7 Expert Tips for Babysitting Infants
Babysitting is a tough task on its own. However, when babysitting involves infants and newborns, the challenges increase ten-fold. A baby-sitter has legal obligations as well as the expectations of the parents to keep in mind. Baby-sitters and childminders are expected to be attentive, focused and in good health.
Childminding comes will any number of hazards. Some can be predicted while others are totally unexpected, especially if you are working in unfamiliar surrounds.
At the same time, baby-sitting can be incredibly rewarding. You get to participate in the growth, well-being and development of a young life, as well as interact with a family. For some, it opens the doors to high-paying work or even travel.
If you are babysitting an infant for a family member or a close friend soon, here are some tips that may help.
Obtain Information for Emergencies
Make sure you have all the contact information for the infant’s parents before they leave the newborn in your care. Ensure that you know the child’s full name, parents' name, address and phone numbers, insurance information, the nearest hospital to your location, and so on.
Keep this information somewhere easily accessible so that you can act fast when emergencies do happen. It may be that you hire a baby capsule for your car if you are babysitting on a regular basis.
That way if you need to get anywhere in a hurry you have the car safety seat in place and you are also free to go on outings when you want to.
Have a mobile phone handy with good coverage, credit and make sure it is charged. Your Smartphone is a modern luxury that could save a life. Make sure all of your employer or family details are readily accessible to you in case of an emergency.
Ensure That You are Healthy
Infants can get sick quickly because their immune systems are not mature yet. During the first few months, an infant’s body is building immunity, so they are very susceptible to illnesses.
Make sure that you are not down with the flu or even exhibiting any signs that you might get sick soon. You should also be vaccinated to make sure that you do not infect the newborn with any diseases.
Familiarize Yourself with Safety Information
Get educated for the necessary information on how to care for newborns, especially safety measures that you need to carry out in case of emergencies. To start, learn everything you need to know about how to care for an infant.
Afterwards, you can also start taking up first-aid certifications, take CPR classes, and so on so that you can give proper care to the newborn.
In addition to some formal childcare training, a first-aid certificate can be invaluable. Speciality courses are available for handling typical infant emergencies and the experience and certification you gain from this kind of training will serve you well when seeking future employment.
Check for Specific Schedules
Most experienced parents would have a set schedule for their infants throughout the day. This ensures that their infants know when they can expect to eat, nap and have some playtime. Check with the infant's parents to see if they have a schedule.
If they do, it would be a good idea to follow the schedule so that you will not disrupt the infant’s routine.
No parent wants to return home to an anxious and disordered household. It is important that t you do not take it upon yourself to vary established routines wherever possible. Your role is to keep the home environment as stable as possible and ensure the children and infants you are caring for are as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
Ask about Feeding Information
How old is the infant? Is the infant bottle-fed or breast-fed? In most cases, parents will happily share the necessary feeding information with you before they go.
This allows you to know how you can heat the milk bottles, how to help the babies burp, their feeding signs, schedules, and so on.
The more familiar you are with the baby’s feeding needs, the easier it would be for you to ensure that the baby stays happy and content in your care.
Dietary information cannot be over-emphasised. You do not need to get creative. Stick to the regular diet of the children in your care and be sure to keep little fingers away from specialty treats and snacks that usually require parental permission.
Listen Before They Cry
While not scientifically-proven, many parents swear that their babies make a specific sound to signify what they need before they start crying. A short ‘eh’ may be a sign that the infant needs to burp, while a grunting sound may signify an upset stomach.
If the parents are unsure of their infant’s language, run a quick check on the baby to see if they need a nappy change, attention or food.
Engage with the Infant
Every newborn needs simulation to learn and engage their skills. Talk to them, sing to them, and engage with them when they seem to be paying attention to you.
When you engage with the infant, you are doing more than just caring for the baby! You are also actively teaching the child to listen, mirror your actions and pay attention to you in return.
Newborns need plenty of attention to grow up well later in life. But they also require plenty of rest. Avoid overstimulation, especially from devices such as digital games, computers, tablets, phones, etc. These items must not be allowed to become digital nannies with you playing the role of supervisor.
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