Attachment parenting and nursery(17 Posts)
How does it work? Apparently I'm doing attachment parenting, I haven't read any books, I'm just doing what feels natural and what I want to do! DD is 9mo. She's ebf, only from the source no bottles etc, we co-sleep, she naps cuddled up on me, I 'wear' her in slings and wraps. This works for us. However in 17 days she has her first settling in session at nursery. I've never left her. To be honest the thought makes me feel sick! I'm thinking of leaving her with DM for a hour this weekend, two hours next weekend.
How do you do it? She goes everywhere with me, and when he's not working with DH and I! I don't know, maybe I'm just working myself up into a frenzy of worry.
But other attachment parents whose DC go to nursery please reassure me!
I had a similar situation with my twins.
I spent a lot of time with my mum, so my babies became equally (just about!) attached to her, then I left them with her. We're sort if interchangeable now (though they do turn to me in preference when they're upset).
When they started nursery, Made a conscious effort to spend time talking to their key workers at pick up/drop off, so the children see that I am a team with the key worker, and I sit and play on the floor at pick up too while we're putting shoes on, doing daily update etc. I hope this helps blur the lines between home/nursery and me/my mum/key workers.
They have adapted very well (started nursery at 1 year old, now just over two years old), and seem to understand that nursery is different to home. They are certainly still attached to me
I am sure your baby will be fine. It will be easier for you if you're 100% confident in your nursery.
I think what might help you is to try and remember how natural it is for babies to have carers/ people they trust other than their mothers. the mother/baby all alone thing is not normal if you look at our evolutionary history - I have been reading a great book called The WOrld Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond - what we can learn from tribal cultures - in most cultures who live the way that humans have lived for tens of thousands of years, babies would have been carried/ bf on demand BUT - up to 15 adults would have taken turns caring for one baby! Mum did not do it on her own - there was no 'maternity leave ' - if she wanted a break/ sleep - or to go pick berries for dinner - she just handed baby over.
I really recommend the book - he talks about how confident babies can be, when they are used to having lots of people cuddle them/ carry them and love them.
Im presuming you do all those things like slings/ BF on demand because you think it is more healthy and natural - but a baby being used to other adults is natural too. I think at 9 months your little one can enjoy spending time with other people - I have been leaving my 10 month old since he was 6months - I also did the sling/ bf on demand etc etc - he cried when I left him at first, but he loves it now - he really enjoys being with the childminder and I think its important for him to feel secure when I am not always in eyesight! He is a really confident happy baby always laughing - and smiles when I leave him now - the childminder says they always ahve a giggle together..I think its good for him....
as long as you know they are going to be cared for properly - I agree with poster above, your baby needs to see you and the nursery staff together - so their little brain can sense you trust these people too.
Well, in some ways you've made it quite difficult for yourself and her, haven't you? If you've never ever let anyone else have her for even an hour, well..........!
I'm with waterrat - it is only recently in history that this 'attachment parenting' started. Before that it was "village to raise a child" etc. etc.
It will probably be tough for a few days. Prepare yourself for crying, both you and your baby! Talk to the staff. If they are any good they will understand and will offer lots of cuddles and as much one to one attention as they can manage. When you are dropping off just hand her over and go with a cheery bye bye. The quicker the better. You will probably feel awful but hold on to your reasons for doing it. Your baby will probably have lots of fun doing new things. If the staff are like the ones at my daughter's nursery they will be lovely and very fond of your girl.
Have you discussed strategies for feeding and napping? I would discuss that with them sooner rather than later.
Does it have to be nursery? I only ask because you might get more of an attachment parenting approach from a childminder. I'm a CM and had a baby start with me at 9m who needed to be held and carried a lot, so I wore her in a sling the majority of the time. She did sleep in a cot, though.
The 'village to raise a child' stuff is bunkum, by the way, until they're older. Just because 'tribes' do it doesn't mean it's best for baby development. Babies under about 18m can only form bonds with five or so people so it's important that they have consistent carers. Have you checked that your DD will have ONE person who will be her key worker who is there every day she is? My dd had a godawful time at nursery because she was never with the same person twice, especially by the time you factor in holidays, sickdays, staff turnover etc. It's actually why I became a CM after DC2 was born - there was no way I was sending her back to nursery and him too.
One advantage of a nursery can be enough staff to have one to sit and cuddle a baby who wants it. Dd started nursery a month ago, and she's been a lot more "attached" than ds, but she's now loving it. She hardly touched the floor in the first week as was in someone's arms for cuddles and action rhymes. She's bonded very well with a couple of the staff and now scuttles away when I come to collect, giggling madly. IME small and flexible is more important than a single key worker.
Well, I left her with DM today for a hour or so, when we got back she was cuddled up asleep. She did grizzle when she realised that I wasn't around.
Sadly no CM works the hours we need, I work in operating theatre so long days.
Thank you for the useful, constructive replies.
If you dislike attachment parenting, don't open a thread about it and fuck off about how bad etc it is. I haven't asked for opinions about it, just for the experiences of other APs. It works for us, it may not work for others. I don't judge other parenting styles, if it works for you then great.
I think the Dr Sears baby book has a section on how to handle nursery and attachment parenting.
I had several settling in sessions, however my dd was much older (17 months) when she started.
From about 9 months I left her with MIL for short amounts of time each week to run errands, extending the time each week (so 2, 4, 5 hour periods) and twice a week over about a month.
Dd was fine. Lots of trust in MIL so she was good as gold.
One thing- will she take a sippy cup? Dd was a bottle refuser from early on so we just made sure she had access to a water and water based fruit like pear etc. she also refused my milk out of anything other than the source!
As for leaving her, it will be hard, but insist on several settling in sessions. We had:
1st session: I stopped &played 1 hour
2nd: 1 hour, left for 10 min
3rd: 1 hour, left for 20 min
4th: 2 hour, left for 45 min
5th: 2 hour, left for 90 min
She was only going for one morning a week and has been brilliant every time.
All the best
ZuleikaD so agree with "'village to raise a child' stuff is bunkum" too many people disagree with attachment parenting but what is wrong with a mother being the main carer?! I don't agree with passing children around to lots of people and what happens if you don't have family close by?
GammerBeavis I didn't do the sling but did everything else and both my children went to nursery at around 10 months. They were/are fine. Settling in sessions and having one consistent key worker are essential.
Could you maybe do shorter weeks (take holiday) until they are settled?
Not saying all children but in my experience children are more resilient that we think.
I just want to make clear that my comment about Jared Diamonds research /tribal ways of bringing up children - was intended as supportive to the OP not critical. To the person who said just because tribes do it it doesn't make it right - it does make it relevant actually because - as the book explains - there are tribes now living in the way humans (our ancestors) lived for the vast majority of the time humans have existed - so it is the way we have evolved to live, and what worked for us as a culture. That is why he studies these tribes - he is actually an advocate of what is now termed 'attachment' parenting - ie. the sling/ the BF on demand - he writes extensively about how important these things are - in an evidence based way.
But he also explains that we have evolved as group animals - and children would - in nearly all of human cultures until very very recently in the western world - have been loved and cared for by grandparents/ sisters/ brothers etc - so I am just saying to the OP not to worry - that she is the rock solid attachment that her child can rely on - and from this secure point, the baby can learn to feel safe with others...
it's not about whether you EITHER bring them up attachment style OR allow others to share the care - its about a way that appreciates what all carers can bring.
so I'm sure we all agree really - being with mum all day is lovely for baby, but so is a shared care arrangement if it's done with love and thought.
I am also an "attachment parent" in a way, because I believe a baby needs to have their needs met quickly and consistently by reliable caregivers. But I don't believe that it is healthy or necessary for mother and baby to be physically attached to each other at all times!
So my DS was breastfed on demand, carried in a sling a lot, picked up immediately whenever he cried - by me and DP, my mum, my sister and later by nursery staff.
I choose a nursery very carefully, where the baby room was a small group (definitely find one with a max of 9 children - DS's was 6), it was overstaffed rather than understaffed (they did a 1:2 ratio most of the time) and their philosophy was similar to mine - babies were fed on demand, slept on demand, weren't left to cry, were rocked or cuddled to sleep etc.
DS also had a keyworker who first came to meet us at our home before he started, and then was there for all of his settling in sessions, was there all the same days he was, was always the person I handed him over to in the morning, was the person to rock him to sleep if possible etc.
The staff at his nursery were all very well qualified and experienced (no 18 year old "trainees" on less than minimum wage to make up numbers!), mothers themselves, and had a very good grasp of child development and attachment theory. They had also been working at the nursery for 5+ years and staff turnover was very low.
We did (and still do) attachment parenting. DD has only just stopped cosleeping and gone into her own room because i'm due in may
She started settling in sessions at 12 months and it was much easier than i feared. She'd only ever napped in the sling or lying on me, and we'd only ever left her once with my sis for half an hour.
Thing is, and the dr sears book above covers this, attatchment parenting actually makes babies more confident as they get older, not clingy anxious etc as the attachment parenting naysayers would hsve you believe.
The nursery will be used to settling babies in, i stayed with her the first couple of times but when she showed interest in the staff/toys/other children i took a back seat. Then everytime i left her i kissed her and gave her a quick hug andconfidently said "mummy willcome back" and when i got back i'd say "see mummy came back".
And the old cliche about babies looking upset when you leave and are fine 30 seconds later proved true, the first time i left her i forgot my car keys so snuck bsck and she was giggling away at something.
As for our attachment, she's nearly 2 now and it's as strong as ever
I'm considered an Attatchment parent. Dd2 went to our lovely cm at 6 months.
We had 3 or 4 settling in sessions and she took a little while to settle in (not helped by being ill and being misdiagnosed by the doctor) but she did settle and didn't cry the whole time.
With bf she started drinking a very small amount of expressed milk from a bottle with the cm (I sent 4oz each day and she drank possible 1-2oz depending how thirsty she was) and she decided to bf more at night when I came home.
She is about to turn 3 and she absolutely loves our cm (I'm sure she would have loved nursery workers too), in fact she even requests to go to cm house at weekends
I was really interested in your post and the replies because I was exactly the same with my daughter when I left her with a childminder at 4 months. I expressed my milk every lunchtime at work to keep her drinking breastmilk and managed to breastfeed her despite working full time up to 18 months. It was difficult in the early days because she didn't drink much with the childminder and used to spend the night catching up which left me very tired. I moved dd to a nursery at 6 months as my cm stopped working and put her in the care of a wonderful key worker. It was a very positive experience as his keyworker was such a star and we are still in touch with her now ten years later.
I am now a mother of five and I childmind. Recently a baby started with me whose mother breastfeeds. They have a beautiful bond and I knew that the pair would miss each other terribly. We had a settling in period to get mother/baby adjusted. I don't know how it works with nurseries now but it's worth having a settling in if you can so that the first days aren't too long. When the baby started full time I found that he settled far better than we anticipated. He quickly realised that I was the constant and trusted me but at sleep times he wanted his mum. We had discussed settling for sleeps with the bottle as that would be their bonding time but it became quickly obvious that a better solution would be to feed the milk to the baby while he was still wide awake. Once he became sleepy he was used to being bf and a cuddle and bottle at this stage confused and upset him, he would push me away while holding onto me. Where bottlefed babies I have minded have been happy to have their bottles at relaxation times and nap this little man was happier if I laid him down and put a reassuring hand on him to settle him without the cuddles. We have been looking after him now for a couple of months and he is really happy and loves being in our home with the kids. The first couple of full days he was upset and quite tearful but when he quickly realised that he hadn't been left forever and that Mum or Dad would return at the end of the day to collect him the tears stopped. He's a lovely smiley soul now and a credit to his parents who have given him so much confidence.
I approached it like sandboy. I'm not a fan of 'drop & run as fast as you can with no fuss" school of thought - at the hazard of pissing off nursery!
I wanted to give dd the message that nursery was a safe place - like family. So I always chatted with nursery workers & hung around a bit just enjoying the toys - especially at first. Gradually I evolved a drop off routine - which took about 10 minutes - and involved little fixed play rituals - I'd help her jump off the soft blocks three times. My reasoning was that sharing her favourite toys with me would imbue those toys with memories of me - so there wasn't such an abrupt split between nursery & home.
The other thing that really helped was trying to always have dd walk away from me rather than vice versa. Sometimes it can't be helped - but I always hated the hand over crying baby to childcarer who holds them while you leave. Again, we had a little ritual - the nursery led the kids through for breakfast at 8.30 every morning - and (once we'd done our three jumps) I'd say 'look - dd - breakfast time" she'd toddle off - I'd wave goodbye and walk out of one door as she walked forward to another. At her first nursery - she was barely walking - but I always balanced her on her feet holding her lunchbox before I rang the doorbell, to give her the illusion of 'leading'. Psychologically - I felt that the act of walking away framed it as going towards exciting new things, rather than being left against your will.
Finally - never never 'sneak out' without saying goodbye. It's easier on the parent - but the kids faces really drop when they realise the parent has gone. It's just not fair or respectful.
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