Leaving your baby for the first time can seem like the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do. You safely carried your little one in your womb until her birth, then you held her in your arms as she came into the world and you’ve been there for every moment of her life since. You’re her safe haven and she is your most precious blessing. Soon, though, you’ll notice the long days and sleepless nights start to wear on you and probably your significant other too. You realize you both need a night out! That means leaving baby…it’s time.
I started leaving my daughter with her aunt and uncle at only a few weeks old. I was a special case. My husband was stationed overseas and I was moving us into a new house by myself. I just needed a few hours at a time to get things taken care of. I knew she would be perfectly safe and happy with her aunt and uncle who lived just a few minutes away. I am definitely Type A though, and I had to prepare myself, my baby and her caregivers for the time I would be away. Here are some tips that helped me prepare:
Meet caregiver beforehand
Allow your child to get to know his new caregiver while you are around. Play together, allow the caregiver to shadow your normal routine and step back to allow the caregiver and child to play alone together. Your baby will begin to familiarize himself with the caregiver and learn to trust them. This process will help ease your fears and worries too.
Write out instructions
Being Type A, instructions are my best friend! Write out as much information as you need to feel comfortable leaving your baby. It looks different for everyone, but start with the most basic information. Write down all emergency contact information. You can also use this easy fill-in-the-blank form from Baby Center.
From there you can write out your baby’s daily routine including nap times, diaper change instructions and activities. Give specific instructions for feeding times. Write out what your child is allowed to eat, if anything, besides a bottle. Show your caregiver how you prepare a bottle. Use BlueSmart mia to help your caregiver angle the bottle correctly for feeding and set it up to instruct the caregiver when to give feedings. You can check your BlueSmart mia app to track your baby’s feedings while you’re out!
If your baby has any medical needs make sure to write those down and give specific instructions on how to care for those needs and what to do if an emergency arises.
You may also want to write out where all of your safety items are and how to get out of the house in case of an emergency. Note where the first aid kit, medications and fire extinguisher are located.
Ease into the handoff
Hopefully baby will have met with her new caregiver and feels comfortable being with them. However, you still want to make the transition as easy as possible for baby and yourself. Give yourself at least an extra 10 minutes before you need to leave to be with baby and the caregiver. Then say your goodbyes and let baby know you will be back. Your baby may cry, but likely you’ll be more emotional than she is! Don’t let your emotions show while you’re with baby though. Babies react to emotion and it will be harder to leave if they get emotional too.
If you’re taking your baby to the caregiver’s house or a day care, make sure to bring everything that will make baby feel comfortable. A familiar blanket from her crib at home, a lovey or stuffed animal, and plenty of pacifiers if you have a paci baby!
Schedule a status update
You’re going to want to see that sweet baby’s face while you’re out! Ask your caregiver to send a text with a status update and a picture toward the middle of your outing. That way you can enjoy your much needed time out and know how your baby is doing too. And trust that you’re caregiver is taking great care of your little one until you return. You deserve to enjoy your time away!
Since those first days leaving my daughter with her aunt and uncle I have left my daughter (and now my infant son!) with many more caregivers. My husband and I have even taken a few three-day getaways while our moms watched our daughter! The right time to leave baby is different for every parent but you can do it and you will get through it! And you will be less stressed and happier for it.