Posts Tagged ‘daycare’

The Benefits of Daycare

Friday, February 26th, 2016

The Benefits of DaycareAfter the birth of my first born, I had to go back to work at 8 weeks postpartum. It was my first experience with leaving my precious bundle and I was scared. Would he be okay without me? The first few months were tough, but we managed; eventually managing for two more years. Juggling a lot of responsibilities was tough, but looking back, there were many blessings that came with our daycare experience.

As mothers, we often have a gut reaction to leaving our children with anyone but family; Fear, guilt, stress.  I’ve learned, however, that whether you are a stay at home mom using the gym daycare, someone who uses a licensed provider daily, or even if you occasionally use it for mom or dads night out, leaving your child with another trusted adult can reap many benefits for both you and your child.

The first time you leave your child, it is just plain HARD

The first time I left my youngest at our gym daycare; I hemmed and hawed, despite the fact that I felt comfortable with the employees and the facility.  Baby R seemed so little. I had convinced myself He really loved being with just me. He wanted his blanket and his baba just so. And of course, I worried what if he got SICK?! I managed to do really well at talking myself out of it.

If you are planning to use daycare for the first time, do a dry run with no expectations. If you are returning to work, try to start mid-week so that it doesn’t seem so daunting. The first time will be difficult but you are most likely more concerned and upset than your children. The first time is hard but it gets so much easier.

Relying on other adults instills confidence in your child.

R started going for an hour to the gym kidstime when he was just 4 months. As the weeks went by, he became familiar with the ladies, he knew the environment, and he became more comfortable. He knew that there were other adults that would take great care of him besides me. As he grew, there were times when it stung a little that he wasn’t clinging to me but it simultaneously gave me so much pride. He did not rely on me for his happiness. He knew he was okay. He was confident.

That confidence has grown as he has grown. R now has no problems trying new activities without clinging to me. He feels confident enough to introduce himself to new people. I fully believe that this is because daycare taught him security even when I am not around.

Socialization is good for both mommy and kiddos.

As humans, we are social creatures. We need our group and our tribe even as little people. In a safe and structured daycare setting, young children have the opportunity to practice problem solving, communication, and develop empathy for others through play. They can learn about their world. They also develop cognitively from being around their peers. Daycare can be an enriching part of your child’s life. It can also be enriching for you. It is healthy to have the opportunity to socialize with co-workers, friends, and other adults.

Reconnecting with yourself makes you a better momma

Whether you are a working momma or just using the gym daycare like I was, reconnecting with other parts of yourself is important.  For me, using my gym daycare made me realize that it took just one hour a day of exercise for me to be a sweeter, kinder, more loving momma. It helped me focus and reconnect.

Whatever your motivation is, if you find yourself needing to use a daycare provider, know that if you have found one that is safe and loving, your child’s experience can be an positive one that has lasting effects.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

 

When Your Daycare Doesn’t Do Cloth Diapers

Friday, June 26th, 2015

When Your Daycare Doesn't Do ClothOur children are attending childcare for one year. For the first 9 months, the infant class teachers were happy to participate in using cloth diapers. We started the conversation kindly, and all three teachers were onboard immediately.

Not every journey is so easy. When our youngest son transitioned to the toddler class, his teachers were not as keen on the idea. If you’re considering cloth at a childcare facility that isn’t interested or just doesn’t know what cloth is about, here are a few things to consider in approaching the issue:

  • Know your state’s policies: Almost every state either specifically allows or does not prohibit the use of cloth diapers. You may have to sift through the policies of your state or you can google as cloth diaper state policies to find some lists already compiled. Verify that their information is still current and accurate. If your childcare facility is large or part of a larger entity, they may already have policy in place.
  • Consider friendly engagement: Begin the conversation, but there’s no need to go in cloth diapers blazing. Ask if they’ve ever used cloth, considered it, and would be willing to talk more about it. Be kind. For example, if they say your state doesn’t allow it and you know your state does, offer the information kindly. “Oh, that’s funny. I thought I was reading the other day that Texas did allow cloth in daycare. I’ll look into that more. If they do, I’d love to show you how easy it is!”  If there are other families at the facility that use cloth, work together when approaching the staff.
  • Demonstrate: Showing is a great way of them seeing that their worst fears aren’t likely. Take time outside of class time—when it is convenient for them, not in the rush of drop-off or pick-up times— to show them how the diapers work. Keep it very simple and to the point. I love to talk about pockets and flats and brands and styles, but that is not necessary when you are convincing someone about the ease of cloth diapers. Let them try out a few and then offer a trial run so they don’t have to have an absolute answer immediately.
  • Make it easy: We used Blueberry and bumGenius snap pockets as they are cut somewhat similarly. The other half of our daycare stash was Thirsties size 2 AIOS (no longer made) aplix. Each teacher had different preferences. We always had them ready to go, with a liner. They always had a few extra on hand. We sent a wet bag with a handle every day. I also took time to ask on a monthly basis how it was going and if there was anything we could do to keep it going well. Don’t expect them to take the effort to clean them as thoroughly as you might at home.
  • Find another facility: I know, it sounds like defeat. Instead, I encourage you to think of it as finding a more congruent fit with your parenting style.

If you end up using disposables at your childcare facility, use cloth at home! Especially over the weekend, we can get a small load of diapers and, after a prewash, I add a few towels in to get a full load that washes really well. Also, even if you don’t use cloth at the school, leave the situation positive for the next mama who comes along.

The diaper seeds you sow may harvest with another child in the coming years. The transition to cloth may prove especially difficult at a place where numerous people need to be on the same page (director, multiple teachers, possibly multiple classrooms for your family). Recognize that you are laying the groundwork that other advocates, perhaps some of the staff or another parent down the road, can build on. The road where all baby bums are fluffy!

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Congratulations, it’s a…Tax Deduction!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Congratulations, it's a Tax DeductionMy third girl was born in February 2013. I was worried about ice storms, but we ended up leaving the hospital on a sunny, 60-degree day. I was wearing a sarong and a nursing tank. We didn’t even put a hat on her. That’s winter in north Texas for you.

The only bummer about having a baby early in the year is that you have to wait nearly a year to get the tax deduction. In 2014, new moms get more tax breaks than ever before for baby and breastfeeding-related expenses. So what can you deduct if you itemize?

  • Birth center or hospital stay. You can deduct whatever portion of your stay insurance had you pay for out of pocket.
  • Midwife or OB/GYN fee. The bill for your care provider is separate from your hospital bill, and it’s also deductible.
  • Doula. Doulas aren’t covered by insurance, and even though they aren’t medical providers, they are deductible as birth support.
  • Adoption. If you adopted, the Adoption Tax credit is available to offset out-of-pocket costs up to $13,360 for couples who make less than $185,000 a year.
  • Daycare. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit allows you to take deductions for childcare expenses up to a certain amount. You just need the tax number or name of your day care center, or if you use an individual who watches children in your home or their home, you’ll need their social security or tax number.
  • Sales tax on major baby purchases. “If parents live in a state that they can claim sales tax on their tax return, they can claim sales tax on major purchases for their newborn,” says Todd Collom of Metroplex Tax Advisors in Fort Worth, Texas.  ”Like bedroom sets and home remodels for the baby–not small purchases but large ones that run in the thousands.”
  • Pumping and nursing supplies. For the first time ever, moms can count breast pumps and “supplies that assist lactation” as medical expenses! Apparently, this change was suggested in 2010 but was rejected because the IRS didn’t think breastfeeding had enough benefits to be considered medical care. Insane.

For more information on these and other tax breaks, please talk to a qualified accountant. This information is not intended to be the sum total of your tax advice. Thankfully, my tax guy is super cool and didn’t blink an eye as I sorted through medical statements while nursing my now 1-year-old tax deduction.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York. 

Friday Family Spotlight: Meet Andrea’s Family

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I am excited to introduce you to Andrea and her awesome family of four! I love hearing stories like theirs; couples who grew up together, go on to get married, and eventually raise a family together…so sweet and inspiring! Also Andrea’s favorite quote might be one of my new favorites! Read on to learn more about Andrea and her family:

Who are the members of your family? Andrea (me), my husband Joel, and our 2 daughters, Tessa, age 2.5 and Nora, age 6 months.

How did you meet your significant other? We first met playing t-ball and grew up together in school. We started dating after being in Marching band together during his freshman year of high school. He played the quads, I played the bass drum in the drumline.

What do you and your family like to do for recreation? We are a very athletic family. We love to play sports, watch sports, and be outdoors. We enjoy camping, walks, and playing outside.

What is your favorite Mom’s Milk Boutique Product? I have so many. I started at MMB with just a few diapers. I now own what feels like half the store. I love the Ergo, Lactasties, CJ’s BUTTer, MotherLove diaper rash cream. I’ve recently starting using fitted diapers and I really like the Kissaluvs. Of course, my newborn stash was one of my favorites to build because they are just so cute and small.

What is your favorite baby carrier and why? I love my Ergo. It is very sturdy and tough, it’s been through different kinds of weather and other wear and tear and holds up very nicely. It’s easy for both my husband and I to use on either of our children and they are safe, secure, and happy in it.

What goals do you have for your family in the next year or two? Start a garden this spring, hopefully have a 3rd child, continue with our Dave Ramsey debt snowball payoffs.

Describe your daily routine: I get up at 4, pump, shower, get ready, and leave for work by 6:15. My husband gets the kids up, drops them off at daycare, and comes home to pick up the house. He leaves for work at 11:45. I get off at 3:30, work out, go home to start dinner, pick up the girls from daycare and serve dinner. Then we do bathtime, get the girls ready for bed and my husband gets home at 8, just in time to help tuck the girls in and get them asleep.

What has been your toughest challenge as a mom so far? Meeting the needs of everyone. It’s important for me to be a good, attentive mother, but I also don’t want to lose my identity as a wife or myself. Balancing all those simultaneously is tricky.

What are some of your favorite “me” time indulgences? I love to go wander around Target. I also love (and miss) coffee dates with old friends.

What is one of your favorite quotes? Be here to bless, not impress.

Thanks Andrea for sharing your family with us! I am excited for your plans to grow both a spring garden and a 3rd baby, lol! Wishing you the very best on both accounts. :)

Would you like to have your family featured in a Friday Family Spotlight AND win a FREE $10 gift certificate to Mom’s Milk Boutique for your participation? If so email sarah@momsmilkboutique.com with the subject line “Friday Family Spotlight Inquiry” and share something interesting about your family in your email message.

Happy Friday Everyone!!

-Sarah