Imagine a scenario where you have an office gathering or party that you have to attend, even if just for a while. Well, if it’s just you and your spouse, there’s no thinking twice; you can dress up and head out. But if you have a newborn to take care of, you have to second-guess your decision to step out for a while. And I’m sure almost all of us have to choose between taking your newborn with you or leaving them with a babysitter. This is when you start calling up your contacts – asking around for anyone who is willing to watch your baby for a few hours.
It is hard to leave your newborn with your relatives, much less with someone else. Firstly, you need to ensure you have screened your babysitter and checked her references. You wouldn’t want to leave your baby with someone inexperienced or someone that is untrustworthy. Secondly, the babysitter should be able to handle a situation where the baby is sick and needs to be taken care of when nobody else is around. If you have hired a babysitter who is trained in CPR and basic first aid, it will give you peace of mind. To make sure that when you do have to step out for some time, these are the things that are necessary to leave with the babysitter so that you worry less.
The first piece of information, and probably the most important one, is your contact information. Be sure to give them all the numbers where they can reach you. This includes the number of your spouse as well, just in case they are unable to reach you at the number you have provided. You can even give them the contact information of your relatives and friends for when they are unable to reach you, and they need help. Also, let them know if they can reach you through text if they are unable to get a hold of you over the phone. Apart from your contact details, leave behind the address of where you’re going. If there are any changes in your plan or if you are running a little late, let them know that you will be home a little later than was discussed.
You should inform them where they can find the food items in case the baby wakes up and needs to be fed. Your sitter may be unaware of certain foods that pose choking hazards in which case you should leave specific instructions outlining what your newborn can and can’t eat or drink. And if they have to prepare formula or give your baby expressed breast milk, explain the entire procedure to them.
Before you leave, one other thing to let the babysitter know is where you keep your spare key to the home. If it is their first time babysitting for you, show them the location of the light switches and lights in your home. Also, show them where you keep the flashlights and candles in case there is a power outage. Sometimes your baby may need a change of clothes in which case you should inform them where you keep the blankets and clothes.
Inform your babysitter of any medical information about your child – allergies, health insurance information, pediatrician’s name, contact information, and address. In case your baby falls ill, and they are unable to figure out what to do, leave the name, address, and the number of a nearby hospital or doctor. If your baby is allergic to a particular food item, let them know.
Also, make sure to give them your address and directions to your house so that they can provide this to the operators in case of an emergency. If your child is taking any over-the-counter or prescription medication, give them all the information they should have regarding the dosage and when to provide them with the medicine.
There are many other things to keep in mind when you are hiring a babysitter such as their rapport with your baby. If your babysitter is new, ask them to arrive at least 30 minutes before you have to leave. Make sure that they can spend some time with your baby to familiarise themselves with the task at hand so that even you have an idea of whether they will be able to handle the job. If you have a toddler, you should also let them know by when you expect them to have their dinner and by when they are supposed to be in bed.