Planning a pregnancy can be a daunting task, especially for mums who are also building a career. Apart from the setback that your work takes a hit for a few months, there’s also the withdrawal phase when your maternity leave ends.
But while your little one has dominated your life for the past couple of months, now you leave her in the arms of a stranger at daycare to take care of her. And mum guilt is hitting you hard.
We understand it’s not an easy decision to make for working mums.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Going Back To Work
theAsianparent community member and new mother Bibiprawn, is going exactly through the same emotions as she leaves her three-month-old baby to resume work.
In a post on TAP’s community page, she wrote, “How many of you actually put your baby in infant care? I going back to work next week and the baby is going to infant care. Feel very sad but no choice… no 1 to take care of him… hopefully he will be fine. He [is] merely 3 months.”
It is indeed difficult for mums to leave their little ones at an infant day care and head to work. Apart from preparing to return to work, there’s the whole preparation for the baby that includes pumping extra breast milk, creating the baby’s special kit, and of course, detaching yourself from the little bundle of joy who is merely months old.
What Did The TAP Community Have To Say?
The TAP Community empathised with the mum and were supportive of her decision to return to work. They also reassured her that infant daycare takes good care of the babies.
And it is the parents that find it difficult to adjust to the change more than the baby.
One user by the name of Adrianna wrote, “I put my baby girl in IFC (infant care) since she was 4 months old. The first few weeks were tough. Rejected bottle, refused to nap, and always cranky (cried murder sometimes). Took about more than a month to adapt. Luckily I took extended leave so I can get used to the routine too. Will fall sick many times too due to a low immune system and had one mishap in IFC. But all is well. Just need to put your trust & faith in the teachers and caregivers. On a brighter note, the baby gets to socialise with other babies. Nothing beats the smile on their faces when you fetch them back :)”
Another user going by the name MummyG wrote, “My baby started ifc at 6 months old, and has been going for 2 months so far. to be frank, I think the baby adapts better than us. for the 1st 2 weeks, we pick him up earlier, and gradually longer hours. I still feel a little sad every morning as I send him to ifc, and wish to be there for every smile he flashes, but have to face up to the reality that I have to get to work.
The members also reassured BiBiprawn that everything will be fine. One user wrote, “My baby started ifc last week at 3 months+. I was worried at first but he seems to adapt well. Yours will be fine!”
“Hugs…I feel you too mummy..my baby is also starting IFC next month :(,“ wrote another user.
Searching For The Right Infant Day Care
An infant daycare is suitable for babies aged between 18 months and two years. These centres provide physical, social and cognitive development to your child through different activities. In addition, the infant day care centres also provide meals and showers, which is particularly helpful for working mums.
If you are looking for the right infant day care for your child, here are a few things that you need to look out for before you shortlist a centre.
1. Search for a convenient location
It would be ideal for the infant day care centre to be located strategically to your home and office. It could be close to either, which will allow you to minimise travel to and from the centre. This is particularly helpful if there’s an emergency and you need to rush to the daycare to pick your child up.
2. Questions you need to ask the staff
There are a couple of basic questions you need to ask the infant day care staff to learn more about how they handle children at the centre. Make sure to ask:
How do you handle babies with allergies?
How do you handle hyperactive babies who are not getting enough rest?
What is the procedure if my baby has a fever?
How often does the centre check the temperature of the infant?
What is your line of treatment if a baby falls down or does not stop crying?
3. Take a tour of the day care
Before you enrol your child in any infant day care, make sure to take a tour of the centre. Observe the environment for its hygiene standards and cleanliness. Check how teachers communicate with the babies and the parents, as well as with each other. Pay particular attention to how they handle the baby.
Do pay attention to the routine for each day and watch how it is carried out. At the end of the day, the centre needs to give you peace of mind as a parent since your child will be spending a lot of time there over the next few years.
4. Infant day care centre is registered With ECDA
Every infant day care centre needs to be registered with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) in Singapore. It doesn’t matter if you choose a small daycare centre that offers a more personal touch or a bigger establishment that is more organised.
Make sure the centre you choose is registered so that it falls under the purview of the government agency.
5. Ask about the enrichment programmes
Several daycare centres have different enrichment programmes for babies. Look out for the ones that offer the activities that you want your child to engage in.
Enrichment programmes add to the child’s overall experience before they start preschool, and is great for mental and physical development.
Also, speak to the educarers at the centre on how parents can get involved with the activities. Many centres do send updates and announcements via email or through messages on your phone.
Some centres also have parent volunteers for activities throughout the year. You could enrol in the same if your schedule allows you to do so.