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Going back to work in France

(7 Posts)
flyingcloud Mon 12-Oct-09 09:54:17

I will be going back to work full-time after my 10 weeks, post birth, are up, which I think is the norm here no? It's funny I always thought continental Europe was much better for ml than England, but seems I am wrong.

I have been looking for an assistante maternelle in our village but there are none available - all retired I think. There is however a 'foyer des touts petits' in the village which we have to go on a waiting list for, and runs from September to September.

Can someone tell me what this is? I also need to find someone for the intervening months, ie from April through to September as I will be back at work full-time. Does anyone have any recommendations? I would ideally like to find someone to come into the home, but would they be happy on a short term basis like that? I work from home so it may not be ideal, but I will be travelling a lot in those months so it would mean that I would see my baby a little bit more!

Also, if you take your breastfed baby out of the home for childcare at 10/12 weeks - will the carer be happy to feed expressed breast milk? How does that work?

Sorry being a bit thick here!

Thanks for your help.

frakula Mon 12-Oct-09 13:46:35

You can find people to come to your home - are you after English or French speaking childcare? You should be able to find someone short term although a lot of people won't work in August! I thought maternity leave was longer than 10 weeks too, though?

The foyer de touts petits sounds like a garderie of some kind.

Nounous often aren't qualified/1st Aided/CRBed the way they are in the UK but they can get a police check done from themselves.

I have no idea about giving EBM out of home, sorry!

Othersideofthechannel Mon 12-Oct-09 13:58:58

Sorry no idea what a 'foyer des tout petits' is.
I gave expressed bm to both assistante maternelle (who was from next village) and 'halte garderie'.

AuldAlliance Mon 12-Oct-09 14:05:12

ML is indeed 10 wks after the birth, if you take the full 6 wks before the birth. If you work a bit longer before birth, then you can add the extra on at the end, IYSWIM. ML is not great here.

You can get people to come into your home, the CAF will reimburse you some of the cost.

Re the EBM, DS2 (6mths) has been at his assistante maternelle's since he was four and a half months old, and she is quite happy to give him expressed breast milk. She is even going to some lengths to encourage me, as I have been having trouble with my milk not keeping well. (But she is actually Dutch, not French wink). DS1's assistante maternelle was fine with giving him my expressed milk, and there was no trouble. Does that answer your question? Not sure what you mean 'how does that work?'.

FWIW it may be harder getting carers in a garderie to give your EBM, as there are some daft health & safety rules about how all food the kids in crèches consume has to be provided by the crèche or the municipal food service, to ensure that there are no problems with food not having been kept cool enough on the way to the crèche. I think the idea is that if the stuff then goes off and the baby is ill, the parents could blame the crèche. I know the head of our local crèche takes it upon herself to accept EBM from parents, to help mothers to carry on BFing, but she is herself a fairly enthusiastic BFer, for France, and may be exceptional. Worth finding out about...

BriocheDoree Mon 12-Oct-09 14:32:31

I'm guessing that the foyer des tout-petits is a multi-accueil. DD used to go to a halte-garderie parentale and I was on the committee for a while and heard that in small towns a lot of creche/halte-garderie are being encouraged to become multi-accueil. Traditionally creche only take kids whose parents work while halte-garderies take kids whose parents don't work. Multi-accueil should cater for both. You should be able to get a list of assistante maternelle locally either from your mairie or from the PMI (apologies if you know this already). Also, our conseil regional website here in the Yvelines also has a really good section all about childcare with a map that shows all assistante maternelle agrée in the local area - i.e. your commune and all the neighbouring ones. You could try that as well.
You could also try websites such as, or kijiji/craigslist, if they cover your area. You might also find posted adverts for nounous around local maternelle or the foyer des tout-petits (just thinking how it works here). Alternatively, go down to your local playpark and ask around the other mums there what they do, if that's appropriate. Hope you find someone - I remember how panicky I was about leaving my first! You really need someone you can feel confident about.

flyingcloud Mon 12-Oct-09 16:00:01

Thank you all for your help.

Preferably French-speaking childcare, and fully intend to take advantage of all the tax incentives on offer!

I think the 'foyer des tout petits' is the same as a garderie. They take children from 10 weeks up until three or four I think. So we need to wait for someone to leave (ie go to school) before a place opens up, which is why it runs from September to September. We are on the waiting list.

Thank you AuldAlliance - you answered my question, I did wonder if there was some sort of issue with h&s regarding feeding babies with food brought from home, etc whichy is what I meant when I asked how it worked. I am just battling the hmm mentality I come across whenever I get vaguely dogmatic about breastfeeding. DH seems to think I am making a rod for my own back.

I am becoming more and more panicky about the idea of handing over my 10 week old baby to someone else which is why I am going to try and find a nounou for the first six months (in the hope that we'll get a place at the garderie).

Thanks Brioche Doree, not too far from the Yvelines, I think so that sounds like a good idea.

Yes, ML is short here - but tbh, and this is a very un pc thing to say - it has helped my career for my (old-fashioned) boss to think that I will not be taking the 9 to 12 months that his employees in England usually take.

Thank you all again.

Weta Tue 13-Oct-09 11:28:19

Just a couple of points - I was able to get a list of assistantes maternelles from the PMI - maybe if you look slightly further afield you'll find one. Personally I prefer that kind of care for a baby as I like the idea of the baby forming an attachment to one other person - but it does have pros and cons and a lot depends on finding the right person.

I used one for DS2 from 5 months and a halte-garderie for DS1 when we moved to France (he was 2).

Not sure about EBM rules in a creche type structure but, from a different perspective, I had to take food for DS1 when he started school as he has a serious allergy and we were given a disclaimer form to sign if he did get sick from it or anything. So maybe something like that might be possible? My childminder had no problem giving EBM, it was more of a hassle for me figuring out how to produce it!

Also, back in NZ I had a nanny who came in to look after DS1 (from 4 to 7 months) while I worked from home but in our case it was an utter disaster. She was lovely and I got on well with her, but DS1 was always very attached to me and I think it confused things for him that I was in and out to breastfeed him etc and he was conscious somehow that I was still around. In the end she left because she felt he wasn't taking to her well enough. So do think that idea through carefully - although now DS1 is 6 I also know it is partly to do with his particular personality!

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