The transition to child care

• Try out your child care a week or two before you return to work. This gives you a chance to do a trial run and your baby a chance to get familiar with the provider.

• Ask your provider for advice about introducing your child to his new routine. For instance, if your baby will be cared for outside your home, you might start by making a visit while you are still on leave and staying for an hour or so. Over the next few days, gradually shorten the time you stay and increase the time you're away. Keep in mind that it's normal for a baby to take up to two or three weeks to settle into a comfortable pattern of eating, sleeping, and feeling comfortable with a new caregiver.

• Make arrangements to communicate regularly with your provider about your baby. Decide together on the best time to talk and share news about your baby. You will want to know how your baby's day was: how well she slept, how her feedings went, and what she enjoyed. You may want to:

- call your child care provider during nap time to see how your child's day is going

- try to build in enough time at drop-off and pick-up to talk with your provider about your child

- exchange notes on a regular basis

• Be sure to plan backup care for days when you will not be able to use your regular caregiver.

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