The latest parenting debate is currently swirling around a mother who chose to leave her 10 week old with caregivers while she went on a 6-day vacation in Mexico. The mother, Rebecca Eckler, a journalist wrote an article about her vacation plans for Mommyish.com and received heavy scrutiny and criticism from readers. The question readers are asking is “When is it appropriate for parents to leave a newborn?” Some readers are even questioning whether or not newborns should be left in the care of anyone other than the parents for any length of time.
This debate has led me to consider what the research shows. We know that newborns need bonding experiences with mommy and daddy. This requires plenty of attention and time together. But does that time together have to be constant? Will a 10-day break really make a long-term difference in the quality of attachment between the parents and baby?
In thinking about these issues consider the working mother that leaves her infant with responsible caregivers after her 6 week maternity leave. This daycare schedule is oftentimes daily and for eight hours or more at a time. More often than not, these mothers report that their babies have grown up to be bright, responsible, well-adjusted children.
Additionally, mothers that take care of themselves oftentimes report that they feel better about caring for their babies and families. So a 10-day break for mom and dad (at any point in parenting) can be good for the entire family.
The most important thing to remember when leaving a newborn is the quality and trustworthiness of the childcare provider that you have chosen. Family is best, but not always an option. So if you are leaving your newborn with a non-family member (for any length of time) do your homework first. Ask for referrals and references and visit the location where your child will be cared for whether it is a home or facility. If you do not feel comfortable immediately, dig deeper or find a new childcare provider.
Finally, as parents, lets try to support each other rather than judge other parents’ choices. Parenting is not an exact science. At times it can even be described as “trial and error”. All we can do is what we feel is best for our children given our own personal set of circumstances. What works for one family may or may not work for another and there is nothing wrong with that.
So as the debate rages on, it is worth it to consider what works for you and your family. If you are interested in watching an interview with Rebecca Eckler and two “experts” in the field of parenting and women’s health check out this link to abcnews.com.