Please help - youngest age to nursery?(24 Posts)
I'm 6 weeks pregnant, unplanned as my PCOS led me to believe it wouldn't happen.
I am freelance, as is my partner. I won't receive maternity pay, and it'll throw me off my career path (which isn't my priority - being able to pay for it is).
What is the youngest acceptable age to rely on nursery? My parents aren't around to help with childcare either.
I appreciate its the worst thing to do, babies shouldn't be made to go into the care of someone else.
But right now, I don't see any other option - other than the other darker path. Please help.
I think 3 months is the youngest they take them. You would probably be better looking for a childminder though - better 1:1 care for tinies and usually cheaper
Of course it isn't the worst thing to do.
I'm old enough that I was only able to have 6 months off work with DC 1 so he was in nursery from 6 months. I also knew several mums who had to go back to work at 3 months. All our children are fine. I know you don't feel nursery is what you want to do, but sometimes you have to do things you don't like.
The youngest acceptable age is really the youngest acceptable age for you. Most nurseries start at 3 months IME. I'm sorry I don't know what the 'other darker path' is. I hope you are ok. I would suggest trying to find a parent and baby group in your area, not to attend necessarily during pregnancy but there will be lots of knowledgeable people there (mothers, mostly) to point you to where you can find help with everything pregnancy and baby related.
Your better off looking for a childminder or nanny. Both take from birth / few weeks usually
A lot of nurseries start from 6 weeks. I had to go back 2 days a week when DS was 12 weeks old and full time when he was 8 months. We found a nursery we loved and he has always been happy and settled there.
Don't feel guilty, don't beat yourself up. Your baby will be safe and loved and that is what is important.
Nursery take from 3 months generally.
They are set up for tiny babies, the staff are caring and your child will enjoy going.
My DS went to nursery from a year -but that decision was made because we were lucky enough that I could take advantage of a salaried maternity leave NOT because I wouldn't have left him earlier. If you don't have that option there is absolutely nothing wrong with nursery.
Occasionally people scaremonger about nurseries- such people are usually out of date with their knowledge or being spiteful ime!
The PP is right though, if money is a concern a childminder may be cheaper.
It'll be hard on you but it will be ok! 3 months is usually the youngest. And a lot of nurseries don't take them under 2 anyway. Well at least the few round here are like that.
Your child will have a key worker who by law will have a maximum of three infants under his/her care. Plus there will be a manager in the baby room, ie another pair of hands.
My daughter started nursery at 10 months in the Baby Room, but I do remember a young baby about three months old starting around the same time and I frequently saw that baby plopped on various large bosoms of the nursery workers snoozing away to its hearts content. That child really wasn't missing out on cuddles or love, it was always in someone's arms. So if you do need to use a nursery try not to worry. They can be marvellous places.
A friend of mine had to return to work (self employed) when her daughter was 4 weeks old. She hated it but her daughter was absolutely fine with her lovely CM. She started school in September and is thriving.
My friend even managed to express enough breast milk for her for a while. It wouldn't have been her choice but she did what she had to do to support her child.
Are you Ok, OP?
Thank you so much to everyone responding, this was my first post because I didn't know where to turn. I thought it would be barbaric to leave a baby in childcare from 3 months, and with no other option I didn't know how I could go through with this. Sorry to sound emotional, this is just so new and scary and then having to throw money and jobs into the mix was just too bear today.
Seriously thank you so much. You have calmed down my fears (for now). I'm not crying, I have something in my eye... 😌
As the other posters have said, at 3 months in my closest.
Can you claim maternity allowance to assist with the time you have off? Just to help you and your partner financially.
Congratulations by the way, please don't feel guilty. We have to do what we have to do. Your baby will be fine and it is certainly not the worst thing you can do.
My DD started nursery at 5.5 months. Great nursery, great care and she is still there 2 years later.
Remember what is considered 'acceptable' or the norm varies significantly by individual situation and country such as due to maternity leave being shorter / non-existent (e.g. US)
DD2 started nursery at 3.5 months, but as she was 4 weeks early, her adjusted age was 2.5 months.
I was happy with the nursery as DS and then DD1 had both gone there.
DD2 was the youngest baby by a long way, and was thoroughly spoilt, everyone wanted cuddles. She left there in July at 4 years 9 months. She is happy and confident.
I am a childminder and the youngest I have taken was 6 weeks.. I can say child is now at school and very much bonded to her mum.. Child is still very happy and comfortable in my home..
The lovely carers in the nursery DS went to absolutely loved having the younger babies in, as pp says, they get lots of cuddles. And one thing to think about is the younger they start the easier they adapt- ds1 never really settled well at nursery, having started at 12 months.
You may also be able to arrange your work initially that your baby has a very phased gentle introduction on a part time basis over a few weeks, so you can gradually build up to the hours you will need.
My son started at nursery at 4.5 months, and was cuddled and loved by the staff. He's grown up to be a lovely boy, unscarred by the experience.
OP 3 months is probably better than 9 tbh as far as the baby is concerned, they'll be far more flexible and relaxed. The longer you leave going back the harder it is. I could've gone back at 3 months. You'll be ok. Congratulations and good luck
You say your freelance, does this mean from home? What you could do is look at a nanny ( live in cheaper if possible), even if just for a few months. Means you get a few more months with baby at home semi with you as nanny could take them out and occupy, but bring to you on and off if you like to feed baby/ cuddle if you can do that with your work
Don't panic. This has taken you by surprise, and your life - which seemed set one way - could go in various different directions right now, based on your choices.
Any of those choices will turn out fine. Each would be different, but they would all be ok.
When I was pregnant someone did the whole 'I don't know why people bother having children if they are just going to give them to other people to bring up' rant and really upset me.
Now that I have my daughter, I see even more clearly how wrong they were.
I went back part time in the end, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that even if circumstances forced me to work multiple jobs in different countries - and no matter how little I saw my daughter - having her would still be the best thing I've ever done.
I'm not saying which way you should go - only you can know that - but don't think for a second that what you can give your child won't be enough.
My DD started nursery at 5 months. Quite normal to start even younger where I live as statutory maternity leave is only 16 weeks. It might not be your first choice of arrangement for a small baby but it's really fine.
In some ways I found it even better that she should be in a nursery, able to stretch out, crawl, play and sleep whenever she liked, rather than with me doing my daily errands, cooped up in a pushchair or car.
The staff were very nice. There were many other small babies. The care was excellent.
There is no 'perfect' situation. I hope you'll find the best solution for you. Congratulations on the pregnancy!
I'm in the US. Fortunately I'm not in a position to work so I'm sahm to my 10 month old, but several of my friends from baby group went back to work full time from the babies being between 6 weeks to 3 months old. Babies go to a combination of nursery, childminders and relatives. We see them on weekends and they seem no different towards their parents then DS does to me.
In the US, maternity leave is much much shorter than it is the UK. US friends of mine have put their children into daycare (nursery) much younger than is usual here. One friend had no option but to have daycare look after her one month old when she went back to work. It was tough but she made her peace with it and her baby thrived.
It will be OK OP.
Do look into claiming Maternity Allowance www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance/overview to help with the finances.
And you have another 34 weeks (ish!) to try and save some cash for when baby arrives, this might enable you or your partner to take a bit more time off if you want to.
IMHO of having had 2 kids at nursery the most important thing is NOT what age they go to the nursery or childminder, it is the quality of the care provided by the carer. So make sure you find a good one!
And I echo what Caterina says about the USA. New mums there are only entitled to 12 weeks' UNPAID maternity leave which means that very many of them return to work shortly after having their babies, it's just the normal thing to do there!
Congratulations on your pregnancy and I wish you all the best.
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