Many attachment parenting experts, most notably Dr. Sears, recommend that you should not leave your baby with a babysitter often or for long. More importantly, however, they recommend that you not leave your baby with a stranger ever. It is believed that the feelings of abandonment a baby experiences can lead to developmental problems and attachment issues later in life.
So, how do attachment parenting advocates recommend you go about finding a sitter when you need one? You want to start out by being proactive about this from the time your baby is born, or, better yet, even before.
Know who you will want to leave your baby with when you have those occasions that call for having a sitter. Preferably, this should be a relative or close friend. In any case, it should be someone that your baby will be seeing a lot of, even before you leave him for an hour or two.
If you don’t have relatives or close friends in the area where you live, you might consider seeking out other parents who practice attachment parenting and understand the concept. Not only will you potentially find an acceptable babysitter, but you may be able to offer one another mutual help and support.
Whomever you choose to use as a babysitter, make sure that you introduce them into your child’s life well before you ever leave your baby alone with them. Allow your baby to interact with them on a significant level. The idea is that, when you do leave, you will be leaving your baby with someone she knows and trusts, having already established some history and rapport with one another.
Of course, your baby’s first interactions with a new caregiver should be with you in the room. After she has had a little time to warm up to the new person, you may consider going into the other room for a while. Of course, you should discuss this with the potential babysitter, so she has a sense of what you are doing and why. This will also give your new sitter some concept of what attachment parenting is about and why it’s important to you and your baby that a relationship is established.
Only after your baby knows the new person fairly well should you actually leave him with the new caregiver, and only for short periods of time at first. You will gradually be able to work up to longer periods.
One further note: it’s not a bad idea to find an acceptable babysitter and work on this early in your baby’s life. While we don’t want to leave our babies often or for long, there are some things in life that require it, and it’s better if you and your baby are prepared for those times from the beginning.