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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 3 months post partum 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, though not greater satisfaction. Those with father or grandparent as caregiver were more satisfied as were mothers with more progressive attitudes to child rearing and to maternal employment. Higher SES 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.
 
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