Now a days it’s quite normal for babies to start daycare when they are only 3 months old! On average women in the US have 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Can I just say…
That is insane!!!
How can 12 weeks possibly be long enough for:
- a couple to adjust to being a family.
- getting a routine down with a newborn.
- getting over having a baby, both physical but also emotionally….
- having time to enjoy your new little one.
I was incredibly lucky. I had 52 weeks (a whole year!) of paid maternity leave and I didn’t even feel that, that was enough.
How on earth do you other women do it?!?
Choose the right daycare option for you
When you do go back to work there are some choices you have to make. Who is going to take care of your baby? There was no doubt in my mind, that I wanted an organic, private daycare specialist to take care of Dianna when I couldn’t! But maybe you want something else.
What’s most important is to follow your gut-feeling. And of course be practical as well. Is your daycare close by, or do you have to spend time travelling far to collect your baby? How are their opening hours? Do they fit your needs? And most of all: Do you feel comfortable around them? Do you have the right chemistry and trust them with your precious baby?
I know that sometimes practical and economics has to come first – but seriously you need to feel at ease when you go back to work! And having someone you trust 100% taking care of your baby is worth more than gold!
Easing into the daycare routine
Dianna started daycare when she was 10 months old. We were recommended to have 10 days of transition; so she slowly could adjust to spending the day in daycare. And it worked like a charm! We had visited the daycare on/off ever since she was born to get a feel for the place, but it’s entirely different when suddenly your child has to spend the whole day there – without you. But our plan worked really well, and of course I want to share it with you, so your precious little ones can have the best start in daycare as well!!
No other plans!
First of all it’s important not to fill up the calendar with lots of outings or activities. These next 2 weeks (10 working days) are scheduled for easing your baby into daycare. She is probably going to be very tired and maybe a bit cranky when she comes home, as she’s adjusting to a lot of new things, so the less you plan outside of daycare, the better!
The very first day: New surroundings
Your child and you need to become accustom to the daycare surroundings, other children and caregiver. You will come for a short visit in the morning, when your child is fed and rested. The visit should last from a ½ to 2 hours, and you’ll stay and play with the other children. It’s important that you stay for as long as your child is having fun, so it will be a good experience for your child and the other children as well.
Second day: Learning that mom/dad will come back
Today you come inside and play for a while, until your child is calm and having fun (this takes about 10 to 30 minutes). Then you say goodbye and leave. It’s important that you say a proper goodbye, so your child knows that you are going and will be gone. You will be gone from anywhere of 10 minutes to an hour, and in this periode you’ll should be in contact with the daycare specialist via text message, so you’ll know how it’s going. She will call you when it’s time to come back.
Third day: Learning to say goodbye
This time you won’t come inside to stay. You will say goodbye in the entryway. It’s best with a short goodbye, so your child doesn’t get too upset or sad. If they start to cry, be comforted by knowing, that they will stop soon after you leave. Children get anxious and feel unsafe if you delay the goodbye, and they can feel you don’t want to say goodbye to them.
Your child will stay for a couple of hours. If your child cries a lot, make an agreement for the daycare specialist to send you a text message, when they’ve stopped, so you can feel at ease. Have the daycare specialist call you when your child is tired and it’s naptime or if your child is VERY upset. Today your child won’t eat or sleep in the daycare. It’s therefore important you come when your child is fed and rested.
Fourth day: Eating in the daycare
Today you will arrive ½ to 1 hour before lunch, and your child will each lunch with the other children. It is normal for the child not to eat so much as usual, but your child can also be inspired by the other children and eat more then usual. Be sure that they take a good amount of time to eat, as it’s an adjusting period for your child. You then collect your child after lunch, so you can go home and feed her if she didn’t eat and then put her down at naptime at home.
Fifth day: Sleeping in the daycare
Today you will deliver your child in the morning (at least before 10). Your child will eat lunch with the other children and sleep in the daycare afterwards, either the morning-nap or afternoon nap, depending on your child’s routines. The daycare specialist will send you a text message, when it’s time to collect your child. It’s important, that she be the one to take your child up from naptime, so they learn that mommy and daddy won’t arrive after they’ve slept. It will be best for the child to wake and stay and play with the other children for some time, and if possible a diaper change and some afternoon food as well, so that when you collect her, she is rested, fed and happy.
Sixth day: All ready to go!
Your child is now ready to stay for a whole day in daycare. If it’s possible for you, it would be a good idea, to keep her days in daycare short for the second week, as she will probably be quite tired. If you are still on maternity leave, try to keep it to 3-5 hours at a time.
Our personal experience
Helle, our daycaregiver is a mother of 4 and before she started her own business as a privat daycaregiver, she worked as a teacher for many years. What drew me towards choosing Helle’s daycare for Dianna, was that “her” children spend a lot of time outside playing in all weather, they play with instruments and enjoy music every day and she feeds them primarily organic foods. She has some great recipes on her website!
Her website is here: Helle’s organic daycare (be warned, it is in danish though!)
Now I am not saying that this is the only way to start daycare right, but it worked wonders for us! Dianna adjusted in just a matter of those 6 days and has loved it ever since!
What would be your best advice for other mothers, whose child is starting daycare? Share it below in the comments!