Thursday, January 8, 2009

Maternity leave is over; let the daycare begin!

Several of my friends are returning to work after maternity leave so I thought I'd put together a few thoughts on child care do's and don't's for the daycare newby. This applies to the infant room - older classes have their own set of do's and don't's.

1. Do label everything. Get a laundry marker and sharpies and make sure clothes, blankets, bottles, pacifiers, and snuggly toys are all clearly marked with baby's last name. If the bottles have more than one piece to them, mark all the pieces. Everything you take to daycare will likely get rinsed, washed and washed again (probably with bleach), so make sure your markers are waterproof.

2. Don't fancy-up the baby. Leave all of those cute blue jeans, overalls, sweater vests and bow ties at home. Take it from me, it just makes it more difficult for the daycare ladies to change, feed and rock your baby. Dress him comfortably, preferably in jammies with a zipper. None of those multiple-snap-up-the-leg jobs, or even onesies with pants. Simple is key. (I found out months later that Jack Henry's teachers would get him out of his adorable multi-piece outfits every day after I left, dressed him in zippered jammies and then re-dressed him right before I came to pick him up. poor ladies! I wondered how he always came home spotless!)

3. Do ask questions if you are concerned. Feel free to call and check on the baby later in the day if you continue to have fears. You are more than entitled to do that. Inquire about his day, what he did, how he slept, his temperature or whatever might be concerning you. It's your baby. ASK.

4. Don't bring in toys. A few blankets and a special stuffed animal is plenty. Age appropriate toys are provided. By the way, Jack Henry still sleeps with the same blanket and lamby he had in the infant room, and he's in the pre-school class now.

5. Do stash extra clothes in his cubby. Wet jammies are always a possibility at this stage of the game. However, our teachers check numerous times a day, so random wet-throughs were rare.

6. Don't bring in a sick baby. If he has a fever, dosing him with Tylenol right before drop off is a big no-no.

7. Do let your teacher know if he seems hot, slept fitfully the night before or seems allergic to something. This is important info for them to have.

8. Don't run out of diapers and formula. Stock your car trunk, so when he runs out, you can just dash to your car to get it. That works for home, too. Having a good supply on hand is a lifesaver. If you're extra nice, you'll write your baby's name or initials on all the diapers before you drop them off. That way, when they stash them in the "diaper closet" it will be clear they're his.

9. Do get to know the other moms. These women can be (and for me, definitely WERE) a total lifeline during my "new mom" phase (and still are). The moms of the other babies in the class are going through the same thing you are and need your support too. Schedule a time once a month to get together for lunch. It will be the best thing you can do for yourself as a new mom.

10. Don't be ashamed to cry. It's tough leaving your baby. But these ladies are professionals and will become like family to you. They'll be glad to give you a hug or an understanding word whenever you need it. So rest easy, it only gets easier!

Pictured here is Jack Henry at 6 months, photographed by the amazing Daniel Dubois.


Jessica said...

Ok, I am just catching up on your posts. It's be hectic. This is great! I tried to do all the do's but I am sure I have a lot to learn. Dropping him off was not too awful today. I got there very early and fed him most of his first bottle since he was asleep until I had to leave the house. So that helped. I hope he will be ok. the ladies seem great so I know he is in good hands. I spent yesterday ironing his name on everything. I am sure this will become routine, eventually, right? And oh my gosh, Jack Henry was and is too adorable!

Jessica said...

I have some extra advice. Drop in to the daycare unexpectedly and if you are looking for daycares.................they want you to make an appointment, but I would make a surprise visit as well. I worked in daycares, pretty much only liked one of the many I worked at.

I always liked being a nanny, but some families can't afford them so I suggest looking into sharing a nanny. The salary for having a nanny depends greatly on how many children, the ages, and the responsibilities. My advice is you have a nanny (please dont make them do your chores.........just things that involve the children................the children's laundry, YES! Your laundry along with your undies.........A BIG NO NO!!! It is awkward and embarrassing!

Make a list of positives and negatives for nanny and daycare. :) I LOVED BEING A NANNY! I am ready to be a mommy after 10 years of nannying!

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