The other night I was talking with Brittany on twitter about daycare and she asked me if I had done a post about my feelings about Hunters daycare and I haven't so I decided now would be a good time.
Hunter has now been in daycare for 6 months, ever since he was 6 weeks old. It wasn't my preference to send my 6 week old to daycare but unfortunately that's all the time I had for maternity leave. Since I work for a very small company it's difficult to have any of us to be out for an extended period of time. And due to finances staying home with him just wasn't/isn't an option right now.
At first I hated it, not because there was anything wrong with the daycare, I just hated leaving my squishy little newborn with someone else. The first day I cried all the way to work. Each day it got progressively easier but even now I still have days when it's incredibly hard to leave and I spend the day counting the minutes until I get home to see him. It's tough but I'm glad he's there.
Both Kristian and I really do love his daycare and all of his teachers. I typically drop off in the mornings and Kristian will pick up so we both get ample opportunities to see the facilities and talk to the teachers and see how he's doing. Since Kristian doesn't have a set schedule he doesn't always pick him up at the exact same time everyday which I like. I like the fact that he will just pop in and get to see what's really going on. Usually Hunter is playing or being held (though not as much now since he just wants to explore everything). Sometimes he's still napping or getting his bottle. Kristian has never once been concerned about how Hunter is being treated when he's picked him up.
When I drop him off in the mornings both his teacher and the teacher in the adjoining toddler room will fight over who gets to hold him first or who can make him smile the biggest. They all seem to really love him there and I love that. Hunter also loves daycare and his teachers. When I carry his carseat inside every morning as soon as I sit it down he's anxiously trying to get out of it because he's excited. Everytime someone says hello to him he smiles. And as soon as he's down on the ground he's crawling around getting into all the toys.
Everyday we get his little report noting what he did, when he slept, ate and pooped. I've used this sheet to help me figure out a good nap and eating schedule on the weekends because I want to keep things consistent.
He's done a few art projects which include finger painting and playing with non dairy cool whip and chocolate. He has a ridiculous amount of toys to choose from, other babies to interact with and plenty of baby proofed areas to explore.
Another benefit of having him in daycare is that I've learned a lot from his teachers as well. When he was having skin issues his teacher would recommend different lotions to try, when he had a bad diaper rash she recommended a different butt cream. They've offered tips and tricks to help him sleep and other activities to do with him at home. As a first time mother I really like having that extra set of eyes so to speak since I basically am flying by the seat of my pants here.
Now, this isn't to say that he wouldn't thrive just as well if he were home with me everyday or to knock stay at home mothers. But after seeing how much he's benefitting from being there I think even if I had the ability to stay home with him I would want to send him at least a couple days a week so that he could still get all the benefits of socializing with other children and adults. Not to mention the much needed break that I would need from time to time.
So despite the fact that I desperately wish I could spend more time with Hunter during the day, if I can't be with him all day long I'm very happy with where he is and who is taking care of them. I know that those women adore Hunter and take great care of him and he's happy and that's what is most important to me.