Preparing to Leave Your Little One
We recently had our first encounters with baby anxiety! My husband and I had to attend to an unforeseen family matter…fortunately his mother was in town and we had a trusted sitter available. I think it goes without saying that you should always leave your little one with someone that you trust and know well.
Unfortunately, we found out later that our baby girl was upset the entire evening. We left her again in the same week and since then and have had a much calmer baby.
Here is what we did:
- Ease into the departure. I have seen parents “sneak out” in order to avoid baby anxiety. Perhaps that works too… In our case, my baby girl saw us leave and was seemingly upset with the abrupt departure. Now when we leave her we ease into leaving by leaving one at a time and sitting with her while she engages with the sitter.
- Bring his/her things. We truly enjoy having our baby stay in our home within her comfort zone and with her things (babies have so much stuff…and it’s BIG). However, when we do leave the house I always bring a couple things that will be comfort to her like her favorite toy, blanket, and portable bed.
- Other kids help. My little one is an only child but I have noticed that when there is another little one she is very easily distracted and engaged in the interaction. Finding sitters with children has really helped.
- Find a fun sitter. Our siblings have been really great with the baby. Likewise, the baby is excited to see them and really thinks they are fun. This excitement seems to help with the fact that mom and dad are leaving.
- Comfort Food. Well, we are not the only ones comforted by food! I prep extra bottles and snacks for my little one. These seem to comfort her in the absence of mommy and daddy.
- Start out little. It helps to leave for short periods of time and extend them little by little. This helps the baby understand that mom and dad leave but they also return. It should help to reduce worry.
- Do it often. One mistake my husband and I made was not leaving her with other enough. I have been a stay at home mom since she was born so she has spent very little time without us around. We are not getting into the habit of leaving her with a family member at least once a week EVEN if we don’t need a sitter. My hope is that this will ease her anxiety when away from us and help her build relationships with extended family members.
- Ask for a check-in. I realized that sometimes I know what will calm my little one but others may not. I have learned to ask the sitter to check-in with me if they are having trouble calming my little one. Opening this dialogue often helps relieve the baby’s anxieties.
If you have ideas for easing baby anxieties, please leave them in the comments. Have any of these tips worked for you? Please let us know about them!