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Babies in Childcare - Honest Opinions Please

(304 Posts)
ChesterBelloc Sat 18-Nov-17 09:19:31

I've read several threads recently in which people stated that so long as a baby is competently cared for in a suitable environment, it makes no difference to the child whether the adult(s) in question are the baby's parent(s) or childcare professionals.

Do you believe this?

(I'm not asking for yet another debate about the extent to which 'stay-at-home parenting' may be detrimental to women's quest for equality/career progression/intellectual stimulation etc etc. There's enough on these boards already about that.)

I'm asking whether people genuinely believe that babies have/should have no stake in the discussion; whether they think that it makes no difference to the babies themselves whether they are with their parents all day or with a nursery/childminder - and if there is a qualitative difference, which is the better option, from the child's perspective.

I'm genuinely curious to hear people's views, not trying to be goady (though fully expect to be flamed for even raising this question, due to the possible implications and inferences that could be extrapolated from it). Thank you for reading thus far!

HelloSquirrels Sat 18-Nov-17 09:21:34

Well youll never know from the child perspective unless a baby translation device is ever invented will you? It doesnt matter what we think they think, because we dont know! hmm

pointythings Sat 18-Nov-17 09:21:52

Well, my DDs were in childcare from 6 months old, full time. They are now 14 and 16 and you couldn't wish for two more well rounded, mature, pleasant teenagers, They both do brilliantly at school, have lovely friends and are generally great to have around. They were however at a nursery with a very, very low staff turnover and a small number of children and both had the same key worker for the entire time they were there, and I'm sure that made a difference. Not all childcare is crated equal.

Marcine Sat 18-Nov-17 09:23:26

I think being with a good childminder, nanny or relative probably makes little difference, though past about 6 months a baby will prefer to be with their parents.

Nursery is trickier as it is very hard/unusual for a nursery to be able to provide a secure attachment person for a baby - key persons will be in and out on breaks, covering other staff, moved to different rooms, new jobs. Babies in nurseries tend to experience several different carers each day and through their nursery 'career'.

Bagsalot Sat 18-Nov-17 09:24:11

It depends what you mean by babies mine went to a child minder aged 1 mostly only one day a week. I think younger than that there would be attachment issues. How is it better to be away from the parents for long stretches? I don't think I really understand what you are asking

Hmmalittlefishy Sat 18-Nov-17 09:24:36

I think most parents who use or don't use childcare have their babies interest and a stake in the discussion.
I think it does make a difference who they are with but not always a significant negative difference

Bluebubble123 Sat 18-Nov-17 09:25:29

In an ideal world I think babies till 18 mths should be cared for at home by a parent.
But the world is not ideal and I think it doesn't do a baby any harm if cared for by someone else, be it a grandparent, childminder or nursery. As long as it's in a caring, loving environment and it's needs are being met. I have never met anyone who says they feel damaged by being in childcare from a young age have you?

NotMyMonkees Sat 18-Nov-17 09:26:05

I think it's pretty irrelevant. A baby isn't part of the discussion because they aren't part of any discussions. Unless people are putting their childcare in childcare solely because they think it makes no difference to the child, not because they need to work/have a break/find parenting hard, etc etc then it really doesn't matter whether they justify it in this way or not. Just do what you need to do in your own family, based on what's best for you all.

Sarahrose21 Sat 18-Nov-17 09:27:40

I'm planning on going back to work once baby will be 3/4 months so will be with either a nursery or a childminder from a young age, I'm constantly judged for it when I tell people I'm not taking a year out but I am confident my baby won't love me any less for it and I'm in the process of changing career and a year long gap will be the worst thing on my cv.
If we could afford it DH would stay at home but we can't
And besides, talking to childminders, children seem to settle better and faster from a younger age

Hmmalittlefishy Sat 18-Nov-17 09:27:45

It is also interesting to note when the effect on a child not being with its parents constantly is shown. My dc have gone to nursery and found the transition to school relatively easy - able to be away from me, eat with other children, have an adult instructing them etc. A couple of others in dc class had never been away from their parents and found school very hard. Personally I would rather a one year old have a little cry and forget it a few mins later than a four year old much more upset

MargaretCavendish Sat 18-Nov-17 09:28:28

As pp said, how do we possibly know what the baby thinks? I was in full-time nursery from six months, and I don't feel qualified to say whether or not it had any effect on me - we don't have a control me to compare! I have excellent relationships with both my parents, and form healthy relationships pretty easily. I am also a highly anxious person who suffers from periodic depression. Can we attribute any of that to my upbringing at all, let alone the nursery? Who knows. All you can ever do is work out that children put in nursery are more or less likely to do/be x, y, and z. You can never tell for an individual whether or not they would or wouldn't be x, y or z if they'd had different childcare arrangements.

ChesterBelloc Sat 18-Nov-17 09:29:16

"How is it better to be away from the parents for long stretches? I don't think I really understand what you are asking"

Bagsalot, I'm not saying that I think it's a good thing, at all. But many posters seem to believe that it doesn't matter, or that it makes no difference to the baby concerned.

PlugInOut Sat 18-Nov-17 09:29:33

I don't believe this for a child under 1-2, despite using a nanny from 1.5.

I visited many nurseries and even in the outstanding nurseries, the babies in the under 2 rooms looked miserable. One child called me mummy too and my heart broke. This is in an outstanding nursery. However, my DS then went to a very small nursery at 3 and absolutely loved it, but that establishment was an exception, and he was 3, which meant he was ready for it too.

I think it's unfair to leave under 1s in a standard nursery. This is not a popular thing to say but that's what I believe. A nanny is much better, but a child at that age does prefer to have his or her parent.

trilbydoll Sat 18-Nov-17 09:29:40

I think it depends on the child and the nursery, there's a huge range of nurseries both by size and how they divide up the age ranges in each room. Even as babies, my two were very different, Dd1 loved getting involved with all the other kids and dd2 just watches. DD2 I think would be better suited to a cm, so although I'm happy with nursery I think from her perspective it very much does make a difference!

Battleax Sat 18-Nov-17 09:29:44

No I don't believe it.

I do think there's a difference and I, (and to an extent exh and dh) have completely upended our lives and careers several times now to ensure that no child of mine was in anything other than parental care until their second birthday.

It's not impossible to combine that ideal with work if you split the load, compress hours, go freelance, go part time in various combinations at various times.

Now I'll have to go into hiding for being honest.

YellowMakesMeSmile Sat 18-Nov-17 09:31:37

As long as the child is well cared for it makes no difference. A baby has no recollection of who cared for them as an adult.

Problems occur when care is poor but that can happen in and out of the home anyway.

MargaretCavendish Sat 18-Nov-17 09:33:19

I also think it's worth pointing out that if being cared for as an infant by someone other than your parents is damaging then every monarch we've ever had, and a huge proportion of all celebrated figures from the past suffered this damage, since they disproportionately came from noble families where their parents has, by modern standards, almost nothing to do with them.

ChesterBelloc Sat 18-Nov-17 09:33:42

Yellow - so you'd have no issue with state-sponsored wraparound childcare from birth, for those who wanted it?

PlugInOut Sat 18-Nov-17 09:34:00

There is a strange cultural acceptance in this country (and probably a few others too) to leave your very small baby with 10 others in a tiny small room for 10 hours, where one person has to look after 4-6 kids. This is not normal. This is unfair. I don't understand why our society thinks it's good thing. It makes no sense at all. One female senior professor once told me: why would I have chosen to have kids if i leave them with someone else all day all week to look after them? I think she had a point.

MargaretCavendish Sat 18-Nov-17 09:35:35

One female senior professor once told me: why would I have chosen to have kids if i leave them with someone else all day all week to look after them? I think she had a point.

...and here we go. Page 1 and this has already done there. Women who use childcare shouldn't have had children at all.

PlugInOut Sat 18-Nov-17 09:36:10

@MargaretCavendish the difference is they had one-to-one care, with free flow around a huge mansion. Nursery care is one-to-one by comparison, and in a tiny room.

PlugInOut Sat 18-Nov-17 09:36:40


HelloSquirrels Sat 18-Nov-17 09:36:44

plugin i think youve got your ratios wrong! There would never be 6 babies under 2 to 1 adult thats ludicrous.

HelloSquirrels Sat 18-Nov-17 09:37:45

why would I have chosen to have kids if i leave them with someone else all day all week to look after them?

I hope she asked your husband the same question?

Battleax Sat 18-Nov-17 09:37:51

Which count are you from originally plug?

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