Bye, Bye Baby
You've spent months waiting for your new arrival; it's probably hard to imagine leaving your baby, whether for work or play. Regardless of why, the time will come when you will need some support in terms of a caregiver for your baby. You may only need an hour or, perhaps, it will be a day.
How do you ensure your baby will be safe and well cared for during your absence? Even if you are leaving your baby with a family member, you will want to communicate as much information about your baby, their temperament, and their needs as possible. This will guarantee a smooth outing for all.
Always remember that you are your baby's #1 advocate. You know your baby best. It is up to you to communicate a plan for care that is in their best interest.
Although your baby may be cared for by a family member who knows you well and maybe even knows your baby well, it's important not to assume that they know all the “ins and outs” of your baby's routine and preferences.
When leaving your baby, be sure to have packed the necessities. The “necessities” aren't just the things they could not do without (i.e. diapers, wipes, formula or pumped breast milk), but are also the things that will provide comfort to your baby (i.e. favorite blanket, a few toys, pacifier). If you are taking your baby to someone else's home, it may feel like you are packing up for a week long vacation!
In addition to providing the things your baby will need, you will want to provide information regarding their care. This may include:
- An overview of your baby's routine during the day (i.e. baby generally naps in late morning, then has bottle, enjoys being read to, etc.). Remember, babies cannot tell time. It is more important to map out the order that things generally happen in a baby's day than it is to assign specific times that they happen, especially in a new environment (even grandma's house!), as your baby may respond differently.
- Be sure to provide information on feeding, which includes the number of ounces and/or types of food (i.e. rice cereal or first foods) your baby is consuming and the general timing of feedings.
- Supplying emergency contact numbers is also essential. Again, never assume anything. Include a list of numbers where you and/or your partner can be reached in case of an emergency, or just to answer a simple question concerning your baby.
Finally, be sure to be on the “same page” with your family member regarding your expectations of your baby's care. Is it okay if the baby is transported in their car? Do you feel comfortable with your baby being taken on small outings such as a walk in the neighborhood, etc.?
Remember, whether with family or friend, your baby is counting on you to ensure they are well taken care of, happy, and healthy.