Finding the right daycare can be pretty stressful, especially for first time moms of tiny babies. Aside from the logistics of deciding between a private home-based daycare or a larger daycare center, you’ve got to schedule tours, get on waiting lists and calculate costs. It can be a lot. Then there are the questions about what your kids are being fed for lunch, or what the daily schedule looks like. Will they know to hold my baby enough? Will they calm their fears before nap time? Will my baby miss me all day while I’m gone? Will they forget that I’m their Mommy?! My husband and I have personally gone through the daycare selection process multiple times. Both of our children are daycare babies since my husband and I both work outside of the home. So here are a few things that are to be expected from daycare.
1. Your baby will get used to the daycare schedule. Yes, there will be a transitional period for baby. (And let’s face it, for you too!) It may take a few days, it may take a week or two, but the schedule of your daycare will eventually become the norm. To be honest, I kind of like knowing when my kids were having lunch and when nap time was everyday. It was comforting to know that they had art activities planned at a specific time and outside time daily. It made the time apart seem more manageable for the both of us and it made it easy to plan for a specific nap time during the weekend.
2. Your baby will explore new types of foods. One thing that really surprised me was that my son was much less of a picky eater at daycare than he was at home. His daycare teachers always complimented him on how well he ate. He never hesitated to finish every green bean, even though I could never get him to eat one at home. When looking over the daycare menu, there were things that I wouldn’t think to serve my child that he ate regularly at daycare. My son likes kidney beans and baked potato soup?! Great!
3. The teachers can sometimes teach you about parenting! This one surprised me so much when my oldest was an infant. As a first time mom, each milestone and new skill was not just new for my baby, but also new for me. And every cold, scratch, or sleep regression can be little unnerving when you’ve never experienced it before. The ladies in my son’s infant room made me a better mom, just by doing what they know and taking care of babies. I learned a lot of little things about caring for my first-born from them.
4. Sickness happens. As much as we try to keep ourselves healthy and avoid germs, colds get passed around at daycare like wildfire. Lets face it, toddlers are pretty terrible about covering their mouths when they cough or using tissues to wipe runny noses instead of their sleeves. I’ve noticed that it gets better as they get older, but it’s still so hard those first few months with a tiny baby in a busy, new place.
5. Daycare pickup becomes your new favorite time of day. Guys, there is absolutely nothing like walking in the door to your child’s day care and finding their face in a room full of kids. The smiles, the excited squeals, the way they launch forward toward you with open arms. It really makes you feel so loved.