Little L is five months now and I haven’t really left her with anyone other than my husband and my mother. However, a week ago I found myself needing a last minute sitter when no one else could, and I panicked! My husband and my mother both have experience with babies, and I know they would both know what to do in an emergency situation and how to read Little L’s signs — when she’s hungry, tired, needs to be changed or just wants to be held. But someone new?
Granted, it was a friend of my mother’s who runs a daycare from her home and has experience with babies — but still, it is always a bit unnerving. The night before I was supposed to take her to the sitter I was planicking…planning and panicking at the same time. Okay, so it wasn’t so much panicking as much as it was nerves. Even so, I grabbed a pad of paper and started writing, describing Little L’s habits, what she liked, what she didn’t like, etc. I ended up writing on four sheets of paper, and even so, I still felt I had left things out.
The next day, I handed the notes to the sitter. She looked at me, smiled and said, “It will be okay. I will call you if I have any doubts — and call to check in at any time.”
And I sure did!
Here are a few things you should always tell your sitter or a family member who is watching after your baby:
1. When in doubt, call. Let them know they will not be “bothering” you when you’re out. You want to know your children are okay. CALL!
2. Read the instructions carefully. I wrote four pages, but they had details about my baby which are important to know so that all goes smoothly.
3. Show your sitter where you keep additional clothing, diapers, and food. Sounds basic, but I remember babysitting when I was younger and I was left to scour the home for diapers and wipes once when they were all out. It was not a fun time and baby was in a poopy diaper for a good long time until I did find them.
4. If they are babysitting in your home, make sure your more trusted neighbors know you are out. Tell the sitter they can go to them for help.
5. And as always, trust your instincts. If something isn’t right, then don’t fight it. Once, M wasn’t feeling good and I was supposed to leave him with a sitter. I opted to cancel my meeting and stay with him. I just didn’t feel right leaving him in someone else’s care. As it turned out, he had hand, foot and mouth disease, and we ended up in the emergency room!