My baby is starting daycare tomorrow. Not full-time yet – the next three days are transition days:
Day 1. We go and spend an hour there, together.
Day 2. We go and spend 15 minutes there together, then I leave him alone for 45 minutes
Day 3. I leave him there for an hour.
Day 4. Start daycare, full-time.
That is what they have found works best.
Today we went to visit my dear friend who recently gave birth. As we were spending our whole day there, Timothy had to take a nap there, too. We put together a playpen upstairs and when Timothy was clearly ready for a nap, I brought and left him there. He cried. And cried. And cried. No amount of coming back in, shooshing, singing, and patting helped.
Was it because I just dumped him in an unfamiliar room, in an unfamiliar playpen?
I went back, took him out of the playpen, spent about 5 minutes showing him all the decals and toys and prints in the room. After that I put him in the playpen again; he still cried when I left, but just for a few seconds.
Now that got me thinking. Yes, he is fine when we go to drop-ins and playdates. He crawls around, interacts with others, plays – never even searching for me. But what will happen once in daycare, when it’s meal time and I am not there? Okay, maybe he will be sufficiently distracted by food. But what will happen when it’s nap time and I am not around to give him a hug and a kiss, and it’s an unfamiliar crib in an unfamiliar room? And less than perfect sleeping conditions – other babies, light, etc.?