You may decide to leave your baby with family or friends for short periods of time in the first months after your baby is born, but after baby is older you may consider getting a babysitter. You should know and feel comfortable with the person you choose to leave your child with—even if it’s just for a few minutes. Check to see if the sitter has taken a recognized babysitter course.

  • Have her hold and play with your baby/child and watch how they act together.
  • Ask her how she would deal with a crying/fussy baby or child.
  • Watch as she feeds and diapers your baby. Be clear about your expectations regarding care of your baby.

Things you might mention:

  • Never leave your baby unattended on a change table, couch, or sofa
  • How often you expect your baby to be checked when sleeping?
  • It is never OK to hit or shake your baby. Pay attention to how you feel about the potential babysitter. Do you feel secure and confident? Or tense, worried, and ill at ease? Remember—the goal of leaving your baby with a sitter is for you to have time to relax.

When the babysitter arrives:

  • Allow time for her to play with your baby (if awake) before you leave.
  • Stress that the baby be placed on his back for sleeping.
  • Review with her your expectations regarding care and attention to your baby. See above.
  • 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 make you feel more confident about leaving your baby, be sure to leave this information:

  • Where you are going, when you expect to return, and how you can be reached.
  • Insist that if there are any problems, she should call you home early. Remind her she must never shake or hit your baby.

Keep these emergency telephone numbers close to the phone:

  • fire
  • police
  • poison information
  • doctor
  • hospital (pediatric emergency number)
  • helpful neighbour (name and number)

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

  • baby’s and your last name(s)
  • home phone number
  • home address

Babysitting Rates: We asked moms what the going rate for a babysitter is now days and the average is between $9.00 – $14.00 per hour depending on the babysitter’s age, qualifications, and experience and number children. University students tend to charge rate of between $12.00 and $15.00 per hour.