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How to Babysit an Infant

If you're babysitting a child in his or her first year of life and who hasn't learned to walk yet, it's not the same as taking care of a toddler or an older child. Infants are very fragile and require special attention and care.


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    Have a fill in form ready for the parents. It should include parent emergency contact info, what to feed the baby, the baby's allergies, and other stuff you should know in case of an emergency.
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    Make sure the baby is comfortable at all times.
    • If the baby starts crying, check its diaper. If there is poop, or if the diaper is wet, the diaper needs to be changed. Get a fresh diaper before undoing the old one. To Change a diaper, get out baby wipes, a fresh diaper, and something to keep the baby occupied while you change it. Wash your hands to avoid spreading germs, dirt, and bacteria, to the baby's fragile bottom. First, undo the diaper. Second, if the baby is male, place a clean diaper over his private area. If the baby is female, make sure to wipe front to back so you don't spread bacteria. Third, wipe the baby with as many wipes as you need, making sure to get into all the creases. Last, lift the baby's feet, remove the soiled diaper, and slide on a clean one. Latch the diaper, pattern side on front. Wash your hands gain, to wash off any pee or poop and to kill germs and bacteria so that they don't spread to other places in the house. Make sure that the baby's hands and feet are clean and free of any pee or poop after the diaper change.
    • If the baby is still crying, that often means that the baby is hungry. So you will have to find the bottle and heat up the milk that the mother has told you to use. Remember, use one scoop of formula for every two ounces. Shake well. Then heat. Do not heat a bottle up in a microwave--microwaves can cause pockets of scalding hot milk. Place the bottle in a pot on the stove and heat the water. After heating up the bottle, make sure the bottle cap is securely fastened and shake the bottle well. Then squirt some of the milk onto the meat of your wrist and if the milk is too hot, continue to shake the bottle until the milk isn't too hot anymore. Once the milk is ready for the baby to drink, prop the baby up and gently stick the rubber nipple into the baby's mouth. Do not point the nipple straight down because the baby could choke. Take breaks between sips. During breaks, sit the baby up and gently pat his/her back right between their shoulder blades. The baby will usually burp.
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    If you have been asked to feed the baby solid food, usually you will need to feed him/her cereal or baby food. If the baby food is too watery, mix in a tablespoon of baby rice, if it has been approved by the parent. Next, put a bib on the baby and place them in their high chair. Never leave the baby unattended in the chair. Fill a small spoon halfway with baby food, and gently put spoon in mouth. Do not force in the spoon. If it gags on the food or dodges the spoon, it is probably full.
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    Play with the baby. At the beginning of the evening, you will have some time for play. This should be gentle and at the baby's pace. Keep small objects away from the baby and be sure to watch what he or she puts into the mouth. Feet are okay!
    • Try singing songs. Try "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "An Itsy Bitsy Spider." Look into the infant's eyes as you sing.
    • Hold a baby toy a few inches away from there face. Try moving the toy back and forth. Younger infants will watch the toy with their eyes, older infants will actually reach and grab the toy.
    • Dance! Cradle the baby in your arms and gently move from side to side and sway to the music. Any music will do as long as it is not loud or inappropriate. Avoid this right after eating, wait about a half an hour after eating before trying this activity.
    • Action rhymes and games are fun. Try "Hickory Dickory Dock." Move your fingers up the baby's body while you say the rhyme.
    • Pinwheels are nice. Hold the pinwheel 6 inches away from baby's face. Blow on it and watch the pretty colors!
    • If the infant has an activity quilt that they can lay on, an activity gym, a baby bouncer, or a baby swing, lay them or sit the in one of these. Try pointing out the toys and activities, and encouraging interaction. Gently bounce or swing a baby if they are in a swing or bouncer, this calms them and helps them learn the difference between cause and effect, trust, and body awareness.
    • Take a walk. Avoid a walk if it is over 85 degrees out, or if it is below 30 degrees. Also avoid a walk if it is around the time when mosquitos are high. Place the infant in a stroller and strap them in for safety. Slowly walk and push the stroller. Point out items in nature such as: "Look! There's a duck!" Let baby feel items outside such as the cold snow or tickle grass on their tummy or feet.
    • Read books. Books for infants should be cloth or board books to avoid infants from chewing up the pages or tearing them out. Many, bright, pictures with little script are best. When the infant, starts to loose interest, stop reading, even if you are in the middle of the book, and move on to something else.
    • Try mirrors! Use unbreakable mirrors made for children. Hold the mirror in front of baby and let them see themselves for a while. Then, sit them on your lap and hold the mirror in front of both of you. Make faces such as silly, a frown, a smile, and twitching your nose.
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    To bathe the baby, fill the tub up 1/4 way with lukewarm water. Then, gently lift the infant under its arms and bottom, and place it in tub. Do not lay the baby down! Next, with a washcloth, pat on infant safe body wash. Still be sure to get into every roll and crease. Rinse, but do not pour water over his/her face. Next, to wash the baby's head, do the same, but VERY VERY gently. Rinse with washcloth. When you are finished, dry the baby with a soft towel, and apply lotion.
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    Put on a new diaper as you did before and then put the baby's pajamas on. Let the baby drink more milk. Then pat the baby to make it burp.
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    All babies are different, and not all like to go to sleep the same way, but most like to be gently rocked. Try holding the baby in your arms and slowly swinging the baby back and forth, or holding the baby securely while walking around with a bouncy step, or rocking in a rocking chair. If the baby won't go to sleep, gently lift the baby up and lay the baby in its crib.
    • NEVER leave a baby in its crib on its back with its bottle in its hands because the baby could choke. After the baby is asleep, sit in the baby's room with it and wait to make sure the baby will stay asleep, and that the baby's sleep environment is safe --
    • Make sure there is nothing that the baby could play with in the crib. It could distract the baby and it won't want to go to sleep. Also, soft toys should never be in a crib, because a baby could suffocate. Keep big, fluffy blankets or pillows out of the crib. Babies don't really need them and they are actually dangerous. Keep bed covers away from baby's face.
    • Do not lie a baby on its tummy, ever, even if the parent tells you too. Always place it on its back. Placing it on its tummy is very dangerous, and potentially fatal. (If the baby is old enough to flip itself over on it's tummy by itself, though, it's okay if he flips himself over).
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    Keep checking on the baby as it sleeps. This is very important as it is your babysitting duty to make sure that the baby is safe, is not fussing, is not too hot or cold and does not have a dirty diaper. Use a baby monitor if one is provided.


  • Be sure to clean up after yourself and the baby! Parents hate coming home to a dirty house and really appreciate arriving at a clean one.
  • When a baby is upset don't worry, keep calm. Check to see if he/she needs something, like a bottle, or a toy.
  • Make sure to keep the baby happy. If the baby gets fussy or upset get them a toy or other comfort object like a pacifier.
  • When feeding the child, don't rush, always take your time with an infant. It often takes a while to feed a baby. You are being paid to babysit, which means you are being paid to be patient and to help the baby take its time.
  • When you are rocking the baby do not force it to but try to let the babies head rest near your heart,a heartbeat can calm a baby
  • Gently bounce the baby to relax it if it won't stop crying. Be sure you never shake the baby!
  • Educate yourself! Read an article about SIDS, and know what foods can cause harm to infants.
  • Negotiate a fair rate for your babysitting services before you agree to babysit.
  • When trying to calm down a baby, try distracting her with other objects.
  • Make sure you let them sleep enough so they won't be grumpy.
  • If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to call the child's parents. Don't feel as if you're totally on your own or that you're a flop of a babysitter if you need advice.
  • Keep the TV or music low volume, this may wake the baby shortly.
  • Sometimes a baby will cry even though you did everything right. Don't blame yourself if the baby cries. It could be that he or she just misses his parents.
  • If you know the infants parents well try to watch how they calm the child down or handle the baby.
  • Reading a picture book to the child is a great way to keep them entertained while also exposing them to diverse ideas, such as different cultures.


  • Remember to never shake a baby under any circumstances. This can cause death or serious, debilitating brain injuries from which the baby will never recover. Shaking is a violent act that can happen when someone gets very frustrated, like when a baby will not stop crying.
  • Be very gentle and careful with the baby. When you are picking it up, hold it gently under the arms and hold one arm under its bottom and one arm gently behind it's back. Don't hold the baby under the arms for too long because this may hurt them. When burping the baby be very gentle. If you pat its back too hard it will hurt or cause serious injury! A baby is very fragile, especially their new growing spine.
  • If you ever find yourself getting very angry or frustrated at an infant, please set the baby down in a safe place, step back for a few minutes, and perhaps call for help - someone you can trust to calm you down, or the baby's parents.
  • Remember, do not leave a baby in a room alone. You never know, he or she might just become injured. What would the parents think if they came home and their most prized possession were hurt thanks to a careless babysitter?

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Categories: Babysitting | Babies and Infants