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Babysitters and Baby Sleep

Posted on . Last updated .

A headshot of Cara Dumaplin
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Cara Dumaplin

Mom looking at baby in her arms and baby looking away as they prepare for babysitter

Trusting your baby with a sitter can be a big milestone, especially if they are helping your baby with bedtime or naps. So let’s talk about how to set your sitter and your baby up for success.

1. Start with a great sleeper. 

One of the number one concerns that parents have when it comes to leaving their baby with a sitter is sleep. Having a great little sleeper before you hire a sitter can make this so much easier. Struggling to imagine that someone else can put your baby to sleep? I have classes that will give you the tools you need to set your baby’s days and nights up for success.

2. Give a tour of your home. 

Show your sitter all of the rooms and spaces where they might spend time with your baby. Don’t forget to point out where they can find extra diapers, wipes, pacifiers, pajamas, and bedding. We’ve all had those moments when your baby has a blowout diaper and you need a new set of clothes immediately. Make sure your sitter knows where to find everything so that they aren’t searching when they really need something!

3. Leave instructions for feeding.

If your baby is taking breast milk or formula, be sure to demonstrate how to thaw breastmilk and how to prepare bottles. If your baby is eating solids, leave some tried and true options. Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time will also help you to avoid any potential choking hazards or concerns with allergies.

4. Talk about wake windows and sleepy cues.

Understanding sleepy cues and wake windows can make a huge difference for your sitter.

Be sure to talk about how long your baby typically stays asleep for a nap and what to do if your baby wakes early from his nap. If things aren’t perfect, that’s ok. We’re just trying to simplify things for your sitter and set your baby up for success. 

5. Explain your nap or bedtime routine. 

Go through your typical routine before sleep and remember the little details. Things like how to use the sound machine or baby monitor, how to swaddle or use the sleep sack and how many books you might read. Talk to your sitter about whether your baby can fall asleep independently and even how long it typically takes for your baby to fall asleep. 

Now, I don’t want you to stress too much over this. Babies are smart! They have different expectations of different people. If your sitter doesn’t do it EXACTLY the way you do it, that’s ok. We’re just trying our best to set them up for a similar bedtime experience.

6. Write it down.

Take a few minutes ahead of time to leave notes so you don’t forget anything that might be important and your sitter doesn’t have to remember everything in their head. If things get busy as you’re trying to walk out the door, you can be confident your sitter has the information they need.

To make it easier, I’ve created free babysitter downloads for you to use with your sitter. Just download the template for your baby's age (0-5 months or 5–24 months) and fill it out before your babysitter arrives. The forms are even fillable, so you can type it out and save it for next time!

I’d love to show you how this looks in action. Here’s an example of the guide for a newborn:

filled out example guide to leave with a babysitter caring for a baby 0-5 months
Click here to download the template for 0-5 months.

Here’s an example of the guide for a baby over 5 months:

filled out example guide to leave with a babysitter caring for a baby 5–24 months
Click here to download the template for 5–24 months.

Remember, no news is good news! 

If you’re away from home, ask your sitter to send you updates. Otherwise, give them some space and trust that your baby is in good hands. You’ve got this!

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