Day Care Decisions
I clearly remember the day I brought my daughter for her first day of day care. She was constantly in my arms for her first year and I was still nursing her so the separation was difficult for both of us. I had barely driven out of sight of the babysitter’s house when I instinctively looked in the rear view mirror and glanced at her empty car seat. Then I dissolved into tears. Luckily my office was full of mothers and mothers-to-be in all stages of hormonal bliss/misery so I had plenty of support and encouragement. After that first difficult day, we all eventually settled into a routine.
You may be a parent that very much wants to stay home with your refluxer until things have calmed down. Your boss, spouse and others may voice their opinions, adding to your confusion. You might feel a need to stay with your baby a bit longer until she is settled and feeling better. You might be too overwhelmed and exhausted from a day at home. It can be hard to imagine getting up, dressed and out the door with any degree of success before noon!
You may even have a date to return to work that was predetermined (before you knew that reflux was going to affect your little one so much). As the date gets closer and closer, worry and frustration may set in. You may want your baby to meet certain milestones such as taking a predictable nap or sleeping through the night. You may also want to get more control over the reflux so your day care provider isn’t covered in spit up from head to toe. You may beg the doctor for a medication or treatment to stop the vomit or get her to sleep through the night in time for your re entry into the workforce. Unfortunately, your baby may not be able to meet your deadline, leading to even more frustration and worry.
There are so many work options for parent today. Perhaps it is possible to share a job with another parent or work from home part or all of the time. If finances allow, it might be possible to delay returning to work for weeks or even months until the reflux is under control. It may be worthwhile to see if you can work fewer hours each day (6 hours instead of 8 hours) or fewer days per week (take one day off per week).
Some moms must return to work by a certain date to retain their position or to continue health care benefits. With mounting medical bills and prescription costs, you certainly cannot make due without insurance now.
Probably all moms have similar worries about day care, especially about safety and supervision. It is common to hear a range of stories from, “My husband is a stay at home dad.” (Lucky!) to the rare but memorable news story about the day care provider that harmed the baby.
The good news is that reflux is so common that most child care providers are very familiar with the condition. Day care providers are usually mothers so they have the same hard wiring and innate skill that you have to connect with your baby, comfort her and make good decisions. You may need to spend more time than the average parent searching for day care and finding a good match. Once you find a competent child care provider, you may need to take extra steps to nurture her and acknowledging the hard work she does day after day. She may also need some guidance on following the home care plan and doctors orders. In the end, you will probably see her as a member of Team Reflux: providing you and your child with a positive experience.