The countdown to end of maternity leave can be emotional! I have friends who were looking forward as it was very tough caring for the baby alone while most miss the time they can have with their babies.
Well, it is not all bad seriously. Infant care is really a great option for working parents because the teachers are trained and there are activities as well. If it’s our parents who are taking care, I am sure they wouldn’t be doing that much interaction since they have chores to take care of as well.
Of course, given the close proximity with various babies, the chances of them falling sick is definitely there but I noticed the health level of the whole class really depends on each other (like herd immunity). There can be a long period of zero illness and after change of classmates (newbie joining and oldest tot graduating), the number of flu cases rises.
But most important is how the school manage the situation and in times of contagious cases of stomach flu or HFMD, they are able to break the cycle immediately. This is not so much on the teacher:baby ratio but more of the overall number of babies in the centre. So I personally would prefer a smaller centre that can take in less babies.
Anyway, be strong mamas! You may experience separation anxiety and you may worry or even cry after leaving baby in ifc after the first few days but they will be fine! Really! Before that, do get everything prepared and enjoy your time with baby!
So what’s next after you secure a place in the infant care centre?
1. Get a suitable bag to pack their daily items.
I actually used a NTUC recycle bag for Big E when she first started in ifc! It was so easy to use and no worries about dirtying a beautiful diaper bag! I later got these diaper bags for use instead and they are great too!
I got the Insular Model 10059 for both Big E and Small E. Teachers at centres kept asking me where I got these bags because they find it useful and it stands up firmly upright. I think it’s great especially for Big E who is trained to independently pack her stuff in school.
Insular Model 10056B came out later, I think inspired by ANELLO and they added compartments which makes it so handy!
Before Insular, I was using Heine basic model which was awesome too because it can fit cooler bag as well and it’s soft and spacious! The material is also light.
2. Get name labels for all the items.
For disposable items such as body lotion, shower gel, diaper cream, baby wipes etc, you can consider writing their name with waterproof marker.
Check out these label providers. They have value packs which includes big, small, round sticker labels and even iron-ons! They can last a long time and withstand all the washing. I ordered from StickerKid for Big E when she started out in ifc and StuckOnYou for Small E when he started out. Recently, I decided to order from Label of Love.
3. Prepare extra towels for use in school.
The used towel will be returned to you everyday. So you will need at least 2 to rotate and if you are going to do laundry everyday.
4. Pick out the basic pieces of clothes for ifc use.
The teachers will not be able to take care of the clothings like we do, nor wash out soiled pieces in time. Chances are you will end up with stained clothes. Besides, you will need to label the clothings. If you are going to sell the outgrown preloved pieces, you would have better chance with unlabelled ones.
Sample items to pack (do check with your IFC for actual list). All items should be labelled.
1. Milk bag
Expressed breastmilk in bottles or milk bag.
*They are likely to prefer bottles as it is easier to manage than bags. Some centres may request for the feeds to be portioned for eg. 1 feed per bottle while some will pour out the required amount.
*You will also need cooler bag and ice pack if you need to travel to the ifc. Some centres may help you keep your ice pack in their freezer while some will require you to bring back the whole cooler bag and only leave the bottles (due to space constraint).
If on formula…
Milk powder in either dispenser or small tins.
*Some centres are willing to keep small tins of fm while some prefer to use dispenser.
– Milk Bottle
Some centres would request for 2 bottles while some only need one. Some may require one bottle per feed.
-Water Bottle (For babies above 6 months)
Depending on your LO’s development. You can provide training bottle with sprout or straw bottle.
2. Diaper bag
Pack 5 to 6 diapers a day. More is better in case of multiple poop.
Some centres will allow you to leave extras in the centre while some require you to pack and bring on daily basis.
3. Extra clothing / bath bag
– 3 to 4 sets of baby clothes
– Socks (if you prefer them to put them on during naps or if centre is fully air-conditioned)
– Bibs – 2 to 3pc (depends on your LO’s drool or milk spitting condition)
– Handkerchiefs – 1 will be used for bath while others can be used as burp cloth. I personally like to use white napkins as burp cloth! So it can be used in place of bibs too.
– Mittens and Booties (optional) – if you enrol your baby after 4months, likely these are not necessary.
– Bath Towel
– Extra plastic bag for soiled or changed clothes (I recommend using wet bags! They are the best and re-usable for swimming too. I bought them from here. Get the double zipper ones!)
4. Naptime bag
– Mattress cover
– Light blanket
– Other sleep acccessories (if any)
– Bag to keep these items *recommended to use ziplock bag to minimise transmission of disease. Some centres would even request we bring it home on daily basis.
5. Other items
– Baby wipes (check out these brands)
– Nappy rash cream (Bepanthen is good and I like that it doesn’t contain zinc oxide)
– Baby cream / lotion
– Baby bath / wash
– Ru yi oil (I included this for Big E for her tummy wind relief)
Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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