The day before my daughter started daycare, I was a complete mess. Partly because she was still a baby but also because I was used to being the only one taking care of her during the day and I KNEW she would get exactly what she wanted. The night before, my husband and I contemplated pushing daycare off for longer. We had a million questions we were asking each other: What if they don’t feed her when she starts crying? What if they are already feeding two babies? Will they just let her sit there and cry? It was definitely an emotional night.
Like many first time moms (or all moms rather), the first day back to work can be tough, especially if you’ve made the decision to place your little one in daycare. I was fortunate enough to wait it out until she was about 4 1/2 months old, but it still wasn’t easy. I also recently received a few questions (and some slight criticism) about our decision to put her in daycare and why I didn’t decide to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to discuss how we’ve prepared, adjusted and handled the first week.
First, I wanted to start out by saying I’m still a full time working momma. Still working on juggling working, blogging, our home, and caring for our girl, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that not everything will be perfect or will get done in a day, and it’s OK. Fun fact, I never actually had a maternity leave after having her. I work for a family owned restoration company and Ava was born the day Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Needless to say, we needed all the help we could get and I was happy to do so. It was also a blessing in disguise. Since Ava was in the NICU (and I’m sure all NICU moms can relate), the machines and alarms in the NICU can make you a little crazy. At our hospital, Ava shared a room with another baby (MUCH smaller than she was), but anytime an alarm would go off, I would freak out checking to see if it was her, what was going on etc. My husband and I actually brought our laptops up there and worked right outside of her room. Also, I have no plan on quitting my job. It’s a family owned business that I will be running someday, so in actuality, I don’t have an option to quit, HA. Now that that’s addressed, I want to talk about how we’ve prepared and adjusted to her first couple days in daycare.
I can’t stress this enough. One of the best things we did was interview multiple daycare’s. We knew there were several things that were absolute must-haves for us, so we took the time to research early and plan. *Tip: If you’re pregnant and know your child will be going to daycare, I advise looking before the baby is born because 1. It’s easy to waddle into a daycare by yourself without having to get out a car seat, stroller, etc. and 2. Some daycare’s (especially really good ones) will have a waiting list. Here are a few questions we asked each daycare we went to:
- How long have you been in business?
- What is the security like here?
- How long have the teachers been here?
- Are your teachers infant CPR certified?
- What are your hours?
- What’s your holiday schedule? What other days are you closed? *Some daycare’s follow the schools off days
- Must children be immunized in order to attend?
- Do you supply diapers and wipes? What else should I bring?
- Will I receive a daily report for my child?
- Do you have cameras? If not, can the teacher send you pictures of your child?
- Does my child have their own crib or do they share?
- Am I able to leave the car seat?
- What can I keep here for my child?
Don’t be afraid to treat it like an interview! If you’re going to trust someone with your child, you have any and all rights to ask as many questions that you want. One other thing I did was went during drop off/pick up and asked the other parents candidly how they liked their child going here, if they had any problems, etc. Also, if a daycare asks you to schedule, that *could* be a red flag. *All daycare’s we looked at said we could drop by any time for a tour and could come by at any time to drop off, check on and pick up our child.
The best teacher in life is experience. Looking back, I wish we would have done a trial day before dropping her off for a full day. She had no issues and had the perfect day, but me and my husband learned a few things during the first drop off that we should have known before (but hey, we’re first time parents). The night before her first day, I made a list of things we knew she would need and packed her diaper bag so we weren’t scrambling last minute and potentially forgetting something. Our daycare provides wipes and bibs, so we packed the following:
- Several backup outfits
- Diapers (to leave there)
- Teething toys
*As a new parent and new to daycare, we didn’t know the milk already needed to be in bottles and labeled, so we showed up with ONE bottle and 4 bags of milk….needless to say we learned for the next day to put her milk in separate bottles beforehand. Like I said before, we’re first time parents so really everything is a learning experience.
Lastly, leaving your child with someone else is down right terrifying at first. Don’t be afraid to call and check in on your child. You aren’t the first person to do it, and you most definitely won’t be the last. Checking in not only puts you at ease, but helps make the adjustment a little easier.
We’re only a few days in, but I figured I would share what we’ve learned so far, in hopes I can help someone else struggling with the same things.
I’ll do a post later on recapping our first month!