Is your partner going back to work soon, and you are going to stay with your child? Are you worried about this new stage? Well, this post is for you. We are going to answer the most common questions you may have now.
Do you have to train the baby before the mother is going to be away?
It may seem like a reasonable idea, but it is not recommended; here is why:
Separating from their mother is a difficult experience for any baby. They have no time awareness; an adult can understand the concept of 4 hours or 8 hours, and mentally you can get an idea of the time that will have to pass. But for a baby, this concept does not exist, and when they are away from their mother, they cannot understand that their mom will be back in a few hours and that she hasn’t abandoned them forever.
Therefore, it is not easy for them to adapt to this new and complicated situation.
If you bring the moment of separation forward, you just start the suffering earlier. And even if mommy is not going to be far away, the adults will want the baby to give up something that is very important to them: the breast.
You are going to want them to have milk from a bottle and get used to being without their mother. No adult likes to have a hard time, and whenever we can, we extend what we enjoy for as long as we can.
Are you sure? But I’ll have to try to get our baby to have some milk…
Well, it’s not really a good idea to offer expressed breastmilk while your partner, the mother, is still at home unless you have some spare breastmilk reserves.
Pumping breastmilk is exhausting and time-consuming. That’s why we recommend around one month before the mother goes back to work (or a little earlier if you want), start to pump and freeze breastmilk to create a little milk stash.
If you give the pumped milk while the mother is still at home, you “lose” those valuable reserves.
If you want to prepare while the mother is still at home, you can search for information and watch videos to see how the different techniques of offering your baby milk work. This is how you can prepare the theory and then practice with your baby when the time comes. A bit like when you are doing a driver’s license, but more enjoyable.
Can I give the milk in a bottle?
You can, but first, you have to check with your child what his or her intentions are. And maybe your baby doesn’t agree at all.
If you see that the baby doesn’t like the bottle, that’s okay; there are always other methods that will allow you to give your baby milk, and that work just as well.
How will I know when my baby is hungry?
In the beginning, mothers also don’t know when their babies are hungry, sleepy, or tired, but then they learn that breastfeeding is useful in pretty much every case. It will be a bit more difficult for you, but nothing that you can’t solve or learn.
If your baby is less than 4 months old, you can tell if they are hungry by touching their cheek. If they turn around looking for your finger, they are hungry.
From 4 months old, this gets more difficult, as this reflex disappears, so always offer a little milk to see what happens. Surely within a few days, you will learn to understand perfectly what your baby needs.
What if the baby doesn’t want to feed?
That is a possibility that is very likely to happen. Some babies refuse to eat when their mother is not with them.
If your baby is healthy, it’s no problem for them to go for a few hours without feeding.
Many will sleep until their mother returns and then make up for lost time.
They may also cry or be very restless. Then that’s the moment to carry your baby and walk around, sing, and be by your baby’s side during this difficult time.
How much milk should I give the baby?
The amount of milk is always according to your baby’s demand, just like breastfeeding. In the beginning, your baby may want very little just to get through the hours they will be without their mother.
This won’t get established until about 15 days after the mother goes back to work.
Will my baby sleep without falling asleep at the breast?
Of course! You just have to find the way. Babies, who until now fell asleep while suckling at the breast, will now have to explore new ways of doing so. Some families choose to offer a pacifier, while others use the adult’s finger to soothe the baby… each baby is different, and little by little, you will find out what works for you.
I am scared
That’s completely normal. We all worry and fear the unknown. Caring for a baby is a great adventure and a lot of work, but you will undoubtedly succeed.