Will My Baby Love The Child Care Provider More Than Me?
Parents who use full-time child care sometimes worry their babies will feel more love for the child-care provider. When you baby calls another woman, "mama," you may feel hurt, jealous, guilty or confused.
Research shows that infants in high quality childcare do form strong bonds of love with caregivers. Your baby uses the caregiver much as he uses you: to calm fears and to feel secure.
But research also shows that caregivers do not replace the parents. Some of the research was done in communal towns in Israel, where babies live and sleep in special infant houses with trained caregivers and only see their parents for about three hours each evening. Even in this extreme case, babies are still more strongly attached to their parents than to their caregivers. By the way, this also is true for adopted babies.
The research is clear: Your childcare provider doesn't compete with you. He or she helps you raise your baby, but he or she never replaces you.
From your baby's point of view, having a strong attachment to a childcare provider is good. Baby needs to feel secure and loved in every place she spends time--both at home and at day care.
If your baby calls the childcare teacher, "mama," you can tell yourself, "How nice! My baby likes his teacher almost as much as me." But you'll know no one can replace you as the parent.