56 answers

Maternity Leave - Cambridge,MN

I just gave birth to my second son. I have a two year old boy who is helpful and loves his new brother very much. He has shown no signs of jealousy. I am on a 6 week maternity leave. I am a teacher, and will miss the first five weeks of school. Our daycare provider is wonderful, and charges for only the days that our children attend.
My question to all of you moms is whether or not I should keep my older son home with me on maternity leave, or send him to daycare part time to bond with our new baby? What have you done, or suggest I do, or what would you do in this situation?
I feel guilty sending him to daycare, and I feel guilty keeping him home and missing out on bonding time with baby. Money is not really an issue, it's more about family for me. I welcome your advice.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Here is what I've decided based on a wide variety of perspectives:
One of you said it is a win-win situation, and I totally agree. My son truly enjoys playing with the other kids and I know that he will not feel like I am leaving him out.
I am still physically healing from birth, so I plan to send him four days this week, and then two days during the weeks to follow. This will give him a break to go play with other kids and keep him home the majority of the time. He needs consistency, and my leave is only 5 weeks now. I would hate to keep them both home with me the entire time and then send them back to daycare full time as I go back to work. This seems to be the best solution...and I am not neglecting my older child, I am actually looking out for his best interest. I want to clarify to some of you that I will NOT be sending him a message that my bond with my baby is more important that my bond with my older child. He knows that I love him just as much as I always have.
Thank you for all of your help!

Featured Answers

I kept my first in daycare when my second was born(had to to save her space there), and it was great. It really gave me good bonding time with the baby and helped me catch up on sleep! I am going to do the same with my third due any day. I would highly recommend doing this.

With my second I kept taking my child to daycare. I did it for a few reasons. First, my daughter had my sole attention for 2 years, this was going to be only the time that the new baby was going to get it. Second, I felt it would be easier on my daughter, she was use to going to daycare. It was only going to make it harder to go back after having a break. She did not even realize I was home all day with the baby without her.


Congratulations! We were somewhat in the same boat and I ended up having my 3 year old go to daycare a few days a week. This seemed to work well for all of us! This gave my older son the chance to bond and get to know his brother, but also gave him an "out" so he could play with his friends and have fun without Mom saying "not now, the baby's sleeping" or "not now, the baby's eating."

The few days he went to daycare were nice for me too - I got to give my younger son undivided attention and catch up on some rest! :)

Best of luck to you!

More Answers


First of all, as a daycare provider and mother of three boys, I would like to say that your children will both turn out fine whatever you decide to do.

My suggestion as a daycare provider would be to send your oldest son to daycare at least once a week, just to keep him in the routine of daycare so that it's not so hard to go back when it is time.

As a mother, I would also like to suggest that maybe towards the end of your maternity leave, put your new son into daycare a couple of times, just to spend the day with your oldest son. Remember, that he's been your only one for two years, and just because he has a new younger brother, doesn't mean that he doesn't crave alone time with his mother still. My husband and I believe it so important to get those "dates" in with each child without any other siblings around. They need to know that they each hold a special place in our hearts and in our family.

Best of luck - and enjoy those little boys!!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, some of these responses are awfully harsh! I am rapidly approaching the same situation. I am due in less than 4 weeks, but my daughter is 4 and will be starting 4K. She has been at the same daycare full time (until this last year when Grandma went part-time and offerred to take her one day a week) since she was 4 months old. Her 4K happens to be at her daycare, so she will be staying for the afternoon. Our situation is this--money isn't really an issue, except that I took out the max on our flex spend daycare (not knowing for sure when conception would occur), so if we don't send her at least part-time, we would actually lose money. Aside from this, my husband works out of the home, but it is NOT his own business so my leave is going to be awkward already--we have a ranch home and noise carries. I almost posted the same question, and after reading some resonses and listening to my body language in response to the responses, I have answered my own question. Our daughter will continue to stay at daycare probably 2 afternoons a week, and Grandma will still pick her up on "her" day, leaving 2 days for me to pick her up early for family time. I struggled with the pro's/con's of routine vs family vs my husband's work. I found myself getting really angry reading the responses from women who felt like you would be sending the older child the "wrong message" by not keeping him home with you. I know it's just their opinion (and I have learned the hard way to think twice about posing questions that will have such strong emotional opinions!). Listen to your "gut" and body language as you weigh your options. It sounds to me like you will find a way to continue family time, bond with baby, and still have one on one time with your older son. I did not read all of the responses you received (b/c like I said, I kept getting angry at the way some of them sounded like they were accusing you of neglecting your oldest and leaving him out). So I guess I don't have great insight yet b/c I haven't been there, but I hope I have offerred some positive reinforcement. Re-read the responses, listen to your body language, and go from there. AND remember that as a teacher, you most likely get home "early" enough in the afternoon/evening that you will still have time with the older child! (I hope I'm not assuming too much about teachers, but usually in my experience are done by 3:30 unless they have office hours, coach a team, or supervise a club???) Good Luck! IF you get a chance (I know, I'm nuts!) Let me know what you decide and how it goes! Good Luck and Congrats!

The nice thing for you is since money is not an issue, you can basically have the best of both worlds. Since your daycare only charges you for the days your son would be there, just picks a day or two a week to send him, and on those days you can bond with your new baby boy.

I know you've received a lot of responses already, however, I thought I'd put in my 2 cents :) I am due at the end of October, and my daughter will be 2 when this baby is born. I feel the baby will be enough interruption to her life and I don't need to (or shouldn't) take away her usual routine. She only goes to daycare part-time to begin with, so I plan on continuing with our same daycare schedule even while I'm on maternity leave. She'll have pleanty of time to bond with the new baby, I won't interrupt her usual routine, and I get some "down time" with the new baby :)
If your son is usually at daycare full-time, it may not hurt to have a day or two at home with you while on maternity leave. However, I would try not to interrupt his usual schedule too much as life is already changing so much for him right now. If he gets too used to staying home with you, he may have an even harder time returning to daycare when you go back to work. He may feel at that time that the baby is taking you away even though it's actually work that is taking you away.
Toddlers need consistancy, so no matter what you decide, make sure you try to keep it consistant. Congrats on the new baby!

i would do whatever you feel like doing on a certain day. if one day you got a little less sleep ... send him to day care so that you can get more rest. i wouldnt worry about it, take it day by day, and either way, you will do whats best for all of you anyway, so dont feel too guilty! you could make it an every other day at day care, or just once in a while. just take it day by day and depending on how you feel and all that. ok?! :D dont worry! you and your kids will be fine!

I would definitly keep your 2 yr old home with you at least part of the time. I would also send him to daycare for at least a few hours a few days a week. That gives you time with him and the baby and tim ewith the baby alone. Plus it will give you a little break, which at some point you may want.

I'm about to have baby #3 and will be sending my older children to daycare while I'm on leave. It worked great when we brought home baby #2 because my older daughter (who was 16 months at the time) was able to keep her regular routine and I felt like I was able to have that special time to really devote to my newborn because I loved that time with my first born. This has worked well for my family in the past and also allows for flexibility when you want to have both the boys home with you without having to do it every day. We have an in-home daycare and so the last week of my leave, I also took a day to send the baby so our provider had a chance to get to know him and I kept my older child at home for some quality time before I went back to work. Best of luck to you and your growing family!

Hi A W,
We had the same situation. My older daughter went to daycare 2 days/week. We wanted to keep her on her schedule and she really liked going so we let her go to daycare on those days. It was nice to have so time to bond with my twins without her fighting for attention not to mention I was able to take naps on those days when I put he girls down. If you send your son 5 days maybe while on maternity leave he goes parttime as not to mess up his routine too much. Good luck, congrats on the new baby and enjoy your time.

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