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Who Cares for Baby? Women's Preferences: First Time Mothers and their Decisions About Infant/baby Care

By Sarah-Eve Farquhar
© ChildForum

 

What are women’s preferences for the care of their infant? And how are their decisions for baby’s care a reflection of beliefs and personal circumstances, as well as a reflection of what support for baby care is available and how accessible it is? 

The percentage of children less than twelve months old enrolled at an early childhood service is continuing to increase.

New Zealand research on infant/toddler care has mostly been concerned with the needs and experiences of parents who are already using formal childcare. We still know little about how first-time mothers (and their partners) come to make the decisions they do about who is to care for their very young child and why. 

This paper provides a case study of the preferences for infant care of four women with very different personal situations and levels of career commitment.

It looks at the women's preferences for infant care, and how their arrangements impacted on family life, infant well-being, and employment. The study presented here is small and exploratory in beginning to examine choices in the type of childcare and the quality of childcare valued and used by parents of infants. 

It identifies that parents know what is quality care for their baby but this can conflict with what they know they should want as a member of society.

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