As with any transition, give your baby an opportunity to get used to the idea gradually. Whether you're leaving her with a family member or a paid childcare provider, try these suggestions: 1. Practice at home. It will be easier for your baby to cope with your absence if she's the one who initiates a separation. Let her crawl off to another room on her own (one where you're sure she'll be safe unsupervised briefly), and wait a couple minutes before going after her. You can also tell your baby you're leaving the room, where you're going, and that you'll be back. Either way, your child will learn that everything will be okay when you're gone for a minute or two – and that you'll always come back. 2. Give your baby time to get comfortable. Hire a new sitter to visit and play with your baby several times before leaving them alone for the first time. For your first real outing, ask the sitter to arrive about 30 minutes before you depart, so that she and the baby can be well engaged before you step out the door. Take the same approach if you're dropping off your baby at a friend or relative's house – show up early enough to get your baby acquainted and comfortable with the caregiver. 3. Always say goodbye. Kiss and hug your baby when you leave. Tell her where you're going and when you'll be back, but don't prolong your goodbyes. Resist the urge to sneak out the back door. Your baby will only become more upset if she thinks you disappeared into thin air. 4. Keep it light. Your baby is tuned in to how you feel, so show warmth and enthusiasm for the caregiver you've chosen. Try not to cry or act upset if your baby starts crying – at least not while she can see you. You'll both get through this. The caregiver will probably tell you later that your baby's tears stopped even before you were out of the driveway. 5. Once you leave, leave. Repeated trips back into the house or daycare center to check on your baby only make it harder on you, your child, and the caregiver. 6. Try a trial at first. Limit the first night or afternoon out to no more than an hour. As you and your baby become more familiar with the sitter or the childcare setting, you can extend your outings.