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What should I expect from my nursery? (A bit long.)

(20 Posts)
AnnaK Thu 13-Jan-05 09:13:56

Ds is 10 months and I am due back at work in a couple of weeks. He has been a very clingy baby from about 4 months and Due to my circumstances, I haven’t been able to do much about it – relatives living a long way away and a fairly unhelpful husband.
When I chose the nursery, there was a very pleasant lady in charge, she has just been replaced by someone with few personal skills and has already been a bit difficult. The other lady said I would get four settling in sessions and now I am only allowed two…
Anyway, because he is so clingy, I decided to put ds in for a couple of hours the first week, half days this week and full days next week. While I am only going back to work for 3 days, I thought it might help ds to settle better if he went every day for a month before I cut back to the three days I actually work. Because dh won’t help with dropping off and fetching I have to leave ds at 7.30, when his own carers don’t arrive until 8am. Until today, I have dropped him off and left quickly because I was so upset but today I watched through the window a little. When I arrived, there were already three children there (3 ish) and only one carer. The carer held ds for a short while and then put him on the floor and continued to amuse the other three while ds was screaming.
While I don’t want to cause any more trouble, should I expect something more? Like another carer, if there are already three children there…? Or that the carer should try and comfort ds a little…? Am I being unreasonable…? Handing ds over is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and to see that he isn’t being comforted really upsets me (crying as I write this…). I have heard that recent research has shown that if allowed to scream for more than 20 mins, the baby’s brain is actually damaged. Am I doing the wrong thing in leaving him at all…?
Please help.

pixiefish Thu 13-Jan-05 09:17:30

oh annak- you've set me off now as well.

No advice but just hugs

Pamina3 Thu 13-Jan-05 09:21:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bozza Thu 13-Jan-05 09:22:30

Not really sure what to say but am really sorry that you are finding this so difficult. Seems like you have two issues - the nursery and your DH.

I think that the nursery should have at least one worker to three children, so what they are doing is actually illegal. How long did you stay and watch for? I believe that 10 months is generally accepted at quite a clingy age (seperation anxiety and all that) and both my children went to nursery at a younger age with seemingly less trouble. What is DS like when you collect him? What info do you get about his day?

Also it sounds like your DH is being fairly unreasonable. I have fairly similar circumstances to you in that I work 3 full days. Our general pattern is that DH drops off and I collect which means that I actually go to work before the nursery opens at 8. Occasionally we have to shift this because DH is away over night or has an early meeting. A bit of support would probably make you feel much better.

myermay Thu 13-Jan-05 09:24:49

Message withdrawn

hippi Thu 13-Jan-05 13:42:41

Annak, you should expect as many settling in sessions as necessary for your child. My dd (although 19 mnths when first went to nursery) only need to sessions one on 1.5 hrs the next was 4 hours. You should expected to be greeted by carer/s to see if any problems with child and to voice concerns, you should also expect to get a run down on how your littleones day has been if they've been happy etc. My dd's nursery hands us day sheets stating what they had for diiner and tea how much they ate, what toys they enjoyed playing with how many nappy changes and whether they were wet or dry. You should not expect to leave nursery feeling worried about your child (well not after a couple of weeks) you should feel secure that they are looking after him. I would mention to senior carer what you saw for reassurance. Also subtly ask where original carer went (the pleasant lady) she may have moved to another local nursery, and you can always move littleone. Also talk to other mums with children at the same nursery see if they're happy. The most important thing is that when you leave your baby that you feel satisfied that they are happy and looked after. sorry for babbling.

Bozza Thu 13-Jan-05 13:50:19

Agree with hippi - we have the same sheets - also times and durations of sleeps. Some days (if DD has an active bowel and bitty naps) the sheet can be quite full.

jamiesam Thu 13-Jan-05 14:38:44


Definitely agree that you should check out the legal side - what no. of children per adult, but would also suggest that you raise your concerns with the nursery to see how they respond.

From my own experience, I once went to pick up my ds (then aged about 18mths) from nursery and found him all on his own in floods of tears. Felt very awkward and didn't know what to say to staff, so just whisked him out and comforted him myself. The next day, I spoke to his room 'manager' about it and she explained that a few moments before he'd been playing happily, no one had seen any incident, but she'd make sure staff kept an eye on him more closely etc. This was just the reply I wanted - he'd not been crying for ages but they'd make sure there wasn't a problem.

If you enquire at nursery about the incident you saw and the staff are not open about the situation, or don't volunteer any way to resolve your concerns, then I wonder if your concerns about then nursery might well be justified?

Have to say I've also not heard of the 20mins crying/brain damage thing. Have no experience of colicky babies (thank god) but wouldn't 20min crying be a drop in the ocean for baby with full on colic?

Good luck.

hippi Thu 13-Jan-05 14:42:35

Believe legal ratio is 1:3 under 2 years, 1:4 over 2. therefore if carer was with 4 children nursery operating illegally!

aloha Thu 13-Jan-05 14:46:41

Don't worry about the 'brain damage' theory. My God, my baby used to cry for MUCH longer that that, while actually being cuddled (colicy). However, if you aren't confident in your nursery, start looking around for another one. If you are going back to work and you don't believe your baby is being loved and cuddled, you will be miserable. This can't be the only nursery in the world! Alternatively, look for a cuddly childminder. I do know how upsetting this is - it was my ds's first day in nursery today at the age of three after having to take him out aged two because he was very unhappy. I think this time it will be OK, touch wood, but your every instinct is to protect your child, and I think instinct often guides us in the right direction.

hippi Thu 13-Jan-05 14:59:17

My dd from 6 months could easily cry for 25mins with nothing wrong with her - she can scream now for 45 minutes without anything being terribly wrong. She doesn't appear to be brain damaged so don't worry. Although at a nursery i don't think they should leave a child crying for more than 10 - 15 at the very most. There are good nurseries out there so keep looking if not happy.But Annak you are not doing the wrong thing leaving him - honest there are positives. DD's speech has developed so quickly since having to communicate with people who don't know that wower meant flower. Also socialisation with children their own age is a good thing for them. You just need to feel happy about leaving him and you can't until you feel happy with who you're leaving him with. Baby crying now wants feeding. Everything will be fine .

Skmoo Fri 14-Jan-05 13:26:29

AnnaK. You have my sympanthies. I understand how you feel. My 4 month DS officially started nursery this week from 8 - 6. Not only do I feel extremely guilty but am so paranoid about the slightest thing but I know he is in very safe hands. I have full confidence in the nursery but it takes time to adjust. For you to trust them, for them to get to know your DS. My DS only had 5 settling in days due to the Xmas hols and the longest he was there before he started on Monday was 9-4. We had a few teething problems with the baby room manager but I think that was more down to communication and them not doing things like I would do. ie. if he's crying I pick him up and give hime 200% attention all day. Why dont you try and speak to other mums at the nursery and ask them if they're happy there etc. Not much help. Good luck.

AnnaK Wed 19-Jan-05 08:50:51

Thanks for all the support everyone.
Yes there are two issues, one with dh and one with the nursery. Dh is strictly a good time dad and won't have anything to do with the unpleasant bits of parenting. He says he doesn't want to drop ds off because he doesn't want to upset him!! How selfish is that? Anyway, I have to live with that and get on with everything myself.
The nursery: ds is settling in slowly and yesterday wasn't crying when I returned, until he actually saw me. I am,however, still concerned with staffing levels as when I arrived there were 4 babies (1 asleep) and the carer had gone to the toilet in the adjoining room! I did mention the early morning levels of staffing and was told there were three carers in and one must have just nipped to the kitchen to take bottles.
As I said before, I don't want to rock the boat in case they start ignoring ds entirely, so how on earth do I ask whether they are doing their job correctly?
The other thing is, how fair is it to move ds if he is just settling in?
God, I feel like a dreadful mother and I start back to work next week. I can't sleep now from worrying.

GOLDFISHBRAINbonkerz Wed 19-Jan-05 08:59:42

staffing issues are always a problem i find. I used to manage a nursery and left because of staffing issues. There should ALWAYS be 2 carers in a room unless one is in toilet etc. Under 2s require 3-1 ratio and this should be adhered to at all times so if you ds is due in at 7.30 you have the right to expect a carer available for him who is trained in the baby room. OFSTED say that babies should have continuity of care and have thier carers available. I was in charge of the baby room in my nursery and generally did 8-5.30 every day and had 2 other people trained in the baby room too so there was always a baby room staff available.

If you dont feel comfortable after speking to the manager then id say look fr alternative child care. Your ds will feel happier if he feels you are happy.

batters Wed 19-Jan-05 09:46:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bozza Wed 19-Jan-05 10:32:59

The staffing does sound like an issue to me AnnaK. I'm a bit of a veteran of my nursery since I have been using it since 2001 and expect to be continuing to use it until 2008! At my nursery they have an alcove in the baby room set up as a kitchen type area. It contains a fridge, microwave, toaster, sink, dishwasher and bottle warmers. This means that the carers do not need to pop off to the kitchen. Obviously the food is prepared in the main kitchen and brought through. But bottles and breakfasts (cereal and toast) are prepared in the room so the carers do not need to leave just to put a bottle in the fridge.

Also generally at our nursery the system is that one of the two main carers in the baby room is on from opening time and the owner also helps out at this time as the babies arrive because of all the door opening.

Can you talk to any other parents about this?

hippi Wed 19-Jan-05 12:21:17

I drop dd off at 07.55am and there is always more than 4 staff and one normally arrives just as i leave and that is only in dd's area which has 8 12 month to 24 month and 12 24 month to 36 month. In under 12 mnth room there are 8 baies with 3 staff, and they are there from 07.45 when nursery opens. I know in dd's area more staff arrive after dd is dropped off but when i arrive there are normally only (approx) 8 to 10 children. i don't think 1 member of staff should look afet 4 babies as ratio is 1:3. can see point about not wanting to move him if he's settling just talk to other mums about it - or just ask manager in passing whether there are some staff of sick. For example; Loads of people at work are off with this flu bug, many gone down with it here? You might get an honest response. Good luck. If totally satisfied Annak, look else wher - your ds will alsways resttle as long has he's not moved frequently.

hippi Wed 19-Jan-05 12:27:00

Sorry that should say if not totally satisfied look elsewhere. At dd's nursery same as Bozza toaster, butter plates cereals, milk etc is bought from kitchen before children arrive so no-one has to go in the kitchen for anything. Same in baby's room there is a bottle warmer for milk. Anyway hopefully things will work out ok in the end.BTW you are not a dreadful mother - if you were dreadful you wouldn't be asking for advice and worrying so much .

Slinky Wed 19-Jan-05 12:29:14

At our nursery, the official opening times are 8.30am to 5.30pm. However you can drop your child off at 7.45am and can collect at 6.15pm.

For the 3/4 of an hour each end, the children were in the "main" room - but a carer from each room was always present, so a member of staff from the Baby Room, Toddler Room, 2-3s room, and one from each of the 3-5s room. This was to ensure that a carer that actually KNEW each child was always available.

With regards to the 20min crying thing - well, like Alohas baby, mine cried and cried for hours and hours, month after month, whether she was left, picked up, fed, rocked, slept in our bed etc etc and now she is the most beautiful, funny, healthy and lively 5yo - so PLEASE don't worry yourself about that bit

AnnaK Wed 09-Feb-05 19:51:23

Reporting back: DS is in a new nursery and is settling as well as can be expected. Dh saw the light and realised I couldn't do everything and is now helping by dropping off and I fetch. I have reported the other nursery to OFSTED and a friend of mine whose dh goes there says changes have already been made with regard to the number of carers available. Apparently, the day I noted the problem, there was someone off sick! I don't believe this as my friend and I have compared notes on a number of occasions and their stories don't tie up, so basically I couldn't trust them.
The other thing is - while I do feel a little guilty about not being there for him all day - I love the break that work gives me. I never thought I would say this but I really enjoy it and then feel that when I fetch him in the evening I have quality time and not quantity. (I was getting quite bored at home, reading the same story 7 times a day is not exciting.) I only work three days and I am now so much happier the nursery issue is settled.

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