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Infant care in England: mothers' aspirations, experiences, satisfaction and caregiver relationships

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This paper investigates non‐maternal infant care in the first year of life, examining the relationships between child care ideals, attitudinal, sociodemographic and psychological characteristics of mothers at three months postpartum and their child care experiences at 10 months. Predictors of child care use, satisfaction with non‐maternal care and confidence in the relationship and communication with caregivers are examined. Realising ideals predicted more hours of child care use, although not greater satisfaction. Those with the father or a grandparent as the caregiver were more satisfied, as were mothers with more progressive attitudes to child rearing and to maternal employment. Higher socioeconomic status mothers and those using nurseries were less satisfied. Relationships with caregivers were poorer for those who believed that maternal employment may have more negative consequences for children.

Keywords: Child care arrangements; Child‐related family policy; Infancy; Western European families

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004430500317408

Affiliations: 1: Birkbeck, University of London, UK 2: University of Oxford, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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