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Seeking advice on how much sending DS to nursery when new baby arrives

(30 Posts)
hackneybird Sat 01-Feb-14 21:54:25

My son is 4. Am currently working ft and go on mat leave in May when baby number two will arrive. We have no family nearby and live in a new area so no local mum friends.

Really torn about what to do with son's nursery place, but I need to be realistic about my limitations. If I'm not working I'd prefer not to send him full time and to spend more time with him, but I worry about being able to look after him properly and cope when I'm very heavily pregnant or when I'm crazed with sleep deprivation and constantly breast feeding a newborn. Friends who have already had their second. Have advised me to use the nursery place if I can in the early days.

I can afford to keep him in nursery full time but feel very guilty at sending him in every day if I'm going to be on mat leave. Perhaps I should drop him down to four days.

What is making me feel less guilty about this is that he'll start school in Sept, and as I'll be at home I'll be completely around to settle him in, pick up every day at 3pm, and baby will be 3 months by then, so hopefully I'll be more into a routine and have my head together a bit.

What did you all do with childcare for older children when younger siblings arrived?

lilyaldrin Sat 01-Feb-14 21:57:10

DS (3.5) will continue going 3 days 9am-3.30pm - his free hours plus we're paying for the extra afternoon.

NotCitrus Sat 01-Feb-14 21:59:48

I'd drop to 3 days myself - or 4 if he loves nursery and it's not such a long day. Ds had been doing 4 days but 3 was more affordable and good to spend more time with him - spent a lot of days snoozing in soft play too!
Any combo should be ok if you remind him how nursery is more fun than a small baby and he can do so many things little babies can't yet.

TheGreatHunt Sat 01-Feb-14 22:01:40

I had ds looked after for two days a week. That kept me sane but anymore would have been too much as once I got the hang of having two, I didn't need it.

hackneybird Sat 01-Feb-14 22:03:48

Citrus How did you find the days you had your son when you were v pregnant and then had a newborn?

My son is brilliant fun but REALLY active, and I've got serious pg exhaustion and moodiness. I worry that his days at home with me would be awful for us both.

hackneybird Sat 01-Feb-14 22:08:00

hunt how long did it take you to get the hang of having two?

I have to be honest, mothering does not come naturally to me, I definitely anticipate struggling to adjust. But as I say, if I think I can cope I'd like to try and drop his days down.

lilyaldrin Sat 01-Feb-14 22:09:07

How about finding some activities for your days at home that he can do without your involvement iyswim? I am 37 weeks now and on the two days DS is at home, one day we do swimming lessons (I sit and watch) and the other softplay (I sit and watch!). So it's only really 2 half days we are at home and he can watch DVDs and play with his lego etc.

hackneybird Sat 01-Feb-14 22:11:16

Ha ha I totally get the sit and watch idea - that's a great thought. Thankfully as he is 4 now I can take him to the park and sit down and watch him play, he doesn't need the very close supervision that much younger children require. And I'll be on mat leave in summer so we'll be doing lots of outdoorsy things.

Bedsheets4knickers Sat 01-Feb-14 22:12:09

My son did 4 mornings for the 1st year , he now does 3 mornings we are 14 months in with dc2. A May baby you have the outdoors ahead of you so a quick walk round the block or 2 a near by park. You don't need to do full on activities with him take it easy on yourself . Do you have a garden. Enjoy may-sept with him. Saves the guilt. I found second baby a lot easier x

Eletheomel Sat 01-Feb-14 22:15:55

My son was 3.9 yrs when I had DS2 last year. He used to go to the childminder from 8am to 1pm, but during pregnancy I had such horrendous morning sickness, i was off work for weeks and simply couldn't look after him, so I had to increase his hours from 8am to 4pm (which I felt terribly guilty about).

I reduced his hours in the last trimester as I started to feel better and when I went on maternity leave we decided that he would go to childminder from 8am to 3pm for 3 days a week until the baby came, then we decreased that to 2 days a week for the duration of my maternity leave.

For me, this is a good balance (I used to send him Tue/Thu so that even if it was a bad day on Monday, I knew the next day was just baby and me :-) as it gives me 1:1 time with DS2 and it also keeps him in touch with his friends that he meets through the childminder.

Financially (which was a consideration for us) I get childcare vouchers, so we really focused on just using £220 worth of childminding a month, as my work would be paying that for the last six months of my maternity leave - so it wouldn't cost us anything extra (if you know what I mean).

2kidsintow Sat 01-Feb-14 22:19:59

I had a lovely childminder when DD1 was 4 and DD2 was due. For my maternity leave, DD1 kept going to the childminders. I didn't want to lose the place, but more importantly, it was DD1's routine by then. I didn't want to go through the whole re-introducing thing a year later when I needed to go back to work.

It went well. I think (it was 9 years ago) that she still went the same 3 days that she had before, but that I picked her up earlier than I would have done if she was at work. I also went to the same mother and baby session as the childminder did, so DD2 got to meet her long before she started having to go.

BikeRunSki Sat 01-Feb-14 22:23:54

DS was just 3 when DD came along - she was only a few weeks old when he qualified for his 15 hrs nursery funding. DS had been in nursery 3 full days a week and the nursery funding plus my childcare vouchers allowed me to keep this going. It meant that DS got plenty of time with his friends and children of his own age, but also plenty of time at home, but also give me and DD plenty of time together.

hackneybird Sat 01-Feb-14 22:31:19

How long did it take you all to get the hang of having an older child and a new baby?

I'm thinking son should go full time still in May when I'll be v heavily pg and quite frankly needing the rest, then 4 days in June whilst I get my bearings then reduce down to 3 days for July and August (and we're going on hols at end of August so he'll have left nursery by then).

doodahwhatsit Sun 02-Feb-14 08:47:41

i am going back to work full time and need to keep the place for DC1, also having DC1 makes it much easier to get a place for DC2 so DC1 goes every day! but shorter days

no regrets, when I have both DC DC1 often comes first as is 2 years older than the 6mo, and has more complex practical and emotional needs, and DC2 is a very easy baby (apart from sleeping!) and can be happily left playing on a mat for hours so it´s really nice to have one on one time with DC2 who wouldn´t get much otherwise

as for pregnancy I was sick and much tireder for the 2nd one so definitely suggest leaving DC in for then, even with a c-section and new born I felt I had more energy for DC1 !

OK now with both (as long as I´m not too tired and get shouty with DC1 sad ) though bed time is still tricky and we have managed things so we have 2 parents for then

pussycatdoll Sun 02-Feb-14 08:50:34

I'd put him in for half days

hackneybird Sun 02-Feb-14 09:00:25

pussycat his nursery doesn't do half days annoyingly.

I think I'm going to drop him down to fewer days, and on the days he goes collect him a bit earlier. We're encouraged not to collect before 4pm.

HanSolo Sun 02-Feb-14 09:09:10

DD was almost 3 when DS came along, toilet trained and fairly independent. We kept her FT nursery place, and she went 9:30-3 every day during my mat leave, and after the birth.
It was a great option for us- it meant I had a proper babymoon, bonding with DS (I struggled after her birth, had pnd etc after an horrific delivery experience), then when she came home he was put to bed for a long nap, and I spent lovely quality time with her.
I think both of them benefitted enormously, and I recovered from a csection incredibly quickly. I had time and space to keep on top of running our home too, and it was just a lovely calm cosy time for all of us without a lot of stress.

She moved from her nursery when he was 3mo (planned move to pre-school attached to a school) so I hadn't wanted her to get out of the routine of full days IYSWIM, but I wanted to give her chance to have the post-new baby wobbles.
It worked well, and she transitioned to her new place really smoothly.

We were in a fortunate position financially though, and many people cannot manage this with mat pay being what it is...

Keeping a place PT may allow some of these benefits though- even a couple of hours just for baby will help you both bond. I think, though, that it really sepends on your situation- some people find that by the time they get back from nursery run, fed/changed baby... it's time to go back and collect!

I had hadx pretty bad SPD before the birth, so a family member stepped in to do the nursery run- complete lifesaver, as I then had every precious minute with DS whilst DD was out.

When I look back- after DDs birth, it was chaotic, I couldn't get a shower most days, my wounds became infected sad, everything was such a struggle... but the experience after DS's birth was completely different, and our family was so much happier, the upheaval really minimal.

Good luck, anyway smile

Eletheomel Sun 02-Feb-14 11:15:20

To be honest, I found it remarkably easy to get to grips with both of them, although was dreading the end of paternity leave when DH went back to work, it was actually fine. At that time, DS1 was at playgroup for 2.5 hours in the morning, so I'd sort him out for that (DS2 isn't an early riser (kept us awake late at night instead!) and then I would bung DS2 into the pram last minute for the trip to playgroup.

I got into a routine remarkably quickly. DS1 did watch way more tell than I'd have liked the first 12 weeks, then we had a weeks holiday (we don't really watch any telly on holiday) which cured him of this and most days he doesn't watch telly at all when I pick him up at 11:30 until after teatime. So, all I'm saying is that if you feel you need to use the TV as a part-time babysitter initially, don't feel guilty about it, it will pass.

DS2 was born end of May, so I only had a few weeks of DS1 being at playgroup before the dreaded summer holidays :-D However, even that was fine, took them both out for lunch, and spent a lot of time in the garden (baby under cover while me and DS1 kicked a ball around - chased each other with water pistols - it was great :-)

I think a lot of 'how easy' it will be depends on your first child and how they cope/adapt to the new baby - my son was really on board and has never resented the baby (although he's been miffed with us on many occassions as there is no-one to play with him, if we're busy doing chores/looking after DS2).

DS2 is 8 months now and it's totally flown by, if I wasn't so old (and was so debilitated by ms in both pregnancies) I can imagine having number 3 now and it slotting in nicely :-)

Antidote Sun 02-Feb-14 11:27:55

DS was almost 3 when DD was born. With a bigger age gap I think you will amaze yourself at how quickly you get to grips with it.

We had DS at nursery 9-12 Monday and Friday, 9-3.30 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday initially. I have now dropped the Friday sessions, and am thinking about dropping Monday once spring arrives.

I found that the longer days with just me and the baby were great initially (catch up on sleep, do baby activities, visit friends, batch cook) but now she's older she enjoys watching her brother do stuff so in some ways it is easier with both of them than it ever was with one.

I find the discipline of getting everyone up and dressed and up the road to nursery really good for my mood and it gets the day going.

Having a set routine of buggy/sling/car trips each day had also helped DD get into a routine.

I also think that when I go back to work and then when DS is at school being used to working round school hours will stand us in good stead.

Do remember if you have a c section that getting your older one too and from nursery may be difficult initially and you might need some extra help.

Antidote Sun 02-Feb-14 11:32:51

eletheomel I agree about number 3! I do wish I was so old and my body so banjaxed by pregnancy.

Milkymickey Sun 02-Feb-14 14:11:21

I am finding it harder than other posters, op.
Dc1 was 2.6 when dc2 arrived. Three months in i find having two hard work , poss because dc2 is a terrible sleeper and i am averaging 4-5 broken hours a night.
Dc1 does three full days at nursery. On her home days i am shattered, it is like having two radios on loud all day, neither get very good attention. We get outbut it is a struggle, and not the fun it was with just one.
I am hopeful it will improve but at three months in i am drowning a bit.
We sent dc1 to nursery full time for the first minth, btw, a godsend for bf. then she got sick and hardly went for a month anyway!
On the other hand, i think it is important we all - including me - learn how to rub along together so i wouldnt want her at nursery full time...

Eletheomel Sun 02-Feb-14 19:48:25

milky I think the younger age of your oldest child is maybe a key factor here - there's a world of difference between 2.5 yrs and 4 yrs.

My friend's daughter was 2.5 when she had her son and really struggled too for the first 9 months or so (before she went back to work and felt better about it all). It will get easier though and being closer in age they'll start playing together earlier (which is when it should be much easier :-)

lilyaldrin Sun 02-Feb-14 22:00:53

God yes, small gaps seem to be really hard for everyone.

bloob Sun 02-Feb-14 22:36:39

I don't know... Full time nursery seems like loads to me when you're at home? Then again i guess it depends on you and if you think it would be miserable for you all then perhaps nursery is the right call.

Fwiw: dd was 2.11 when DS was born and went two 9-3 days then went she went to preschool she did 3 mornings and one full day.

Dc3 is due in April and DS will be 22 months. I don't think I'll have any child care for DS. I'm pretty scared by that prospect tbh!

I think go for 3 days. Still more time at nursery than at home but you can easily fill 2 days! A play date, a morning at soft play, an afternoon at home pottering with toys, trip to the park or library etc.

Ilanthe Sun 02-Feb-14 22:46:43

There's loads of mums on mat leave at my DSes nursery, I was one of them up till 4 weeks ago. I kept DS1 in 4 days through late pregnancy until DS2 was about 8 weeks old, then dropped to 3 for the remainder of mat leave.

In late pregnancy I had to draft in help for the 1 day a week I had him, I was so exhausted. It was much easier post birth.

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