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Ask Denene: Babysitting Fears

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Q: I'm terrified to leave my baby with anyone besides my husband. I would like a life someday, but how can I get over it?

It's easy to feel like no one else can care for your baby. Still, as a mother, you have to learn to hand over the reins -- not just to give yourself a break, but so that you, your husband, and your child can get used to the idea that the keeping and care of children is never the job solely of the parents.

Relatives, friends, teachers, neighbors -- all of them will play a role, and the sooner you embrace this, the better. Now, this doesn't mean you have to hand over your baby to the first stranger who rings your doorbell. Take it slow: First, ask someone you trust to come over and babysit while you're there. You can give her the lay of the land, apprise her of your baby's routine and quirks, and, most important, watch her with your child.

Once you're satisfied she can handle the job, leave her alone for a quick session -- maybe go for a cup of coffee nearby. Gradually add more time as you both get more comfortable. I assure you, that won't take long at all. The sweet taste of freedom, coupled with the knowledge that your baby won't break in someone else's care, will get you ready in no time.

ASK THE MOM SQUAD

Denene Millner has judgment-free advice for the trickiest kid (and grown-up!) behaviors. Send her your questions at momsquad@parenting.com.

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