Back to Work After Babe: Choosing Childcare That's Right For You
by Natalie Fitzgerald
There can be so many mixed emotions when preparing to head back to work after having a baby. Some moms feel excited to get back into their routine: dressed and makeup before noon (dressed and makeup...at all!) drink hot coffee alone on a commute, and engage in adult conversations. Some moms experience a lot of anxiety thinking about how it will all work out with the logistics. Some worry about keeping up with milk supply, or missing out on those precious moments with their little one. Many of us feel a mix of these emotions, but one thing all moms heading back to work share in common is their journey to find the childcare they feel is right for their family, and sometimes this can be the most stressful part of preparing to go back to work after having a baby!
Just as each baby is unique, so is each family and the way they choose to parent. Setting up childcare needs to align with your parenting style, as well as the logistics and budget. My best tip when starting on this childcare journey is to BE SPECIFIC with what you’re looking for. Write out what your ideal situation looks like. Make a list of things that are important to you, and also those things that don’t matter as much. This can help provide clarity for what type of childcare will work best for you. So what are some options when considering what type of childcare might be best for your family?
Family/Group Day Care Homes: Think a home, with age appropriate activities for your child, and several other children, possibly different ages – similar to a home environment with siblings.
Day Care Centers: Usually day care centers provide care for more kiddos than day care homes, and more caregivers too. Your little one will be exposed to a diverse learning and social environment, and likely grouped with other little ones his/her age. Day care centers are required to follow strict rules and regulations and licensing varies by state.
Family Help: If you have family who lives close by and is willing to help (praise!) this can be a great option, even if it’s for a day or two each week. Grandmas usually love the baby snuggles too!
Nanny: A nanny comes to your home and cares for your child. It’s important, as with all childcare options, that you and your nanny are aligned with parenting styles to help make things go smoothly for everyone. Nannies can help with a range of other things in the home, but that varies depending on who you hire. Make sure you have a very specific list of things you want help with and ask these things during the interview process.
Nanny Share: This is when you and another family(ies) share a nanny. If you have a friend who needs help a couple of days, and you also need help a couple of days, this might work for you! A nanny share option can help cut back on cost - nannies aren’t cheap!
So where to begin? Check nanny agencies like Care.com and other companies in your area, or join a local mom group on Facebook where you can post – put your feelers out there, you never know who might have a lead for a great Day Care Home or Center in your area or nannies. Get to tapping those networks, mama, and sending you my best as you transition back to work. You got this!!
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula. Natalie’s approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby’s needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle. Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She lives in San Diego with her family, including her three little ones: Connor (6yrs), Kate (3.5yrs), and Makenna (1yr).