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My 7-month-old caught COVID-19 at day care

Here's what I want you to know.

My 7-month-old caught COVID-19 at day care
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty

When the pandemic hit back in March, photographer and grad student Lydia Royce pulled her son out of day care and lost childcare for her infant son while she and her spouse, a chef, worked. Like so many working parents know, doing double duty is so hard. Royce was exhausted. She lost 10 pounds and was unable to take care of herself. So after seven weeks of burning the candle at both ends, Royce took her son back to day care.

But then, her 7-month-old son developed COVID-19. That's not something any parent wants to hear, but as day cares and schools across the United States reopen Royce wants other parents to hear her story.

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"If a mom reads [this] article, I hope she takes some solace in the fact that day care transmission is still extremely rare, and the chances of a child getting [seriously] sick if they do catch it is also extremely rare," she tells Motherly.


Basically, while kids and babies can become seriously ill with COVID-19, most cases are in adults. As the Mayo Clinic notes, "while all children are capable of getting the virus that causes COVID-19, they don't become sick as often as adults. Children also rarely experience severe illness with COVID-19. Despite many large outbreaks around the world, very few children have died."

While children under the age of 1 are at a slightly higher risk than older children, they are still significantly less at risk than adults over the age of 20.

Royce tells Motherly: "The important thing if kids are in schools or day cares is to protect the vulnerable. I'm worried about the teachers and support staff at schools that are opening this fall. The kids will be fine. The teacher that's a year from retirement and has high blood pressure or diabetes might not be fine."

As first reported by Working Mother, Royce's son went back to day care in May and everything was fine for a time, but three weeks ago, he threw up in bed. And that was the first sign that he was sick. He had a mild fever as well, something Royce initially attributed to teething.

She kept him home from day care the next day, and the day after that she learned a parent of a baby in his class had tested positive for COVID-19, despite all the efforts the day care was making to follow health department guidelines, step up sanitization procedures and even adding temperature checks for everyone and face masks for most adults (some who worked with the babies went maskless for part of the day to ensure the babies could still see adult faces). Having a family in the day care community test positive meant all the babies, including Royce's son, needed to be tested. Royce's baby's test came back positive. Royce and her husband both tested negative.

"I did find out that the sick parent from day care wasn't ever sick—she was asymptomatic and notified of exposure so she got tested," Royce tells Motherly, adding that this asymptomatic parent and thier baby are still testing positive. "The other babies who initially tested negative are still negative. One teacher has re-tested and is now negative and the other is still waiting on results."

Unlike some other high profile cases of kids getting COVID, Royce's son never got very sick. Beyond throwing up that one night and having a mild fever, the 7-month-old has done well, and despite testing positive is "still doing well and has no symptoms."

Losing childcare for the second time was not ideal, but Royce has found a silver lining. "I'm back to juggling working and caring for my son, just like when I had pulled him from daycare earlier this spring. The difference now is that my husband is at home with us this time since he can't go back to work until we are all negative, so I do have way more help with the baby, which is nice," she tells Motherly. "He only got a week off when our son was born so it's nice that he's had more time with him and he's become a way more confident and capable parent. Their bond is absolutely precious."

Bottom line: Asymptomatic transmission can occur but day care is necessary for some families to survive and those families should know serious cases in infants are rare

Royce wants other moms to know that as scary as it sounds to say "my baby caught COVID-19 at day care" it has not been that bad of an experience for her, and it is rare. She also wants parents to take precautions if their children are in day care, because asymptomatic transmission can happen (as the situation at her day care proves).

She doesn't want parents to feel guilty if they need to send their kids back to day care right now if that is what their family needs to do, even if they do develop COVID-19. She stresses that keeping kids home indefinitely is a privilege that many working parents do not have.

Royce wants people to continue to socially distance and wear masks to prevent those who are most vulnerable to this disease while recognizing that healthy children are not at high risk.


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).

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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.

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Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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