Eventually it’s going to happen. Mama, you’re going to need/want to get out of the house—sans bebe. Whether you have an adults only function, a hot date, a business engagement, or a pressing trip to Target, you’ll have to leave your most precious little one with a babysitter. Inevitably, this will bring up a myriad of feelings and emotions—excitement, nervousness, apprehension, freedom, sadness, happiness, fear. All those and much more to be sure! I know. Because I’ve been there.
Even if you’re a working mama—and therefore a pro at the daycare game, a babysitter is new territory. In my opinion, the best way to deal with the nerves and ease the transition (for mama more so than baby) is to prepare.
Tips for Leaving Baby with a Babysitter for the First Time
Find a babysitter you trust
For some, this may be a family member. We left our son with grandparents several times on holidays and vacations with minimal stress. But we don’t have family here in Nashville. So for our first date night, my husband’s coworker babysat. My husband teaches middle school, so obviously his coworkers like kids! I was comfortable with her because we were already acquainted. She’s a licensed teacher. And she had been a nanny in the past. Score!
Friends, neighbors, and coworkers are a great source for babysitters too. I have a list of recommended babysitters to try in the future if we need options. Once our babe is older, I may be comfortable finding a sitter through a website or Facebook. But for now? I’d rather stick with babysitters that I personally know.
Aside from rounding up all the emergency numbers, important health information, home security codes, and other minutiae in a handy babysitter information chart, think about basic details about your baby that others need to know.
Her favorite songs. His favorite food. You know all this. But the babysitter won’t.
So make a list. Anything goes. Books, bedtime routines, the preferred sippy cup, calming methods, the direction you usually put baby down in the crib.
Be specific but not overwhelming. Hit the high points. Your babysitter is not you—and that’s okay. Just give enough information for the baby (and babysitter) to make it through the evening smiling.
Hang out with the babysitter before the big day (or start early)
If your babysitter can come over before the big day to hang out with your sweet baby, that is a great way to let the two of them become acquainted while you’re around. You can do a house/nursery tour, demonstrate a diaper change, pull out the jammies/extra clothes, and spend time talking about what the sitter should expect.
If this isn’t feasible, no sweat. Just plan for the babysitter to arrive about 30 minutes before you need to leave to go over the basics. You could even bump this up to an hour early so you have time to get ready too—without a little one underfoot.
Say it with me, Mama: Relaxxxxx. Easier said than done but so vital. You can prepare all you want. But at some point? You have to let go. Trust the babysitter that YOU chose, and enjoy the moment.
Don’t spend your whole date with your handsome husband stressing about whether the babysitter sang the song before she read the book or after. I promise, baby will be fine if her routine is a little altered ONE night. PROMISE. Moms worry enough—we don’t need to pay someone to add more worry to our lives!
In this day and age, we are fortunate to be so connected via smartphones and the internet. You’ll be able to be contacted in an instant if there’s an urgent situation or an emergency. You can request your babysitter check in at certain intervals—or not (whatever would stress you out the least).