Sunday, 25 August 2013

Tips on leaving your child for the first time

Yesterday Callum and I left our five week old daughter with her Nana and Grandad for ten hours whilst we went to see Book of Mormon which Callum had given to me as my Birthday present in March.  As the day dawned I became both excited and apprehensive about leaving our daughter at such a young age but I needn't have because it went the best it could.  So here are my tips based on what worked for us:

Get the babysitter to have them for a shorter period beforehand:

My mum is used to looking after children so was more than comfortable about looking after Ophelia but I think this is a good idea for both parents and the babysitter as well as getting the baby to feel comfortable and reduce anxiety. 

Prepare your baby's bag and your bag the night before:

I found this one of the most useful things I did, by packing bags the night before it avoided any last minute panic. 


If you have to be somewhere by a specific time I recommend getting the babysitters to arrive way in advance.  We had to catch a train at 10:50 so I asked my parents to arrive at 9:30, to allow for recap on how to use the pram, car sear etc as well as any unexpected poo/sick up/feed.  By doing this, Callum and I were at the train station ten minutes early.. anyone that knows us will know how massive this is!!


An obvious one, but if  breastfeeding I recommend expressing daily for the week before (I found the best time to be first thing in the morning) and putting them in the freezer, then taking them out the day before you need them.  I then made sure I had more than enough, just in case! For ten hours, I expressed five bottles and gave them to my Mum and Dad in a cool bag with freezer coolers to keep them cool until they could put them in the fridge.  You also need to get your baby used to taking the bottle before hand and this is usually recommended to be done BEFORE your child is six weeks old otherwise there is a risk they won't be able to adjust from nipple to teat.  I don't know how true this is but we had done so from very early.


I think it's really important that if you have certain ways of doing things or certain routines etc that you pass them on to the babysitters. I'm sure this one is much more important when they're older but for us, we think it's really important for children to get the same message rather than conflicting.  At the moment Ophelia needs to have short naps in the day otherwise she is a nightmare come nighttime (i.e. doesn't sleep and screams), so we tactfully broached this with my parents, without trying to sound dictatorial by explaining the reasons and benefits of doing so and explaining possible ways of managing this.  Thankfully my parents really took this on board, which was really reassuring as a parent.  One topic that will be difficult is the fact my mum doesn't believe in dummies but Callum and I do, so this one is likely to be difficult when it is implemented and they look after her!

So for us this was a really positive experience that probably couldn't have gone better, which is so reassuring! I am really glad we did decide to spend time away from her as a couple as early as five weeks because it will enable her to develop that independence away from us and relationship with her grandparents as soon as possible.  I obviously wouldn't want to do it too often though, it was pretty hard leaving her little face in her car seat and walking around without her!

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