Are you scared to care for the baby by yourself? Don’t worry: you can do it! Here’s how to manage being alone with the baby.
I dreaded the day my husband would return to work. Until then, my newborn twins and three-year-old had at least two adults caring for them. I felt scared to be alone with the baby with no one else to help.
So with my husband’s impending return to work, I grew scared about being alone with all three kids. And even though I catch some breaks, this would be the first time I would take care of three kids… all by myself.
How to manage being alone with the baby
Several weeks in, I’m happy to report that I’m still alive! I didn’t want to rely on pep talk alone, a lá “You can do it!” encouragement. I know how it is feeling scared to be alone with a baby. Instead, I found practical tips so you won’t feel scared to be alone.
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Prepare ahead of time.
During the first few days, the last thing I needed was to tend to things I could have planned ahead of time. Especially when babies are crying and kids are clamoring for your attention.
So I prepared: I planned the meals and snacks for my older son, packed his lunch bag and diced his fruit ahead of time. I stocked the diaper bag with necessities so that I can leave the house quickly.
Even unfolding my stroller ahead of time helped, especially when the babies were crying.
The more I planned, the more time I was able to focus on the babies and my older son. Over a few days, the planning eased a bit as I became more comfortable and accustomed to our new situation. But planning ahead of time has saved me a ton of headaches.
Make use of helpful baby items
I can’t believe I had actually considered not having a swing. When I’m alone with the kids, the swing is my second set of arms, as both babies sleep pretty well in it. I’ve also relied on baby carriers like the Moby wrap, pacifiers, the stroller and white noise.
I hadn’t wanted to rely on too many sleep aids since I’ll eventually wean the babies off them. But like my husband said, better to use them now for months’ worth of sanity for a few days’ worth of weaning.
Plan daily outings
Make a list of simple errands or activities you’d like to do with your baby. Take a stroll around the park or drive to the nearby farmers market. Start simple until you get the hang of toting baby around.
I’ve been adding these “events” to my calendar, usually sticking to one activity per day. That way, I had something different to do each day. Getting out also made me feel accomplished as I challenged myself with new activities.
Realize the first two weeks are the most difficult
Getting a new home, changing jobs, and yes, being alone with the baby. Anytime I go through major changes, I remind myself the first two weeks will be a difficult time.
Think about the last time you moved homes. You had to get used to the new bedrooms, or set up your utilities. How about when you started your last job? You had no idea how the company ran their process yet you still had to keep up and learn on the go.
The same applies with caring for your newborn by yourself. You’ll struggle with this new change, but in time you’ll find your groove and settle right in.
Let expectations go
Sure, take out the trash and write in your journal when you have time, but realize you can’t do many of the activities you used to before you had a newborn. Give yourself a pass with a messy house (unless of course cleaning and decorating is your zen!).
This does take a bit of practice, especially if you’ve always found it hard to accept “good enough.” If so, focus on ONE thing where you can’t compromise on its standards. Maybe that’s getting ready in the morning, or making sure your kitchen is organized. For everything else, let it go.
For those with older kids:
- Offer new items and activities that will keep them quietly occupied.
- Involve them with household tasks like cooking, cleaning and helping with the baby.
- Spend time with your older kids when the baby is napping.
- You’ve done this with your older kids already! I freaked out about being home alone with my then-infant older son. Now ask me to care for only one baby and I’d think it’d be easy.
You’ll find your rhythm and do things you once thought impossible. I had no idea how I’d burp my twins at the same time by myself. I used to hand one off to another person for the past few months.
But when placed in situations where you have no choice, you find a way to do it. You learn how to burp two babies. Maybe it’s holding two at a time, putting one on his tummy, or feeding them at different times. It will get done.
If there’s any job that’s a “learn on the go” type, parenting is it. But you’ll surprise yourself by how much stronger you’ll feel. You’ll challenge yourself to try things that seem out of your range.
Sure you’ll struggle with a crying baby at the grocery or wish you never have to put another baby to sleep ever again. But you’ll manage and perhaps even look fondly on how you survived these first few weeks all on your own.
Part of the struggle of being alone with a baby is getting him to sleep well, especially if he only sleeps in your arms. If this sounds too familiar, I created a guide just for you! Learn about “How to Get Your Baby to Sleep without Being Held” here.
Are you a single mom with sole responsibility of your baby? That takes caring for your baby alone to a whole new level. Check out this article on Mayo Clinic for tips on how to manage.
Get more tips about life with a baby:
- How to Teach Your Baby to Self Soothe
- What to Do when Your Baby Needs to Be Entertained Constantly
- How to Stay Calm when Your Baby Won’t Nap
- When Does a Newborn Baby Get Easier?
Tell me in the comments: What are your biggest fears about being alone with your baby?
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