and all of the cute things she does - in reality we know that’s certain to happen.

●The focus was always on the two of you and now we know it’s all about the baby. That’s natural and that’s okay but make it a two way conversation.

●A hike or a quick game of tennis is an awesome way to get some air and clear the air, if you know what I mean, leading the way for romance or just plain togetherness.

●If you are too fatigued to make it a date night, brunch at a restaurant is always a treat.

But spending time with hubby in any way or fashion, because he may be feeling neglected you know, is a great way to rekindle the romance and remind each other that love is still in the air.

2 You Want to Bring Baby Along

Rest assured you are not the only one who just can’t leave baby at home without knowing that you will make a phone call to the sitter every ten minutes, or sit silently at the restaurant because your mind is on nothing else but your wee one. Not to worry, been there done that, and by all means we just have to begin the date nights when we’re ready and in a modus operandi that suits us best.

If you are needing a night out and indeed do want it to be a night time date, some parents who aren’t ready to hire a sitter bring baby along,

especially in the early days of infancy. Chances are, if you time things right, your little prince or princess will sleep right through the royal feast and be none the wiser for missing it.

If you do decide to go on a date with cherished baby in tow, dress up anyway and make it truly official. This is a mini break for you and your beau but front page news none the less. Put your best effort forward towards feeling beautiful, because you are. You’ve cared for and entertained your baby all day - and that’s hard work!

●Pat yourself on the back because you have made a huge stride forward - you are well on your way to bringing sexy back - it’s new you know, being a woman and a mom.

Before you know it, you’ll be on the dance floor again, or having a ball at the bowling alley, all sans baby. Yes, they are the number one people in our lives, but kudos to you and dad for keeping each other at the top of the agenda, too.

1 A Date at Home

Let’s be honest with each other here, from one mom to another, some of us just don’t have the energy to go anywhere for several months after little junior is born. Feeding, burping, changing and rocking all take their toll on our get-up-and-go and our zest and zing.

The bottom line is, we may not need to go anywhere in order to build on our relationship. Hey, we’re just so darn happy that home is exactly smack-dab where we want to be. We can picture that, because we’ve been in that situation before ourselves. Let me put in my two cents worth and see if we can come up with some awesome ideas for an in home date night. It goes without saying that date nights at home are definitely better than no dates at all.

If you're fortunate enough to live close to your relatives you can ask them to take your baby for the night or just for a few hours while you have some alone time at home with your significant other. If that's out of the question, you'll just have to try really hard to get your little one to go to sleep. Once your precious bundle is down for the night, or for a few hours at least, get out the candles and design your very own love nest.

●- Create a stay at home wine tasting, keeping in mind that your tolerance for alcohol is lower right now. And don't breast feed for at least 2 hours after consuming any alcohol.

●- Watch your wedding video or look at your album of the big day.

●- Set up a dinner under the stars with a gorgeous candle lit table for two. If it's winter time, why not have a picnic on the floor

●- Enjoy the kitchen together and prepare your favorite meal.

Branch out, get creative and build on that. Enjoy a little grown up time with the comfort of knowing that your little angel is in bed and had her night time routine as she is used to, and you and dad enjoyed a powwow and some pillow talk.

7. It Will Get Easier

After the phrase “do what is best for you and your family” comes the second favorite saying of mine that got me through the ups and downs of mommy hood to the wonderful times today of parenting three awesome teenagers. “This too shall pass” was quoted to me several times and I cite the same to you in relation to this topic of the all important date nights for mom and dad.

Reasons for not wanting to leave baby for the first time are too many to mention, and I for one fervently agree with any why and wherefore you may have. Staying at home for the first month or the first year is a decision that only we can make but to be perfectly honest, leaving baby in the hands of a caregiver does get easier with time and practise. “This too shall pass” - I mean the fear of leaving babe with others, the fatigue that causes us to have no desire to leave the house that often, and the guilty conscience that plagues some of us who even think about doing something for ourselves.

The reality is some of us do return to work a few months after our sweet child is born, for reasons of necessity or desire, and getting the date night in to the mix is a good idea for certain right from the start.

Getting a sitter now and then can be a good thing for your child, too as it helps to broaden their horizons and aids them in becoming comfortable with others besides mommy and daddy. Before you know it little junior may be in daycare or heading off to a morning of preschool where he can make friends and learn how to socialize with others. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a date night for mom and dad can be a fun learning experience for baby, too.

●When out on a date it is okay to call the sitter just for a quick moment, but maybe choose a pre-determined time in case she is rocking your little angel to sleep and can’t get the phone.

●Make time for date nights at home until you are ready to move on to the outside world for entertainment.

●The date does not have to be long or expensive for it to count towards some purposeful man to woman time.

So yes, the focus is on baby most of the time, but without question the spotlight ought to be on you as parents and loving partners some of the time, in order to continue as one big happy family. Keep moving forward - you are on the right track.

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