Leaving your baby for the first time

Leaving your baby is an important step for both mum and baby. Read our tips on making the process as smooth as possible.

Tips for leaving baby for the first time

Some handy tips to ensure you're ready when it comes to leaving baby for the first time

Close up baby holding mums finger

Since your baby was born you have been joined at the hip, so it’s no surprise that leaving them for the first time feels difficult, but it’s an important step for both mum and baby to take. Here are our tips on making the process as smooth as possible.

Get prepared

To start with the idea of leaving your baby with anyone can feel scary, so a good place to start is by leaving your baby and partner alone together to get them used to the idea that you leave, but always come back. 

You don’t have to go far and you can build up the time. At first it might just be to the corner shop or to get coffee with a friend, but ideally build up to leaving your baby alone with your partner for at least a couple of hours at a time before you leave him or her “properly”. 
Coming back to your baby and seeing that they’re still happy and healthy will build your confidence that they will be ok when you’re not there.

Choose someone you trust implicitly 

While it’s natural to worry about how baby will cope without you, the one thing you don’t want to worry about is that they’ll be looked after properly, so it’s important to choose someone you know well and trust completely. Babysitters can be a fantastic asset, but the first time without baby isn’t the best time to trial one. 
Ideally choose someone who’s had babies of their own, such as your mum, sister or a close friend. Having complete trust in them will mean you are more relaxed, which is better for you and better for baby.

Have a smooth handover

To avoid unsettling your baby, try to keep as much of their routine as you can. If possible ask your baby’s babysitter to stay at your house and ask them to come over around 30 minutes before you need to leave to give everyone time to ‘bed in’. 

Ask them to follow your normal daily or bedtime routine, and leave instructions on what this is to avoid any confusion. Don’t worry about being a mumzilla, if your babysitter is a parent themselves they’ll understand how it feels to leave your little one for the first time, and if they’re not they’ll most likely be glad of the guidance. 
Once everyone is settled, leave a note with the contact details of where you will be, for example a pub or restaurant, so that even if there’s no mobile signal they can still reach you.

Finally, put on a brave face, say goodbye and get out the door. Babies, like animals, can pick up on social emotions like fear and anxiety because of their survival instincts. If they realise you are nervous about leaving them they’re more likely to feel upset and be hard to settle once you leave.

It’s OK to check in

To avoid looking at your phone constantly while you’re out and about, schedule ‘check in’ times where you can phone home, or your babysitter can send an update on how baby is doing - receiving regular updates will help put your mind at rest that everything is just fine at home. 

Do it when you’re ready

When you leave your baby is up to you, so try not to feel pressured into doing it earlier just because other people think you should. That said, some schools of thought recommend leaving your baby earlier rather than later, as leaving it late can make it more emotionally difficult for you and baby.

You deserve this

Try your best not to feel guilty about leaving your baby. It’s good for baby to bond with other people/get used to the idea of childcare, and you need time to feel like a person in your own right. They won’t remember the one night you weren’t there when they were a baby, but they will value independence as they grow up.

Leaving your baby for the first time