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'Giving' baby to granny?

(242 Posts)
Bestforbaby Wed 31-Jul-13 11:53:34

Bit of backstory: relationship breakdown, subsequent discovery of unplanned pregnancy which I have decided to keep. The father wants to be part of the baby's life when it arrives.

I am in London, and to carry on working in my field I need to stay in London. The father is also in London. I work fulltime, 8-7ish, plus some evenings and weekends. Giving up work/going part-time is not an option for financial reasons. I might be able to work from home a bit, but not sure yet.

I have been looking at London nurseries etc, fulltime care for the baby from about 12 weeks.

My parents live about 2 hours from London, and are retired. My mum offered yesterday to look after the baby fulltime during the week at their home. It is just too far for me to commute daily, I'd never see baby awake, and it would be nearly impossible for the father to have a relationship with the baby. Initially I thought she was mad, as I did not decide to keep the baby to never see it.

But then I thought maybe I am being selfish, and if the baby cannot have me 24/7, maybe it would be best to have my mum, rather than being one of many at a nursery. She was brilliant when I was little, and they have a big garden, parks nearby etc, and, most importantly, time. By being able to stay in a smaller flat and not paying childcare I'd be able to save up enough to do really nice things with the baby when we are together, whereas both living in London we are not going to have much (any) spare cash. Then when the baby is school-age the plan would be to come 'back' to London.

Just wondering if anyone had any experience of a similar situation, or bright ideas? I want to do the best I can for my baby (who doesn't?), and maybe that is not being with me at the moment sad

Herhonesty Fri 02-Aug-13 07:27:53

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I don't see anything wrong with this but you will miss her terribly! Also maybe consider nanny at he ESP if father is paying half, this would take stress of drop off and pick up and she could do things for you around house to save you time at weekends?

NachoAddict Thu 01-Aug-13 22:58:24

If your parents have the baby all week and the father will presumably want at least one day at the weekend that really doesn't give you much time with baby.

Could you and the father both do a 4 day week so he can provide childcare say Friday and give the baby back to you Saturday, you have Monday off, catching up the work Friday night/sat morning and then your mum only has to do tue-thurs. if you stayed at your mums on Mon night and did an extra long commute that is one less sleepless night.

scarlettsmummy2 Thu 01-Aug-13 22:49:55

I think it sounds like a good compromise. I have left my daughters at my mums for two weeks at a time from they were very small- no lasting damage and they adore their granny and Granda.

AnnabelleLee Thu 01-Aug-13 22:33:33

A child with a secure attachment to one person can usually transition to another easily, especially when that person is already well known to them.

Fairyegg Thu 01-Aug-13 22:27:33

Regarding the attachment thing, I agree that the grandmother could well be a good person for baby to form an attachment with (any grandfather on the scene op?), but what concerns me is what happens in a year or so when op work changes / grandmother can no longer do it / child starts school etc? Everyone seems to be talking about how the op / grandmother will feel but what about the baby / child?

CheerfulYank Thu 01-Aug-13 21:25:41

As someone who has tried desperately (and mostly failed) to help a few children with severe attachment problems due to not having a consistent caregiver, I can assure you it is NOT rubbish.

However there's no reason it needs to be the mother. The grandmother would be just fine.

ll31 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:07:53

Sounds desperately hard tbh. You won't see your baby other than at weekends, your parents will essentially rear him or her. What if you disafree with them on some things,will they listen to your view? Will you be able to take the role of mother at weekends or will your mother ,deliberately or not, be unable to relinquish that role?

When your ready to take child back,how will that affect the child and your parents?

Think I'd be considering either nursery or child minder in your home.

MysteriousHamster Thu 01-Aug-13 20:06:43

Sounds like you're thinking it out well, OP, best of luck.

I agree with the poster who asked exactly how family friendly IS your employer? I'm thinking of situations that will arise like episodes of sickness that your mum could suffer. Nothing serious - just flu / virus or whatever, where she is unable to care for your child? Or even something like a heavy cold - would you expect someone of her age to carry on lookin after a small child while feeling ill or would you be able to take leave at very short notice to go and get your child from her house?

Potteresque97 Thu 01-Aug-13 18:19:09

Absolutely agree, itwillgetbettersoon. I've been quite surprised about some of the non constructive comments.

duchesse Thu 01-Aug-13 17:57:43

OP, your proposed arrangement works for millions of families in the world. No reason it shouldn't for you too, assuming your mum is still in fine health and able to cope with the demands of a tiny baby. However, I do think that you may find this harder to cope with than you think at the moment. The birth and newborn phase is quite a weird and primal time.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

itwillgetbettersoon Thu 01-Aug-13 17:39:09

I find it sad that women just criticise other woman's choices. The OP has asked for opinions on a fairly reasonable option. She hasn't asked people to judge her on having a baby, working long hours etc etc etc. in the end we all try to do our best and no one way is better. I know it is a generalisation but you rarely hear men criticising another mans decision to work full time or long hours when there is a child. Lets all just support each other. Perhaps in this economic climate women can't just give up very well paid jobs especially in the South.

Fairyegg Thu 01-Aug-13 17:24:41

Have you thought about what kind of access the father may want? He may well go for every other weekend in which case your only going to see your baby 4 days a month (even if you did stay at your mums some nights midweek, baby will more than likely be asleep). You also say he may want to visit his family aboard with baby. For how long? How often? Would you really be happy with this? What if the father started another relationship and went for custody? You need to start thinking about these sort of things. You say your mum has said she could cope with a baby but not a toddler. They really aren't babies for long. What are you going to do for childcare once baby is a toddler (around 1st birthday). Have you thought about an au pair? Becoming a mum changes everything (even when you swear it won't). Be prepared to feel totally different about things this time next year. And remember that money isn't everything, happiness and health are (neither of which need money, at least in the uk).

FreyaKItty Thu 01-Aug-13 16:56:46

I've read a number of books containing studies of attachment. One is Sylvia Lunt. I think that it is important to have consistency of care as cortisol levels have been fpund to rise where care is inconsistent. If your mother can manage that is brilliant - what a great woman to offer. My aunt found it hard due to age, had to do 24/7 too. Perhaps providing her with some help eg cleaner/someone to do shopping might help her too as it would give her a break. Your mother is brilliant to offer to do this and next best thing to you being there. I would also add its very hard to think abstractly about this until you feel a baby in your arms as best laid plans may go out the window, I know mine did.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Thu 01-Aug-13 15:58:13

It's my understanding that babies need to feel loved and they need to feel safe. Your DM will meet those needs well. It will be far harder for you than the baby IMO.

Also, when I was young (60s/70s) this happened fairly often for various reasons. No one thought it was odd.

WhiteandGreen Thu 01-Aug-13 15:50:03

I think it sounds like a good idea. One of my friends did this and it worked well.

adagio Thu 01-Aug-13 13:19:45

Hiya just caught up on this thread.

I was working similar hours to you OP, and when I got pregnant I imagined going back at 16weeks to the same thing. I accepted redundancy at 38w, and to be honest its been a good thing. Giving me space to enjoy time with the baby and for the hormones and initial strong attachment to die down a bit. I will be getting another job; almost certainly full time, baby in nursery but I have decided to wait till she is a year old, because I can (financially) and now I am already on an enforced (redundant) career break I may as well enjoy this time (plus this is the perfect summer for mat leave - the weather is amazing!).

In your situation, as other posters have said, do your utmost to maximise the initial mat leave, use savings, borrow from caring family, whatever - give yourself a chance to get over the birth, get a sleep routine (well, try anyway) and go back fit and well - I would actually have hated working on 6+ wake ups a night from the early days as I would think I might not be on top form and that might be ''career limiting'' in the longer run. I enjoyed being perceived as great at my job and wouldn't want to lose that.

Once you go back, suggestions from other posters about keeping as many options as possible open is excellent, you can then decide whether you can/want to keep it up or not once you see the reality. If you do stick at it, perhaps agree with your mum up front when you will introduce a nursery - be that 12m, 18m or whatever so she/you have a clear end in sight. I was surprised how unique even a tiny baby personality is. I seem to have a happy cuddly one - and in fairness, I suspect she would love and cuddle anyone who offered her love and cuddles. Your's might be like this, or might have indigestion and colic all night every night and be a bit harder work - which would be hard for you and your mum.

Just keep in mind, whatever option you take you won't know what the alternatives would have been like anyway, so will be the right decision for you :-)

Good luck BestforBaby flowers

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 13:16:40

That caregiver doesn't need to be with the infant 24/7, but they do need to be accessible. The OP working 8-7 plus some evenings and weekends, with various inconsistent nursery nurses providing Mon-Fri care and maybe a visit to dad at the weekend doesn't sound like a set-up which would make an attachment easy to form - especially if the OP goes back to work before the baby has become securely attached to her.

Taking a longer maternity leave or going back part time til 9 months, cutting down work hours and losing the evening/weekend work, and a childminder to provide childcare sounds much better. Either that or the grandmother caring for the baby Mon-Fri sound like much better set-ups imo.

FasterStronger Thu 01-Aug-13 13:15:44

annabelle - one of my oldest friends is soon to be a Professor - of Developmental Psychology. how babies and children's brains develop. she flies the world presenting to other people who have spent their working lives in this field.

journalists/authors/MNer talk like they know more than her. she says it is very hard to study babies brains. there are tests you can do - but they cannot be 100% sure.

jellybeans Thu 01-Aug-13 13:13:49

I would let your mother have the baby while you work. I know a couple of people who have done this and it has worked well and the child is well adjusted despite the parents working all hours. I would not leave a young baby in nursery for those long hours personally. Your mother sounds a good option but I really would try to cut your hours down for the sake of you spending more time with your child. You may feel very different when the baby is actually here.

AnnabelleLee Thu 01-Aug-13 13:04:10

Most of the research available is based on the mother child dynamic, purely because its usually the mother that is the primary caregiver. This does not, in any way, mean that the mother child dynamic is the only one that matters, or that it is the most important one.
Attachment theory states an infant needs a secure loving relationship to a primary caregiver. This can be anyone, in theory. It does not mean that that caregiver needs to be with the infant 24/7.

Seriously, there should be a ban on advising people on things like attachment theory unless you have at least a degree in psychology or a relevant discipline.

FasterStronger Thu 01-Aug-13 12:57:28

I agree with this post maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 12:48:30.

but that is not what posters say attachment theory is

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 12:50:18

In the 50s and 60s mother and "mother substitute" were used to describe the role of the attachment figure. A grandmother or father are equally good primary attachment figures if the actual mother isn't available for some reason.

maja00 Thu 01-Aug-13 12:48:30

There isn't any evidence to back up that claim. There is a huge amount of evidence that at least one secure attachment in infancy is crucial, but it doesn't have to be the mother - it just needs to be someone consistent, emotionally responsive and available to the infant.

FasterStronger Thu 01-Aug-13 12:46:48

research to back up this claim:

''There is a huge amount of evidence that attachment to the mother in particular is crucial. ''

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