Have to Put 6 Month Old Daughter in Daycare

Updated on August 11, 2008
A.L. asks from South Lake Tahoe, CA
7 answers

My daughter will be 6 months in November when I will go back to work, I'm sad to say that my only option is to put DD in daycare for 1, maybe 2, days a week. Has anyone else had to do this, any suggestions as to how to make the transition smooth/easy for her, she'll be so young? I'm hoping it won't bother her as much as it is me, but if anyone has any tips on how to help her to be happy with the change, I would greatly appreciate it. And I do breastfeed so I will be stopping in to feed her 2-3 times a day (may give one expressed bottle). Thank you so much for your response!

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answers from Salinas on

Hi A..

Our son is 18 months and we just started dc this past week. I started the search back in January and was able to find a wonderful in-home dc. From May until the week before he started, we did 1-2x/month play visits. I truly believe this helped my son and I transition. The dc, caregivers, and other children were not unfamilar when the start day finally came. I wasn't just dropping him off at a strangers home with people he didn't know. I recognize our children our different in ages, yet exposure before a start date is indeed a positive thing if one is able to do so.

I also started with 1/2 days for the first 2 days, then transitioned to full days the rest of his first week. We are going into week two this upcoming week. Our son has done fantastic! He is enjoying his new friends and caregivers. They run their dc like a preschool so not only do the children play, but have structered learning and creativity time. They indeed have a daily routine which is critical in my opinion.

I cried the first day as I left and our son did not : ) I do believe oftentimes this experience is much more difficult on the parent than child. I also believe in quick drop-offs and be sure to kiss your child and say goodbye...once they are preoccupied with play, then leave. You want your child to know that you will return. Our providers are very good at this. They ensure our children are at play when parents leave. The one thing we don't want to do is sneak out. My son has yet to cry upon my departure and well, has not cried once in my absence. He may wimper here and there with new routines, but the reports have overall been great regarding play, diaper changes, meal time, etc. This has made the transition so much easier. Granted, he may have some bad days along the way, but this is to be expected. Just like home.

I suggest start looking now, do careful interviews, use the dc checklist, call the social department, etc. You want to ensure a good fit for everyone. I have been lucky to have stayed home this long with our son. We are a military family and will be moving again next year so believe me, I know the angst you are feeling for I will have to go thru this again every time we move once I start work again, but you will get thru this. Just be smart about your choice and remain involved with your child's care. I typed up an information page about my son, from communication to diet to hygiene, etc. I wanted the providers to learn about my son and well, work with me in taking good care of our son.

So far so good with our choice. I am teaching, so I will have flexibility in the hours in picking up our son. You all will do fine, just know this is a difficult time with lots of different emotions running, but with the right dc and your child's happiness, you will be A-OK : ) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

I took my daughter to daycare everyday at 6 months and it was a lot harder on me. She was fine and still today doesn't cry when she goes. She loves her daycare lady and playing with the other kids. She was too young to have the stranger anxiety yet. A lady watches her at her home with a couple kids, and I felt that it was a lot better then a commercial daycare with 12+ babies. Have you already found a daycare. You may be able to find a stay at home mom that you trust that wants to make a little extra money. It is hard to find part-time daycare I have heard. I am considering going part-time next year, so I have been thinking about what to do also. I also stopped breastfeeding at 4 months, because I new I didn't want to pump at work. I'm not positive but stopping in to feed her may cause more stress, because you are leaving her over and over again throughout the day. When she gets a little older she will probably cry everytime you leave, but usually they stop within minutes.

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answers from Modesto on

A., I know it is a very hard transition, probably mostly on you, it was very difficult for me. I am a mother of four and my kids have all (for the most part) been in daycare. I have had good experiences and bad..... let me tell you with daycares, you always, always, always have to go with your instinct about if the daycare seems to be working for you and any suspisions, take your daughter out immediately. I am not trying to scare you, but, I have had some bad experiences. A lot of people say "home daycares are where it's at" well, honestly, I had much better experiences with some of the other ones because there were always lots of people around and they had a lot more routine and followed stricter schedules and procedures. They have some good Christian daycares out there.... I would just be very careful on who you choose, I don't want to sound pessimistic but, I have had lots of experience w/ daycares and you really should feel comfortable with who you go with. I know there are good home-daycares but, pay good attention when your there to what is going on, do the kids seem to be happy, just check things out--- observe and always go when there are kids there. Good luck and God bless. C. R



answers from San Francisco on

Hello A.,

I had to put my boy in daycare at 5 months and he adjusted quite well. In fact, he loved having playmates and seeing older kids everyday (he was the youngest at the time). I feel the daycare experience has really helped him develop his social and motor skills. Prior to starting, I had visited many times to meet the teachers and other kids. We communicated often via phone and email with the daycare providers. Be sure to voice all your concerns and questions ahead of time, esp. concerning feedings, playtime, and napping.

It's a small, family daycare inside a house that's 3 blocks from the school where I teach 2nd grade. Though I was nearby, I chose not to "drop in" for feedings, mostly because I wanted my son to take a bottle from others and I didn't want to interrupt his day. Check the policies about parent drop ins. They had structured music, tummy time, story, etc. and I was super busy at work anyway. The first few days, I only had him do a few hours and we progressed slowly to full-day. I pumped my milk like crazy, middle of the night (when the milk is plentiful), mornings after feedings, and about 2-3 times during my workday. I had lots of milk bags ready to give to the daycare. I am still breastfeeding at 8 months, though it's less now due to solid feeding.

It will be difficult and there will be tears. I cried my first few weeks going back to work. I thought about my baby all the time and counted the hours until I could go pick him up and see his face. Be strong and best wishes. Your daughter will be okay! You'll be okay too!



answers from Sacramento on

My son was only 6 weeks old when I had to go back to work. It was much harder on me than it was on him. I pumped twice a day at work and was able to continue to breastfeed until just over 10 months, when my production started to slow way down. To make myself comfortable leaving him with a stranger, once we picked our daycare, I went there a few time a week for the few weeks prior to my return to work date just for a couple of hours each time. Mostly I wanted to observe her with my son and make sure things were being handled appropriately. I also wanted to make sure he wasn't going to be crying all day in her care. He did great. Doing this will also help to make the faces there more familiar and less scary. He really loved daycare. When I started staying home after the birth of my daughter when he was 2, he was sad to not go there anymore. The most important thing is for you to be comfortable in your decision. Your daughter will feed off your anxiety, so if you are breaking down when you drop her off, chances are she will too. I had to have daddy drop him off those first few weeks because I knew I wouldn't be able to handle it without crying. I also knew she wouldn't get angry when I felt the need to call several times those first few days to check in. She was very good and patient with me while I dealt with the difficult transition. You'll find that babies are very resilient and will quickly adjust to their new schedules/caregivers. It is really the parent that has the hard time with this. I agree with the previous post though that it may be harder on her if you come and go throughout the day, not so much at 6 months, but when she gets a little older, it will be confusing to her to have you popping in and out like that. Good luck.



answers from San Francisco on

My daughter started daycare at 5 months and she loves it. Honestly that first day was harder on me than her. Things we did to ease the transition were to make sure she had her favorite bear and blanket with her and to let her know that her provider is a safe trusted person. I did this by greeting Susan (our daycare provider) with a hug when ever I show up (I told Sue I was going to do this so she wouldn’t think I was crazy.) My daughter saw that I trusted Susan and treat her like family and I truly believe that she picked up on that. Now my daughter is 10 months old. She has friends and is very social. I really feel like spending all that time around other kids has been a big part of her development.



answers from Sacramento on

HI A.,
I had to put my son 2 days a week in daycare when he was 4 months old. As a first time mom also, i was really upset about it, becuase you want the best person to take care of your little one. I agree with the one gal who says go with your instincts about whom you choose. You want a good fit for both parties. Since you only need 1 or 2 days, it will be harder on you than your daughter. I fortuanetly had a small in home daycare watch my son, and it was the best thing I did for him. He is now 2.5 yrs old and loves going to daycare and loves his friends. On weekends he talks about his friends and wants to play with them. I found that a small in home setting worked best for me, so that my baby at the time got more attention. The daycare provider should completely understand your situation and feel free for you to come by anytime...most of all you have to feel good about the provider also. Just research, visit and go with your gut!! I am glad i did, because I have a great friend now, and my son is sure happy!

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