More parents are leaving their newborns and babies in childcare centres, as more centres are set up and mothers and grandparents go back to work.
Parents are also more confident and less hesitant about leaving their little ones in the arms of strangers as the quality of programmes and qualifications of caregivers in the centres rise.
About one in 10 infants – or 4,000 – are enrolled in childcare centres now, said Senior Minister of State for National Population and Talent Division (NTPD) Josephine Teo on the sidelines of a visit to a childcare centre in Tampines. This number has grown by 60 per cent since 2012.
Mrs Teo said more parents are now opting for infant care services because workforce participation rates of women and seniors are rising and so families do not have caregivers to tend to the babies.
Infant care services are also more accessible now with the opening of more centres islandwide. There are now 6,900 infant care places available.
Mrs Teo also shared findings of a recent survey of 1,500 parents done by NTPD.
Parents whose infants were cared by family members now were asked whether they preferred to turn to nannies, domestic workers or centre-based care. Most of these parents (83 per cent) indicated that they preferred or accepted centre-based care over the other options.
Mrs Teo said one reason for this finding is that parents find that centre-based care provide good quality care.
The survey also found that satisfaction levels among parents whose infants were cared for by family members were similar to those who used infant care services.
A version of this article first appeared in The Straits Times.