My Struggles with Sending My Baby to Daycare
After the birth of a child, most, if not all mothers struggle with certain aspects of caring for a new baby. Some moms find it difficult to recover from birth, while others battle breastfeeding woes, including cracked nipples, mastitis and engorgement. I had a very tramuatic birth experience with my first child. Recovery was difficult but I was in such bliss over having a new baby so I just got through it without complaining. As the weeks passed by after his birth, I physically started to feel stronger each day. By twelve weeks I started working out again and couldn't have been happier. Then at fourteen weeks I returned to work full time, after enjoying time at home with my baby.
Immediately after the return to work, I experienced extreme depression that lasted for several months. Beyond the obvious “I miss the child that I just spent 14 weeks of my life rocking, cuddling and nursing.”, there were many different aspects of having my child in daycare that I completely hated. Unfortunately due to high student loans and a mortgage, staying at home just wasn't and still isn't an option.
After the birth of my second and third child, I dreaded the end of my maternity leave. Again I felt sad and anxious throughout the work day and looked forward to daycare pick up. My children attend a home daycare just a few blocks from our house. They are well cared for, yet it will never be enough because it's not me. My third child, especially, had a difficult time with the transition to daycare. He was a rather needy baby and enjoyed being held throughout most of the day. Since I babywear, it felt natural and was certainly not a hassle to me that he wanted to kept close, after all, this was totally normal newborn behavior. Yet, at daycare there is no time for cuddling a baby throughout the day. I remember how sad I felt for my baby when my childcare provider said she was not open to babywearing, because she felt that she would give him whiplash. She then said they were working on “training him to get used to being put in a bouncy chair or swing.”. The word training just did not sit well with me or my parenting style at all.
Throughout that first year of my baby's life, I thought about switching daycare providers several times. As much as I appreciate how hard our childcare providers work and truly do love our children, it is just not the ideal situation for a baby. However, with two other boys at the daycare, I had them to think about as well. The transition to a different daycare would have been difficult and not fair. Instead I continued to suck it up and enjoy the evenings and weekends with him. It wasn't ideal, but the best I could do.
What was the most challenging part of sending your baby off to daycare for you and your child?