We’ve talked about all sorts to date on the blog, ranging from boiler checks to being prepared for birth with antenatal classes. Today’s post is going to be about being ready for leaving baby on his or her own, which is one of the most traumatic experiences a new parent will face. After birth, you’ll soon start to think of your child similarly to a new limb, they’re with you all the time. The exception to that will be bed time, and while there are a huge number of differing (and quite frankly, conflicting) opinions on what is best for sleep, we’re firmly in the camp of getting your child used to going to sleep at night on their own.
Some parents like to put baby down in the living room with them as they watch TV in the evening, and carry them upstairs when they retire for the evening. There’s a couple of common problems with that, and no matter how much we admire many rituals of the earth mother brigade, this isn’t one of them! First and foremost, you’re fostering a future problem of separation anxiety in your child. If they’re used to being around you twenty four hours a day, that’s much more likely to be a problem when you finally do put them in their own room. What’s more, they become used to the background noise of the TV or your conversation to soothe them into the land of nod, and again, that won’t be present later. We fully understand that you’re going to be worried about you child for the first few nights, as you leave the room in the dark and close the door. You might even have to start the tough love early and help them to understand that they’re safe in their bed without mummy or daddy in view. That’s probably not the biggest barrier to a peaceful house after your baby’s bedtime though, it’s far more likely to be your over active imagination, worrying about whether they’re ok, breathing normally and so on. Fortunately, we like in a time where technology solves much of this. You can now get an inexpensive video baby monitor (see http://www.videobabymonitorzone.com/ for reviews) that will allow you to watch your child from a distance, and even movement sensor pads to reassure you that they’re breathing.
Some parents have found that the video monitor systems actually make them more neurotic, as they feel the need to continually stare at their screen, so you might be better suited to an audio only version if you think that might apply to you. These are also available with movement detection, so a loud alarm sounds if your baby might need urgent attention.
Becoming a parent is a stressful, but delightful experience, so put your trust in the technology that’s available, and do yourself a favour. Getting your child into good habits and solid routines from a very early age will pay dividends, and make you the envy of your friends at toddler groups and nursery that are shattered after spending hours getting their kids to sleep every night! What’s more, you’ll be able to enjoy quiet time to yourselves in the evening, and maybe get back to some of the activities you’ve been missing, maybe the odd evening out with friends, or getting back to the gym workouts! It’s important to remember that you’ve still got a life to live too – even if your child needs you throughout waking hours.