On the one hand, you can't bear to be away from your beautiful baby. They're the most wonderful creature in the world, your finest creation and you don't want to miss a second. And on the other... my goodness do you need few hours to yourself!
It's almost time to pick out some nice clothes, swap the slippers for real shoes and get away from the muslins and nappies. But before leaving your baby for the first time, you need to nail your childcare situation. Follow the babysitting tips and advice below and it should be a doddle.
who’s holding the baby?
So who has the enviable job of a night in with your adorable little one? Leaving baby with grandparents is a good option – they’re familiar faces and are often very keen! Other family members and close friends may also be happy to give you a few hours off baby duty every now and again.
When friends and family aren't available, babysitters are your next port of call. Leaving your precious bundle with someone who is initially a stranger can make you feel a bit wobbly. Don't forget that they're childcare experts – professional, unflappable and likely to have seen it all!
how do i find a good babysitter?
You can register with a service such as sitters.co.uk, which puts you in touch with vetted and professional babysitters in your area. Word-of-mouth is helpful too – who have your friends used? The combo of a personal recommendation and a reference check can be the key to finding a good babysitter.
If you go with an agency, you may not meet the sitter until the actual date (although you’ll chat on the phone). If you’re choosing independently, invite them around to meet baby in advance and see how they respond to each other. It’s worth taking time to find the right one – this will make future evenings out so much easier.
how do i get things ready for the babysitter?
Before leaving baby with a nanny for the first time, make things as simple as possible for them. Set up a changing area and include spare clothes (it’s best if the sitter doesn’t have to scrabble through drawers, or the washing basket, to find clean things). Prepare the milk or food in advance if you can without compromising freshness and leave written instructions (every microwave is different!).
Hopefully your little one will happily pop off to sleep, leaving the sitter with a nice, easy evening. If they’re new to your house, show them the bookshelves, how the tv works and give them the WiFi password. Leave some easy-to-prepare snacks in the fridge and let them know where the tea and coffee are kept.
what do i need to tell the babysitter?
Before leaving baby with a babysitter for the first time, give them a little handover information, like:
• the location of the first aid kit
• details of any regular medication or skin treatments that they’ll need to administer
• how the baby monitor works
• baby's favourite toys and games (if they're still awake)
• their sleepy-time routine
• how to prepare their bottle or food
• contact phone numbers: your mobile, the venue where you’ll be, and a trusted friend or neighbour
• communication channels: are you the first point of contact, or should they call your mum or a friend first if they have a query?
• anything else about being in your house, such as letting the cat out or answering the phone
how was your evening?
This first venture back into the grown-up world of evenings out probably took more planning than your pre-baby social life. However, once you’ve had one babysitting success, future date nights and catch-ups will be much easier. You may even start thinking about leaving baby overnight for the first time…