Mothers' transition back to work and infants' transition to child care: Does work-based child care make a difference?

Helen Skouteris, Simone McNaught, Cheryl Dissanayake

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The overall aim in this study was twofold: to compare the use of work-based (WB) and non-work-based (NWB) child care on the transition back to the workplace for women after a period of maternity leave, and on the transition into child care for the infants of these women. Thirty-five mothers with infants in WB centres and 44 mothers with infants in NWB centres completed a battery of questionnaires, retrospectively, in relation to their first four weeks of resuming work and their infant's transition into child care. We first explored whether the mothers of infants in WB centres were less stressed and anxious about separating from their infant, were more satisfied with their child care, and whether they felt more productive and supported at work than mothers of infants in NWB child care centres. Our findings revealed no differences between mothers using WB centres and NWB centres in their transition to work. In exploring whether infants placed in WB centres settled faster and more easily than infants placed in NWB centres, the findings, once again, revealed no differences in the infant's affective states at child care and maintenance of their routines, such that all infants were equally settled and happy irrespective of the type of care used. The theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

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