Thursday 20 July 2017

The Anxiety of Change: Dealing with Daycare

For most Canadian Mom’s the first birthday usually occurs near the end of our maternity leave. It’s a busy time, getting ready for the celebration and the return to work. You spent the last year at home caring for the every need your baby could ever imagine.

The Boys are now 1 which means my maternity leave will come to an end soon!
You got into a routine despite it changing every couple of months. The unknown now is descending upon your little family and maternity leave life – you have to leave your baby with someone else and focus your energy on different work. Eeek!

The change is very difficult for most moms. I’ve heard many moms express their fear for this change. Having gone back to work twice, nearly three times as my current maternity leave is coming to an end soon, this has become easier for me to manage. This is how I think of it and handle it.

Stella's 1st day of daycare and my first day at a new job - change for us all!
We unfortunately don’t have the luxury of having retired family members to help with childcare, which is the easiest decision for most. I did a ton of research on daycare centres versus home daycares and made our decision for childcare. I have always felt positive about where my child will be spending most of their time, while away from me. Do your due diligence and go with your gut feeling and don’t back down or second guess yourself.

Their first year flew by and the next years will too. The fun is just starting.
(Photo Credit: Julie Rock Photography)
By the time my babies are a year old, I find their needs for activities, play, care including feeding and napping changes than what it was over the past year.  They need more than me and what I can give them at home. While I am home, I am busy cleaning the house, keeping the washing going, preparing meals, caring for my own needs and my children. There is no way I can, in my mind, give my children what they need while at home. This is a personal choice each person must make. I know I need to return to work because it is financially necessary and I truly enjoy what I do. There is no changing that so I don’t focus on the negatives of the situation. What's the point in that?

Someone will be busy looking after our little things once I am back to work in September
I go into this new challenge and milestone in life with a positive outlook.  I always remember that my child is going to come home dirty and not the way they were dropped off. This is important to take into consideration. If you decided on a childcare centre, you need to realize there is an infant ratio of approximately 3 infants to 1 daycare staff. The staff is juggling everyone’s needs and they have to put possibly 10 babies to bed at the same time or at varying times! There is no way I could do that, so I realize a dirty shirt or a runny nose is going to happen despite all the efforts with bibs and constant nose wiping the teachers make.

I know my child best but I realize that doesn’t mean that I am the only person that can care for my child well. It may not be exactly the way I do it but it will work. You may give specific instructions on how your baby needs to be put to sleep, how and when they eat and how you want them interacted with. That’s great, but you need to be flexible because a new routine will be made once your child goes into daycare and their needs change as they age. I personally have experienced my child be put to sleep one way by one person and another way by someone else. I never rock or hold my babies to get them to sleep but at times, they have been put to sleep this way at daycare. This has never caused any issues with our bedtime routine at home. Different people have different ways of doing things depending on the setting and situation and it most likely won't effect what you do at home. 

Hudson loves going to daycare
Coming from a Mom who has fears about my children sleeping, I made sure I set myself up for success, as best possible for the situation. I provided the daycare with a breathing monitor and can watch a live video feed of the daycare sleep room. I know if there is an emergency there are other staff members there to help and handle with the situation. This helps me deal with my anxiety and helps the overall experience for my child. Do what you need to do to be comfortable - you and baby.

All in all, I think having a positive outlook and flexibility is KEY. If you have no other choice and made an informed decision, you need to go with it. Feeling bad for yourself or your baby doesn’t help the situation – most likely once your baby has adjusted (which can involve a lot of crying at first, get ready at drop offs) they will be happy and thrive with the other children and receiving care, and love, from others.

They grow up before your eyes. Before you know it, they will be in the toddler room at daycare.
It’s a difficult transition for everyone but if you enter the experience with a positive outlook wanting it to work, it will. Keep the lines of communication open with your caregiver, be flexible and forgiving for the minor differences in care.  If it isn’t working, communicate and I suggest not making brash decisions before changing providers unless your child is in danger.  This is a time of growth for everyone and the change can be good and exciting and will bring a new dimension to your relationship with your child and as a family. Embrace it and try and enjoy it!  You’ve got this!


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