Can someone reassure me I'm not doing a terrible thing?

(19 Posts)
Frenchsticker Sun 29-Dec-13 22:58:35

DD starts nursery next month when she turns 12 months. I have to go back to work 5 days a week and she's going to be there from 8am-5.30pm. I'd love to be able to do less days/hours but there's no getting round it.

I can't think about it without bursting into tears. She has been at home with me for a year so what on earth is she going to think is happening to her? She's not shy or clingy and she's been to plenty of playgroups where she wanders off quite happily to play with other kids or by herself. But at home she always wants some cuddle time with me and at those times she really doesn't want anyone else, she'll even cry if she's with DH. She's also very tricky to put down for naps.

Can someone who's done this 5 days a week please tell me that their baby adapted to the change and was fine? And is there anything I can do to help the transition? In an ideal world I'd have put her down for a couple of mornings a week in the run-up to me going back to work but it hasn't been possible. We do have 2 weeks to settle her in before I start work. Should I stay there for her first nap and be there when she wakes up? Should I go for the first mealtime to reassure her it's okay? Just thinking about her bewildered face when she does all these things without me is making me sad sad sad

Purpleprickles Sun 29-Dec-13 23:10:26

I've done it. My ds is now school aged but was in full time nursery until then, 7.45-5.30pm so I could return to teaching. It is hard at first and some children find it easier to settle than others. Mine found it very hard to start with but we got there and I have to say I was really happy with his nursery and the love and care they gave him. Nursery helped him become the confident, sociable little boy I now have.

I would follow the Nursery's procedure for settling in but in my experience it was easier to say goodbye and hand him over then leave quite quickly. I'm also an early years teacher and find when I'm settling 3yr olds into nursery that they are on the whole less distressed once their parents have left. It's the saying goodbye that's the hardest.

You are going to feel really tearful about it, that's natural and if you are like me there are days when you will leave the nursery in tears yourself but once you get through that first month I really hope you have a positive experience like we did. Good luck x

Frenchsticker Sun 29-Dec-13 23:34:34

Thanks Purple. I think there will be a lot of tears on my part! Did you find your DS got a bit happier each day in the first few weeks or do they sometimes have a few ok days then go back to crying when you drop them off? I wish she had a comforter or toy she was particularly attached to so she could take it with her, unfortunately she's never paid much attention to her teddies and things and much prefers playing with bits of kitchen equipment...

Cheboludo Sun 29-Dec-13 23:59:26

I did it and my daughter thrived at nursery. She adapted quickly, only crying for the first week. In the nursery we chose, the staff are really loving, the menus are fantastic and the activities are all designed to aid development.

My mum (who had stayed at home to see all her children through school) was worried about how my dd would cope and she now raves about the benefits of nursery - she's constantly astounded by what the staff have taught dd.

It doesn't work for every child but try not to stress, there are huge numbers of children who go to nursery full-time and love it.

Casmama Mon 30-Dec-13 00:07:37

My DS went to nursery full time from 9 months. He settled really well and now at 4 sometimes asks to go to nursery at the weekend!
Agree with others- follow nursery guidance or settling and once that's done, short and sweet for drop off- easier for your dd and the staff.

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 30-Dec-13 00:19:55

French - I did this with DC1. I think the following;
- You have to be confident in the childcare you have picked. e.g. is this the best nursery you could find?
- You have to accept that the first two weeks are going to be rough. More so for you than her, although there will be tears at drop off for a while and that can be heart wrenching.
- It's not a bad idea to introduce a special toy now. DS didn't have one either but we introduced one that he could take to nursery with him to remind him of home. He took to it really well there and used it for all his naps.

DC1 is nearly six now. He's a happy, confident little thing and I think a lot of it is down the socialization he had from an early stage.

Good luck. i remember having a major wobble just before DS started at nursery and feeling so weepy at the thought. Looking back, I wonder why I was worried.

SimLondon Mon 30-Dec-13 09:11:00

Yes, mine was 12 months - does have to be the right nursery though, I pulled my dd out of the first one as she wouldn't settle, cost a months fees thinking about it there was a few things I didn't like even though this was an outstanding ofsted nursery. The second nursery was fine dd settled straight away.

Purpleprickles Mon 30-Dec-13 22:52:54

French I would say it took a month to crack it really with ds but I suppose everyday he did find it a bit easier. To begin with he refused to have his milk but after a few days started to and I saw that as a big step. I will be completely honest though he cried at drop off everyday for a very long time. Somedays I was tough to this and others I cried too. He had a marvellous key worker who he loved and I used to feel so relieved when she was on the early shift so I could hand him to her for a cuddle. I always insisted on handing him to a member of staff rather than putting him in the high chair for breakfast which was the usual routine for non-crying babies. I'd give him a kiss and say goodbye. Sometimes I'd peak back through the window and on the whole he'd have stopped crying by then. Sometimes he'd still be upset so I'd phone as I got to work and he was always settled by then.

It wasn't easy at all at first but I had no choice even though there were mornings when I felt like such a mean parent that I wished I could stay at home with him. However like I said in my first post nursery has been so great for my ds and he has such fond memories of it and great friends from there.

Good luck and stick with it even though you may feel like going AWOL from work at points. I'd also agree with the pp who said you have to be really happy with your nursery. I always felt that the staff at ds' one really loved the children and that made it easier for me to leave him on the tough days.

TwittyMcTwitterson Sat 11-Jan-14 13:04:19

I did it and strongly believe my DD is better off for it.

She does things there she would never do at home and she learns from the bigger kids. I value the time with her more and am nothing like my SAHM friends who look as though the next tantrum/trip/breath their child takes will be the straw on the camels back.

It will be hard, there will be days when they cry as you leave and you'll leave crying too. Every parent will look at you knowingly because they've been there too. I called constantly at first to check in on her.

My advice is follow your instincts on the nursery. After a while we decided something wasn't right and moved. her.

Never let them see you are upset about leaving them else they may associate being there with being bad

Be crazily positive when you talk about them going and say what a good day they'll have with a smile that's so big your face hurts when you leave.

I always handed her over and if she cried I'd say 'ok, one last cuddle' and hand her back. You could say that's good or bad depending on your style of parenting.

Don't be hard on yourself when you're doing nothing wrong.

Think that's everything... Good luck grin

TwittyMcTwitterson Sat 11-Jan-14 13:23:15

Oh, you'll also teach her a strong work ethic because she'll see that you have to work for nice things so she won't be self entitled, lazy and she'll be excellent at socialising because she's an expert at it smile

Patchwork88 Mon 13-Jan-14 13:27:31

Having worked in a baby room in a nursery, been a key worker etc I fully recommend making a quick goodbye.
The staff need time to bond with your baby and to settle your baby in. It's so hard to do this when parents hang around as you don't feel you can really relax and do your job properly.
I had some really difficult babies to settle and some really easy ones but I can guarantee the ones who settled quickest were the ones where the parents took the plunge and trusted us.
Also babies usually stop crying within 5 minutes of the parent's departure.
If you don't have a special comforter you could bring a favourite book, or see if the nursery has a copy.
It's hard, but so worth it as nursery will help your baby develop in so many different ways. Good luck! !

TwoJackRussellsandababy Mon 13-Jan-14 13:31:37

Just adding that my DS was full time in nursery from ten months old and he settled in really really well, you will both be fine! smile

naty1 Mon 20-Jan-14 13:25:25

It all depends on the child. Mine didn't settle 12-13 months so I took her out. (Lots of other reasons too)
However she hadn't been the easiest baby. Not napping, and at nursery only having 40 mins and then exhausted. She was also really constantly ill.
She didn't like her key worker and did better on days she wasn't there. She was even upset at home afterwards.
But I think now at 20 months she would do a lot better.
I probably should have realised that as she is a handful she would be a challenge for people who are trying to look after 3 at once.
She was teething her molars and didn't want to be put down

BotBotticelli Mon 20-Jan-14 21:03:24

Just to counter what Naty has said above, my DS is also a 'handful' - very difficult to get him to nap and I spent most of my year on mat leave stressing about his naps and having a clingy/whiny baby attached to my hip or leg.

He started nursery when he was 12mo and he has settled in really well - for about the first 3 weeks he cried every day on drop off, but after about a week, he only cried for about 2 mins when I was actually leaving the room. I peeped through the window immediately afterwards and he is always happily eating a weetabix smile

He doesn't nap well at nursery: probably one 45 minute nap per day as opposed to one 2-hour nap at home. BUT (and here's the key thing) TURNS OUT HE IS FINE ON VERY LITTLE DAYTIME SLEEP! who knew? Would have made my year much less stressful if I had known this earlier. One of the biggest positives of DS going to nursery has been me learning that he is a much more flexible/adaptable little thing than i gave him credit for smile

So don't despair if your LO is tricky to nap etc - they will have seen it all before and will have tried and tested techniques for nap refusers. I always remind myself: these people CHOSE a career/job in childcare. They want to get it right.

Make sure you're happy with your nursery/have a good gut feeling about the people and you will both be fine.

(incidentally, the nursery we chose in the end was in an old victorian house and looked a bit shabby - could have done with a lick of paint etc, but we just got a really friendly, caring vibe from the staff, much more so than the brand spanking new 'posh nursery' up the road...)

aworkingmummy Tue 21-Jan-14 12:10:20

Hi OP
I work 5 days and put my DS in nursery at 9 months. Hardest thing I've ever had to do and beforehand, I too cried at the thought of it. I felt guilty and mean (yeah thanks Mum for making me feel even worse) but the reality was I had no choice at all.

However, he's now nearly 2 and he loves nursery. He's thrived there, learnt to socialise, and has done activities I would never have thought of.

Be happy with the nursery you choose (gut feelings go a long way). I started DS off with one morning a week for three weeks, then 2 mornings a week for 3 weeks, then he was there full time.
By the time I was leaving him all day, he was looking forward to being there.
He did cry for the 1st few days and I left in absolute bits (not that he saw me like that!) but if I stayed a minute or 2 out of sight he would be happy as anything!

IMO, once dropped off, I'd leave her there - it'll confuse her if you keep appearing when you're not going to take her home.
If it's a good nursery, they know what they're doing and will do everything they can to make it a positive experience for you and DD.

They are far more adaptable than you give them credit for - she will be fine!
smile

Millionprammiles Tue 21-Jan-14 13:39:06

Try not to worry, if it's a good nursery your dd will be fine.

My dd started at 11 mths (is now 20 mths) and goes full time. The first couple of weeks she cried at drop off and was tearful at the end of the day (though had been ok in between) so be prepared for that. I'd agree with others not to linger, it will likely upset your dd more and the staff need the chance to bond with her. It really does get better very quickly for most kids though. My dd can' wait to get to nursery now.

My dd is also a non-napper and for the first couple of months only napped 40 mins a day (and even now only does 70 mins which is still more than at home). But she coped fine, there were plenty of distractions at nursery and the staff were always on hand to cuddle her if she was tired/upset. A good nursery won't leave toddlers to cry on their own.

Whilst at home dd still needs darkness, quiet, milk etc to nap, at nursery she just lays down on her mat with her teddy and dummy and drops off. In fact she sleeps better at nursery. They really do adapt to the routine.

Your dd will still seem a baby to you now but she'll be a toddler before you know it. She'll want much more stimulation and activity and need less sleep as time goes on. I couldn't realistically put on the array of activities that dd's nursery does. I was amazed how quickly dd developed at nursery, they really encouraged her to walk/feed herself/try new foods/do messy play etc.

It's a lot to do with the nursery, chat to other mums if you can and see what the consensus is, you'll get a feel for whether most kids are happy there.

failingmammalian Mon 27-Jan-14 17:02:55

Hijacking this to say thanks to all those who replied as these comments have helped me loads as I'm about to embark on sthg v similar to you op. Goodluck

Frenchsticker Tue 04-Mar-14 22:30:04

Just thought I would update in case anyone is looking at this thread who is in the same position. There was a happy ending!

DD did take a while to settle in - tears when I said goodbye in the morning for about a month, but less and less each day. And by the second week I'd peek back in after 5 minutes and she'd already stopped the tears. Now after 2 months I go to pick her up and she doesn't want to leave.

I find it hilarious now that I worried about her napping - from the first day she slept better at nursery than she does at home! Also eats things I insisted to the nursery that she didn't like. She seems so happy and confident there, the staff are really caring and I can spend the day at work without any nagging worries about whether she's happy.

So thank you to everyone who replied and made me feel better about it smile

TwittyMcTwitterson Tue 04-Mar-14 22:57:29

Was randomly looking in Childcare and saw this, tho this hasn't come up in 'threads in on'

Such good news! So happy for you. It really does have a lot of benefits grin

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