Taking care of a newborn infant makes it easy to lose perspective and sleep. While we do not have an easy solution for the lack of sleep, we have learned that regular breaks from childcare responsibilities are important. It is recommended to make sure that you have at least one break from your baby every week by engaging a babysitter. If you can manage it, a break of just two or three hours is extremely beneficial, although a half day or more is even better.
There are two keys to making sure these breaks truly restore you. First, have someone you really trust watching your baby while you are gone. Ask your spouse, the baby’s grandparent, another relative, or maybe a babysitter. If you don’t have this confidence, you won’t be able to take a true mental break from the hard work of infant care. Parents can prepare a simple guide for babysitters as a one-stop resource for any information she need to take care of your babies while you were gone. Knowing that your babysitter had access to this information will be a stress reliever for you and valuable resource for the caregiver.
Second, to make the time truly restorative, you should go out and spend time alone or with your spouse, family or friends. This can be eating lunch at a restaurant, drinking coffee at a cafe, browsing a bookstore, shopping at the mall, reading at the library, or whatever you find to be relaxing. What you do does not matter. What is important is getting a physical and mental break from taking care of your baby.
Many parents feel selfish taking this time for themselves. DON’T! This regular break will make you a better parent by reducing your stress and restoring your sense of perspective. We guarantee that you will return home refreshed and ready to take care of your little angel.