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8 tips for the working mama worried about separation anxiety

4. Talk baby what to expect—even if it’s just for your sake

8 tips for the working mama worried about separation anxiety

Returning to work can leave new moms anxious over the thought their little one is missing their safe person. But, the truth is this tends to take a greater toll on working mamas than babies—at least until the reach the age of 10-18 months when separation anxiety typically spikes for babies.


Whether you’re proactively trying to avoid separation anxiety or just need a little something to ease your own mind upon returning from maternity leave, there are a few strategies that can make it a more harmonious transition.

1. Pick the childcare that suits your family

Consider your child’s temperament and choose childcare that will best meet their needs. Even once you have found the right center, it can be beneficial to get to know the individual carers. You may be able to find a lovely gentle carer in your baby's room that you could ask to be the sole carer for your little one for the first couple of weeks so they can try to form a strong connection.

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2. Ease into time apart

Organize someone to look after your babe a couple of times before you officially begin work. If you don’t have the ability to wean them gently into childcare, see if a trusted friend or family member can spend time with your child so they feel more confident without you. (And vice-versa!)

3. Offer a comfort blanket baby will begin to associate with you

You can even sleep with a new “comfort blanket” for a couple of nights so it smells of you. (Believe me: This will do good for your soul when you see your baby cuddle with it, too!) If your child is slighter older and they have a special toy this will also be great to take along as they transition into childcare. Just to note make sure these special blankets and toys are in their bag at pick up—and it’s also great to have a spare just in case one gets left behind or lost!

4. Talk baby through what to expect—even if it’s just for your sake

Talk to your child about what’s going to be happening, even if they are little they will be taking it in. It can be helpful to also read stories about children who go to childcare or even make up a little song. Be creative and tailor your approach to be age appropriate.

5. See if you can spend time at childcare with them

If you can, spend a short amount of time in the center with the child showing them it’s a fun place to be. Then, if possible, leave them in the care there for longer periods of time. Keep in mind that sometimes children settle better in childcare if they are spending two or more days per week instead of just one, so you may need to be flexible in your approach. Often if they are only going one day a week it can slightly longer to make a strong connection with a childcare educator and settle into the new environment, but it will happen.

6. Try to stay calm—at least until after drop-off

Your body language speaks louder than words. You only need to hold it together for that short drop-off period—and then you can totally fall apart in the car when you leave. Make sure you keep drop-off time to a short and consistent routine.

7. Ask the childcare provider to send photos

Ask your carer to send some photos during the day so you can see they have calmed and settled, which will help you feel better and focus at work. Many childcare centers now have software that you can log into and see what your child is up to and most will have some kind of diary you can look at as well.

8. Block out time to reconnect at home

Make time when you get home for lots of cuddles and connection time, this will help your little darling feel connected and loved, which will help ease separation anxiety. It may mean putting some strategies in place for your household tasks but it’s definitely worth it. Maybe on childcare nights, you have a simple dinner that just needs oven heating so you have that extra time together.

These tips should give you some ideas on how to reduce the possibility of separation anxiety or how to gently manage it if it arises. I have worked with many families on return to work transitions and it’s important to approach each situation individually and find the right fit for your family.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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