Nine months of feeling her karate kick you from the inside, eight hours of contractions, 45 minutes of pushing and endless hours spent cuddling, snuggling and butterfly kissing your new baby. She’s only a few weeks old, but you feel like you’ve known her for a lifetime. Now you’re headed back to your first post-baby day of work, or maybe you’re just leaving her for date night. Whatever your reason is, leaving your newborn for the first time is never a good feeling. It’s okay — you won’t cry every time you walk away (can you imagine yourself still crying like you just watched The Notebook when your teenager goes to the mall to hang with her friends?). Lighten your mental load and check out these quick-fix tips for making it easier to leave your newborn in someone else’s care.

mother and baby

1. Do a dress rehearsal. It’s 7am, you’re trying to get a brush through your hair, pump and prep the bottles and you have to get out the door in — 15 minutes? Add on the swelling tears and the pit in your stomach when you think about leaving baby, and you’re officially a major mess. Don’t let a first-morning-back meltdown happen to you. Do a run through before the big day. You don’t have to make it all the way up to when you leave your little one at daycare, with Grandma or with the sitter. Just practice all of the prep steps. This lets you figure out what’s going right and what you need to tweak immediately.

2. Go slow. Relax — there’s no gold medal for the mommy who walks away the fastest. Keep it slow when it comes to the big show. Hold your baby, cuddle with her and then hand her off to the completely competent caregiver who you’ve chosen. Give yourself some extra time to make sure that you feel completely comfortable. That means you may need to bring baby to daycare half an hour early or ask the sitter to come over a good 45 minutes before you’re set to leave.

3. Call a mommy friend. You’re not exactly the first mom in history to leave her newborn in someone else’s care. Part of your anxiety right now has to do with the fear of the unknown. Will you miss your baby so much that you can’t stop sobbing? Will your baby miss you? Will you ever stop thinking about what she’s doing every second you’re away? Luckily, you’ve got someone to tell you that you’ll get through it. Whether it’s your neighbor, your BFF or even your own mom, talking to someone who’s been there and done that will put this major first into perspective.

mother and baby

4. Take pictures. No, not for yourself (anyway, you already have as many as your phone can store). Take photos for the sitter (or other caregiver). Basically, you’re making a pictorial list. Use the pics to illustrate which bottle to use and when, show off your baby’s favorite lovey (or, at least, the fuzzy stuffed bear that she seems to like) or to give examples of acceptable bedtime onesies.

5. Don’t take a guilt trip. Leaving your newborn in the tender loving care of Grandma, Aunt Edith or the friendly local daycare staff won’t scar her for life. Yes, it’s tough (at this point, probably more so for you than for her). But, it’s not going to cause some sort of deeply traumatic emotional damage that your child will have to spend years in therapy to overcome. It’s normal. Even though many moms would happily spend every second with their children, it’s not a reality for most parents. Keep reminding yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty about. Even though you might still feel a twinge here or there, your baby is well cared for and before you know it, she’ll be back in your arms!

What’s the first thing on the list that you’re leaving the sitter/daycare staff? Share your answers and tweet us @BritandCo !

(Photos via Getty)