Transitioning your baby from your care to a day care can be hard both for you as well as your little one. But through a gradual preparation, you can make it easier than your imagined it to be. From my experience as well as by relying on some dependable sources, here are some of the tips that helped me transition my 3-month-old baby to day care with relatively lesser stress.
If your transition is not smooth, your baby may find day care as a traumatic experience and would not be willing to stay away from your to let you go even on a bathroom break. So, use these tips and form a strong strategy to guide you through the process.
- Building breast milk stash
If you plan to breastfeed your little one, it is suggested to build a 5-7 day stash of breast milk. You may have to invest in a good breast pump and necessary accessories to make breastfeeding a smooth ride.
- Earlier the Better
Younger babies find it easier to transition to a daycare as they are tiny and hardly aware of their surroundings. Once the baby crosses 6 months, she may start developing separation anxiety and will find it hard to stay away from you.
- Start at least 3 weeks in prior
Make the transition as gradual as possible. It is better to start early and introduce your baby to the daycare well ahead. Take her to the daycare and show her around. Get her acquainted with her caregiver. Next day, let the caregiver play with her for a little while, the day after, let the baby remain with the caregiver for a little more time. This way, gradually, make her comfortable with the day care and its atmosphere.
- Get the baby to interact with others outside the comfort of your home
Many kids have no problem interacting with kids in the comfort of their home. But once they go out, they start getting all clingy and wouldn’t interact with the outsiders. So, right from the very early days, take the baby outside and get her to interact with others. Buying a good stroller may make things easier for you and your baby.
- Potty Training
If you start day care for your toddlers older than about 18 months, they may have a problem communicating with the caregiver when they want to poop. So, try potty training early on and see that the toddler finishes his business before he heads to the day care. A glass of milk, lemon juice etc can help stimulate the bowels and get things started.
- Good sleep habits
Developing good sleep habits is of prime importance for a baby who is at daycare. You may want to pay your baby to sleep instead of holding her all the time so that the baby doesn’t “miss you” at the time of sleep.
- Get clarity
Different day cares follow different rules. Some places take special effort to potty train the little ones, while certain place don’t. So, make a note of what you expect from them and communicate them in prior.
- Let your baby get used to sound
Schedule of most homes revolve around their baby’s nap. Let that not happen if your baby will be hitting to a day care soon. Let her be used to sleeping in a room with noise. At a daycare, there always will be at least one toddler who never wants to sleep at nap time.
- Don’t jump into action as soon as your baby cries
At a daycare, even the best of it, the caregiver will have to sometimes take care of some important things before she can respond to your little one. So, the earlier your baby learns to be patient, the better she will be.
- Send her your scent
Babies like familiarity just like us adults. Nothing can be more comforting for them than their mothers scent. So, sleep with a swaddle cloth or a blanket your baby sleeps in and send it along with the baby to the daycare.
- Make notes and hand it over to your caregiver
There are certain tricks that you might have learnt to keep your little one happy and distract when she begins to make a fuss, like a favourite song or story. Also, note the baby’s sleeping and eating habits and ensure that the caregiver follows it. Make an occasional surprise visit to ensure that everything is going as it is supposed to be.
- Never sneak out
Babies can feel what you feel. If you feel anxious and guilty about leaving your little one at day care, no doubt, your little one will sense it easily. So, say a short sweet goodbye and promise her that you will be back soon. Of the baby will cry. But it is easier to console a baby who has been promised that her mom will be back soon rather than a baby who has been “abandoned” by her mom.