Childcare And The Working Parent

I recently asked a question on a Facebook group about babysitters, and whether people use them at all. The responses were a very mixed bag with everything from ‘yes, all the time’ to ‘no, never’.

As a working parent, and more specifically a work-from-home parent, I often find myself with a different need: someone to be at home with the children, while I’m there, but working. It can be really hard to get in the ‘flow’ of work when you’re constantly interrupted for a glass of water, or because someone looked at someone else for a second longer than was acceptable! Having someone who can keep the kids busy, do art and craft with them, and generally just fill my role for a few hours a day or week, makes a huge difference.

childcare and the working parent

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Work-Life Balance With A Career In Childcare

Around the world, mothers in 4 out of 10 homes juggle work with duties at home. Balancing a career with family life is no small feat for busy mothers, who may feel guilty having to divide attention between the job and children. It’s a common struggle that many of us face, but with organization, a lot of to-do lists, and a good support network it can be a rewarding path!

While many of us would love to be stay at home mothers, it’s just not feasible in many circumstances, and we have to look at work at, or outside the home environment.

One potential way to aim for the best of both worlds is to launch a career in childcare. If you already love spending time with children, becoming a child carer can be a natural fit. In fact, this is a very common profile for child care workers. Many new moms take a couple of years out to take care of their own children, and find this work so inspiring that they decide to take the plunge and switch careers.


Flexible work environments

There are a number of environments where you might find employment as a child carer, whether it’s in a corporate nursery, a private preschool or from the comfort of your own home. If you have small children of your own, going this third route may make the most sense because you can spend time with them while taking care of others at the same time. Becoming a childminder is no easy feat as any childminder will tell you, what with education authority regulations and all and you’ll need to be sure that your house is fully compliant with a long list of things you wouldn’t even necessarily think of for your own children.

In addition to childcare courses, you’ll also need to complete a first aid course and a criminal background check. The exact requirements will vary depending on where you live, but it’s important to jump through these hoops to launch your home business. You may need to work irregular hours to accommodate client work schedules, but you also gain some level of flexibility when working from home.

Enhancing parenting skills

There are benefits to earning a childcare qualification that go beyond just being able to find a new job. As a parent, you’ll gain a wealth of new skills that will help you better understand and interact with your own children. You may already be a natural when it comes to keeping your child happy, healthy, and entertained – but it doesn’t hurt to learn more about developmental stages and learn some new strategies. From boosting reading skills to learning about behaviour management tools, studying for a career in childcare carries over into the home by giving you some new ideas to try out. I know I find child development to be a really interesting subject, and it helps to know why your four month old has been so attached, or your two year old doesn’t want you to leave the room – it makes it easier to cope with when you know it’s just a developmental stage.

Getting started

Whether you want to start a nursery from your own home or find employment in an established childcare environment, it’s helpful to first earn the right qualifications. You can search resources like the child care courses here at to find options that will fit into your busy schedule – or Google to find institutions in your country. If you want to gain hands-on experience while you are studying, many nurseries and preschools welcome part-time volunteers to help with the children in the classroom. If your child is already enrolled at nursery, this can be an ideal way to spend time with them while furthering your own career prospects. It also gives you an “in” should a position open up in the future!

If you love working with children and want to continue spending time with your own, pursuing a career in childcare is one way to strike that elusive balance between a job and family.

Do Breastfed Babies/Toddlers Need To Brush Their Teeth?

Perhaps it was because our clinic happened to be based in one of the more deprived areas of London that our health visitors were particularly hot on tooth brushing. Ameli received her first toothbrush and toothpaste set at around two months of age, while her first teeth arrived at four months. The second set came at eight months, and since then we’ve pretty much been non-stop teething.

As for toothbrushing, it’s kind of more a game in our home. I give Ameli her tiny little toothbrush when I’m brushing my teeth. She kind of chews on it a little, munches on it and swirls it around in her mouth and then gives it back. How much cleaning goes on, I can’t really say. But I do know that I’m not willing to force my little girl’s mouth open to shove in a toothbrush then try to explain to her to spit out the toothpaste.
Of course this led me to wondering whether I’m doing the right thing, so I had to start doing a bit of reasearch.

According to an article at KellyMom, “Before the use of the baby bottle, dental decay in baby teeth was rare. Two dentists, Dr. Brian Palmer and Dr. Harold Torney, have done extensive research on human skulls (from 500-1000 years ago) in their study of tooth decay in children. Of course these children were breastfed, probably for an extended length of time. Their research has led them to conclude that breastfeeding does not cause tooth decay.

One of the reasons for nighttime bottles causing tooth decay is the pooling of the liquid in baby’s mouth (where the milk/juice bathes baby’s teeth for long periods of time). Breastmilk is not thought to pool in the baby’s mouth in the same way as bottled milk because the milk doesn’t flow unless the baby is actively sucking. Also, milk from the breast enters the baby’s mouth behind the teeth. If the baby is actively sucking then he is also swallowing, so pooling breast milk in the baby’s mouth appears not to be an issue.”

We all know already that breastmilk is an incredible “live” substance. It contains live cells and antibodies, and has antibacterial properties.

On teeth, a bacteria called strep mutans causes tooth decay. Strep Mutans uses food sugars to produce acid, and it is this acid that causes decay. Strep Mutans thrives on sugars, low amounts of saliva and low ph-levels in the saliva (the last two can be eased by ensuring you/your baby drinks enough water).

Breastmilk contains a substance called Lactoferrin. Colostrum has the highest concentration of Lactoferrin, followed by human milk, then cow’s milk. Lactoferrin is one of the components of the immune system of the body, and has antimicrobial activity – meaning it’s a bacteriocide and a fungicide.

When it comes to night nursing, breast-fed babies are at less risk of tooth decay due to the antibacterial properties, so it’s safe to feed them at night and even let them fall asleep while feeding. Breast milk can also discourage tooth decay from improper brushing after meals well beyond infancy and into toddlerhood.

However, there is a ‘however’. Enamel defects can occur when the first teeth are forming in utero. If there are small defects in the tooth enamel, the teeth are more vulnerable and the protective effect of breastmilk may not be enough to counteract the combined effect of the bacteria and the sugars in the milk.

The problem is that you might not necessarily know if there is a defect in the enamel, so you should ensure oral hygiene as best you can. I’m still not convinced that that’s by shoving a toothbrush into a refusing child’s mouth but hopefully some of these tips will come in handy.


  • Cut sucrose from the diet as much as possible. Sucrose is the only form of sugar strep mutans can use to form polysaccharide – the sticky substance that forms plaque.
  • Avoid spoon sharing, wet kisses or putting a dummy in your mouth before giving it to your baby as this shares saliva, which introduces Strep Mutans
  • Linda Folden Spooner from suggests the following :
    • The use of the cavity-fighting sugar, xylitol, might be the easiest of beneficial efforts. Xylitol mouth rinses, mints, and gums are available.
    • Decaf green tea is cavity fighting. Sweeten with a little xylitol and carry it around in a water bottle. If your dentist pushes fluoride, you can tell him your child is getting clean and natural fluoride from tea.
    • One contributing factor in some child decay situations is the flora in mother’s mouth. Some moms who focus the bulk of their time on quality parenting find little time left to care for themselves. If you have a decay problem yourself, you now have an excuse to focus more time on your own dental hygiene, for the sake of your child.
  • From KellyMom:
    • Give him a sip of water after meals to wash food particles away
    • Don’t allow baby to carry a cup or a bottle around during the day. This results in a constant “bathing” of baby’s teeth with whatever he’s drinking.
    • Decay is directly related to the amount of contact time of a sugary substance with the teeth. Avoid too many sugary, sticky foods as well, and talk to your dentist about the amount of fluoride in your drinking water (ed: some cities add fluoride to drinking water).