Your No-Sweat Guide to Leaving Your Baby with a Sitter
When you bring home your new baby, you might wonder how you could ever leave your precious one’s side. They are so sweet and perfect…and they definitely need you. But the time will come when you’ll need to go somewhere. Maybe it's a date night to remember what it feels like to be an adult again—or it might be time to head back to work.
When it comes time to hire a babysitter, whether it’s a stranger, friend, or relative, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you, your baby, and your sitter feel comfortable.
Find someone you trust.
Some lucky parents will lean on friends and family they already know to watch their baby. But if you don't have a trustworthy pal you can call to step in while you're out, you might have to hire a babysitter you've never met. To do this, ask your friends who they trust and then conduct interviews to see if the person feels right to you.
Here are a few quick tips for how to interview a babysitter:
- Ask for references and follow up with those references.
- If you have a really little one, ask about your sitter’s experience with newborns, including their comfort level changing diapers, bottle-feeding, and handling a crying baby.
- Ask if they are CPR trained.
- Ask if they are comfortable meeting your baby with you present beforehand to see how they get along.
Plan a trial run.
Before the day (or night) comes to leave your baby with a babysitter, it’s smart to do a trial run first. Ask a family member or friend for help. For this, you will prepare your baby, say goodbye, and then leave…except you'll only be gone briefly. Maybe you'll run to the grocery store or just circle the block a few times. This way you can see what—if anything—needs to be improved or changed before your big event.
Write out everything.
No matter who is watching your baby, you'll want to leave instructions of care. When you do this, try to think about how you go about your routine with your baby and what might help your baby and babysitter have a smooth experience without you. No detail is too small!
You may want to leave information for your babysitter about:
- Your itinerary, so in case of an emergency, you can be located quickly
- Your contact information, including your phone number, the name, and phone number of where you'll be, and a backup emergency number in case you are unreachable
- Your baby's feeding and sleeping routine, including any issues that the babysitter needs to be aware of (such as how to operate SNOO!)
- What foods, TV channels, or other fun things they can enjoy and where to find them
- If you have older children, let the babysitter know the house rules so everyone is on the same page.
Try not to stress out.
The biggest piece of advice for any parent, especially new parents, is to enjoy your time away from your baby. Yes, it might feel weird at first—you’re probably even a little nervous—but try not to stress out. If you're going on a date night, the goal is to relax and enjoy yourself. And even if you're headed to a work function, remind yourself that giving yourself a break from parenting is healthy and normal!
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.