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Tags: In This Issue, Parenting
Infant Childcare Options
As a new mother, or expectant mom, the safety and security of your infant is your utmost priority. With newborns so vulnerable, leaving them in the care of another person when you must go back to work can be an enormous source of concern. How can you find a childcare situation that allows you to return to your job knowing your baby is getting the same loving attention you would provide?
Choosing a professional caregiver
For those parents who do not have the option of a family member taking care of their infant, daycares and nannies are often the path they choose.
"We started searching (for a daycare) when I was maybe five or six months pregnant with our first. Safety was our biggest concern," says one local mom. "We chose our center by calling four to six places and visiting three. We loved the center that we chose. When we found out about the pregnancy of our second, we immediately reserved her spot at the same center."
If you're considering a commercial daycare center, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) conducts a rigorous accreditation program. To find local NAEYC accredited centers, visit www.naeyc.org
The infant room
When visiting daycare centers, pay particular attention to the ratio of caregivers to infants. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies from birth to age one should be cared for with a ratio of three babies to one caregiver, with a maximum of six total babies.
A baby's first experiences can have a very important effect on their future. Carolyn Dederer, CEO of Day Nursery Association of Indianapolis, says that at Day Nurseries caregivers regard each infant as a person. "We talk to them about what is going on," says Dederer. "We pick up books and read to them and sing to them and it creates the start of an intellectual bank of words."
Private, licensed daycares that are located in a caregiver's home can also be an option. "Home daycare can provide more of a family feel," says Cathy Cucuz, owner of Cathy's Cottage Daycare in Fishers. "Most moms cry the first few times they drop off their infant. I tell them to drop in to visit and they can call or text several times a day if they want."
"My husband and I visited in-home centers together," says Angie McCarty Hampton, mother of two. "I asked questions like 'What is a typical day like?' My husband watched how the babies reacted to the situation and to the caregiver."
Listening to your instincts regarding a daycare center is good advice. "Always ask a lot of questions," advises Cucuz. "If a caregiver is uncomfortable answering them then you should probably reconsider (that center)."
Considering a nanny
If a daycare center is not ideal, an in-home nanny may be the best option. The obvious benefit to hiring a nanny is that babies stay home. Non-traditional working hours can often be accommodated which may be an attractive advantage to parents.
Susan Cornish, President of Indianapolis College Nannies + Tutors, says, "Our families value education. We provide good role models for their children." Like other agencies, College Nannies + Tutors legally employ their nannies and the company is responsible for the employee's payroll and benefits. Typically nannies will work full-time or part-time, and even when parents are home if requested.
Why didn't we think of that?
"The best thing I did with my babies was to send them to daycare the week before I went back to work," says one mom. "It gave me time for trial runs without the worry of being late."
Once a family has secured a safe and loving childcare situation, there may be a surprising benefit: off-hours babysitting. Who better to watch your baby than the same person who cares for him or her during regular hours? For example, College Nannies + Tutors offers an on-call service which can be used for date nights or even a baby who is too sick for daycare, but not seriously ill.
Back in the groove
After a thorough search for the right childcare option for your situation, you can feel relaxed and confident about going back to work knowing that your infant is well-cared for. With a loving caregiver in place, your baby will enjoy his day – so you can too.