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I'm just wondering what people's experience has been with putting a very young child in daycare. The way things are shaping up for DH and I, we might only have 5 or 6 months of provincially paid mat leave, after which, I'll *have* to go back to work, as a temp or a teacher or...anything. I'm just thinking about the impact this will have on my baby in terms of development, attachment (not to mention the guilt I'm going to feel about having to separate from him/her so early).<br><br>
Anyone have feedback on this issue?
 

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I had to start my DD in (home) daycare at 6 weeks old. I had no choice. She's been away from me for 6 or so hours a day on weekdays since then. She is very, very attached to me, and we have a wonderful relationship, so I don't think she has any issues due to starting daycare early.<br><br>
My new baby has been in daycare since he was 7 weeks old, but the daycare is just downstairs from my office, and I nurse him on demand all day, so I don't think that's comparable.
 

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My eldest went into daycare at about 8 mos and dd went in at 13 mos but initially only pt.. now she is ft.<br><br>
Shay
 

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My oldest started at a daycare center at 7 weeks. He promptly got RSV and we moved him to an in home sitter.<br><br>
My youngest started with a sitter at 6 weeks.<br><br>
Not my ideal situation but I didn't really have a choice.
 

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Ah yes, the US is barbaric in regards to maternal leave, especially paid leave. We have no gov't paid leave and the Family and Medical Leave Act applies only in certain circumstances and does not provide pay.<br><br>
DD went into ft daycare at 12 weeks. She is now 29 months and some days she wants to stay home with mommy and some days mommy wants to stay home with her.<br><br>
Children are amazingly adaptable.
 

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My DS was ten weeks old when he started going to a center. He is there about 20 hours a week. I think it was harder for me than for him. It kills me to be apart from him. If I could have had a longer maternity leave, I think this would have been an easier transition.
 

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DS started daycare at 6 months-- they take them at 3 months, but I had a (by US standards) luxurious 6-month maternity leave. There are plenty of younger babies there though, and they seem happy.
 

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DD started FT at 8 weeks for a month until I finished my residency and then she went down to 2-3 days (it has varied as my offices needs have varied) since then - she is 5.5 now and in half day K and goes to DC 2 days a week after K<br><br>
DS1 started 2 days a week at 6 weeks old. I know this is just thinking this to make me feel better, but he was a very sleepy and content baby, so he slept most of the day at DC anyway - and the teacher in the room loved to have one to snuggle.<br><br>
DS2 started 2 days a week at 8 weeks as well. He is a less sleepy child and more needy than his brother was, but it worked out well just the same.
 

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we are putting dd into care at 5.5-6.5 mos. probably moe like 6. i'm <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: abt it but $ is dictating it. by us standards you've got a long leave.
 

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I used to work in daycare, and started my son in daycare at almost 6 months and I think for a lot of good reasons that's actually a pretty good age to start (at least compared to other ages under 1)<br><br>
A tiny infant can be hard to manage in daycare -- they're "programmed to want to be held all the time. I remember when we had infants under 3 months one teacher was basically holding them almost the whole time but there were still times when they basically had to be put down to cry for a few moments because one teacher is changing a diaper (regulations prohibit holding one child while you change another) or something happened with another child that required immediate attention (e.g. we had a policy of never letting kids cry in cribs, or really be awake in cribs at all so if another baby woke up we'd have to put the tiny one down to get the other one out).<br><br>
A six month old, on the other hand, can sit with support, and maybe even without. They can use their hands to hold and manipulate things -- so a lot of the time they're pretty content to sit or lie on their bellies and play. I remember in DS's daycare class they'd often sit the non-crawling babies in a little circle with boppies or something behind them if they fell back, and a teacher would sit with them and play with them. When I did daycare the six months olds were very happy to sit 2 or 3 on a teacher's lap and look at a book, or to sit in a highchair for a few minutes while you blew bubbles for them, or to go for a walk in the triplet stroller. None of those things worked for the little guys who wanted 1:1 attention.<br><br>
After about 8 months you're dealing with separation anxiety which can be really hard, so another advantage of six months is you'll get them used to their loving caregiver BEFORE separation anxiety hits. When it does hit, it won't be as intense because they'll know the person they're being left with and because they won't pick up on your anxiety to the same degree because you'll already know and trust the person/people.<br><br>
All this doesn't mean it won't be hard for you to put your child in daycare so young, but it might be easier for you child than you imagine.
 

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I had to go back to work when DS was 12 weeks, but I was able to manage to get his grandmas to cover the entire next month, so we both had an easier transition before he entered a licensed home daycare at 4 months of age.<br><br>
I am eternally grateful for having had the opportunity to do it that way - it really helped ease me back into the workforce, knowing he was safe in our own home with one of his grandmas. Not having to get him up and dressed and out the door for that first month helped too!
 

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We're hoping we'll be able to hold out until 3 months, but that's a long shot. It looks likely that this little one will be in FT daycare at 9 weeks. The question "How early would you put your child in daycare" doesn't really apply -- the choice isn't mine, it's my employers. And it sucks. But I don't think that children will suffer irreparable developmental or attachment problems from being cared for by someone who cares about them but isn't their biological relation.
 

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I went back when DD was 10 weeks, and then spread the last two weeks of my maternity out so I had four day weeks for another month.<br><br>
If you have excellent daycare, that you feel good about, it will help tremendously. My daycare is great, and they took such good care of my little girl when she was so tiny. She was held alot and even at that teeny tiny age she seemed to really enjoy the stimulation of the center--she loved when other kids would come in the room and the new people, etc...she's a very social little gal.<br><br>
If I hadn't been okay with my daycare, I wouldn't have been able to do it.<br><br>
Also, we are very attached--she to me and me to she! Her needs were met, and we were on a consistent schedule with daycare and imho, that helped. Our bond is special, and I cultivate it, intentionally, every day. We don't have a ton of family support, and honestly, daycare has been so incredibly helpful to our family--they've really become our community and I feel very greatful to her center for giving us the peace of mind that we have.
 

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DS went into daycare 2 days a week, and was with my MIL one day a week starting at age 14 weeks. There was really no way around it. I don't think we are any less attached, as he is a total snuggle bunny. I know he also gets lots of hugs from his teachers and from MIL (in a lot of ways, MIL is a WORSE caregiver, but that's another rant). My only regret is that the days he is in care are very very LONG... from 7 am to 5 pm - also unavoidable due to my and DH's commute. We are trying to figure out how to minimize it, but even staggering our commute a bit won't really make a difference and we only have so much flexibility. Good luck in figuring this out - it's a really tough thing to do, but in the end I really think it is harder on us than it is on them.
 

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I've seen a ton of ranges - my best friends two little ones started daycare at ten days, and two weeks respectively. Even though we're in Canada, and have decent mat leave, we're nursing students and she wasn't able to take any time off.<br><br>
It'll sound cliched, and obviously this is just her experience - but I've never seen two happier, easier-going, super attached kiddoes.<br><br>
This time around, I'll either be taking nine months *or* twenty months off. I'm going to wait and see how I'm feeling next August when I have to decide whether or not to return for my final year of my degree.<br><br>
It's a tough decision, but sometimes it's not even a decision, kwim? It's just what you have to do.
 

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My lo started daycare at 12 weeks when my maternity leave ended. It was gut wrenching to leave him (esp. the first 2 days), but he has actually adjusted really well. Like a PP said, infants are incredibly adaptable. One good thing about starting an infant sooner, rather than later, is that most tiny babies aren't really attached to mama yet and will easily allow other to meet their needs. One bad thing about starting early is (as another PP said), there are definitely times when DS has to cry at daycare and cannot be held/picked up immediately (because the caregivers are diaper changing/feeding/holding other babes). I hate that part of it, but I just have to trust that the daycare workers will get to him as soon as they can.
 

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I prefer waiting until they can sit up at least and play with toys on their own. I put my first in at 2 years. The second at 7 months. The 7 month old worked out great. It was an in home sitter where 2 mothers were there. The older kids loved to play with her. She had tons of attention.
 

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Our son entered daycare at 12 weeks. After the intial shock wore off, I was delighted to see him with 3 other babies his age. They seemed to enjoy each others company. The absolutely excellent provider made a huge difference in my comfort and guilt-levels. In our situation, daycare time was the only interaction my son had with other little ones. Developmentally, he thrived but than again, the provider in charge of the infants had a lot to do with that.
 

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I'm going to have to put my L.O. in daycare when he is 10 weeks old. I have no choice-I have to work. I'm currently looking for a small in home center-where the provider can provide alot of attention. When he is older (like a year old) I'll be OK with him going to a center where he can be around other other toddlers.
 
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