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To help make the transition back to work as seamless as possible, consider these tips
(Family Features) Just when you were getting the hang of having a baby at home, it’s time to go back to work. Beyond the expected changes such as picking work tasks back up and catching up on things you’ve missed, your priorities have most likely shifted now that you’re a parent.
It’s normal for parents to feel anxious about transitioning back to work after having a baby, but they don’t have to do it alone. Most new parents have built-in support systems of friends and family, but if their child will be attending daycare, that structure can provide additional help through the transition.
To help make the transition back to work as seamless as possible, consider these tips from infant teachers at KinderCare, which has been caring for children for almost 50 years.
Choose a daycare near work
A parent’s first instinct might be to choose a daycare that’s close to home, but once you return to work you may appreciate having your baby nearby – whether to breastfeed or just get some mid-day snuggles.
“We have an open-door policy,” said Regina Campisi, a nine-year KinderCare infant teacher. “Come in during your lunch break, feed your baby, have lunch with us and get to know your child’s teachers. Be a part of the educational process. It’s important to bridge that gap between work and school.”
Feel comfortable with your child care provider
Parents know their babies best. Most daycare centers are willing to work with parents to answer questions and create a positive experience for both parents and children.
Campisi recommends visiting your daycare of choice at least once before and once after your baby is born.
“Before you have your baby, you’re going to have all these questions,” Campisi said. “After you have your baby, you’re going to have different questions. You’re going to want to show your daycare provider what your baby needs.”
Above all else, parents should feel completely at ease when their baby is at daycare. If parents feel comfortable and safe and know that their baby is in the right hands, it can make going back to work easier.
Take care of yourself
When parents are on leave, sleepless nights are one thing. However, once parents have to get up at a certain time for work again and get their baby ready for daycare, they can find they’re operating on a whole new level of sleep deprivation.
“Going back to work is a very fast-paced time for working parents,” said infant teacher Megan Martina, who has worked with KinderCare for seven years. “That’s why it’s important to rest and take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating and that you have someone to help you.”
“I always say, ‘Don’t pour from an empty cup,’” Campisi said. “If you have a day off, let me take care of your baby. Go to the grocery store; take a long shower; take a lunch break; get a new book; do something for you.”
What to Look for in a Daycare for Your Baby
Between coordinating childcare, figuring out a new schedule and beginning to feel like a normal person again, life with a newborn can be a lot to handle. Finding the right daycare center on top of it all can seem like a nearly impossible task.
Consider these suggestions to find the right daycare for your little one.
Look for safety first
One of the most important things to look for is evidence that your potential daycare follows safe practices, including at nap time.
“When you first walk into the infant classroom, check for see-through cribs,” said Naomi Lennis Hicks from the Park Avenue KinderCare. “Teachers should be able to see your baby every moment of every day, even when they’re sleeping.”
You should also ask how teachers at the daycare put babies to bed and what’s allowed in cribs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, babies should sleep on their backs on a firm surface without pillows, blankets or toys in bed with them.
Find a place that follows each baby’s schedule
Although babies’ schedules are never 100 percent predictable, an accommodating daycare may work with parents to follow their children’s routine as closely as possible.
While some daycares enforce naps at certain times, you can look for an option that takes into account each baby’s sleeping needs. Teachers should know how to watch each child closely for signs of tiredness. Eye-rubbing, sucking on hands or fingers and heavy-headed nodding are all signs that it’s time for some shut-eye.
Whether baby likes rocking, singing, being held or using a pacifier, a daycare that partners with parents to learn what works best for each baby can be a more comforting option.
Make sure the center is clean and tidy
When classrooms are spick and span, it’s typically a sign that a daycare and its teachers are paying attention to the details, while also likely employing a dedicated cleaning staff to ensure the space is safe for babies to crawl and play.
In infant classrooms especially, keep an eye out for shoe-free policies and disposable booties for visitors to use.
“We have a bootie- or sock-only policy, and many of our teachers even bring their own slippers just for the classroom,” said Sheila Silveria with the Mercantile KinderCare Learning Center. “As soon as babies are ready to start crawling, it’s important to give them freedom to explore. A shoe-free policy is the best way to keep their little hands and mouths away from germs and dirt while they discover the world.”
Going back to work after having a baby is a huge step to take, but it’s not impossible. For more tips to make the transition easier, visit KinderCare.com.SOURCE: KinderCare
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