Leaving your infant at daycare can be a difficult experience for new moms. You have a natural bond with your baby, and you naturally feel apprehensive about leaving them with another care provider for such a long time during the day. Here are some things you can do to help prepare yourself and your baby for daycare.
1. Establish a pumping or feeding schedule before daycare begins.
If you are breastfeeding, you will want to make sure that your baby is used to taking milk from the bottle before daycare begins. Gradually introduce the bottle to your baby for alternating feeds so that your baby can gain experience with bottle feeding. This way, you also get your own body ready for a pumping schedule while at work so you can keep your supply up. You'll feel better about leaving your baby in daycare if you know they will eat fine without you there. If you are using formula, a feeding schedule is still a good idea. This way, you know how many bottles your child will need during the day, and you'll be able to feed your baby at the same time each day when you pick them up from care.
2. Spend quality time with your baby in the days leading up to the start date.
Give your baby plenty of skin-to-skin bonding time with you before daycare begins. Not only does skin-to-skin increase your connection, but it also helps boost baby's immune system. However, when you can't sit and hold your infant, try placing them in a place away from you so that they can learn that you will come back and re-establish their connection with you. You might place your baby on the other side of the room or lay them down in a crib in the nursery while you do chores at home.
3. Bring coping mechanisms with you.
You might your baby's picture with you to work. You can also request a video chat with your baby during lunch or break times. In the age of technology, you might get a video-sharing app that allows you to receive video messages of your child's moments during the day. You might even bring your baby's blanket or another item with you to work to help you feel closer to your baby.
If possible, choose care that is only a short distance from your work so you can go visit if you are feeling worried.