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Second session with the childminder tomorrow, I am dreading it - help :(

(6 Posts)
DitaVonCheese Mon 14-Sep-09 21:33:43

PFB is just under a year old. I have just gone back to work very part-time: at the moment I'm doing two mornings (2.5 hours) and an afternoon (4-5 hours) a week. She had her first (2.5 hr) session on her own with the CM last week, having previously met her twice - once for an hour when we first met her, then she and I both went along one day for two hours to get used to it.

Leaving her last week was horrible She cried, I cried (not in front of her) and she was really hard to settle that evening. I am terrified that I've destroyed the bond of trust between us by abandoning her. I know to me that 2.5 hours isn't very long, but I also know that she has no sense of time and has no way of knowing that I'm coming back

I know she will settle eventually, but in the meantime it feels like I'm doing a weird awake version of controlled crying (which isn't for me).

On the one hand, I do genuinely think it will be good for her to be around other children and get some proper attention and playtime from someone other than me. On the other hand, I do feel that there is a tendency in our society to push children into being independent before they're ready, and I'm worried that that's what I'm doing.

Are there any studies to suggest that leaving them at this age is either harmful or beneficial? Should I have eased her in a little more slowly?

Thanks for reading if you got this far. I'm just dreading dreading tomorrow so much

applepudding Mon 14-Sep-09 22:04:30

Hi Dita I remember how horrible it was when I first left my baby aged 8 months as i returned to work part time. I worked 5 afternoons a week for 3.75 hours each, but my first week I just did 2 hour sessions, and DS cried when I left him and was still crying when I picked him up. I felt so awful, was sure I was doing the wrong thing, BUT the second week he managed to get off to sleep at nursery, and after that, give or take the odd bad day he was fine, and I really really think he benefited from being at the nursery. After a year I changed my hours so I had alternate days at work, with DS at nursery, and two days a week, in between, where DS and I spent the day at home together, which I felt was the right balance.

It is tough and you do feel torn and horrible some times, but I'm sure your baby will settle after a couple of sessions and you will be a better mum for the time that you are doing something for yourself. That's what I found anyway.

Regarding studies - I think you will find that there are studies proving whatever the person leading the study wants to prove so i wouldn't take too much notice.

neenztwinz Mon 14-Sep-09 22:14:30

Agree with applepudding - the studies only show what the person doing the study wants it to show! There is no way of knowing whether separation at this age definitely leads to problems later, because causation is so difficult to prove. I don't believe it causes massive problems (otherwise society is going to be in a big mess soon enough), if you give your baby all the love she needs when you are with her (which it sounds like you do) then she will be just fine and the bond between you will be the best.

I left my twins for a weekend when they were 14mo (first time I left them). They didn't bat an eyelid while I was gone but when I got back they cried and cried and wouldn't settle etc. I think it is just confusion.

I know I don't remember anything that happened to me when I was that young and the bond I have with my mum has been built over my whole life, not just on what happened one day or one week or one month when I was a baby. It is normal to feel torn but you will both get used to it. Do you feel happy with the childminder? I think if the childminder grows to really like your child or even love her and responds to her needs ie cuddling etc when necessary then it is a close second to her actually being with you. And you don't even have to leave her for a whole day so really you are lucky compared to some.

DitaVonCheese Mon 14-Sep-09 22:38:05

Thanks for the replies

I do like the childminder. She said she'd given DD lots of kisses and cuddles on Friday

I know that I'm really lucky that we can start off just doing mornings for now, though in a way it's compounding my guilt that my hours are completely up to me and I've chosen to go back. Don't get me wrong, financially we will be (a bit) better off if I work and we're pretty skint at the moment (our joint income is I think a quarter of what it was pre-baby, for various reasons), but we have struggled on for a while now and could probably struggle on a while longer. However, I do feel bad that I am not contributing financially and in some ways I do want to work (never thought I'd type that!). I wonder if I'd feel less bad if I had no choice but to work (probably not!).

Thanks again. Hopefully tomorrow will go more smoothly and we will both feel better. It helps to know that they settle in fast.

cloudedyellow Tue 15-Sep-09 18:43:39

'Why Love Matters' Sue Gerhart
Sorry can't do a link.

neenz Wed 16-Sep-09 11:38:34

Don't feel bad about wanting to go back. Your DD will be fine without you for a few hours a week. I am sure the CM will give her lots of love and it will be good for her to get a little independence.

She knows you love her and that is what matters. I do two days a week and like you I don't have to do it financially, but it is nice to earn a bit of money yourself and I often feel quite proud after a day's work. I enjoy the time away from them, as long as they are happy, although for me two days is enough. I wouldn't want to be away from them any longer.

Obviously if your DD doesn't settle with the CM then re-think things but you will probably find that within a few weeks she doesn't bat an eyelid.

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