It's been months since you've seen the outside world. You've become so pale you've started resembling Bella from The Twilight series. You so badly long for a glimpse of what's happening beyond the four walls of the house that you keep your face plastered to the window and even a bird flying past fills you with crazy happiness!
Welcome to the world of the "first months after delivery". I'm thankfully past this phase and trust me when I say I I do not want to go back there again! Spending time with my little guy was fun but sometimes depressions sets in because every single day it was the same house, same room, same walls and same faces. Initially it doesn't seem so bad but after 3 months it becomes the worst sort of hell ever!
But then all of a sudden 4 months are over and everyone decides to take you and the baby for dinner OUTSIDE THE HOUSE. Happy? Yes, well here's a little secret. What you are about to face is the worst, more horrible nightmare ever! You'd never know what to expect. You'd never know what's going to happen.
I was super thrilled for our first outing and I was even more thrilled to reach back home! It was a total disaster. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong that day and by the time we reached back home all I wanted to do was turn back time and pretend like those 3 hours never happened! But then we did go out a few more times. Each time was a learning. Now I am a lot more prepared and I wanted to pass on some wisdom to all new mamas out there. These points come straight from personal experience. So here we go, tips on how to stay sane during outings ( especially dinner outings).
1) Take even the kitchen sink
The saying "everything but the kitchen sink" does apply here. For your first outings, take everything you feel your baby remotely needs. Anything and everything. Yes you will look like you've packed for a one way ticket to the moon but that's ok. After the first few outings you can slowly leave behind things you don't use much. And please pack your baby bag beforehand; not right when you leave. Chances are you will forget the most important things like diapers!
2) Strength in numbers
Planning to a romantic dinner with the hubby? With the baby and just you two around that is NOT going to happen. I know of a friend who spent her anniversary dinner with her husband taking turns holding the baby and eating dinner one at a time. Unless your baby sleeps throughout the dinner you can be rest assured that turns will be taken.
So even if your romantic bubble is busted, take a couple of trusted family members or friends with you. A group outing is best until you learn the ropes on how best to handle the baby on your own during outings.
3) The 10 minute dinner
Always be prepared to leave within the first half hour of entering the restaurant. You'd never know what could happen. The baby might scream away to Kingdom come. The baby might fall really sick and throw up all over. You might be totally uncomfortable in the restaurant. Whatever the pressing reason, always be prepared to run!
4) Snack and go
Which brings me to my 4th point. Always have a light, healthy snack before you leave the house. For my 1st outing,the baby cried so much we had to leave before we could eat anything and grabbing a take out burger on the way was the only option! So prepare yourself a nice snack before you leave for the restaurant. It really helps.
5) Dress appropriately
First outing and you want to look all flashy despite the post prenancy weight. Feeling good is great but not at the risk of complete inaccessibility. You need to be breast feed ready. What you wear should be such that you can easily lift or unbutton without having to wrestle. I made the mistake of wearing a tight salwaar for my 1st outing. With the baby screaming, me sweating and the salwaar sticking like a body suit to my flabby self I almost had to rip it in two just to get my baby to breast feed. You do not want to go there!
6) Call in advance
Make sure you call the restaurant in advance and let them know about your requirements. A crib or bassinet, a quiet corner of the restaurant for seating, a breast feeding area. Do not jump in and surprise them. The restaurant management would also appreciate the heads up and you would have ease of mind as well.
7) Quick bites
Make sure you order food that is easy to eat. Nothing that soils the hands and nothing that needs both ur hands occupied. Steaks and super saucy dishes are out of the question. Order something light and easy to spear using a fork would be best. Make sure you always have your hands clean and relatively free throughout the meal so that you can pick up your baby the moment he starts wailing.
8) Keep at it
And finally, do not give up! Sure even if your first outing was a disaster just keep at it! Things will slowly but surely start getting better; you would fall into rhythm and start enjoying yourself. So not stop trying!
Happy 1st outing ladies!