It’s your first post-birth night out and you might feel as anxious as you do excited. Here’s what to expect and how to make the most of it.
While you might have spent two hours getting ready before, you might have five minutes now. And that will probably only allow for changing into the first top that you can find that doesn’t have sick on it.
One thing you can enjoy is taking the tiniest bag to rejoice in the fact it’s your night out (Huffpost, 2018). No-one will need their nappy changing, a couple of bottles of anti-bacterial gel or 18 muslin squares. Pack some breast pads if you’re breastfeeding though. Your pale pink jumper won’t look quite the same with two giant wet patches on it.
Speaking of feeding, you might want to plan your baby's milk feeds while you're out, if they still need them (NHS, 2018). This might mean leaving expressed bottles of breastmilk, for instance (La Leche League, 2017; NHS, 2018).
Think about how you're getting home (and what time) too. Check buses, trains and tubes so you feel confident if you do need to leave earlier than planned. Or maybe book a cab.
When you’re there
It might be your first chance to talk about something other than your baby. And don’t worry if you can’t remember anything outside your baby world anymore; it can be nice to just hear someone else talk about stuff that’s unrelated to your boobs, hours slept (baby and/or you) and poo. Unless you’re with your NCT group, then you can talk babies to your heart’s content.
At some point, you'll probably want to slope off to the loo to text your partner or babysitter for pictures of your baba. (That’s despite telling everyone how desperate you were to switch off and have a break every day for the last six weeks.) That's OK. Make sure your phone is charged though so you can keep in touch if you want to.
This is also a great chance to eat a meal undisturbed. Relish the chance to be unencumbered by a child who wants rocking as your food arrives or a poo explosion putting you off your salmon.
To pump or dump?
You might have heard of people saying you should ‘pump and dump’ your breastmilk after drinking alcohol. In fact, you don’t need to do this – alcohol leaves your breastmilk just like it leaves your body (La Leche League, 2017). So give each unit of alcohol two to three hours to leave your body and when it’s gone you’re probably ready to breastfeed again (NHS, 2018).
It could be a good idea to have someone else there to look after your baby overnight generally though if you’ve been drinking (Blair et al, 2009; NHS, 2018). And definitely avoid co-sleeping with your baby after drinking alcohol as it puts them at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (Blair et al, 2009; NHS, 2018).
Don't beat yourself up if you’re home at 9pm. There'll be other nights. Equally, if you're having a better time than you thought you would, don't feel guilty, enjoy it.
Going out without your baby can be a really good thing (when you’re ready to). It’s a great way to remind yourself that you can be physically separate to your baby and someone other than ‘mummy’…for a bit.
And the thing about going out, is the joy of coming home and having a little sniff and kiss of your baby’s lovely head as they’re (hopefully) fast asleep.
Blair PS, Sidebotham P, Evason-Coombe C, Edmonds M, Heckstall-Smith EM, Fleming P. (2009) Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change: case-control study of SIDS in south west England. BMJ. 339:b3666. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/339/bmj.b3666.full (Accessed 11th January 2019).
Huffpost. (2018) How to survive your first night out after having a baby. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jeni-dibleyrouse/how-to-survive-your-first_5_b_15342150.html (Accessed 11th January 2019).
La Leche League (2017) Alcohol and breastfeeding. Available at: https://www.laleche.org.uk/alcohol-and-breastfeeding/#do (Accessed 11th January 2019).
NHS (2018) Breastfeeding and drinking alcohol. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/breastfeeding-alcohol/ (Accessed 11th January 2019).