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best time to start childcare? 8 weeks, 6 months, or 1 year?

(16 Posts)
avariceandlatinos Sat 15-Aug-09 19:23:17

I love my little one dearly, but if you had a choice to start placing baby in childcare at 8 weeks, 6 months or 1 year of age, what would u choose? i had baby 3 weeks ago and am already bored out of my mind - i feel incredibly lonely (single mum) and miss work and a sense of me, i have no family to help out, so it's full time, formal childcare only, but the thought of putting baby in childcare fills me with horror also. Does age matter or should it make no difference? Also, if i do do the 'stay-at-home' mum bit for a while how do i stop myself going insane/depressed considering all my friends work etc and i already miss being able to just get up and go when i want?

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 15-Aug-09 19:24:55

Seriously, if you do not have too, you can't leave a baby at 8 weeks.

6 months is more than soon enough and imo too soon if I am honest.

GirlsAreLoud Sat 15-Aug-09 19:27:22

I think it probably depends a lot on the baby. DD will be going to a c/m p/t soon and is 12mo. She would not have been ready to go at 6 mo because she was not happy to be looked after by anybody but me at that age. However, I have friends who have far more relaxed babies who I think would have been ok much younger than DD.

Personally I think that 8 weeks is a bit young to be in f/t childcare if there is an option for that not to happen.

I can understand what you are saying though and remember it is still early days and you are still adjusting. I remember thinking when my DD was as young as yours "omg what have I done" and wondering how I was going to last doing it for a year. But now my M/L is over in two weeks and I am gutted sad

DO you know of any toddler groups in your area? Having a good circle of friends definitely relieves some of the pressure.

avariceandlatinos Sat 15-Aug-09 19:27:32

that's what my heart tells me, but anyone have tips for keeping occupied? opportunities to meet new people?

GirlsAreLoud Sat 15-Aug-09 19:30:04

Do you have much spare cash? I know people who've made good friends through Gymboree, I have a couple of lovely friends from Toddler Groups, I also met good friends through antenatal class - do you know anyone through your classes?

I think there are organisations for meeting single parents too - is there one called gingerbread something?

There is also the internet of course smile

Do you want to say where in the country you are?

Supercherry Sat 15-Aug-09 19:35:43

Honestly, I wouldn't choose to put my child in childcare full stop if there was a choice. Luckily for me I don't have to.

It's only been 3 weeks and babies are seriously hard work. It gets easier and more fun the older they get, honestly.

You need to create a new social life yourself if you are so bored being in the house.

There are all sorts of groups/classes you can both go to to meet other mums and make your life more interesting. I'm sure your working friends would love to meet your little one at the weekends sometimes too?

Motherhood is such a shock to the system, it takes some getting used to, and I remember the hardest thing being that feeling of being forever tied to this little being and not just being able to pop out to the shops or whatever. You get used to it.

pasturesnew Sat 15-Aug-09 19:39:25

Congratulations on your new baby.

I hope you don't mind me saying so but it sounds like you haven't really "clicked" with your new baby yet, this is very normal, so I would bear with it for a couple of weeks, try and rest, and see how you feel in another month or so.

I would also suggest checking out baby activities in your area, one in particular that springs to mind is baby massage as it might help you enjoy your baby a bit more.

In terms of childcare I think if a baby is not exclusively bf they can go quite easily into childcare at 4 or 5 months but if mainly bf then 7 months is probably easier as then they have food too.

BelleAtrix Sat 15-Aug-09 19:40:38

NCT meet ups, exercise classes (pilates/prambles etc) breast feeding groups, rhythm babies, baby swimming sessions - its amazing whats going on and what you can do for free in the area. Contact your local sure start centre - they can give you lots of suggestions and also run lots of free classes etc. I also just went out for a walk every day just to get baby asleep and to not go mad

3 weeks is boring - you are exhausted and doing the same thing day in day out. Just wait a couple more weeks, then a couple more months and you will feel very very differently!
I would hold out to 6mths, then see how you feel

MogTheForgetfulCat Sat 15-Aug-09 20:03:00

Mine started at 12mo - and that was only because I had no alternative and had to go back to work p-t for financial reasons. I would love to stay at home with mine. But I certainly didn't feel that way when either of mine were 3 weeks old! I had that "omg what have I done" feeling that someone else mentioned with both of mine. But it went away after a few weeks as I got into the swing of it each time, and I was desperately sad each time I had to go back to work and leave them.

So I would advise leaving it as long as possible, and getting out and meeting other people with babies as much as you can. We used to have little routines of X on Monday, Y on Tuesday, day pottering at home on Wednesday, and it really helped me in the hard early weeks to know what I was going to be doing each day. I ended up making some good friends through a lovely (rare as hen's teeth!) mum and baby group, which helped me through the newborn stage.

Supercherry Sat 15-Aug-09 20:13:23

The newborn stage is probably the easiest for actually being able to chat to people, especially if you've got a good napper. Its virtually impossible while running around after a toddler!

Baby massage class is good for meeting other mums, that's the only reason I went really.

I remember dreading going to mother & baby group the first time, but a kind lady held my DS so I could drink my cup of tea and there are some nice people out there, and everyone is in the same boat really. I often think new mums look a bit shell shocked- I know I was!

Supercherry Sat 15-Aug-09 20:14:46

Where in the country are you avariceandlatinos?

nooka Sat 15-Aug-09 20:24:21

For a baby I'd be looking at a childminder I think, as a consistent care giver is important when they are tiny (it doesn't have to be you though). We had a nanny with their own child and that worked well for us, or a nanny share might be another possibility (much cheaper than a nanny, but more expensive than a childminder).

I did six months for ds and three for dd, and both worked well. I too longed for work, friends, something purposeful to do, but I do think you have to give your body longer to recover, and also working when your baby is waking up in the night is very hard.

I think you have to approach maternity leave as a time when you get out there and meet people though, otherwise it can be very lonely and if you are not baby orientated slightly soul destroying. So check out your library or homestart (if there is one), churches and leisure centres too are good places for mum and baby type activities. Make it your aim to meet other mums, and socialise even if at first you think you have nothing in common beyond the baby. If nothing else it's just nice to know that other people are struggling with the same feelings as you are, and at best you may make some friends for life.

Re the best time, I think of the three options, six months is probably best (usually seperation issues arise after this).

BertieBotts Sun 16-Aug-09 10:17:52

Put <town> Children's Centres into Google. (Obviously replace with where you live!) Find the phone number and make yourself ring it and have a chat to them and explain you are feeling a bit lonely and isolated and they will insist you come along to a particular session grin - I love my local Children's Centre, it has really made it all bearable and lovely. The staff are volunteers and so supportive.

princessx2 Mon 17-Aug-09 15:35:56

I think 8 weeks is very early to put a baby in childcare and I think you are very much at the stage were everything is new and babies don't do much at this age and not for the next 3 months either. I must admit that I actually looked forward to going back to work after dd1, but was completely the opposite after dd2 and made the most of my leave and loved just spending time with her. I think that I appreciated exactly what my leave was for with dd2 IYKWIM.

If you can and you want to you can got to local baby groups as have been mentioned - these never appealed to me as my age (37) was way beyond what most of them attending was (22/23) and so I felt like I had nothing in common with them However, while I was off on maternity leave with dd2 I did a Breastfeeding Peer Counsellor course through the feeding group that I attended. Dd2 came with me to the classes and towards the end, it actually helped prepare her for going into her current nursery as I put her in the creche at the children's centre a couple of times. If you can do a course like that where childcare is provided, maybe its worth investigating for you to do in a month or two.

I also missed being able to just get up and do what I wanted at a moment's notice, but you adapt and it no longer becomes an issue.

Both of my daughters went to nursery at 7 months and to be honest they both settled really quickly and my eldest is due to leave soon - she loves it and I am dreading the day she leaves as there will be tears from her. Dd2 loves nursery just as much and as nooka has said, this avoids separation anxiety with can kick in after this point.

messalina Mon 17-Aug-09 21:43:15

I really feel for you. Being on your own without family around and a young baby to look after must be very tough. I hope it goes to bed at a reasonable hour soon if it isn't already doing so. That way you can at least get some time to yourself in the evenings...until it wakes for the next feed! I remember waiting and waiting for DH to come home from work when our DD would be up all evening hollering for more milk. She would stay up until about 11pm (or even midnight) until the age of 10 weeks when I experimented with letting her cry it out for 10 minutes to see what happened...it worked! In terms of childcare, I don't think 8 weeks is too young if it's just for a couple of hours whilst you have some time to yourself on a weekly basis. But a lot of creches and nurseries won't take babies until they are 3 months old anyway. I'd say six months is a better age to return to work than 12 months. I went back when DD was 7 months and the childminder commented that this was a good thing because children who came at an older age tended to have more issues with separation anxiety. In terms of what you do with your time whilst you are still on M/L, definitely go to LOTS of activities. Are you in the NCT? They probably have a local newsletter with details of all the coffee mornings. Your local council should be able to give you a list of all the baby and toddler groups round you (and don't worry about not having a toddler. A young baby is easier to look after whilst having an adult conversation anyway!).There's also baby swimming, baby singing, baby gymnastics, baby massage (esp. good). And the NCT in your area may do postnatal courses. A really good place to meet more mothers and to discuss the joys (and trials) of motherhood. Join the National Trust and go out for day trips, even on your own. Baby will probably sleep the whole time in the car and pram. Go to Starbucks with a good book while baby sleeps. Buy only one thing a day so you keep on needing to go out to the shops. Consider going back to work on a very part-time basis a little before six months to settle back in and give you some stimulation (to be honest, toddler groups can be VERY dull but they are a lifesaver for a good couple of months whilst on M/L). Good luck!!

chichichien Mon 17-Aug-09 21:50:04

I found it easier for six month olds to settle with someone new than 12 month olds. Dd2 was a nightmare with ne w people when she turned 1.

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