How to Cope With Leaving Baby at Day Care

Mom and babyI love it that my children are in day care. Does that surprise you? Staying home full-time with my babies was not something I considered. When it was time, we did our due diligence to find child care for our boys that would be educational, nurturing, and fun. They both started day care when they were 3 months old. They are thriving. I am thrilled. 

But that doesn't mean that it was an easy transition or that I didn't cry in my car some mornings or that I don't miss them like crazy. But at the end of the day, it's the best thing for us. Don't worry -- you can do this. If you're preparing to go back to work, here are five ways to cope with leaving your baby with a caregiver for the first time.

  1. Do your homework: It's important to visit with your day care or caregiver before you make your decision. You will feel better about leaving if you have discussed safety procedures, child care philosophies, and accreditation. 
  2. Ease into it: If you can, arrange some half days or spend a few hours together in the weeks prior. Your child will start to feel comfortable in the new space and you can observe the routines. This will help you feel connected to what is going on there during the day while you are at work.   
  3. Carry photos with you: Bring pictures of your baby to work and keep one in your car -- anywhere that you spend time. When you miss them, take a moment to remember that it's only a few hours until you can hold them again.
  4. Call your baby: I set up a daily lunch hour phone call to the day care. At first I felt like I was being a pest, but I didn't really care. It was important for me to make sure everything was going well there so I could focus on what I needed to do.
  5. Don't worry: Alright, you can worry a little about getting there on time or remembering to pack extra clothes, but don't worry that your baby won't love you anymore or that someone else is taking your place. You are the most important person in your baby's life and a few hours in someone's care won't ever change that.

Did you cry on the first day when you went back to work? What helped you feel better when you missed being with your baby?  


Image via Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr

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