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Would I regret cutting DD's nursery days down when I'm on maternity leave??

(20 Posts)
peachygirl Thu 13-Aug-09 20:26:07

I currently work three days a week (I am a teacher) and DD has been at nursery from Easter (CM before that) and really likes it and they are very pleased with her.

I am expecting baby number two at the end of september and have been wondering if I should cut DD down to two days a week while I am on maternity leave.

I love my two days at home with DD and this summer holiday has been lovely.
Dh thinks I should leave it as it is.

I can cut down on breakfast clubs and after school time which makes a good saving in itself and the nursery don't charge for holidays unless you are booked in.

So will I regret it if I have her at home more?
Will I want more time with the new baby??

But I am interested to know what others have done.

I feel this is a bit garbled so I hope it makes sense.

spongebrainmaternitypants Thu 13-Aug-09 20:31:22

Just having this exact conversation with dh so will watch thread with interest smile.

2jamsandwiches Thu 13-Aug-09 20:32:57

Can you up the days again easily when you go back to work, or even before, if you find that 2 days care isn't enough?
I have 3m DD and 2.3DS; DS used to go to CM for 3 long days, now for 2 short ones. Seems to be working well - I I really look forward to the 2 days, but by the end of them I'm really looking forward to having DS home again.
TBH I find the days with just dd a bit lonely - I can't seem to make a whole lot of 'new' baby friends, and it's not a lot of fun hanging out with my 'toddler' mum friends without DS in tow. So once I've had a bit of piece, and done some of the stuff on my list, and cooed at the baby a bit, I want my toddler back again! So I'd say 2 days is just perfect!

TheRedSalamander Thu 13-Aug-09 20:34:45

Hi peachy I worried about the same things. In the end ds2 was a fairly tricky baby and I was grateful of the break that ds1's normal nursery days gave me, as blush as that made me feel. Once I was coping a bit better I reduced ds1's days and this worked well, I'd advise just seeing how it goes. If you really want her company one day there's nothing to say she HAS to go in- but better to have the opportunity to take her if you need to rather than be desparate for a break and not have a space available because it wasn't booked. Play it all by ear I guess is my advice. (Here's fingers crossed that your dc2 will be a lovely angel of a baby instead of the wailing banshee that was my ds2! A lovely banshee at that but still a banshee )

Good luck with the next few months!

Bibmother Thu 13-Aug-09 20:34:47

I was working full-time before I had my second one and my DS1 was at nursery 5 days a week. I was going to cut down to 2 days a week but in the end, I caved in and he went 3 days a week while I was on maternity leave. What basically happened was that on the days that they were both at home I did stuff with my DS1 (Tumbletots etc..) while DS2 sat in his car seat and watched whilst on the days that DS1 was at nursery I did stuff like baby yoga and baby swimming with DS2 and this gave me the chance to build up a new group of friends with little ones the same age as DS2. I guess it depends how easily you can afford 3 days a week but I found it quite nice to have some time alone with DS2 as if they were both there he often got ignored.

pippylongstockings Thu 13-Aug-09 20:43:53

Please don't take this the wrong way - just to see if I am understanding this?

How old is your DD? You are going to be on mat leave but paying someone else to look after her while your at home ?

Odd - I wolud think if you were on mat leave you would want to be with both your children. But that's just my view.

lechatnoir Thu 13-Aug-09 20:46:05

I cut DS1 nursery days from 4 down to 2 days a week when I went on ML and have really appreciated the time alone with DS2 plus I do think consistency has been good for DS1 (we've also just moved house so lots of change going on in his little life right now).

With hindsight (& had funds allowed) I would go for 3 days a week at least for the first couple of months - you forget how little sleep you get with a newborn & catching up in the daytime just isn't an option when you've got an older one to entertain.
LCN (currently sleep deprived with DS1 & 7 week old DS2 grin)

stubbyfingers Thu 13-Aug-09 20:57:07

I was lucky enough to be able to keep DS1 in nursery each afternoon when I had DS2. I really liked the balance of us all being together and having a play in the mornings, then taking DS1 to nursery at lunch time and having time alone with DS2 between 12 and 3.30pm. It gave DS1 some time to bomb around with his mates and if I was really lucky, DS2 and I would sometimes even grab a nap!

Meglet Thu 13-Aug-09 21:06:57

DS only did one morning a week at nursery so I kept him doing that when I was on maternity leave. It was lovely knowing he would have a good play and run around with his little friends (instead of being stuck at home, bored, and watching cbeebies while I bf dd) and I got some quiet time with little dd.

difficultdecision Fri 14-Aug-09 10:45:44


I'm considering keeping DS at nursery even if only a couple of afternoons a week once number 2 arrives, not sure if we will be able to afford it so need to do the maths first.

It's not that I don't want him at home with me but in a first floor flat, with no family support and a husband who will be out at work from 7.30am to 8pm I worry that;

1) my firstborn will lose out going from the interaction of nursery 2 days a week to being at home with me and a small baby, in january!

2) my youngest will never have anytime with me on his own while my firstborn was with me all day every day until he was a year.

3) I'll be so exhausted from being up with a baby all night and then up with a toddler all day that I won't be the parent I want to be.

4) our downstairs neighbour will commit suicide from the noise.

If I had family to help, shorter working hours for hubby (not optional - he's a GP) a downstairs room for him to run about it or a garden my thoughts might be very different. Each person has to work out what fits their own circumstances best.

MrsBadger Fri 14-Aug-09 11:28:46

Meglet has a point

if you can afford it it I think it is better for the toddler to be at nursery having fun rather than plonked in front of CBeebies (which let's face it happens a lot more often with the second than with the first)

You wouldn;t suddenly stop taking the toddler to playgroup / music group etc when dc2 is born, would you?

NB it is worth knowing that if you get childcare vouchers from work, you're still entitled to them when on matleave, even if they are only paying you stat

StealthBearWipesBumOnDailyMail Fri 14-Aug-09 11:38:48

I am doing exactly this. DS currently goes to nursery 3 days a week and I am reducing it to 2 while I'm on ML.
pippi - if I took him out completely I would hvae to hope they had a place for him when I go back at work and I'd also have to do all the settling in again. Also, he loves it - he has fun and friends there and I don't want to take him out unless he's moving on to school.
I want him with me more, but I think that will be tiring so will probably appreciate the 2 days he is in nursery. I'll also get to do "baby stuff" then (breastfeeding group, NCT etc) without having to take him. I'll also be able to do stuff while the baby sleeps without feeling guilty about neglecting him!

CandiCands Fri 14-Aug-09 11:44:18

I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with my second and my DS is 23 months and goes to nursery 4 days a week, as I work 4 days a week. The second baby will be born when DS is 2.3 years old. I have always intended on DS going into a pre-school at 2.5 years old which are either mornings or afternoons sessions only. Until he is 2.5 years old, he will continue going to nursery as normal,(even when I am on mat leave) as firstly, he LOVES going to nursery and really struggles on the day he doesn't attend and secondly, I want and have a right to, have a few weeks alone to adjust and bond with my bew baby. For us, routine and structure is very imnportant and my DS thrives on it, so why take him out of his nursery and away from his friends, just because I am at home? He loves being around his friends and is given more stimulation than I could ever give him at home with a newborn! Once he goes to a pre-school we'll see how many mornings or afternoons we'll put him in for...until then, things remain the same for us.

KAMum Fri 14-Aug-09 13:59:24

I'm currently on maternity leave with DD, who is 15 weeks. I worked 3 days a week and DS (2.4 years) was at nursery for those 3 days. The intention has always been to reduce the time at nursery, but not to finish nursery completely as I'll be going back to work again. We've decided to reduce it to 2 days a week and I've only just got to the point where I'd like to drop that day. DD was quite difficult and cried a lot and wanted to be carried around all the time and only selpt on me during the day which I found shattering, so nursery days gave me a bit of respite.

DS loves nursery and is really chirpy when I pick him up, so it would be mean to stop him going just because I'm at home. Having that part of his routine undisrupted has been a big help. He likes to always be on the go and I wouldn't have been able to keep him busy enough at home so he'd have ended up bored watching TV. It means that on days he is off I make an effort to do an activity or arrange for him to play with one of his friends. Also, on the days he's at nursery it gives me and DD time to spend alone and I can do baby activities with her which I couldn't do with a toddler in tow.

peachygirl Fri 14-Aug-09 18:17:15

Thanks you so much for these replies.
What I think I will end up doing is keeping her for three days at first. Nursery works on a half term by half term basis so she will be gong for a couple of weeks as I a not stopping work til the 18th sept.

Then I may go for 2 days for that half term up to Christmas, and see how it goes from there. I am probably going back to work just before the Easter hols and at this point DD will be eligible for the free nursery places which will help with the fees so much.
As I have said DD really enjoys nursery and she is very popular with staff and other children (as much as a 2 1/2 yr old can be) and I do want to keep her in a good routine.

Dh gets the nursery vouchers so these will continue to come through.


I also have no close family near by so can't just ask for someone to give me a break. in fact my parents can only come to visit after they have booked my elder brother into respite care (for adults with learning difficulties) which has to be booked three months in advance.

I can't call on my old childminder as she has a 3 month old baby herself.

I do have to go back to work and will only be taking 6 months off. In fact we only found out yesterday that DH isn't going to be made redundant and I am not returning to work full time 10 weeks after giving birth (which is what we had planned if he was made redundant)so I consider myself to be very fortunate to be able to have this choice and discussion in the first place.

piprabbit Fri 14-Aug-09 18:26:18

My DS was born in May - so DD only had a term of nursery left before starting school. I kept her going 2 full days a week (which was what she was doing while I worked) - but reduced the hours from 8am-6pm to 9am-3pm. I felt it was important that she kept the habit of being out of the house all day when school was so close to starting. She also enjoyed all the attention from staff and friends at nursery which I found hard to give her with a small baby in the house.

TBH the summer holiday was very trying for everyone as DD got quite bored and grumpy!

peppapighastakenovermylife Fri 14-Aug-09 21:45:57

Pippy - that came across a bit harshly, I'm not sure if that was what you intended. There are many positive reasons for keeping an older child in daycare if that is what they are used to and enjoy.

I kept DS in nursery full time and felt dreadful about it but it was the best thing all round. I had cracking PND and he is an energetic fool grin. We all benefitted.

I find even now DD is nearly a year old that when DS is home it is all about him. He is so loud, bouncy - normal 3 year old that we just follow his flow as DD is happy. Having time at home alone with her meant we could bond, do the baby thing and I could recover. Even if I hadnt had PND he would have gone 3 days (as was the original plan).

The early weeks with a baby are about constant feeds, being exhausted and trotting back and forth to some appointment or other. When DD slept I desperately needed that sleep, not to be playing with a toddler. I used to pick him up mid afternoon and spend a good period together before bed.

A big difference is whether you have family near by. Even someone to take the older one off for a couple of hours or to watch them while you have a sleep makes a huge difference. We had no one and DH worked 6 days a week - I needed that sanity.

Also child temperament matters. DD is so placid (so far lol) that if I had another I could imagine keeping her home a lot more. DS however goes insane if we are not out of the house by 9 am and up until a few months ago would not watch tv at all - so no quiet time there even. He would have gone mad on those days when all you want to do is sit and cuddle a newborn.

It is nice to be able to do newborn things - to sit and cuddle them for hours without moving. Its so important but something that gets missed with an older one.

Anyway, I will stop rambling now grin

pippylongstockings Sat 15-Aug-09 15:04:55

Sorry, I really didn't mean to come accros as harsh and didn't mean to cause offense.

It had just never really occured to me to keep my eldest child in childcare when I was off on maternity leave. I alway's figured I had chosen to have children and for the few months I was off work it was my job as a mum to look after them. Yes, I was knackered and my DP works long hours but for me the chance to spend full days with both my children is what I wanted to do.

All the reasons everyone has stated are valid points. I can certainly see where the chance to have more sleep can make a diference to how you feel about life.wink

peppapighastakenovermylife Sun 16-Aug-09 21:40:55

I think it kind of depends on how sleep deprived you are and the childrens personality / circumstances really.

Its not that I wanted to not be with DS as such just that I couldnt give him what he needed and look after DD effectively and keep sane myself. However, if I have another DC ever I could imagine keeping DD home with me. I could also imagine keeping DS home now too (although he would be too old) but at the time he was so energetic and spirited.

Everyone was happy this way and he was still home by 4pm so plenty of time before bed. He was just worn out so quieter!

princessx2 Mon 17-Aug-09 15:06:21

I kept my dd1 in nursery while I was on maternity leave. I considered reducing it down, but after discussing with DH, we left it as it was. Mainly because it would upset her routine and what with new baby to add to that we thought it may be too much for her. I breastfed dd1 and when I had dd2 wanted to breastfeed her too and thought that by dd1 being in nursery, I would be able to devote my time to this and bond with dd2 and dd1 wouldn't have been left to her own devices whilst I fed dd2.

My dd1 also loves being at nursery and with her friends and so I also felt that she wouldn't feel pushed out if her normal day to day routine didn't change. I explained to her why she was going to nursery while mummy stayed home with dd2 and that she would only miss me feeding and changing baby and she was happy with that explanation. When I went to pick her up, she loved everyone making a fuss of her little sister and when she came home, she got to do all the big sister stuff.

If I were to have another, I would do exactly the same again.

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