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will 'non routined', demand fed, co-sleeping etc babies find it harder to settle at nursery when mum goes back to work - am questioning my parenting choices at the moment

(18 Posts)
vitomum Tue 21-Oct-08 11:06:29

ds2 is the above. Now 12 months but demand fed untill 3 months ago. Now just feeding after 7pm and on/off through the night. He has no set bedtime and just dozes, feeds, plays in the evenings until coming to bed with me. he was in his sling pretty constantly until 6 months and is very attached to me. He has no strong attachments to anyone other than me, dp and ds1. He has just recently established one fairly regular nap time in the day. Baiscally he has experienced a very responsive type of parenting until now.

He has been settling at nursery for the last 2 weeks and i go back to work next week. I can tell the nursery dissaprove about the fact that he is not used to going to other people. My aim in this last year has been to make him feel as secure as i can. But have i made him clingy maybe (like my mum thinks!)? And have i not prepared him properly for the inevitability of my return to work? I am really questioning my parenting choices / approaches and would be interested in other opinions


cmotdibbler Tue 21-Oct-08 11:11:22

My DS was bf on demand, co slept part time, rides in a sling (still at 2.5), and naps on demand. He started ft at nursery at 4.5 months, and they continued to demand feed (with EBM), nap on demand etc - and he and they were happy with that. We never use a babysitter, and have no family close, so apart from nursery he never spends time alone with other adults.

At 12 months they are all clingy as they go through separation anxiety. He'll be fine I'm sure.

PortAndDemon Tue 21-Oct-08 11:12:26

DS settled just fine into nursery. He wasn't constantly in a sling (he didn't like it when at home) but we did the other stuff and used a sling when out.

I think in some ways a 12 month old is probably harder to settle than a slightly younger baby, but I doubt that your parenting choices have particularly contributed to any issues. Statistically that type of parenting tends to produce children who are slightly less clingy.

The only thing I think you may need to look at is the amount of sleep he gets in a 24-hour period. He probably needs somewhere around 12-14 hours a day, so depending on how much he's napping at nursery you might need to think about introducing an earlier bedtime at home.

mrsgboring Tue 21-Oct-08 11:15:32

If the nursery obviously disapprove I would be very wary of them.

My DS was demand fed and slung (wouldn't really go in buggy) at 11 months when I tried a nursery and it was a disaster, I'm sorry to tell you. However, I did it that way because it was what he needed (I never set out to do all of that, though was prepared to and never leaned towards routines).

I moved him to a childminder where he did pretty well and managed really nicely (unfortunately, cm was only really doing it for a limited period as a favour to me so it wasn't a permanent arrangement). In between I also looked at another nursery and if I had my time again I'd go CM every time.

But, from my experience I would say: (and sorry cos it's a bloody inconvenient time to change stuff, I do know as that's what happened to me)

NO you did not make him clingy by doing what you did; it was the right thing for you all at the time, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a 1 yo that is bonded to close family but wary of others (quite the reverse)

Look for a childminder and get out of the nursery asap. If they disapprove, they will not do things the way you want. They may even try to toughen your DS up

ranting Tue 21-Oct-08 11:16:38

You haven't made him clingy. I didn't AP with my dd and she was very clingy at that age, it's just separation anxiety, perfectly normal. God it makes me fume when other people trot out that 'You've made them....' line.

It takes time to settle into something new for you as well as for him. He will be fine.

Iloveautumn Tue 21-Oct-08 11:17:58

Hi - I would think it's his age rather than your parenting choices. Ime and from what I have read, children who have always been responded to like that are more likely to be secure than ones who have not. Ie he has never learnt to doubt your responses or that you'll come back to him etc so he should be more secure in leaving you. But at that age it is normal for him to struggle with being left anyway - regardless of how they are parented.

I followed your pattern with ds and he started nursery at 5mo with absolutely no problems whatsover. However, when he came to being older he began to suffer more despite being used to nursery, simply because he naturally started to go through separation anxiety.

Ignore your mum - that's probably a generation thing - my mum was completely disapproving of my refusal to put ds down or to leave him to cry etc etc but, despite all her predictions, at 2 he is well-adjusted and not remotely clingy!!

Morloth Tue 21-Oct-08 11:26:07

Shouldn't think so, my DS virtually lived in the hugabub was demand fed etc, and he luuuurved nursery. Am more concerned about the nursery's attitude that DS settling.

chunglimum Tue 21-Oct-08 12:11:26

Was going to reply earlier but my "clingy" breastfed 2.7 DD was demanding milk! grin

Totally agree with everyone else, imo you've given him the best start and it'll be more about his age than anything else. I think it's a bit off for the nursery to be so obviously disapproving... no-one ever "spoiled" a baby by giving them attention. Have to say, I go with the childminder thing too but I appreciate that there are many on here who will argue the other way too.

It can be hard when you go back to work - hope you all feel better about things soon.

vitomum Tue 21-Oct-08 12:42:58

oh thanks so much for all those responses. I am feeling reassured (just what i needed).

i agree PortandDemon that i do need to work on an earlier bedtime as we are going to have to get used to earlier rises. Am kinda hoping that one will lead naturally to the other

it is really helpful to hear all these stories. In my heart of hearts i do believe i have done the right thing but all the anxiety about going back to work is really making me question it all. could i have prepared him more etc etc.

i think it is just going to be hard and that's that, but we will come through it. The reassurance is great though so thank you all v much

OrmIrian Tue 21-Oct-08 12:44:30


No problem with my 3 babies. OK, they went to a CM but as she had other children too they had to fit in with her routine to a certain extent.

LadyOfRoffle Tue 21-Oct-08 12:46:40

DS was demand fed, still comes in bed if he wants (2.6) and the only problem I have is trying to get him to leave nursery! He loves it, even first day I didn't see him for dust!

mollythetortoise Tue 21-Oct-08 12:52:42

agree with others that his age is very relevant here, most babies are clingy when first left at nursery particulary around 12 months. It is normal and so I was told, more so for boys.. however, I would say that if he remains unsettled after a few more weeks it may be worth considering a childminder as that arrangement may be more suitable for him than a nursery..

waitingtobloom Tue 21-Oct-08 12:58:16

Ds - clingiest baby ever. Wouldnt be held by anyone else for the first six months for more than a few minutes without a breakdown. Screamed when I left the room. Hated his pram, his bouncer, his mat etc.

I BF on demand, co slept, had him in a sling and did not leave him for more than a quick pop to the shops in six months. Everyone raised their eyebrows when i said i was going back to work at 6 months.

He had his nursery taster session and whilst I was panicking he was fine! He loved it. He is one of the most sociable, lively least clingy toddlers I now know (he is 2.3). He asks to go to nursery on the weekends lol! I can count the number of times he has cried when I have left him on one hand - more likely to cry when I try to make him leave!

He would not take a bottle and in the end I gave up leaving ebm for him. He was having purees there so was getting fluid and would have the odd sip of water (but nothing meaningful). He didnt really start drinking water til 12 months ish in the hot summer. He has always been fine.

The way I see it - and what the attachment literature says - is that if they have a secure base they are so much happier to go off into the world. The first months are the most important here - so I think I gave him as much of me as he wanted for the first 6 months so he was perfectly happy to go off knowing everything was ok. A 12 month old who loves his mum is not "clingy" - he is natural and secure.

I bet he surprises you over the next few weeks as he gets used to it.


waitingtobloom Tue 21-Oct-08 12:59:26

Oh and he had no routine at all but soon settled into their routine really easily and now follows that naturally when he is home.

Somehow whereas I had to rock him to sleep they got him sleeping easily on a sleep mat in a room full of other babies just by patting his back!!!

Iloveautumn Tue 21-Oct-08 14:35:05

Agree with WTB about babies adjusting well to the different routines at home/nursery.

Ds didn't sleep anywhere but on me at home, yet would happily go to sleep for naps in a pram or sleeping mat at nursery. They tend to happily do whatever everyone else is doing - ditto with eating - children often eat much better at nursery than at home. It took me weeks to realise ds was happily feeding himself with a fork at nursery while I was still feeding him with a spoon at home!!

ohIdoliketobebesidethe Tue 21-Oct-08 14:40:20

My two dds started nursery at 6 mo. They both had a very settled routine which changed completely when they started nursery. They also both went through a crying when I left phase at 12mo despite having been cared for full time by the same lovely carers for 6 months. It's a difficult time for a mum - the kids adapt better than us sometimes. Take care of yourself as well as lo.

Fennel Tue 21-Oct-08 15:59:04

All my 3 non routined, demand fed, cosleeping, bf babies settled well into nursery. But they did go younger - between 4-6 months (part time). It's supposed to be harder to settle a 1yo baby.

But it's not the demand-led parenting to blame.

I thought it made it easier. They weren't surprised or upset by a change in routine because they didn't really have set routines anyway - they slept anywhere, at odd times. and ate and drank at odd times. This worked well with fitting into nursery.

vitomum Tue 21-Oct-08 21:14:50

thanks again for these stories. it's really helpful to hear all these happy endings. In the back of my mind i am thinking that i will look into the CM option is things don't work out at the nursery - but fingers crossed they do.

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