Chrissy Teigen went out on a date night with husband John Legend 10 days after giving birth to their daughter, Luna. Jane Doe went on a date night with her partner, John Doe, six months after having their baby, Wee Doe. Who had it right? Both.
Personally, I feel showering and stepping out of the house in order to feel a tiny bit of your old self is such a gift. The only reason most of us don't do it earlier is because we're too tired, living in fear of public leaking, and not sure anyone else can handle the "what-if" scenarios the baby might throw out.
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In fact, 30 percent of parents say it's been six months or longer since their last date. That's a long time, especially if your baby isn't new. But if you have someone you feel comfortable leaving your newborn with, then an hour eating an amazing meal with no cleanup and channeling a bit of your old self, should be a no-brainer.
While many parents suffer from "date deprivation," they have to do what's right for them when it comes to reinstituting date nights postpartum. But when you're ready, here are some things you'll need to do before your first night out post-baby:
Oh, baby! Yes, going on a date night means you need to find help.
They say it takes a village to raise a kid (or an entire population if you have multiple little ones!), and when it comes to date night, it takes at least an extra set of hands. According to a Care.com Date Night Survey, 52 percent of parents say finding reliable child care is the worst part of planning a date, and 44 percent say finding reliable child care on short notice is what mainly holds them back. Don't let that happen. My tip is ask for help! All new parents need help. If that means calling in a favor from family or friends or finding a trustworthy date night sitter for the night only, seek help.
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You're no longer just John and Jane, but Mom and Dad. So!?
Being parents is an amazing thing and a journey that can't be matched, but remembering that you are also individuals in a relationship can only strengthen the bond you have as a family. Eighty percent of parents say their attitudes about dating actually changed after having children, and the No. 1 reason was that it's become less of a priority. Yet, an overwhelming majority (96 percent) of parents in a relationship feel a date night brings them closer to their partner. So make it a priority!
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Remember you did just evict a human from your body.
The final consideration is your health. How does your body feel, and how do you feel emotionally? Some women feel like taking a walk the minute they get home, others are sore from navigating the long trip between the refrigerator and living room for several weeks. One thing all moms will do, though, is continue to see their doctors the days and weeks after birth, so discuss how you're healing with them and let that be the measuring stick you use to determine if a night out is in the cards for you, physically and emotionally.
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The bottom line is that date nights once baby arrives benefit parents—both as mom venturing out for a quick fro-yo or a five-star meal will do you all good!
Katie Herrick Bugbee, senior managing editor at Care.com, focuses on global content for parents, caregivers, pet owners, and families in need of senior care. As a mom of two small children, grandchild of an ailing grandfather and all-around pet lover, Katie relates to these topics and works diligently to provide the best advice and resources for Care.com readers.