I posted this as a series on my Facebook Page.
The best time to start thinking about who will help with baby after baby arrives is when you are pregnant. Take time to talk with your family, friends, and other moms you meet to get ideas for the best situation that will suit your new family. What works for one family may not be the best fit for another. Will you return to work? Full-time or Part-time? Will you stay at home? Will you work from home?
By your 6th month of pregnancy, narrow down your options for baby care/assistance. There may even be a waiting list for your choice, so keep that in mind. This may apply to established centers, as well as someone helping in your home with baby. A referral is usually your best bet (although some families are not as willing to reveal their sources over concern of losing their current great arrangement!). Make sure to choose someone who has experience with babies. A baby & a child are different fields.
“I’ll be staying home with baby. Should I still consider assistance within the home?” YES! Whether this assistance comes in the form of family members or friends or another community of Moms, it is important to remember that “it takes a village to raise a child”. Scheduling options could include: a few hours every day or a couple of times a week, just so you can have some time to yourself & get recharged. Think outside the box. This could even be a mixture of grandparents helping you 1 or 2 days a week, a friend, & maybe 1 day with a hired professional with baby experience.
“I’ll be returning to work. Where should I start looking?” Questions to ask yourself to narrow down the decision: Do you want someone to come to your home? Do you want baby in a home-day care environment? Will you take baby to a large day care center? These are important questions. Feel free to ask me about your concerns.
“So where do I start? How do I trust someone with my baby?” We began with advice of asking your friends & family & other moms for referrals. Talk to the nursery department at your church or synagogue. Ask Thee Baby Lady. Either I can assist or connect you on a path that will open up your options.
“I have older children, and now a baby too.” Well, hopefully your current plan can accommodate your baby too. This is also a good time to add more helpers to your “pool”. Sometimes a back-up, or 2, or 3 are needed to provide coverage for your growing family.
“My baby/child is sick & I have to work. What now?” Are you in Pinellas? Rainbow Recovery is a hospital-based, sick-child care program sponsored by Morton Plant Mease Health Care. The program is for children, ages 3 months to 14 years, who are too ill to attend regular daycare or school, and is open to Morton Plant Mease team members and the public. If you work, it is a good idea to get “pre-registered” with them so if baby ever gets sick, you have another option. Read about the requirements here: http://www.mortonplant.com/body.cfm?id=1138 Check in your community to see if there is a program like this one.