How to Prepare for Your Child's First Night Away From Home

Dear Diary,

It was a day I will never forget.  I just spoke to my grandmother. Moments later, I received another phone call–this one informing me of her sudden death. It was in the middle of winter, and I lived five hours away from my hometown. I had to move quickly and make travel arrangements, pack a bag and call off work. And if that wasn’t enough, I also needed to prepare my five-month-old daughter for her first night away from mom and dad. My heart and spirit filled with so many emotions–that of a huge loss and a huge step to leave my baby for the first time. I was nervous, stressed and heartbroken. Fortunately, my daughter’s paternal grandparents volunteered to care for her. Nonetheless, my emotions were raw and real. And my mind wasn’t focused on how to prepare for my child’s first night away from home.

Leaving your baby overnight for the first time can be overwhelming for not only you and but also your baby. There is so much to do, so much to remember and of course, so may emotions to manage. I didn’t have much time to prepare. But my first job was to be a mother to my child, ensuring that she would be well cared for and at ease. No matter the circumstance, I wanted my child’s first overnight experience to be a positive one.

Here’s How to Prepare for Your Child’s First Night Away From Home.

1. Get to Know Your Babysitter

Before you drop your baby off at the sitter’s house, get to know each other. If your babysitter is not a relative, invite her to a family function, where your child sees you interact in a positive, safe environment. Develop a comfort level between your child and your sitter. That way, you can lessen separation anxiety.

2. Develop a Routine

Develop a routine for your baby, and stick to it. Create a schedule for feeding, sleeping and playing.  Share the schedule with the sitter to allow for a smooth transition from one home to another. Be sure to write down instructions for feeding, changing, soothing and even entertaining. You can print our a FREE babysitter checklist by clicking here–comes in pink, blue and yellow.

Babysitter Check List

3. Bring Something Familiar


If your child is staying at someone else’s home, make sure you pack familiar items, such as a favorite pajamas, a treasured stuffed animal or a soft security blanket. Having a familiar item in an  unfamiliar environment will comfort your child while you’re away.

4. Pack Family Photos

Family Photos

Pack a couple of family photos for your child’s first night away from home. Your babysitter can place the pictures in the room your child sleeps or pull it out if your child misses mommy.

5. Check in

This is a given for just about every first time mom! Be sure to check in with your child and your sitter. Today’s technology even allows you to check in face-to-face, putting everyone at ease. Just be sure to not overdo it! Call at convenient times within your child’s schedule.

6. Be Flexible

While it is important to follow t your baby’s schedule, the routine isn’t always set in stone. Be flexible to time shifts, especially if your sitter is caring for other children in addition to your own. Remember, parenting isn’t something you can perfect, so give your caregiver a little wiggle room. Different doesn’t always equate to something being wrong.

7. Relax

This is probably the hardest advice to follow on this list, but you must try your best to relax. Find peace in knowing that you did everything you could to prepare for the time away from your baby and that is you left your child in the care of someone you know and trust.

Hey DFTM Fam–What other advice would you give new moms to help them prepare for a night away from their little ones?

About The Author

Denise LaRosa
Podcast Mom

Denise is a married mom raising a 2-year-old and 6-month-old daughter in Pittsburgh, PA. She writes about the joys and challenges that come along with motherhood and how to foster a love of learning within your child. She loves being a mom, because it is a job uniquely and divinely designed for you to provide your children with the foundation they need to be the best person they can be. When not writing for DFTM, Denise blogs and hosts her podcast at

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