Every new mother faces a tough decision when her maternity leave from work is soon ending -- should you continue to stay home and care for your child longer or find a good infant child care center? While this decision is tough to begin with (what mother doesn't want to spend more time with their little one?), it can feel even more difficult if you have heard a lot of negative things about daycare centers. While no two daycare centers are alike, read on to learn the truth behind three misconceptions about daycare programs and how sending your infant to child care early can actually be extremely beneficial to their health and development.
Catching a Cold or Virus in Daycare Is Detrimental to Your Child's Health
While all licensed daycare centers in the United States are held to strict cleanliness standards set by the US government, it is, of course, possible for your child to catch a cold or two from their classmates in a daycare center. Harmless viruses can spread in any group setting, including workplaces, schools, and even at family get-togethers.
However, when a child encounters germs and viruses of various types when they are young, it is actually very beneficial to their health and helps them build a strong, healthy immune system. Various medical professionals strongly believe that the reason autoimmune diseases are becoming so common in the United States is that parents are shielding young children from too many germs, which interferes with immune system development.
Sending your child to daycare early can actually make them more resistant to illness later in life. However, in most daycare centers, children are separated by age throughout the facility, so if your child is an infant, they will only encounter other infants at daycare whose parents are taking care to keep in great health. This means that you don't have to worry about your infant catching colds from older children.
You Will Have to Stop Breastfeeding When Your Infant Begins Daycare
Women choose to breastfeed their babies for various reasons, but many choose to do so due to the numerous breastfeeding health benefits that have been discovered during recent years. Of course, if you begin sending your infant to daycare soon, you will have to switch them over to formula that the staff can prepare for them at the daycare facility, right? This is a common misconception, and infant daycare centers are happy to feed your baby breast milk that you pump at home and drop off at the facility when you drop off your child.
Studies show that freshly pumped breast milk is just as great for your baby's health as it is when you breastfeed your child directly. However, freezing it can destroy some of the protective antibodies in it, so try to pump on a regular schedule to be sure you can send a relatively fresh batch of breast milk (such as milk pumped during the prior day) with your baby when you drop them off at daycare.
Your Infant Will Just Lie Down at Daycare When Not Being Fed or Changed
While you may understand how being in a daycare center can help toddlers and children develop great social skills, learn to play well with others, and get a head-start on learning skills that other children may not develop until they enter kindergarten, such as reading and writing, you may not understand how childcare center programs benefit infants. It is a common misconception that infants at daycare centers are only given attention when they are being fed or changed.
Daycare centers offer many stimulating activities for infants that help engage all five of their senses, and babies get a head-start on social development just by interacting with their caregivers. For example, your baby can begin to understand different facial expressions and what they mean when they see so many people at the center making various ones all day. Their caregiver will also encourage development of their vocal skills by speaking to them and mimicking the sounds your child makes.
Tummy time is also an important daycare center activity for infants, and it begins with placing your infant on a soft blanket on the floor. Your child will begin to build muscle strength in their neck and shoulders as they pick their head up to look around and soon begin experimenting with movement of other body parts, which can help them build the strength they need to eventually crawl, and then finally take those first steps one day.
If you are a new mother and your maternity leave will soon be ending, then you may feel like you are facing a very difficult decision between staying at home with your child longer and sending them to a daycare center. When making your decision, be sure to keep only the daycare center facts in mind and not any misconceptions so you can make the right decision for both you and your infant.
Visit a site like http://www.learningtreeatoz.com to learn more about child care options for infants and young children.