How to reduce separation anxiety when leaving your baby for the first time

Enlisting the services of a trained and experienced nanny is a reality for a great many people who don’t have the opportunity to be stay-at-home parents. Every parent returning to work after maternity or paternity leave knows the feeling of dread leading up to the first day you have to leave your baby at home with the nanny.

This day is often accompanied with quite a bit of crying and some definite separation anxiety – and we haven’t even started talking about how baby feels, yet!

Here are a few ways make the transition of going back to work easier on parents and their babies.

Preparation is everything

Employ your nanny a few weeks before you actually go back to work to give baby a chance to get used to the new face, and for you to see if the nanny is a good fit for your family.

When the day comes, make sure you have prepared your nanny for the day ahead by making a list of favourite toys and writing down baby’s basic daily routine.

Ensure that everything the nanny might need (this includes formula, nappies, food, clothes and toys) is organised and laid out for easy access. Make sure your nanny has a way to contact you if it is necessary to do so.

If your baby has become more comfortable with your nanny because they have become used to the nanny being in their space, the transition from having you there to not seeing you every waking moment will be much easier.

Easy does it

Handing your baby over to the nanny and scurrying off is a sure way to upset yourself and your baby before you have to leave. Leaving the house when baby is busying herself with toys on the floor or her high chair makes it much easier to say a quick goodbye and slip away while your baby is preoccupied in a neutral space.

Once you’ve left, ask your nanny to pick up your baby. This puts her in a good position to take on the role of the “rescuer”, establishing a relationship of trust from the get-go.

Don’t slip away without saying goodbye

Leaving when baby is distracted with toys or other things might seem to be the easiest way to avoid a bawling session, but it is also the easiest way to reinforce separation anxiety in a child. Your baby might start thinking that you’ll disappear in an instant at any given moment, and will become clingy and nervous whenever you look like you’re going somewhere. Even if there are tears, rather let baby know that you’re going, but that you will be back soon.

Don’t return if your baby starts crying – it only prolongs the experience and doesn’t do a lot to instil a sense of trust in your nanny. If you completely trust your nanny to take care of your baby while you’re gone, there is no need for you or your baby to feel anxious or upset.

With that being said, it is never easy to leave the most precious being in your life for the first time. Trust us: it will get easier.

To find a nanny who is trustworthy and experienced, and cares for your baby just as much as you do, contact Find Your Jane. All our nannies are thoroughly screened before they are presented by the agency.

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