Hey everyone...my DD is 6 mths old right now and I am scheduled to return to work just after she turns 1 year. My husband and I have separated, so I am now thinking I would like to take an unpaid leave of absence at the end of my maternity leave so I can sort out some details, and so that I can spend more time with my DD. I feel like it would be better for her to adjust to me going back to work if she is a little older...but I am wondering if taking a 3 mth leave of absence would be enough or if a 6 mth one would be more beneficial. Obviously financially it would be harder for the longer one, but I am curious to know what 15 mth old little ones are doing developmentally, and whether there is a HUGE difference between 15-18 mths.
the only thing i can think of offhand is that mine is way more possessive of toys, belongings, etc...at 18 months than at 15. for that i would think 15 months would be a better time to transition to daycare to get used to being around other toddlers before the full-on grabiness starts.
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For my DS it seems like every month there is a huge difference - they just develop in different ways, but learning so much. By 18 mo he was very verbal and loved learning his ABCs. My DS started DC at 14 months and did well - just know that when they start DC, they tend to get more colds. After 3 days in DC he had a cold and out for 2 days (looking back, he could have stayed in DC with a cold, but I kept him home). He then had 6 rounds of ear infections - it almost seemed like he was out of DC more than he was in DC the first 6 or so months. BUT..whether you start at 14 months or 24 months - they are going to get colds. If anythiing, I wouldn't use up all your time off in case you LO gets sick (or have a back up babysitter)
15mos he was still a baby... By 18mos he had become a little person!! Much more verbal, much more physically capable, ate better, etc. -- just all around more developed and more solidly 'toddler' than 'baby'. I would say that age range was the biggest jump I've seen in DS's 2.25 years.
Is this something you have to decide right now? Because a lot will depend on your kid. DS would never have tolerated daycare at 15mos (though he has some issues that I don't think other kids seem to have so our situation may have been unusual) but *maybe* would have done better at 18mos. But I know other kids would have resisted more at 18mos. Also, 18mos seemed to be a big age for sleep regression & emotional issues -- probably due to such rapid development -- based on my DS and other MDC mama's reports, at least! So not only might it be harder for her, but probably for you as well, trying to get back into the working world at a time when you're getting way too little sleep & your DD might be having trouble...
I guess that, if you have to decide now, unless your DD shows extreme clinginess or something (was evident in my DS well before 6mos) then I'd think 15mos would likely be an easier age to transition. But, also be prepared for how tough it will be for you to miss a lot of that stage of growing & changing so quickly! What a tough decision...
My LO is 18 months now, and honestly not that different from 15 months. The big difference is she's more independent minded--playing her own games longer, wanting more physical autonomy, etc. She also understands sequences of things better and is willing to wait longer for what she wants when she can see I'm moving toward it. She's more into books now, but still prefers nonverbal communication or mimicking relevant sounds to using words.
My belief is that the more time baby can spend with mom during these formative years, the better. So I would opt to take the six month extension (making baby 18 months when you return to work). My son has made many changes in growth and development these last 3 months (he is 18 months now). He would likely be better off now than earlier if I had to go back to work. He's just more secure and confident as time goes by and we build that foundation.
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