When is your baby old enough to leave?
That’s probably the question of the year for all first-time mothers.
Weeks after my oldest son, Boston, was born, I recall feeling like I’d never again be able to just jet off whenever I wanted.
In a way, I was right: Having a baby completely changed my world, as I knew it would and as it rightly should. Suddenly it was no longer about me or my husband. It was about this precious new little life that was absolutely, completely dependent on me.
But after a few months of sleepless nights (actually, more like three years and counting!) and learning and growing as a little family, I began to feel like he would be OK if I wasn’t hovering over him 24/7, which is what I usually did day in and day out.
But again, that was around three months. Would I have been ready to do that in just a mere 10 days after he was born? No way.
Ivanka Trump, new mother of baby girl Arabella born July 17, apparently felt differently than I.
“Ventured into the office for a few hours today, but raced home to see Arabella this evening,” she tweeted on Monday. “I’m already experiencing separation anxiety!”
That, or a maternal instinct to get home and care for your brand-new child less than two weeks old.
I understand and feel sympathetic toward new mothers who, for whatever reason, need to return to work shortly after their baby is born. I’ve had several people close to me who have done this, and who’ve expressed the heartache and guilt they’ve felt at leaving their baby at home with a sitter, family member or at daycare. I’ve felt this at times myself when I’ve had to do a concert, or do a speaking engagement or fireside.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have the support of wonderful family members who I trust who’ve been able to travel along with me and watch my boys while I perform, but for the most part, I’ve had to turn down many things simply because it wasn’t’ feasible with two boys age 2 and under. I’ve also been lucky enough to work from home, and have accomplished many a blog, column or other project during naptime.
I feel like most of us moms are doing the very best we can with whatever situation we’ve been given. I don’t know Ivanka personally (although my uncle is good friends with her father) and believe she’s probably one of those moms.
However, 10 days is, in my opinion, just too soon to be leaving your baby for many reasons.
Not only are the first few months of a baby’s life crucial for developing a bond between mother and child, but if that mother is breastfeeding, it’s almost impossible to work and breastfeed without having to supplement, or having your milk supply diminish almost completely.
Also, giving birth is a major physical undertaking, something that changes your body forever. Every mother on the planet would back me up in saying, it’s not easy. It usually takes up to six weeks or longer before you’re feeling well enough to venture back into the “real world.” And if you feel like that sooner, you’ve probably seriously overestimated yourself or your hormones are playing tricks on you (again).
This has been a huge debate between my husband and I since we welcomed our two little boys into our family. We understand the importance of spending time alone as a couple and the importance of me as a mother having alone time, but I always have a hard time leaving my very young babies under someone else’s care, even for a few hours.
Call me paranoid, but in my mind, no one else on this earth loves my children as much as me and my husband, and trusting someone else, even close family members, has taken time and faith.
How old do you think is old enough to leave your baby? Do you think it’s important to have that alone time with them for the first several months? Or do you think moms will always, no matter the age, have a hard time letting go or leaving their children?