Are you going back to work after maternity leave? Are you sad about the baby’s first day in daycare? Do you wonder – How long does it take for a child to adjust to daycare? How will my baby sleep at daycare without me? I totally understand and feel for you at the moment….. Here is my honest story, It will soothe your fears.
I will never forget my Bellas’s first day in daycare. She was one year and eight months old. I have never been separated from her for more than an hour or two. She was sleeping in my bed, still breastfeeding and her mummy was always near her. I had to go back to work, so daycare was inevitable for us.
Some said that I was too attached to my baby. But I don’t think that it is possible to love your baby too much. Some said I was like that due to an IVF treatment we went through to get her. In my opinion, most mothers are like me and have a hard time separating themselves from their little bun. I became a lioness after having a baby and was protective over her – Motherhood truly changed me.
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First Day at Daycare
- On the first day, all three of us went in for an hour of adjustment.
- On the second day, I had to leave her for half an hour without me. She was screaming so much, my hands started to shake, I was sweating, and felt like I couldn’t breathe.
As I walked to the nearest coffee shop with another mom she told me something I will never forget: ˝Marina, don’t look at this as an ending. Look at it as a new beginning, a beginning of something good!˝ At that moment I couldn’t really process her words and didn’t think much of it at the moment.
- For the next two weeks, we continued to come for about two or three hours a day. She cried, but less.
- In the third week, she got the flu… Ah, get used to it. It’s normal for kids to pick up every bug during their first year or two. We couldn’t stay healthy for three weeks in a row. it’s like a curse. My advice is to have essential oils suitable for kids always nearby and make them healthier. Read my experience on the subject.
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After a Month or Two
- After a while, I realized that my going back to work and my baby at the daycare center wasn’t that bad at all.
- I finally had some time I didn’t even realize I needed. I had time to focus my mind on some other thoughts and privileges I didn’t have prior.
- When I came home from work I had an enormous desire to spend time with her and indulge her in every way: read, sing, draw, or just cuddle… whatever she needed.
- She cried every drop-off… Every single time. But her lovely nannies assured me that she stopped the moment I got out and had fun. I believed them. They were always full of comfort and kindness to my little one. Each time they took her in their arms and gave her the love she needed.
- A group of 12 little creatures started their new life and I must say they start to enjoy it more and more as time passes.
How Will My Baby Sleep at Daycare
My first day of going back to work after maternity leave was her first day sleeping at the daycare. I called from work to ask if she fell asleep. Let me just say that she never fell asleep without my breast in her mouth. The caregiver said: ˝She’s been screaming for 40 minutes in her bed˝. I was devastated. After five minutes she sent me a photo of her sleeping on her tummy all red and wet from crying.
The second day she cried for five minutes… And on the third, she fell asleep right away. Can you believe it!? I was so worried and she adjusted to sleeping on the third day.
Extended Breastfeeding and Daycare
- Everyone told me I needed to wean a baby off when starting to work. But my daughter was so attached to breastfeeding, I just couldn’t and didn’t even try to stop nursing. People around me thought I was crazy, but that was my decision to make.
And let me tell you – We had NO trouble with it! While she was at the daycare center she didn’t ask for it of course, but the moment we got home she had to empty both of my breasts. I didn’t even have trouble with overload at work. She was a year and eight months, not an infant anymore. Probably didn’t even drink as much. It was her comfort zone. I just couldn’t take it away from her. And never regretted it.
Benefits of a Daycare
You see, daycare isn’t that bad. It actually great, and brings lots of benefits for a child. Let me introduce you to some:
- Scheduled activities during the day. They have playtime, singing, storytelling, mealtime, and sleeping time – always at the same time. Routine and regular schedules are important for their intellectual development. You will also benefit from these measures as your child gets into a routine.
- Some studies say that kids who attended daycare had a higher cognitive performance as teenagers.
- They will learn how to communicate with their peers. Early socialisations teach them how to solve a problem or handle an issue. It develops emotional and social skills that will help them when they grow up. My kid was a bit shy. After a year in a daycare, she was a different child. She made friends easily and had no socialization issues. She has a strong bond with her friends from her group. They share secrets, laugh together and comfort one another. It is something we can’t provide to our kids at home, or with an hour in a park.
- How to be independent. They eat for themselves, get dressed, and get lots of assignments they need to accomplish. Mummys not nearby to do it as they were used to. But their caregivers push their boundaries and make them stronger and more independent
- Interaction with some new adults helps them to respect authority and teaches them good manners
- School is not gonna be a problem for a child who attended daycare and kindergarten
- Caregivers always notice if someone has development issues or needs a speech therapist. So you can react in time
- And last but not least – Immunity strengthening. They will always have a runny nose, or diarrhea, or vomit in the middle of the night. But that is ok and perfectly normal. By the time they go to school, they will have a strong immune system and will be healthier than kids who stayed at home.
- There are so many activities that we can’t provide for them at home. You will see this in the photos below.
- They have masquerade parties,
- Olympics games,
- Regular measuring,
- Sports day,
- Always making a special card for Mother’s and Father’s Day,
- Unicef money collecting,
- They have one-day trips,
- They visit the theater,
- They pretend to be a caregiver for a day – this one was a special one for my girl ;-), and so many more great events…
Why is Daycare Important – Studies
“From a public perspective, our findings are important because they should help ease parents’ fears about the potential harms of early non-parental child care,”The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
˝The advantages of daycare have been researched extensively and found to have positive implications that extend far beyond a child’s day-to-day happiness. From providing parents the time and space needed to support and sustain their families to offering opportunities for socialization and the development of critical skills, the benefits of daycare are abundant.˝
Access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties and promote pro-social behaviors.”
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Kindergarten Experience Story
By the time we got to kindergarten, my daughter loved it so much that she cried when having the flu and had to stay at home. She made some strong friendships and unbreakable relationships with her mates and her teachers. They had so much fun and she was well-prepared for school.
So at around age of 5, my daughter enjoyed everything about kindergarten!
I saw some kids that just started, and never attended daycare – they did cry. And had a really hard time adjusting.
Corona’s situation made a bit of a mess with our time at the preschool and it is a time no one can return. But, as my mother-in-law says: ˝We won’t cry above the spilled milk.˝
First Day at Daycare for a Second Time
When Bella’s sister Zola started daycare three years later it was so much easier. For all of us! She was almost two years old. I knew what to expect, she wanted to go where her sis did, and the baby’s separation anxiety wasn’t present the second time around. She adjusted quickly, made friends, and relaxed sooner.
I was probably different too. She couldn’t sense my fear and anxiety cause it wasn’t present. I knew she was left in good hands and it will bring her as many benefits as it did to her big sis.
I know you are dreaded the first day at daycare and having babies separation anxiety. It is so normal. But it does so much good for our children and for ourselves. She became an independent, stronger, and full-of-knowledge schoolgirl now. It gave me time to start my own blog and make something out of my life that one day my kids will be proud of.
If I knew then what I know now, my life would be easier back then. My kids will remember their preschool time as a time full of play, laughter, and joy.
I thank her caregivers for always giving her comfort, a shoulder to cry on, and so much love!
Moms, don’t be afraid. It’s great… you’ll see…
Share your positive experiences as well. Let’s comfort the mommies facing their fears.
WE ARE STRONGER THAN WE ALL THINK!