After Maternity Leave..


…one of the most immediate concern for a mom returning to work is “where should I put my infant?”.

There are a lot of choices now and each brings with them a unique experience for your child. It’s not so much a matter of right or wrong, but rather what are your needs, concerns, beliefs and resources available.

1) Grandparents/other relatives –> Not all mothers have the luxury of their parents or in-laws available to help them. But this option certain provides the greatest opportunity for grandparents and child to bond. Cons: Parenting style differences between grandparents & parents of the child may be potential time bombs if communication & practices between both parties are not clear and aligned.

2) Private Baby-sitters –> This is the closest alternative to home-base environment with a personal care for your child, if you find one that meets your needs and requirements. They usually cost between  600SGD – 800SGD per month (day care only) or up to 1000SGD per month (overnight, weekdays). Pros: Most babysitters will be flexible on evening pick-up arrangements and have much experiences with most, if not all common problems for new born to toddlers. Your child also get the best foods freshly & lovingly prepared for them. For a new mum, these experiences can be a wonderful gift of peace and learning. Cons: You don’t get to use your baby bonus for these services and no subsidy. 🙂

3) Solely Infant Care Centers –> Professional (trained) care givers ensure your child will be well fed, clothed and learn as they spend each day at the center. Backed by various claims of early childhood development, your infant gets exposed to music, words and sounds to enhance their learning ability while being in constant interaction with various care givers and other children allow them to develop social skills at an early age. Cons: Infants tend to fall sick more frequently and symptoms then to be more intense as their young bodies are not strong enough to cope with these bugs. While some claim that this enables the child to build up their immunity system earlier, the truth is, being very sick at a very  tender age and the influence of medication can also result in more long term damage and a weakened body constitution.

4) Infant/Child Care learning centers –> Similar to infant cares, but these centers also offer child care and classes for toddlers and children (up to primary school). If you decide to enrol your child into one of these centers, your child will likely be spending the rest of his young growing years there because of the convenient of being able to automatically progress to the older classes. This takes care of your concerns for child care when your child is older, schooling needs (Nursery, Kindergarten) as well as before and after school care needs (when your child enters Primary school). Cons: These centers usually have frequent cases of HFMD (Hand-Foot-Mouth-Disease) due to higher exposure rate from children of various ages. While the infant care area is usually quite separate from the main school attending children, if the center has to close due to an outbreak, you would need to plan for back up child-care or simply take leave to be with your child for the duration of the closure.

Of course, the above is by no-means exhaustive. There are many advantages I could list for each of these options, and other concerns as well. I do have friends who are pro-infant care centers and others who prefer a more conservative approach when choosing who to care for their child.

For my family, we had the blessing of being led to a wonderful babysitter who cared for my son until he was nearly 2 years old. After that, we enrolled him in a child care when we felt he was ready for a more independent interaction in a communal environment. It worked out great for us, as my son was all set and excited for school by day 2 of his going to “school”. We did consider infant cares, but having made out calculations and considered various factors, we felt it was more suitable for our family and more cost-effective to start with a private babysitter, then make adjustments as the needs change.

(Your child may be ready for “school” environment a different age, so do make your own observation of your child and your “gut-feel” as a parent.) Till today, we still keep in touch with the babysitter and have regular visiting sessions when my son gets to spend the day with the sitter and her family (without us).

No matter which you choose, be confident that your child knows of your love and desires for his/her best interest. Having considered the available options, your child’s and your family needs and limitations, may you have the peace within your heart to take the next step ahead. 🙂

(This post was triggered by a few friends who have been seeking guidance in their decision making as they journey to be new parents, and for the readers at MumCenter.  May you be blessed!)

Blog Source: Essentially Me


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