One of the first difficult decisions that’s made in the first year of your baby’s life is deciding when you will go back to work and which daycare you will send your baby to. It is normal to feel anxious about leaving your babe in the care of someone else. There will be a range of emotions that you will deal with as a mum as well as the emotions of your child as they adapt to their new routine. Here are some tips on what can you do to ease your child into childcare.
- Prepare for separation by making sure your bub can sleep without having to be breastfed or bottlefed says baby expert Jan Murray to Practical Parenting magazine. For me, this advice is sound in theory, but difficult to practice. I breastfed my babies to sleep in the first 6 months of their life. Offer something to replace the comfort of feeding like a dummy (if you’re desperate) or a comforter they can cuddle when they go to sleep may help. Have a few spares of the same comforter in case one gets lost – one for daycare and one for home.
- Have a routine. The daycare can continue the same one when your babe is in their care.
- Do your research to find the right childcare. Many childcare centres are run differently and as a result have a different atmosphere. You will feel more comfortable leaving your child in a childcare that you trust.
- Discuss with your childcare a day or couple of hours where you can trial leaving your baby in their care.
- When it comes time to go to work, spend a few minutes together and leave. If your baby is crying and wants you to stay, make sure your baby is left in the arms of your care giver. Say goodbye with a smile and look confident, even if you feel guilty and shaky underneath.
- Give the adjustment to daycare time. Expect to have some teary mornings at the daycare gate, and in the care as you drive to work.
- When you pick your baby up, make sure you give them a lot of affection with kisses and cuddles.
I went back to work when my first born was 5 months old. I left my baby with my mum which saved me the hassle of finding a childcare I liked, but I still experienced the guilt of leaving a screaming baby in my mum’s arms. It was hard to deal with at the time. The screaming occurred for a quite a while. My mum was great at easing my mind telling me my daughter stopped crying the moment I drove away with my dad to work.
I had started to give her solids a week before going to work which meant if my daughter refused to bottlefeed, she could at least take in some solid food.
I look back on that time and realise it was only for a short season and the bond my daughter has with her grandma is very special. You will see a similar bond with your child at their daycare. Daycare is a fun place to be for children and reminding yourself of the good will help all involved as you ease into this new chapter of you and your child’s life.
What tips can you add about easing into daycare? Anything that helped you that could help another mum?