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Breastfeeding and leaving a baby at the childminder

(28 Posts)
Aleesmum Thu 25-Mar-10 09:20:50


My son is a year old and BF and BLW. For the past 2 weeks I have been trying to settle him at a childminders. However, he screams every half an hour or so (according to the CM) until he is out of breath, is not happy and now the other children are getting clingy as well due to my son crying/screaming.

The childminder basically said that he wants me all the time because I BF him. This has convinced DH that the only way DS will settle at the CM is to wean or partially wean him. DS has never had a bottle, so I know it will not be easy to give him one. He can drink from a cup but DH thinks he needs a bottle!

I dont know what to do. I don't want to wean him, I don't see how 2 big changes in his life can hep him settle down. However DH thinks that he is screaming there because he is hungry for milk!

He does eat at the CM, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. Im not worried about it because the amount DS eats always varies for no reason I can see. So I think its normal. CM does not think so and gets worried when he doesn't eat.

What do you think? Has anyone weaned a one yr old to get him to settle in daycare?

Thanks for reading!

OP’s posts: |
tiktok Thu 25-Mar-10 09:30:04

What a difficult situation Aleesmum.

I would think it more likely that he's unhappy because he wants you because he loves you and feels safe and reassured with you. Breastfeeding is part of your loving, close relationship, but it is not the direct cause of his distress.

Two weeks of daily distress, with a CM who (from what you say) has other children to attend to and who therefore cannot do the one to one, intense reassurance that might help him learn to cope better, is a long time for a one year old. She is also under the same erroneous impression that breastfeeding causes this unhappiness.

You have options - do you need to settle him now or can it wait a while? Can you ease him into the CM's gradually, staying with him for some of the time and then leaving him for short periods which then build up? Do you have to use this particular CM?

He's a baby. He's unhappy and screaming to the point of exhaustion. Every half hour. And he's been doing this every time he is left for 2 weeks. And the suggestion is he is prevented from breastfeeding??? sad

harecare Thu 25-Mar-10 09:31:36

I'm weaning my 6 month old and she drinks water from a cup. I expect she will be on food in the day and morning/evening feeds by 9 months and then I'll keep that up til at least same as DD1 - 18mths. No need for a bottle at 1. Does he normally have BF during the time that he is at the childminders?
Logically I would say to ensure he doesn't need BF while at the CMs. If you haven't weaned him from daytime BF and he is at the childminders it is not surprising he gets upset as you are forcing him to make 2 big changes in his life without helping him to do it gradually.
So first wean him from daytime BF, then he should be fine at CMs no matter how long you continue BF at morning and night.

KristinaM Thu 25-Mar-10 09:39:15

i think your instinct is right - that weaning him now would be a really bad idea.he sounds very unhappy sad If you DO wean him and he still cries for you when he is it the CM you will have put him at risk for nothing sad

i've had two children in nursery while they were still bf and i don't think it creates problems with the settling IME. they were older than your Lo when they started - one was 18 months and the other 2 years.

I hope you don't mind me saying but your Cm doesn't sound very knowledgeable / supportive about bf or bf babies.

I'm so sorry you and your baby are in this situation - no wonder you are worried

Aleesmum Thu 25-Mar-10 10:01:22

Hi, Thanks so much for your replies!

tiktok, I agree completely, its me he wants, not the milk. And when he sees me when I pick him up, he does feed (hence CM thinking he wanted milk) but its mostly for comfort/connection i think.

Have left him for a few hours over the last week (max 4 hrs a day) and this week, it was Monday, tuesday and Wed. I plan to work 3 days a week.

I know he is unhappy, and it breaks my heart. Thing is I had another Cm, who quit after 2 weeks of settling in (he didn't settle in there either) . She quit for other reasons though. And this was when I was supposed to go back to work. So i asked work for 2 weeks parental leave (they weren't too happy, but obviously had to go with it) and then tried to settle with this CM who we had to find in a hurry.

She has 2 assistants, but ur right, not very knowledgeable on BF.

Thing is DH is very worried as my visa in this country depends on me working, hence all the problems. He doesn't like seeing DS unhappy either

I think there r some babies who just don't settle? is this right? or am I being too clingy?

OP’s posts: |
tiktok Thu 25-Mar-10 10:21:46

so sorry to read all this, Aleesum.

Your baby is bound to be unhappy - he's already been with someone where he didn't settle, and that is going to add to his difficulties in settling now.

Is there any way you could have someone care for your baby in your own house? One to one? And to cut down your hours, or spread them over more days, so he has less time alone with the carer? Or even share care with your dh temporarily?

Your baby may just not be ready to settle with a CM at the moment.

Aleesmum Thu 25-Mar-10 12:24:05

harecare and KristinaM, thanks for ur replies.

harecare - DS can go the entire day without feeding, I have left with DH a few times for the day and he is fine, just eats more!

KristinaM - ur right, I don't want to wean him if he will still be crying which, i suspect, will be the case.

tiktok, I think that might be case, he simply isn't ready to settle with a CM right now

Problem is that I have already made a flexible working request at work, which was for the 3 days instead of 5, which I am kicking myself for now, I should have requested fewer hours too!! I just naively assumed that it would work out blush

so the options are,
1. I go back and tell work that I cant do the hours I said I would do shock
2. or do the hours with DS crying
3. or look for a nanny (v. expensive for us, pretty much all i earn would go to nanny)
4. switch visas with DH - very time consuming and something we r looking to avoid.

Oh, and Dh is not anti BF or anything, sorry if I gave that impression! He is just very worried/desperate and looking for any solution that might work!

And to top it all off the CM told me that as DS was starting to cling to her, she didn't want to encourage it!! And left him in the room with the assistants to make sure that he didn't get attached to her shock .. surely that is the whole point!!

Poor DS is in such a state that the assistants told us that he would start screaming if anyone left the room, even one of the other kids!

But the CM isn't all bad or anything, she is genuinely caring and kind, I just don't agree with all her methods ifykwim.

Sorry for the long rant!

OP’s posts: |
Bramshott Thu 25-Mar-10 12:33:47

Oh dear Aleesmum - sounds like you are in a very a difficult situation. It sounds to me, as others have said, that the problem is settling and separation, rather than anything particularly connected to BF.

Have you looked at any nurseries? A friend of mine had a DD who would not settle with a CM, but conversely loved it at nursery because of the variety of carers and greater number of children suited her better.

tiktok Thu 25-Mar-10 12:38:56

Oh dear, poor little soul And poor you, too.

The CM is not right for him or you - that's definite. You have to agree with a CM's outlook and approach, IME....this is crucial.

I think you might want to start thinking about biting the bullet and asking your work to re-negotiate your hours. Bit embarrassing for you, yes, and they may think you are awkward...but you are a grown up and can take it

If your hours are shorter, then you could look for a kind person you know (or could get to know) well and could trust, perhaps a mum with schoolage children looking for paid employment, who could be a babysitter, rather than a nanny, for a few hours a day only. Then when your son is a little older, think of alternative forms of care which might be less expensive.

harecare Thu 25-Mar-10 13:11:04

If it's any help when I used to mind one 1 year old just an afternoon a week he napped then woke up and would be very/impossible to settle. He was a 3rd child and the Mum knew he'd be OK eventually. I hoped I could have him a full day as I thought it would be easier for him that way - he'd do something fun with us in the morning and then feel more happy to settle in the afternoon when a lot of children aren't at their best. This never happened, but he did settle after about 4 afternoons (a month!).
When he started coming with a stuffed toy from home things got better.
Clearly it has nothing to do with BF, it's just a settling in problem. A comfort object could help. Also being really happy and smiley and telling him what a lovely time he's going to have with CM even when he is bawling as you leave.
One benefit of a CM over a nursery is getting attached to one adult so your CM sounds a bit odd to me.

mumtotwoboys Thu 25-Mar-10 13:24:57

Everyone's quick to blame the one thing they don't understand.
He's crying, what's different about him? Oh he's breastfed that must be the problem.
Maybe he doesn't like the woman?
You can chose between her and other child minders you know.
Children should be breastfed for 2 years ideally. MAybe you'll be lucky enough to find one who knows this and isnt so quick to demonise your breastfeeding as being the route of all problems

Reallytired Thu 25-Mar-10 19:14:05

Prehaps you need to think about your childcare options if your childminder is not coping.

One years old is a difficult age to start childcare. In someways it is easier with a small baby as they have less awareness of what is going on. They do cry because they don't know what is going on. Once they get used to the carer then they cry a lot less. My daughter now knows her key worker at nursery and she is much happier to be left.

My breastfed daughter started nursery at 9 months. She will not take milk out of a cup so the nursery mix a bit of formula with some rusk. She breastfeeds when she is at home with me. I am planing to breastfeed my daughter until two.

You need a carer with a bit of imagination who can think outside the box. I am sure that your three days will be fine. You can carry on breastfeeding for as long as you like.

snazzyapple Thu 25-Mar-10 19:17:28

Reallytired it is pleasing to hear about a breastfed baby at nursery.

My baby will start at nursery for 1 to 2 days and I am really concerned that the breastfeeding will be mucked up and how my baby will cope.

One day I will not see my baby from 7am to 7pm?

My baby is 6 months, the nursery seem on to it - but if anyone has some tips then let me know.

I'm interested in what tiktok will say about this arrangment.

Aleesmum Thu 25-Mar-10 20:16:37

Hi everyone! Thanks for the support

tiktok, I was planning to ask work for less hours. Question is how do I get them to actually agree? And what do I do if they say no? Guess I'll really be stuck then!

I have told DH that I am not weaning DS and he agrees. However he thinks than DS needs to take a bottle as this will help to comfort him at the CM. Is this true? Can some one please tell me if a baby settled down better after taking a bottle?

I am completely opposed to the bottle, but when DH asks me why I am so opposed to it, I don't know what to say ! confused. To me it just seems wrong to give a bottle to a child who can drink out of a cup by himself. Am I being very unreasonable? It seems like step backwards and unnecessary. But I don't have any points to back me up!

OP’s posts: |
Reallytired Thu 25-Mar-10 21:07:11

Your baby does not need to take a bottle. It is barmy to give a baby who is able to drink out of a cup a bottle.

If the baby wants to suck for comfort then it always has its thumb or a dummy. Or shock! horror! an old fashioned cuddle.

The childminder needs to think about strageries. At my daughter's nursery they use attention distraction. She loves the baby swing at nursery or the lovely young key worker gets down on her knees and plays silly games with my baby. A baby who is entertained will have less time to miss Mummy.

They given her snacks of fruit or some baby rusk dipped in formula if they think she is hungry.

Reallytired Thu 25-Mar-10 21:12:08

snazzyapple, How many feeds a day is your baby having? I think the key to maintaining supply is plenty of night feeds.

7am to 7am is a really long time, are you planning to express? My daughter is in nursery 8am to 4.30, but has to wait until 5.30 for a feed as I have to pick up her brother as well.

snazzyapple Thu 25-Mar-10 21:39:04

Thanks Reallytired - yes I plan to initially express on the day that I won't be with my baby 7 to 7.

I am very concerned about it though - and have not yet really expressed for a long time - I meant to add that my baby will be 6 months in about 5 weeks time, and will be starting nursery in about 3 weeks time, and has not had any food, only breast milk.

I am going to allow myself to be around for 3 weeks settling in.

Baby feeds up to 8 times a day, but can go 4-5 hours between a feed. I have no idea how much EBM I need to provide the nursery with either?

Reallytired Thu 25-Mar-10 21:52:04

I don't know how your baby will get on. Its a much tougher situation than my daughter and I were in. All I can say is that babies are surprisingly adaptable. Children behave differently at nursery and once you start weaning life gets a lot easier.

I think the key is to have an open mind and not be too rigid about any parenting ideas. For example, if you don't express enough/ hate expressing milk then consider mixed feeding. Have an open mind about whether to do baby led weaning or go down the puree route.

My daughter feeds in the night a lot more on nursery days. We survive by having my daughter in a bedside cot.

snazzyapple Thu 25-Mar-10 22:16:38

Thanks again - I would delay but I know I am lucky to get a place. I kind of hate the idea but I know that eventually I will have to up the amount of time the baby is in childcare.

My baby is just so happy that I feel like this is going to upset him and me.

harecare Fri 26-Mar-10 09:17:49

Aleesmum = of course it's crazy to give a bottle for comfort if never had one. Give him a teddy instead. 2 children I minded had favourite soft toys, 1 was just for sleeping, the other needed him all the time for a few weeks.

Aleesmum Fri 26-Mar-10 10:31:27

Very true harecare. Unfortunately my son isn't interested in soft toys, never had a dummy. I think I am his dummy!

Spoke to the CM today, she is convinced that what DS needs is a bottle. Apparently she spoke to her supervisor and thats what she said as well. The child needs a bottle so he can settle because all the other kids have a bottle and they dont cry!!

I honestly don't know what to say. Can anyone please tell me if there is anything negative about introducing a bottle at this stage? Please?

OP’s posts: |
tiktok Fri 26-Mar-10 11:10:04

There's nothing wrong with giving a bottle, Aleesmum. It's just misguided to think the lack of it is what lies at the heart of your son's distress, and that offering a bottle will 'fix' it.

I don't think this CM understands normal infant development, from the sound of it. She's trying to help, I am sure, but she hasn't got a clue, really, has she?

Aleesmum Fri 26-Mar-10 14:18:23

tiktok - no, I don't think she understands why my son is upset and what to do about it! Also, since my instructions for DS are so different to what she's used to (BLW, no bottle or dummy, no chocolate or juice, still BF) she thinks that my methods are the problem.

In hindsight, probably shouldn't have picked her! But at that point was I very worried as my first childminder quit unexpectedly the day before I was supposed to return to work! So I guess we panicked and picked the first available one hmm

Anyway, I am going to speak to work, see what I can do, get a break for a month, fewer hours, maybe quit....God, I don't know!

On a separate note, while your reading my thread tiktok, please could you tell me how u became a breastfeeding counsellor? I've watched you on this forum and have become inspired! Do you do it as a volunteer or is it a career? Hope you don't mind me asking!

OP’s posts: |
susiey Fri 26-Mar-10 16:31:29

I think your sons problem with the childminder is definitley the one of not liking being left.
most children between 1 and 2 have this problem some worse than others and he sounds quite distressed indeed.
unfortunately beacause you've literally just started leaving him this has come at a really bad time for both of you.
both my kids went through this at the childminders but were both settled at 6 months so I knew when they started doing this at a year that they did like her it was just a phase but even then it was a horrible time as a mum .
maybe you could introduce a comfort thing at every time of distress even when at home so a toy or something when you feed him the toy is there and then when you are not there they toy is, along with a cuddle and possibly a drink. It might be worth expressing just a bit of milk even if it is from a cup so he has some key cue of comfort if you know what I mean.
note to self though if the toy thing works buy a second one of the same thing!

tiktok Fri 26-Mar-10 16:39:21

Thanks for nice words, Alleesmum.

Bfs are normally volunteers though there is some opportunity to do paid work. You can check out NCT's training at There are other ways to train, and other ways of supporting bf - peer supporters, for instance.

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