Some really stooopid questions from a nursery novice!(12 Posts)
I am going back to work when DD is 6 months (9 weeks time, yikes!), and she will be cared for 2 days a week by MIL, one day by my Mum, and two days in nursery. I'm going to visit the likely nursery next week, and will do my best to get a feel for the place before making a decision, but there are a few things that I don't really understand about how nurseries do things and was hoping someone might have a few words of advice:
1) Sleep - will all the babies sleep at the same time...how? DD at the moment stays awake for around 2 hours, maybe an extra 15-30 minutes after that, and then she gets 'over-tired' and kicks off and it's then really hard to get her to sleep. How will the nursery manage this? She goes to sleep on her own at night but for daytime naps I usually need to do a bit of cuddling and shushing to get her relaxed enough (max 5 minutes). Will they do this? With every child that needs it? Sometimes she has a dummy to go to sleep, how will they make sure each child gets the 'stuff' they need?
2) Food & weaning - obviously the timing is a bit rubbish as it will tie in with DD starting on solids. I'm planning on getting her going on a few things a week or so before I go back to work but what happens then? Will they report to me what she has had and what she liked/didn't like etc.? I'm kind of worried about not knowing this kind of info.
3) Health & wellbeing - DD has acid reflux and her meds are very weight sensitive. I will need them to tell me if she has had a reflux attack, but I'm worried they won't know what to look for. In fact generally, she is quite a difficult feeder, has always been a bit on/off with her bottle and hard to wind. How do they manage that at a nursery?
4) Ridiculous PFB question - Will someone cuddle her when she wants a cuddle?
I know these questions are all very very very PFB, and I am sure they will be answered on my visit, but I suppose I feel a bit stupid asking some of them - I mean of course they're going to say they will feed her/wind her/make sure she has her own dummy etc. but I am mroe looking for an idea of how this works practically in a setting with more babies than adults.
Ta in advance for any replies.
First of all, they are all things I worried about with DS.
DS has a key person, who only ever has 3 babies to look after at once. His dummy is kept in a little box with his name on, and his nappies, cream, milk, bottles etc. are all kept in a basket with his name on.
They asked me what I had already fed him on while weaning and only gave him foods from that list. They managed the fact that at first he was prone to quite a bit of spit-up no problem. I can't say how they do medicines as he hasn't needed them fortunately, but I am confident they would understand and be able to do what was needed.
He always has a little wail when I leave, but stops as soon as I am out the door (I wait and listen). He always gets a hug when he goes in and when I am there (I drop him off in the middle of the day, some babies are being cuddled and if others start grumping they get a hug too. Sometimes one worker will be sat there on the floor hugging 2 or 3 babies and doing it well!
DS sleeps when he wants to, and seems to settle there better than he does at home. He can either sleep in a cot or on a blanket.
He loves it there, I have been in to collect him before and found him bouncing up and down giggling with excitement at something they were doing. And I had to sign an accident form when he was laughing so hard he hit his head on the floor.
It was really hard to leave him at first, and still is sometimes. But I know he is looked after and happy. Go with your gut feel when you look around and see what you think that way.
SkiingGardener thanks so much for such a lovely reassuring reply. I know some of my questions must seem ridiculous, but I sort of feel better reading about some of this stuff first so it will help me get the most out of my visit next week.
Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
Not ridiculous at all. It's a big worry when you have to leave your baby with someone else. I'll second Skiing that they will usually ask you what time she sleeps and how long for- whether you want them to wake her or leave her till she wakes up on her own.
As for the cuddles, when my DD first started nursery I was having to wash her hair every night because she didn't smell of her IYSWIM. She smelled of her keyworker. It was a while before I realised that she smelled of her because she was being cuddled by her throughout the day, and calmed down a bit.
Babies are never more than 3 to one keyworker.
Thanks for reply Tallulah it's reassuring to know that everyone goes through these thoughts! I'm not a 'how can I possible leave my PFB with anyone else for a day' kind of person, more of a 'how will they learn all the stuff I have learnt about DD and how will they manage with all those babies', but then, I suppose 1 to 3 is OK really, I mean there are plenty of Mums of 3 or more babies who still have time to cuddle them all!
Tallulah, I was going to mention the same thing. DD would come back smelling of someone else & it disconcerted me rather until I realised it meat she had been cuddled & loved. V good sign!
(Am typing on phone so this isn't very long)
A ratio of 3 to 1 seems to work fine IME. Bearing in mind most of the babies are happily boshing or squidging toys so the staff have enough time to cuddle, comfort, change babies when needed. In the baby room at my dc's nursery the staff are always sitting on the floor with the babies so even if they aren't actually cuddling them they are sitting together. They have such a variety of stuff to play with the babies don't have a chance to get bored.
A good nursery will cuddle her when she wants a cuddle . The staff at the dc's nursery cuddle them and kiss them on the cheek, even the older children.
The nursery will probably have a daily routine book so they can write down what food your dc has eaten (or not liked!). My dd is 2.5 and they have only just stopped giving me a record of what she's eaten, the weekly menu is on the door anyway so I still know what she's had.
They should be able to accomodate your childs nap routine, obviously if it clashes with mealtimes they might have to tweak it but my dd was allowed extra naps if she needed them. They turn the lights off when they do the long after lunch nap, some babies are cuddled and rocked to sleep if needed.
Have you got a place at the nursery? Don't want to worry you but baby places can be hard to get because of the higher staff ratios. Do they know when you need to start?
That aside your questions are very sensible. Dd3 started at nursery at 12 months in the baby room and I also found there were lots of cuddles A good nursery will write down what has been eaten etc. YOu will be able to talk to nusery about her routine and they will then fit around that as much as possible. Nobody wants to try and play with a grumpy over-tired baby My dd3 was having a brief morning nap when she started as well as an afternoon sleep. They accommodated that fine till she gave it up.
Thanks for more replies. Glad to hear about lots of cuddles!
Northern yes they have places for when I want to start. This nursery has been taking children from 2 but have just opened the baby room recently and it's not full every day yet. They have the experience of running the baby room in the next town branch as well (just two locations, not a massive chain) so they're not totally new at it, and that one has a really good reputation.
Fortunately I want Monday & Friday, which are the quietest days, as most Mums returning to work 3-4 days a week seem to have Monday and/or Friday off with their kids, so the nursery is actually full Tues-Thurs, but not Mon & Fri.
first of all, it can all seem a bit scary. i left DD now 1 about a month ago, at a nursery DS already goes to where he is extremely happy, i know all the staff, they know me and i was still worried!!!
so to answer your questions - which arent silly at all btw. in our nursery in the baby room (there are only 9 babies, and 3 or 4 staff) they stick to the same routine (or not in our case) that you have at home. so all the babies will nap when they usually do. i think eventually they kind of nap in synch with each other, and there is a 'quiet' time throughout the nursery between 1 and 2 when all classes can sleep (or rest for the older ones). my DD cannot self settle, we cosleep and she feeds to sleep so i was very anxious about how she would nap during the day. nursery staff rock her to sleep, then lay her on a mattress rubbing her back until she is asleep. so dont worry too much.
as for food, DD has a few allergies/intolerances which we already knew about luckily and we send her with her own food. they complete a daily diary, and in that they list how much of her lunch / snack / milk etc she has taken. they also send home any remnants so you can see what has been left. they continue this throughout the nursery. i do remember when DS (pfb) started i used to send him in with all sorts of wonderful frittatas etc and they politely said ' i dont think he was keen on lunch today' so a good nursery should take notice of what your child is liking/disliking.
DD also was very refluxy (though she grew out of it a lot once weaning was in full swing) but as long as you let nursery know, and let them know how YOU deal with it they should follow your wishes. if anything is going to cause a medical issue (eg allergy to nuts) you may have to fill in a risk assessment and sign in any medication you send.
in a good nursery, if your DD is upset and wants a cuddle someone should give her one! would echo other posts though in that good nurseries get booked up far in advance, especially in the baby room as they limit the numbers due to staff ratios. with DS i booked him after my 20 wk scan, and DD practically as soon as i announced i was pg. you need to have a good look round and get a feel for the place - you will know when you walk in if its a homely friendly enviroment and if you want to send your child there. ofsted also report on day nurseries so taht can be useful as a guide.
sorry for the very long post, but good luck, and enjoy the rest of your maternity leave!
My DS started at nursery at 8 months, so a little later than your DD, but I was still in the process of weaning him. One tip might be to ask for the list of foods that they have on their menus, so that you can look to introduce those foods to your DD at home.
Our nursery's policy is for babies under 12 months to only be given foods that they have tried at home first (once they reach 12 months, parents can sign a form giving them permission to have everything on the menu even if it hadn't been introduced at home first).
When he started, I had to go through a long list of every individual foodstuff that they use in their 6-week rolling menu plans, and tick those things that he had already eaten at home. They would then either give him the meal on offer that day if he had tried all the ingredients and it was suitable, or would give him a puree that met his needs instead. If you had a copy of the list at home, you could then update the nursery every few weeks or so on what things your DD had now eaten and so could have while in their care.
My ds started nursery at 7 months, 2 mornings a week.
She'll have a keyworker, who takes responsibility for that child's paperwork/planning and will act as a point of contact for you, but that person won't necessarily do all the child's care - it will be split between all the staff in the room. Which obviously is a good thing as if your child's keyworker is off changing a nappy your dd won't be ignored, and if she'd on holiday/lunch break your dd won't be phased by it.
Babies under 12 months should be allowed to sleep as and when they want, in accordance with your instructions. My ds's keyworker asked how we get him to sleep at home, and always checks with me in the morning when we will probably want a sleep. After 12 months or when she moves to the next room they will probably have all the toddlers sleeping at the same time after lunch.
At ds's nursery they have a monthly rolling menu which they gave me a copy off, so I know what he'll be eating every day. We started weaning at 5 months so he was happily eating most things by the time he went to nursery - he is allergic to egg though and the nursery give him an alternative if there is something eggy on the menu.
At the end of each session someone verbally tells me how he was, what he ate, when he slept, how many nappies were changed etc, and it's also written on a board on the wall. Some nurseries will give you a written feedback sheet every day.
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