Baby’s First Days (and Months) in Daycare
It’s been three months since Owen started daycare and I feel like we are finally establishing a routine (you may remember my post from February where I was a wreck after my first month). This realization came earlier this week when we arrived at the center and the little guy had a massive diaper blow out. Making it worse was the fact that he had only one pair of “too small for him” pajamas in his extra clothes bag. Two months ago and this incident would have ruined my whole morning and added a couple more gray hairs.
His infant teacher came to the rescue – once again – shuffling through the extra clothes bag and finding something for him to wear. I didn’t even know about this secret stash!
I have to admit that this is just one of many things that I’ve had to figure out about having an infant at child care. Olivia started Bright Horizons when she was 2.
Owen’s teachers have been great about helping me logistically get up to speed but emotionally I wished someone was there to guide me along. So I thought I would pay it forward for those of you who may be finding yourself in this predicament.
Here are my secrets to surviving baby’s first days and months in daycare:
- Calculate the amount of time you need to get ready and get to work on time…then add an extra 30-minutes. Allowing time to deal with things like diaper blow-outs and other unexpected events makes for a less frantic morning. You can always use the extra time for a few minutes of play time with your baby.
- Prepare as much as you can the night before – bottles, diapers, extra clothes, etc. – and pack them in the car (when appropriate). I even do my hair at night and wear a shower cap (who cares if I look like an 80-year-old woman?!?) to give myself an extra 15 minutes of sleep.
- Spend time getting to know your baby’s teachers. This is the best advice I can give you. I take full advantage of the Bright Horizons drop-in policy on my work from home days. Spending time with the teachers as they are interacting with the babies eases my mind on those days when I am in the office. And the inevitable chit chat has allowed me to really get to know the teachers and makes me more comfortable asking their advice or sharing my own care instructions with them.
- Establish a routine but be flexible when it gets blown apart. Honestly, I am still working on this one because Owen continues to wake up at a different time each morning. But we do have a natural order of activities (which is critical for my 5-year-old who has always needed a little more structure to her life) to get us all out the door by 7:30.
- Whether you have an hour commute like me or a 10-minute drive to work, take advantage of the alone time. Sing in the car or listen to your favorite podcast – do something to detox from the stress of the morning or prepare for the craziness of the evening.
- Smile even when you don’t feel like it. Inevitably someone will smile back at you (like the nice lady that pours my coffee in the morning) and you will be uplifted (for at least a millisecond but hopefully longer).
I’m still navigating in the dark most days but I’m starting to see a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure going to enjoy the sunshine until the next tunnel arrives – transitioning to the toddler program! What advice do you have to share with me and other parents about starting daycare?
More on Infants and Child Care
- E-family news: Choosing & Starting Child Care – How to Adjust as a Parent
- E-family news: How to Improve the Morning Routine with a Baby
- Bright Horizons Infant Care: Great Places for Babies
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Starting in the Infant Program – Tips?
- Read more posts about daycare and posts about infants from the Family Room bloggers