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Child Care Advice for New Parents


mom holding toddler girl and reading book to her


Many new parents struggle with the idea of leaving their baby in the care of family, friends or babysitters.  

Here's some advice and information that can help make your first time a little easier.

First of all, make sure you're comfortable with the person caring for your baby – even if you're only stepping out for a few minutes. Pay attention to how you feel - secure and confident? or tense, worried and uncomfortable?
If it doesn't feel right, it may be helpful to try a trial run – where you stay nearby and observe the caregiver with your child. You can make your expectations clear at that time. If you’re still not comfortable, you may want to consider finding another caregiver. The checklist below can help. Remember – the goal of leaving your baby with a sitter is for you to have time for other activities.

Checklist for choosing a babysitter:

  • Has the sitter has taken a recognized babysitter course?
  • When the sitter holds and plays with your baby, how do they interact?
  • How is the sitter prepared to deal with a crying/fussy baby?
  • Are you comfortable with how the sitter feeds and diapers your baby? 

Once you choose a babysitter and make plans to leave your child with that person:

  • Allow time for the sitter to play with your child before you leave.
  • Stress that your baby be placed on his or her back for sleeping.
  • Review your expectations regarding care and attention to your baby.
  • Show your babysitter where things are kept.
  • Reinforce that to warm breast milk or formula, the bottle should be set in a container of warm tap water. Milk for your baby should never be warmed on the stove or in a microwave. A microwave will heat the breast milk (or formula) unevenly and can burn your baby’s mouth.

To make the babysitter's job easier, and to help you feel more confident, be sure to tell the sitter where you're going, when you expect to return, and how you can be reached. Make it clear that if there are any problems, you can come home early. Remind the sitter to never shake or hit your (or any) baby.

In Case of Emergency 

Keep these emergency telephone numbers close to the phone:

  • fire
  • police
  • poison information
  • your cell phone
  • health care provider
  • hospital (pediatric emergency number)
  • helpful neighbour (name and number)
  • closest relative
  • taxi

Other personal information may be needed in an emergency, so leave the following close to the phone:

  • baby’s and your last name(s)
  • home phone number
  • home address
  • baby’s BC Care Card number or photocopy 
Last Updated: August 8, 2013