No matter how blissful or difficult maternity leave turned out to be, the thought of leaving your child at daycare can cause anxiety for new moms. Will your baby miss you? Will you miss your baby? What if you don’t miss your baby? Will the daycare provider know how to soothe your baby?
All of these concerns are valid. Taking the time to face the reality and to prepare yourself with the following transition tips will help both you and your baby feel confident, secure, and safe when your child starts daycare.
Find a Daycare Provider You Truly Love
This can’t be stressed enough. If you’re uneasy about your chosen daycare, you’ll never feel at peace. Take the time before or during maternity leave (preferably before) to find a daycare for babies that meets all of your criteria. Visit the daycare to get a feel for how things operate. Watch how the staff members respond to babies. Pay attention to cleanliness and safety at the facility. What is the daily schedule like? How does the daycare provider communicate with parents?
During maternity leave, get to know the daycare staff. Share with the daycare provider the songs and books your baby loves. Tell them how you recognize your baby’s cues and what you do to meet them. Nobody can ever be your replacement, but your child’s daycare teachers can respond to your baby in loving ways that make you comfortable.
Don’t Jump In – Transition
It can be jarring to go from all day at home one day to a full day of work and daycare the next day. Instead, give yourself a week to transition. You can do this by asking your employer to allow you to work half days during your first week back. If this isn’t possible, you can begin dropping your child off at daycare for a few hours a day during your last week of maternity leave. You can even gradually increase the time each day until you’re close to or at a full day at daycare. This will give you both the time you need to adjust to being away from each other.
Plan the Logistics of Daycare & Work
If you can think of logistics a little in advance, instead of when confronted with them head-on, you’ll feel less stressed when you go back to work. Start thinking about what your schedule will look like at work. If you’re pumping, you’ll need to work that into your day. A few weeks before you return to work, speak with your supervisor about where and how you can pump privately and comfortably. Keep an extra shirt at work, and stock up on healthy snacks to keep you going as you meet the demands of pumping and working.
Think about the items your baby will need at daycare and make a list to attach to your diaper bag (it’s easy to forget an item in the early-morning rush). Send plenty of diapers, a couple of backup outfits, pumped milk or formula, clean bottles, pacifiers, and anything else your baby needs each day.
Talk to Your Boss
A lot can happen in the office during your maternity leave. Make sure you’re kept up to date on any changes that have happened in the office that may affect your job. Get on the same page with your boss about his or her priorities for you when you return.
Returning to work after maternity leave is bound to be emotional in different ways. If you’re feeling down on yourself about any aspect of returning to work after maternity leave, think about the advice you would give to a friend going through the same thing. Very likely, you’d tell her to be kind to herself and give herself time to adjust to this new transition. Make sure you do the same for yourself.
The Best Daycare For Babies
For the best daycare for your new baby, contact Little Academy of Humble today at (281) 459-3378 or request a free tour of our daycare facility in Humble! We’ll help make the transition to daycare after maternity leave as successful and stress free as possible!