Posts Tagged ‘day care’

When Baby Won’t Take a Bottle

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

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One day when my son was about 6 weeks old, I left the house for a few hours and when I returned, the kitchen sink was full of various kinds of used baby bottles, tubes, shot glasses and baby spoons.  A baby boy who wouldn’t take a bottle was the guest of honor at the party that went on while I was gone.

I wanted so badly to make breastfeeding work for my son and I.  We struggled as soon as he was born with nursing.  He fought it and it was stressful and uncomfortable for me.  He couldn’t figure out how to latch and would just scream instead of drink milk.  Doctors required me to supplement with formula for 24 hours until he started gaining weight and I was devastated.

Fast forward two months from after he was born and he refused to do anything but breastfeed.

Since breastfeeding was such a struggle from the start, I was too nervous to offer my son a bottle or a pacifier until two weeks before my maternity leave was going to end when he was 6 weeks old.  There were many attempts by my husband and a few friends to get my son to take a bottle of pumped breast milk. They all resulted in him screaming.

Finally, a few days before I needed to return to work and bring him to daycare part-time, my son drank a few ounces from a bottle.  I felt hopeful.  The first two weeks that he went to daycare, I was so relieved that he cooperated.  Then, something happened.  He changed his mind.  He started refusing a bottle from all the staff at the daycare and screamed until I would arrive to nurse him.  We received a lot of advice, but nothing encouraged him to drink from a bottle.  Occasionally, he would drink almost an ounce from a daycare worker if they would sit him in a bouncy chair, sit behind him so that he couldn’t see them and offer him a bottle.  It was a tip we received from a lactation nurse who said that some breastfed babies do not want to be fed by anyone besides their mother.

I lasted 2 months of working and visiting my son at least two times a day at daycare, so I could nurse him there and return to work.  Morning drop-offs were torture for everyone as we knew what the day would most likely look like.  That stress went away when I left my job and became a stay at home mom.  The reality became that I could dump my pump and feed my son on demand once I was home with him all day.  Unfortunately, my schedule was still limited he turned a year old, because I needed to always be available at his bedtime and for other feedings.  But, just like with other baby bumps in the road, we survived.

My second baby refused a bottle also, so luckily I had practice and knew I would get through it.

Sarah Cole is a freelance writer and stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers who wanted nothing to do with baby bottles.

 

Finding Daycare

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

IMG_7680Childcare can be a source of stress or support once you return to work. Finding the ideal provider of that care can be difficult. In my attempts to find the “best” for us I learned a few things along the way.

Childcare facilities often refer to themselves as daycare or preschool. These terms are very loose and unmoderated. Generally a daycare offers longer hours and remains open year round. They cater to a larger age range from shortly after birth sometimes up to after school care for elementary-aged children.

Preschools often focus on teaching specific curriculum or from particular teaching philosophies. They are often (but not always) on a school schedule, have certified teachers, and cater to 3-5 years. Mother’s Day Out programs generally offer shorter hours than preschools but may be sufficient if looking for part-time childcare. In-home care, whether in someone else’s home or a nanny in your own home, still apply to the below considerations.

  • Inquire about turnover. Ask how long teachers and aides have been there as well as how many years of experience they have. More years of service does not automatically mean a higher quality teacher, but it is one consideration.
  • Ask around. Word of mouth can give you an insider’s view. While online reviews also help, keep in mind people who feel most strongly (often negatively) seem to write reviews most often. You also can’t easily verify positive reviews so there’s no way to tell if the reviewer actually utilized the daycare or if staff or staff’s loved ones wrote up glowing reviews.
  • Don’t wait. Some places have waitlists, so inquire early once you know you need childcare. The more children you have the more important this can become as you may have to wait for openings in more than one class (if a preschool).
  • Visit during business hours. Try to check out the facility in action. Does it appear organized? How does the provider-child ratio look in reality? Are things clean and orderly? Do the children appear happy and content? Do providers get down to your child’s level when meeting him or her?
  • Drive the course at drop-off/pick-up times. You’ll be dropping off and picking up your child daily. A location far off course can add an extra half hour to your day. For example, our children were in childcare located in an elementary school. The extra time to park, walk them inside, and manage the hallways full of arriving school kids added 15 minutes to every morning drop off.
  • Consider cost and resources. Childcare is expensive no matter what. Everyone’s budget is what it is. Choose something you can sustain long term. Inquire with your place of work to see if they offer discounts for childcare or even in-house. For example my husband’s school district offers childcare at some schools for employee’s children. Remember that some places, especially preschools, like to provide something extra for teachers around the holidays, teacher appreciation, or end of school times. Ask about what snacks, supply fees, or other additional expenses you need to consider. The less you pay the less they have for resources and teacher pay. Less pay does not always equate to lower caliber providers but it can.
  • Learn about accreditation, licensure, and certification. Each state varies in its licensure policies but be sure your facility’s health and safety licensing is up to date. Accreditation is an additional step not always necessary but speaks to a higher standard. Teacher certification is found more often in preschool oriented facilities.
  • Cloth diapers. If you are committed to cloth be sure to ask if your childcare provider is willing to use them. If not, you can consider educating them if they are interested. Know your state’s policies regarding cloth diapers in public facilities.
  • Allergies, development needs, or other considerations. If your child or family has needs particular to your situation, be sure to inquire both directly with staff and indirectly by word of mouth about how they might handle your specifics. If you regularly get caught up at work and may be delayed, see how they handle late pickups.
  • Sick kiddos. Sickness can quickly spread in the childcare setting. Though tough policies around sickness can cause additional difficulties for parents they can also prevent illnesses from spreading. Ultimately this can result in fewer days missed overall. Ask about and read through their handbook concerning sick days and what constitutes necessary absence of a child. Think of common scenarios like pink eye, fever, upset stomach, and returning from an extended illness of several days. When is a doctor’s note necessary? How long must the child be fever free? Do you have to pay for days your child misses?
  • Good fit. Last, and possibly most important, consider the fit. Do you feel at ease with the teachers? Does your child? What is important to you? For example, if extended hours are critical look first at that. If school prep tops your list, learn about their curriculum, how structured their day is, and how they incorporate creative play.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 3 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Questions for Your First Daycare Provider

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Questions for Your First Daycare ProviderOne of the hardest things I have ever done is find quality childcare for my baby–somebody that I trusted to care for my sweet child while my husband and I were both at work, and then trust that decision enough to leave him there.

I’m not alone. I don’t know many moms that didn’t cry in the car after leaving their baby the first time. Scary stories like these don’t help worried parents, either.

So, how did I find the right fit for us? Well, it was nerve wracking; I researched Internet lists of questions to ask, polled every person I was even somewhat acquainted with for referrals, and finally put my boots on the ground and visited the top contenders. I fretted endlessly over what to ask. After visiting one potential sitter’s home, I was really able to hone the questions I needed to ask and the things to look for.

Whether it’s a center or day-home, assess the caregiver and the environment. Does it appear clean and safe? Do the children appear happy, or do they seem stressed? Are there age-appropriate toys in good working condition, and if there’s an outdoor play space, does it seem safe?

The provider will likely give you a tour of the daycare and also run down the policies. If it’s not outlined, you will want to be clear on closures, sick policies, and vacation policies. They should be licensed by the local government and also have a current CPR certification. They should have a plan for emergencies as well. Tuition and fees should be clearly outlined.

Third, how many children are there total, and what is the adult: child ratio? If it is more than one provider, are all of the adults CPR certified?

Fourth, what do the children do each day? Even if it’s a home-based daycare, it’s good to see structured plans with age-appropriate activities planned in. Little to no television is preferable for many parents. They should show you where your child will take her naps. Food is very important topic to discuss; in the places I have lived, meals and snacks (beyond breastmilk or formula) were provided. Ask about what kinds of meals are served and when.  Allergy issues with any of the children should be discussed as well.

Fifth, ask for referrals (and check them)!

Sixth, does the provider ask YOU questions? Do they ask about your child’s temperament, feeding or nap schedule, likes and dislikes? Do they ask you about discipline (assuming your child is old enough for this)? You want a provider that’s interested in your child and his development.

Once you have found the perfect provider, your work isn’t done. Pay careful attention to your child’s reaction to going (don’t worry, crying is totally normal at first), and if they are talking, make sure to ask questions about their day. Bumps and bruises happen to kids, but if your child gets injured, the provider needs to be up front about how it happened (and you will of course want to make sure they take the necessary precautions that it won’t be a repeat occurrence).

Finally, use your mom intuition. Even if this is your first child, I promise you have mom instincts. Trust them. Between your observations and the information you are told, you will know when you have found the right person or facility. Likewise, if something seems off, trust your gut on that, too.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two boys and a steady stream of foster dogs. She and her family currently live in Japan.