Emily’s first encounter in a day care facility happened over two weeks ago. We only spent about an hour at the center the first day – about 15 minutes of that time in the play room. Within that 15 minutes, Emily was exposed to enough sniffly little children to develop the worst cold of her life…..a cold so bad that she had to stay home for the first three days of her scheduled start of daycare. Towards the end of last week, Emily began to feel better. Unfortunately, the vicious cycle started again this weekend and Emily is now fighting off her second cold.
Upon speaking to a friend of mine who put her son in daycare a few months ago, this is a common problem. Apparently, her doctor told her that this is good for children as it helps to build up their immune system. I find it ironic, however, that we spend so much time disinfecting the lives of our babies in the first year. Then, once they step into a daycare, they are surrounded by germs – germs that prey on the weak, non-daycare immune systems of our children. Unfortunately, we can’t give our babies Echinacea or cold and flu medicine. They have to get through their sickness on their own, or with useless, ‘all natural’ health food store medicines that are safe for babies but generally useless and expensive.
So, parents beware. The first few weeks of daycare are not only difficult emotionally but can take a toll on the entire family’s health. Just make sure to stock up on lots of kleenex, baby Vaporub and prepare for a few sleepless nights. Things will get better soon!