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Those who had DC2 and kept DC1 in childcare, come and advise!

(48 Posts)
angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 20:46:39

Hi all,

I'm expecting DC2 in early November. DS1 will be 20/21 months then. He is now in nursery 4 days a week (Wednesdays off as I work PT and that's my day off). DS1 is extremely active and on the move all day long. He actually goes off and fetches his shoes if we are not out of the house by 9.30/10am. hmm He is in a lovely nursery that he loves and that we love too.

A bit of background: I didn't have a great time when DS1 was born. I live thousands of miles from my family. DH's family lives an hour away but has their own lives and very set in their ways - we were really stressed us out in the beginning with their idea of parenting but they do adore DS1 now that most of what we don't agree on is kinda in the past. I breastfed DS1 for only 6 weeks (have an underlying medical problem which could explain the failure) so was very down about that and would like to try BFing again. I was in tears most days and did not come out of the 'haze' till DS1 was at least 6/7 months old. DS1 is a handful but both DH and I do find him a lot easier now than when he was little. DH and I also recently got our relationship back on track but making some conscious decisions to make sure we are spending couple time together - i.e. getting a weekly cleaner, getting a regular babysitter once every 4 weeks etc.

While DC2 is planned (a bit earlier than expected!), as the due date gets closer, I am starting to get cold feet about how I am going to cope with two. The original plan is to keep DS1 in nursery but drop his days to two days a week starting November (DC2 due early November but DS1 came a week early so we could be looking at late October). I am starting to think that maybe I should keep DS1 in nursery for 3 days for at least the month of November and see how things go before thinking about dropping to the planned 2 days a week.

Am I being mean? I feel mean that we are keeping DS1 in nursery when I could have him at home. But I can also imagine that DS1 will not be happy about being cooped up at home all day with a screaming baby that is going to take up all my attention! I would plan to take them both out of course but understand that with a new baby, it might not be the easiest of tasks (there were many days in the early days of DS1 where I spent most days in a bathrobe!). On the other hand, I can see that if he is at home more, he will hopefully build up more of a bond with DC2 earlier? Or is that being a bit idealistic seeing as most babies won't be doing much?

Also, DS1 does love going to nursery and I would feel mean taking him out of somewhere he is safe and happy into a rather unsettled new 'situation' with a new baby. I can't quite decide what is worse - him staying at home more and possibly resenting the new baby or him being away and possibly resenting not being home with mummy and new brother? ARGGGGHHHHHHHH! Am I worrying too much? Should I just adopt a wait-and-see attitude before deciding? Can anyone of you come and talk to me about your experiences? Thanks!


bigchris Tue 21-Jul-09 20:50:38

i kept ds in one day a week while i was on maternity leave to keep him used to the environment
then my mum offered to pay for a. extra day cos i needed help and then i went back to work parttime so left him at two day
hth it is what you need andcanafford dont feel bad he will love the stimulation there smile

MrsMcCluskey Tue 21-Jul-09 20:54:16

You are not being mean
If he is happy at nursery he will prob be happy to stick to his routine
They will keep him occupied - something you will struggle to do
And it allows you time alone with DC2 - which you would have had with Ds1 whne he was born
When DS2 was bron DS1 continued wih his 2 days at nursery - we did have to pretend that the baby was going too at the beginning
But it worked out well
Also if he will continue in childcare I would say he is better sstaying in that routine

NorkilyChallenged Tue 21-Jul-09 20:55:14

a) Yes you are worrying too much but that is totally normal!

b) I had DD2 when DD1 was 15 months and DD1 kept going to nursery 2 days a week as she had been. It was a godsend. Gave her a break from being stuck in the house with a tired, bf'ing mummy and gave me a break to deal with only one. Especially good as DD2 got older and I could get a bit of one-to-one time with her and get a bit of housework done.

c) Your experience with DC2 will be totally different to DS1. Honestly. I would say that almost everyone would agree with me. Don't worry, it won't be the same.

Might be hard in different ways wink but won't be the same.

I can honestly say that the first 4 months with 2 were MUCH easier than I had expected/anticipated/worried about.

Keep your days (3 a week) if you can afford to. You can always take him in for shorter days to ease the guilt grin - I used to take DD1 10am-3pm at first.

angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 20:57:29

Thanks for replying bigchris, how old are your DCs? Did your DC1 understand / not care / resent being in nursery while your DC2 was at home with you? I'm not sure DS1 will be old enough to understand but I have no idea if that is the right assumption?

We can afford to keep him in nursery close to the number of days he is doing now for a few months if needed as DH and I both have childcare vouchers saved up, it won't be permanent to keep him in for that many days. Just not sure if that is for the best or that we keep him at home from the start so he gets used to his new sibling faster? My intuition is that we need to keep him in for more days in the beginning to give us all time to adjust to the new baby but I've never had 2 DCs before!

angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:00:27

Thanks all... Think I am worrying too much but it's nice to hear from mummies who have done it before. Part of me feel that I should be able to cope with two at home, people do it all the time right? But I had such a bad time with DS1 in the beginning as well as DH and I going through the biggest rocky patch of our relationship ever then and just starting to feel like life is back to normal for us again, that I can't imagine going through those hellish challenging first months...

Ceebee74 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:04:20

I had DS2 8 months ago and we had planned to keep DS1 in nursery (he was 2.4 at the time and had been going since he was 7 months) but dropping his days from 4 to 3.

DS1 is an extremely active boy who absolutely loves going to nursery and we didn't want to stop him going and we were fortunate enough to be able to afford it.

Once DS2 came along, it became apparent, very quickly, that DS1 was not handling it at all well and we felt he needed the break from us and to stick to his old routine so we kept him at 4 days and have done ever since.

He has never once questioned why he goes and DS2 doesn't, we have never had to pretend DS2 is going either - he just completely accepted it and always runs off happily to nursery.

I would definitely say keep your DS there as much as possible/you want to - it really is lovely to have that 1-2-1 time with your youngest DC smile

DS1's nursery is in walking distance of our house - and it has been lovely walking there and back twice a day - gets us all up and out in the morning grin I will really miss those little walks when I go back to work and it is back to dropping the boys off in the car sad

Ceebee74 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:05:53

Oh btw, I fully accepted that I could not have coped with the 2 of them at home - particularly as DS1's behaviour went completely downhill the day DS2 arrived.

They both got chicken pox when DS2 was 10 weeks old so I did have them both at home for a week - god it was hellish wink

I am so not cut out to be a SAHM and I fully accept that (much to my mum's disappointment wink)

AmazingBouncingFerret Tue 21-Jul-09 21:06:47

Im due in December and am planning on sticking to DS's 2 regular days at his childminder, he's been going since he was a baby and its very much his routine, it gives him some of his normality and lets you have some one on one time with the new baby. Theres nothing wrong with it.

angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:07:03

Ceebee74 - Did you find that the 1 days made such a big difference? What do you mean by saying he didn't not handle it well? Just so I know what to expect! Thanks for answering my questions!

bigchris Tue 21-Jul-09 21:08:14

ds was two and a half and just accepted that he went to nursery in thurs and fri

he practically skipped out of the door smile

Ceebee74 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:14:23

I don't want to scare you as I am sure my experience was very unusual (I have posted about it on here a lot and always seem to be in the minority of 1 with everyone else having minor/no problems) - the gist of it was aggression towards the baby, sleeping went completely haywire (which was frustrating as the new baby slept extremely well!) and just general naughtiness but the good news is that we are now 8 months down the line and he completely loves his brother and is never horrible to him (apart from occasionally taking away toys that DS2 has managed to get his hands on) and is actually very caring towards him so it all worked out fantastically in the end.

The 1 day probably didn't make that much of a difference but I just felt it was better and less stressful for all of us if he stuck to his routine - we did it on a month-by-month basis at first, until DS1 got used to his brother, but then it just kind of stuck at 4 days and it suited us all.

gigglewitch Tue 21-Jul-09 21:15:23

my older ones all kept their usual routine when new baby arrived - they were much happier with it this way smile

RhinestoneCowgirl Tue 21-Jul-09 21:17:12

To give the other side... I took DS out of childcare when I went on mat leave as he was becoming v clingy and upset as due date got nearer. Also my tiny salary only barely covered childcare as it was...

What I would say is that although the first 3 months with DD (DS was 2.5 when she was born) were knackering, they were in some ways easier to deal with than they are now (DD now 7 months). Basically for first couple of months DD was fed, changed and then asleep. Spent a lot of the time in the sling and didn't need too much attention. But at around 3 month mark I started DS back with CM for 2 mornings a week. I really appreciate the break! He was initially upset and didn't want to leave me, but soon settled down - I felt happy that he was going somewhere familiar.

If your DS is happy at nursery and you can afford it I would say go for it - gives you change to spend time with the baby and REST!

Tigermax Tue 21-Jul-09 21:20:16

Hi Angel,

I have 23 months between my DS's. I kept my DS1 in childcare 3 days a week (9am-2pm). Like your DS he was settled there, the staff are brilliant, and he has so much energy the thought of having him at home full time with a newborn was daunting. I also didn't know anyone else at home with their two year old at the time so no playdates. Basically I have always felt that he is at nursery primarily for his own sake, iykwim, and it is his needs that are to be met there and not my need of own time or rest. A few days a week for short hours means that he plays outdoors, has lunch, stories and a nap. I get to do things with DS2 (swimming, walks), clean and shop etc so we have a good balance I feel. If DS1 is ever reluctant to go, if he is the slightest bit sniffly or if he is tired or I don't want to interupt his play I just keep him at home and as DS2 has got older (1 now), and especially efter the winter, DS1 has stayed home more frequently as we can all do things together much easier now. Don't feel guilty about your decision. Only a generation ago circumstances for SAHM's was so different with more support. We aren't meant to martyr ourselves and do it all alone and you have to find a way that works for your family so that everyone is happy. Be grateful that you can afford nursery and that your DS is happy there. All you can do is go with the flow and see what works out best when your DC2 arrives. Best of luck!

trixymalixy Tue 21-Jul-09 21:20:33

I am due in less than 2 weeks and Ds will be staying in nursery 2 days a week. It will give me some time alone with the new baby and I always feel he gets a bit bored just spending the whole day with me.

angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:23:41

The replies have been so unexpected! I fully expected to get slammed for wanting to keep DS1 in nursery for that many days... Especially when it seemed to be always implied that nursery is second choice to being with mummy/family. The good thing is DS1's nursery is very flexible and only needs 4 weeks' notice to change any of his days so I guess if something is not working, we can get it sorted fairly quick. I think I'm just getting really nervous about having two! We've been just started telling DS1 about baby in mummy's tummy and apparently in nursery today, he lifted up one of the toddlers' top, pointed to the belly and said 'baby!' grin I think that kinda made me worry more as I didn't think he would understand that much...

angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:25:24

And thanks for replying! I do love hearing all the stories as they have been so positive so far.

angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 21:39:19

Another question - When we do eventually drop DS's days to 2 a week (if we do!), is it better to keep him in for 2 full days or 4 mornings/afternoons? Thanks.

BiscuitStuffer Tue 21-Jul-09 21:46:13

I haven't read the whole thread but mine are 19 months apart.

DD was in 3 days a week and we kept that up. It was a good ratio of time as it meant that I could catch up on rest and allow my brain to switch off, which you need more that the beginning don't you?

Babies just need practical stuff whereas toddlers need a very much more intense interaction which is exhausting at the best of times.

I would do at least 3 days and change it as and when and if you think you need to. The other thing is that you will of course manage with 2 but it's not about that (even though that might be your reasoning now) - it's about getting you through with everyone as rested and therefore as happy and as energetic as possible.

peppapighastakenovermylife Tue 21-Jul-09 21:48:44

Snap! I kept DS in nursery 5 days a week blush

To be fair I picked him up at 4pm and I was trying to finish my phd as well so any breaks I got needed to go on that.

Our situations are very similar - my DS is a complete livewire and really benefits from the stimulation and constant on the go ness of nursery.

I also had pnd with him and it took me 9 months to get over. I also ended up having it with DD but was off my anti d's within 3 months. This would not have happened with DS at home - as much as I love him he is a real monkey and very much like a hyperactive dog - exercise him well and feed him loads and he is great. Sit in with a baby who breastfed for half the day = bad lol.

DS loved keeping his routine, saw nursery as his place (had a few problems when DD started) and was completely happy to go. To be honest Im not sure he completely realised DD was home with me during the day.

Afternoons or mornings? Up to you. Work out when the most difficult time is based on your tiredness, the babys fussy time, DS's mad time and put him in then!

Also - as a comfort to you - DD is the most chilled out baby ever. She is the complete opposite of her brother. I love them both equally but she is certainly less exhausting to be around! grin

Oh - and enjoy it when he is there. Do not sit at home sobbing to your health visitor about how guilty you feel hmm. I did all the 'should' be able to cope but thats a load of rubbish. Many people who 'cope' have familial support, their partners can be more hands on and they have children who sit still for more than 30 seconds. If you are happy and your DS is happy then you are doing the best thing for your family. There will always be people who raise eyebrows but I have learnt that if they still do this when they know the full situation then they are either jealous or insecure in their own decisions.

Good luck with everything xx

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 21-Jul-09 21:49:07

We kept DD in nursery, she went 5 mornings 8 until 1, it was a gidsend as DS very demanding and DH could work while I had DS then I could do something with DD while DH had DS.

gigglewitch Tue 21-Jul-09 21:52:30

Angel, imho two full days works better - then you're not on the go every day and running up and down to take him there / back every couple of hours. But then that is what fitted in with our routine best, look at what would be best for your family, obv. If he's used to full days now, then it would seem better to keep the full day routine and just do less of them, rather than him getting used to coming home at lunchtime - when you go back to work the full day might seem awfully long again.
Obv you know your situation and your toddler person best - go for what you think will suit your circumstances and don't let any well-meaning aunties or grannies plant their ideas in your way wink

BiscuitStuffer Tue 21-Jul-09 21:54:14

oooh I think it's 50:50 on the days / half days decision. We do 3 days but from 8:30 - 3:30pm so we get lots of 'mummy time' between picking them up and bed time.

With young ones, you usually end up with either a long morning or a long afternoon in terms of where their naps sit in the middle of the day. I personally would say either mornings or whole days - afternoons are wasted really because they are shorter hours and if your older one naps, it will mess up the nap 'thing' and also it can put pressure on you at the other end in terms of picking them up, giving them dinner (yes they still need it as nurseries usually feed them at 4:30ish, which isn't late enough to get them through to breakfast and then bed etc without rushing. It's nice to go and do something together after nursery. Also - lazy mornings where you're not feeling you should be getting out and doing 'the school run' are lovely too - it's a change of pace rather than every day being the same.

angel1976 Tue 21-Jul-09 22:03:25

Oh god, I wish I had the money to keep him in there 4 days the whole time now! LOL...

I do think half days would be a bit of a pain in the sense that DS usually sleeps at about 12/1pm and if I had to pick him up or drop him off at 1pm, it would either interrupt his nap or he will be too tired to sleep when we get home. BUT his nap pattern might change then so will keep that in mind.

MIL is already saying they are going to take DS away to stay with them when DS2 is born, which I really don't want as I want DS1 to meet his brother when we get home and we can all have a nice cuddle (ok, it might not happen that way but one can wish right?). Any idea how to tackle that one?!!! hmm

Peppapig - You've hit the name on the head, your DS sounds like my DS! Our one saving grace is that DS loves his sleep and I pray and hope that whatever he does when DS2 comes along, it doesn't muck up his sleep! I don't know the chances of me having a chill DC2 as this one is another boy... Wish me luck!

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