There comes a time when working parents will have to be separated from your beautiful baby. Leaving your child with a babysitter or relative is never easy. Newborns are always too cute to even part with in the first place. All we want to do is play, cuddle and watch them sleep all day.
The question that troubles many parents is “What is the right age to start leaving your child with a babysitter?” six months? One year? 1 ½? This article will today answer this “elephant in the room” question so that you can know when to accept or decline that invitation for a trip.
The concerns before leaving your child with a babysitter
Who is in charge?
The greatest concerns parents have before leaving their babies behind is the person being left to care for the baby. Just “anyone” does not make the cut for you. It is for this reason that you always want someone who the baby is comfortable around, just as you.
You want someone trustworthy to be taking care of your little one when you are away.
Option one is always a relative who you have an absolute trust in. Your mum, mother-in-law, grandmas too always want a piece of her grandchild.
All these options are viable if you have them in the first place. Family members are the first people you should consider to take care of your kid when you are not around. They would normally be around the baby some of the time hence there will be no fuss in adjusting.
Option two is a babysitter or a nanny. Although not fancy as compared to a family member, but if you are lucky, then you may get a “mini you” in charge. To get a “mini you,” you need to do proper due diligence, or else your baby will have a not so memorable time.
If you choose right the person you are leaving the bay with, I wouldn’t be surprised if you miss your baby more than she misses you (Ouch!).
At what age can you start leaving your child with a babysitter at home?
Now to the issue at hand, what is the right age? A straight answer is that there is no right time to leave your baby behind.
Any age will do provided that both the baby and you are fine with the given arrangements put in place.
There is a catch though for breastfed babies and here is why. When breastfeeding your newborn, it takes between 4 and 6 weeks before the baby gets used to breastfeeding and develop a sleeping pattern. This implies that if you are nursing your baby, then it is paramount that you wait this long before you can leave him with a sitter or a relative.
In addition, the rest will depend on the temper and how anxious your baby is? the skill and trust you have in the person you apparently want to be looking after your kid. And how comfortable you are with the whole situation?
Finally, to ensure that your kid stays comfortable for the whole period when you are away, you have to pump as much milk as possible so that she stays well fed as you are away. She will not care that you are away.
Formula fed babies
If you formula feeds your baby, then you have no restriction on when you can leave her with a sitter or a relative. What you want to be sure about is that you are ready to trust her in the hands of other people.
Doing this may be tough for you, but it reaches a time when we all have to do some things that we would not like to do. If you find yourself in such a situation where you have to leave your baby with a relative or a sitter, a good idea is to choose a good quality baby formula.
What if my baby is separation sensitive?
Now you have got the person you think can well handle your baby, but hold on just yet. What if your baby does not agree with the choice and wants to cling to you? This is the real conundrum that you will have to deal with.
If your baby is comfortable around other people, then lucky you. Otherwise, you will need to be extra witty to calm him down before leaving. This is more so when you co-sleep with your baby or if you are still breastfeeding him.
How to ease your leaving
However much you try, being separated from your newborn will not be an easy task. The constant worries: Is she okay? Could she be crying? Am I a bad mum for leaving her? All these are part of the whole process, and you will soon get used to them.
Here are ways of making the process a lot easier.
- Do not be anxious when leaving. Your baby is able to pick that up and make it more complex
- Start by making brief exits, probably to the next room until the baby gets used to it.
- For the sitter, arrange for her to come earlier before your departure and make her some notes on how the baby should be taken care of.
- Do not be too dramatic with your exits and entrances.
Parenting can be hectic at times, meaning that mummy and daddy need to have some alone time to recharge for the challenges ahead. This means that you will have to leave your baby at some point.
There is no specific age that is right for you to start leaving your child with a babysitter or relative. Although for breastfed babies, you should start leaving her when she is proficient in latching. This makes it easier to leave her behind.
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