Season 3 Episode 35 | Is daycare the right choice for your family? Toddler pillows vs. regular pillows

We’re so excited to share the latest episode of our Moms on Call parenting podcast, all about babies and toddlers! Today we are discussing daycare and whether it is the right choice for your family & toddler vs. regular pillows.

Deciding when to send your child to daycare can be one of the most difficult decisions you can make as a new parent, even after you've sent them to daycare. We often find ourselves second-guessing whether we made the right choice, especially when they come home sick so often. So how do you know it's the right time to send them to childcare? Today on the podcast, we'll discuss how to decide as a family and the challenges you may face once they've started. And did you know there's such a thing as a toddler pillow? What makes it different from a regular pillow? Does your kid need one when transitioning to a big kid bed? We are very familiar with this topic, and we'll tell you why coming up. Welcome to the Moms on Call podcast. We're so glad you're here.

Intro: Whoever said babies and toddlers don't come with an instruction manual never met the Moms on Call. For nearly 20 years, Jennifer Walker and Laura Hunter have helped over half a million families navigate parenthood with their best-selling books, online courses, apps, and network of certified consultants. And now they have this podcast to talk directly with you. Please feel free to ask your questions at 888-234-7979. Welcome to the Moms on Call podcast with Jennifer Walker and Laura Hunter.

Is Daycare the Right Choice for Your Family?

Caller 1: Hello, Moms on Call. I love your show. You guys are wonderful, and you give such great advice. My name is Alison, and I live in Minnesota with my husband and our eight-month-old. We both work full-time from home and thought sending our son to daycare would be our best option. But since he started going, he's constantly sick every week. It feels like he's home for at least one day because he's sick. We've heard from family members that they must build their immune systems and learn to separate from us and socialize with other kids. And we get that, and that great daycare is a great way to help with that, but is it that important at this age? We could easily pull him out and keep him at home with us for a while, but we don't want to negatively impact his social growth or negative health issues as he ages. Do you guys see a huge benefit one way or the other? Thank you.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: This question has several parts. One, either way, is going to be just fine, whether he goes to daycare and gets sick, and yes, they do get sick. It seems like they're sick every other week, and those are the kids that typically get to preschool and never have to be out sick. They get that immune system working and get that going.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: It's like that candy. Do you remember that candy you would get at Halloween didn't always like it? It's called "Now and Later." Yeah, you're going to have that sickness now or later. It's all good, but that immune system will kick in. Let's go to kick it now or later.

And so I want to be clear, whether you pull him out and keep him at home or send him to daycare, those are both great options.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: And so I want to be clear, whether you pull him out and keep him at home or send him to daycare, those are both great options. Regarding the social aspect of that, yes, it's always great for him to get out and about and meet different people, but it's not mandatory. He's going to be okay with either of those decisions.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: We worry about it so much. Oh my gosh, I'm so glad you asked because we want to tell you your child is strong, adaptable, and resilient. They are that way now. They will be that way next year and the year after that. And they can handle so much more than we give them credit for. So you can see what they're capable of. It depends on you guys. Do you need the flexibility to leave your job or concentrate sometimes? Having a few hours a day? There is nothing wrong with saying, "Oh, I know if the daycare is not harming him, and you want to sign me up." If you feel like, "Yes, I need those hours," then do that. And you will always hear Jennifer and I say, the best decisions are the ones that you guys decide are best for your house and this season, your life with this baby.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: Yes. And we will always say that between October and February, you can have between nine and twelve upper respiratory viruses at the beginning of a healthy immune system. So this is what happens in preschools all over. And so yes, is it difficult? Are you going back and forth? Yes, but it's going to happen now or later.

Toddler vs. Regular Pillows

Caller 2: Hi, Laura and Jennifer. This is Stacy from Tennessee, and I have a dumb question. We're about to transition our three-year-old to a big boy bed, but we're debating the pillow. Sounds crazy, I know, but we've seen small toddler pillows online, and we're wondering if that's the type of pillow we're supposed to use. We assumed we would give him a regular pillow when he moved to a regular bed. We didn't even know toddler pillows existed. They're much smaller than a regular queen-size pillow, but are there any other differences? Are there benefits or safety risks with using a normal pillow versus a toddler pillow? Is this even a thing? Thanks for your help. Bye, guys.

We don't use pillows, blankets, or anything until they're over two.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: We only use pillows, blankets, or something once they're over two. So at three years of age, the pillow size doesn't matter.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: We want to avoid overly plush things. So the size isn't the issue as much as we want it to be a little firmer. So the firmer they are and thinner, the better they're doing. Of course, you will put your three-year-olds in bed, and will their head remain on the pillow? No.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: The answer to that is no.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: Butts up in the air, they're crisscrossing sideways, upside down. They move around so much at night. So we're putting a lot of thought into something they won't use. But as long as it's a firmer pillow, it is okay.

As long as it's a firm pillow. That's really what we want to keep them as safe as possible.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: As long as it's a firm pillow. That's really what we want to keep them as safe as possible. But it's okay to have a small or bigger pillow. If they're an engineer, they'll want the kind of pillow you have. They won't tolerate its toddler-size baby pillow.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: Come on, lady, who sleeps on this? Nobody that I know. So yeah, it's the firmness as opposed to the size. And what's so interesting, those toddler pillows are expensive. You're like, and they're smaller. They should be less.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: They should be less, but they're not. And that also brings up another great thing. So Laura and I have been working with a manufacturer, oh, yes.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: We love that they have furniture that goes from a crib to a toddler bed. Babies need a harder surface to sleep on if it goes from a crib to a toddler bed. That's important for their safety. But toddlers can take a little bit less firmness. So, is there a mattress that will grow with you when you get the furniture that'll change and grow with the baby? Do we have a mattress that could do that? So one side is firmer for a baby, and the other is a little softer for a toddler, and it's like one of the first of its kind. And we are so dedicated to safety.

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: It has, yes, it has all these awards, and it's passed all of these certifications and the green certifications and...

Laura Hunter/Jennifer Walker: We are so excited. So be on the lookout for that. New Moms on Call Sleep and Grow Mattress by our friends at Colgate Mattress.

Thank you for listening to the Moms on Call podcast. If you have a question for Jennifer and Laura, call 888-234-7979. Visit for resources to help you parent confidently and thrive, not just survive your amazing parenting journey.

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