A new baby can be life-changing, and while you want to spend every waking moment with them, a full-time job and other responsibilities don’t always make that possible. Many parents turn to child care as a solution. It’s a significant transition, and you’ll want to prepare yourself and your child for the first day. Here’s some advice to ensure the best outcome.
How to Prepare an Infant for Their First Day of Child Care
1. Transition to Bottle-Feeding
If you’re breastfeeding your child, you’ll need to transition to bottle-feeding. Start by introducing a bottle an hour after they’ve breastfed. They’ll be relaxed and may be more willing to accept it.
You’ll need to try different bottle sizes and nipple styles and will need to pay attention to your baby’s body language and expressions to tell if they’re uncomfortable. Take small breaks as needed, and continue this routine in the weeks leading up to their first day.
2. Change the Sleep Setup
Babies need to sleep, but if they’re only used to sleeping in your arms or at your side, it’s going to be difficult while you’re away. Instead, use a crib, which is the standard sleeping setup at a child care center.
Purchase a comfortable, infant-safe mattress and crib frame. Keep the room dark and cool, and use a white noise machine to mimic the ambient noise in the womb.
If your baby cries, place a hand on their stomach and quietly sing to calm them down. Avoid the temptation to pick them up and move to a chair. This process will take some time, so start weeks before their first day.
3. Take Extended Breaks
You’ll have to get used to not being with one another, so start taking extended breaks. Have your spouse spend the night with them, or return to half-days at work if allowed. It can be heart-breaking at first, but know that independence is important for the baby and that you’ll both eventually adjust.
4. Create a Calming Morning Routine
Your baby is going to fare better if they’re calm when they arrive at the child care center. Start with a relaxing morning at home. Be as quiet as possible when waking, feeding, and dressing them.
Leave well in advance so that there isn’t a rush to get to the child care center, and consider staying off major roads to avoid noise. The transition will be much easier if you’re both relaxed.
If you’re looking for a reputable child care center in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, contact A Rising Star Children’s Center. These professionals have welcomed infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children for over 13 years. Owners Gloria Foster-Vayda and Tom Vayda have over 40 years of combined child care experience and offer enriching early childhood learning programs and infant and toddler care. Call (914) 862-4283 to schedule a tour, or visit their website to learn more about their programs.