The Sickly Truth About Daycare

First of all, I want to start off by saying I am not opposed to the idea of sending a child to daycare. My son went to a very reputable facility from weeks 12 to 21 of his life. I was a working mom and really didn’t have a choice (family lived too far away and staying home wasn’t an option). During those nine weeks, my little guy had a constant cold in addition to contracting a skin rash, pink eye and two ear infections. My pediatrician’s office felt like my second home! Thank goodness I breast fed him, I couldn’t imagine how sick he may have been without receiving my antibodies!

As previously mentioned, my son had a continuous cold that he just couldn’t shake. I remember driving to daycare and every single time he’d sneeze, I’d have to pull over and wipe his nose (otherwise, he was a gooey mess when we arrived). Over time, I became a pro at wiping while driving! I specifically asked the care takers to please wipe his nose if they heard him sneeze because of the snot log that would shoot out. On two occasions when I picked him up, there was dried crust all over his face so I knew he had laid in it. I was beyond furious of course, but always received excuse after excuse.

Don’t get me wrong, the care takers were wonderful people that I grew very close to. I cannot even imagine taking care of 7 or 8 infants at one time (shoot me now). I’m sure it would be tough to pinpoint which infant sneezed and run to the rescue with a kleenex, especially since there was a pretty strict schedule to follow.

The pink eye epidemic is what set me over the edge. I remember dropping my son off one morning and hearing the care takers converse with a dad about his daughter’s eyes. They were mentioning mucus and that he may need to take her to the doctor. Why not send her home right then and there if you think it’s a possibility? Instead, she stayed and infected several of the babies, including my son.

I spoke with the daycare director to inquire about cleanliness. I wanted to know how frequently toys were wiped down after a sick baby chewed on them, hands were washed, etc. I was told the care providers did their best to wipe down toys when a sick child played with them, but it was impossible every single time. Also, I was informed that a baby would have his or her hands wiped at each diaper change, which I knew was not true since I frequently witnessed diaper changes and did not see this happening.

The bottom line is, no one can take care of your baby the way that you can. I am also very aware that a baby cannot live in a bubble either. There are pro’s and con’s for sending children to daycare (building up their immune system, socialization, trained staff providing care, etc.). For those who have family members that help with your children, you are very blessed!

My son was 21 weeks old when I was laid-off. He went back to daycare only on two occasions when I had interviews (and literally, only for a maximum of 2 hours each time), and wouldn’t you know he got an ear infection? It killed me to see him sick again and this was one of the main reasons my husband and I decided I was going to be a stay at home mom (SAHM). He is now almost 13 months old and hasn’t been sick since being pulled out of daycare!

What type of childcare do you use? Do you have experience with daycare? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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3 Thoughts to “The Sickly Truth About Daycare”

  1. That is definitely the downfall in my eyes of daycare. Fortunately we have an amazing daycare that is part of the hospital my husband works for. They have strict rules about sickness and are always cleaning. Still doesn’t stop everything though. We’ve had a fairly constant runny nose the last few months, although it doesn’t seem to bother Kiel (18 months now). He did have a nasty GI bug earlier this year, which probably came from daycare too. Yes, thank goodness for breast feeding.

    I will say though, that my older son who had his share of colds etc. during his first two years of daycare wasn’t sick at all after that. Now in kindergarten he’s been sick twice. New school, new germs I guess. Other kids in his class that didn’t go to daycare have been sick many times though.

    When I talked to our ped. about it a few years ago, b/c I was feeling the guilt, he basically said “they get sick now, or they get sick when they are in school, at least now they aren’t missing school.”

    Like all decisions though, it really depends on your kid and your situation.

    We are so lucky to have an amazing daycare that offers our kids so much. And both my boys loved/love it. Sadly I know many families that haven’t been able to find a daycare that they loved like we do ours. I can’t imagine how that would suck if you had no choice.

  2. […] weeks after my son was born, my maternity leave was over and I returned to work. While he was at daycare, I was able to get into a consistent pumping routine.  I only fed him from the breast in the […]

  3. […] moms. For 8 weeks of my son’s life (weeks 12 – 20), I worked full-time while he went to daycare. Not only was that tough mentally because complete strangers took care of my infant, but it was […]

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