FQ Expert

Helping Hands – Mother Returning to Work

FQ’s guest expert on all matters relating to fatherhood is at hand to solve your problems and answer any burning questions you have.

Dr Miriam Stoppard

Dr Miriam Stoppard


Dr. Miriam Stoppard has been at the forefront of the revolution in health information since she began her writing and broadcasting career in the early 1970s.

Since that time she has become well-known to millions all over the world as a leading authority on parenting and child care. Miriam has published over 50 books and sold in excess of 20 million copies. She has a daily advice column in The Daily Mirror and regularly appears on TV. Miriam is a medical doctor and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

Our 11-month-old daughter is going to childcare nursery next month as my wife has to return to work. What can we do to make the whole thing easier for both Mum and baby?
Thomas, Burton-on-Trent

First can I say that this isn’t a job that should be undertaken by mum alone. This is a family affair and I think you have an important role to play. To your 11-month-old you’re as important as her mum and you can make the separation when your daughter goes to nursery more comfortable for both of them. I think you and your wife should plan together that you’ll take turns leaving your daughter at nursery during the first week so that her distress is not focussed on one parent.

First you should ascertain the leaving routine that the nursery suggests. For instance they may be quite happy for you to stay with your daughter for a few minutes each morning during the first week to see her settle down. On the other hand they may prefer that you leave her straight away.

To accustom your child to be in a room without you I think it would be kind to start at home by leaving her alone for a few minutes to on her own. Give her her favourite toys and her comfort blanket. If you start doing this several times a day before she goes to nursery you will cut down the anxiety your daughter might feel when she separates from you. I know from experience it’s tough for any mum to leave her child at nursery or school especially if she’s crying but you can reassure your wife it’s worse for her than it is for your daughter. You both have to be strong and cheery for your daughter’s sake.