The Emotional Pull of Daycare

Becoming a new mum can leave us blissfully cocooned in our baby bubble for those early months, as we focus all of our love and attention of our new little bundle of joy.

So when the time comes for baby to move into daycare, the experience can be a real trauma for some parents.

Aside from the simple fact that you will be away from your baby or child, many parents experience concern for the safety, appropriate care and happiness of their little one.

A mixture or excitement to return to work might be mixed with guilt, and this can be difficult to reconcile.

According to psychologist Dr Karen Phillip, the younger the child, the worse that often struggle is.

“Babies can not tell you how they felt, what they did, if they were happy.

“Once the child is over 2 years and can articulate their feelings and what occurred at school today, parents often feel more comfortable about the experience.”

It’s important to remember that it is completely normal for most parents, especially mums, to feel hesitant when sending their child to daycare.

Mum’s returning to work can have a mixture of different feelings. Some may be quietly excited to return to the adult productive world of business while other face the thought of leaving their baby with great trepidation.

Regardless if you are wanting to go back to work or not, there often remains a feeling of loss. You are losing time with your precious baby. You want to be there for every first they accomplish. You want to be a mum, their mum always.

“Feeling distressed about leaving your baby can add a considerable amount of pressure and stress on any mum,” says Dr Phillips.

She may spend a day at work worrying if her baby is being cared for correctly and safely, that her baby isn’t distressed or upset and is getting the right amount of attention they deserve.

The stress, anxiety and pressure on many mum is enormous.

“While nannies and day-care centres are usually wonderful, as long as mum can check-in, see her baby during the day and be informed about everything they did in their busy little day, these fears can be allayed.”

Get prepared

Knowing you are returning to work allow you to semi prepare. Ensure you have chosen the right care for your baby, care you feel confident with.

Whoever you leave your precious baby with needs to ensure they follow your guidance of food, sleep and drink patterns.

Once confident your rules will be followed, and you can check in whenever you want, many fears can be eased.

“Staying busy is important, as is speaking with other mums on how they coped when returning to work,” says Dr Phillips.

Everyone has a story and hopefully they can share good stories to ease your mind.

Then there’s the mother guilt, which is very real and can be such a mental drain on mothers.

“You feel fully and totally responsible for you baby, to protect, teach, nurture and keep safe.

“Then the fear encompasses you and you become split with what you need to do, and may enjoy, and what you want to do, be a mum.”

Dr Phillips suggests mums returning to work ease their burden by:

  1. Understanding you either need or want to return (nothing wrong with wanting to get back to your career)
  2. Ensure you are confident in where your baby is spending their time and day
  3. Check in with the carer as often as you feel the need, but limit it to 2 -3 times a day
  4. Focus on you (a little), while a mum, you remain a woman with a brain that can contribute to the world you live in.
  5. You deserve happiness and a life outside motherhood (with motherhood remaining a priority in the first few years at least
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