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Early years

10th Aug 2022

How soon is too soon to leave your new baby for the first time?

Melissa Carton

How soon is too soon?

I remember going on a hen’s weekend when my son was a month old. His dad was working that weekend so my grandmother said she’d take care of him.

The entire time I was at the hen I couldn’t get my mind off my baby and thinking of how I was the worst mother in the world for leaving him.

I know a lot of mums have felt the same way the first time they’ve had to leave their baby with a minder, which begs the question. How soon after having your baby did you feel comfortable leaving them with someone else?

This question was recently put to a group of mums on the Facebook page New Mammies Ireland.

Some mums felt that the sooner the better, as it meant that their baby would become used to other people and would be easier to leave with a sitter and eventually their teacher when they are older.

Other mums were not so keen, with many admitting that their child is almost a year old and they’ve still to leave them with a childminder.

“My little girl is 9 months now and I haven’t left her over night, I wouldn’t sleep. I left her with my parents to do Christmas shopping when she was 8 weeks old as the weather was too bad to have her out.”

While some mums find themselves too anxious to leave their little ones, I think mummy guilt plays a huge role in why most of us don’t want to leave our babies.

I was recently mummy shamed for going away for the weekend with my husband without the kids. My husband wasn’t made out to be a bad father, but according to the people in question I wasn’t being a devoted enough mother.

Babies are wonderful, but babies are hard and all of us need a little break from time to time.

Making mothers feel bad about needing a little time to themselves does nothing but add to the emotional and mental baggage that many mums are already carrying around.

The consensus on the post was that while a lot of parents allowed their child to go to a minder for a few hours in the first couple of weeks, most didn’t leave their baby until they were around seven months or the end of their maternity leave.

Deciding on when is the right time to leave your child for the first time can come down to a number of factors and is different for every family.

Sometimes work or lifestyle means a parent requires the help of a childminder sooner than others, while some babies are extremely attached and may be harder to leave with a sitter.

It’s a decision that is unique to each individual parent and baby and not something that anyone from outside can dictate for you or your family.

What do you think?

When was the first time that you left your child to be looked after by someone else?