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starting nursery at 9 or 12 months...is there a difference ?

12 replies

smallvoice · 24/01/2006 21:27

Am trying to decide when to return to work and although the original plan was to return when ds was 9 months, might be able to stretch to 12 months. My natural instinct is to spend as much time with ds as possible and that at 12 months he might get less tired (he doesn't sleep well during the day) and more easily entertain himself but a few people said that 12 months is a more difficult time for babies to start nursery.

Does anybody have any experience of babies starting at 12 months ?

(am also investigating nanny share which would be preferable!)

OP posts:
Feistybird · 24/01/2006 21:35

ooh blimey, dunno. Both my DDs had separation anxiety for a while around 9 months and again at 18 months, even tho they'd both been in nursery happily from 7 months.

Easy for me to say after the event, but if you have a choice, and you want to, then stay, they get big so quick!!

smallvoice · 25/01/2006 09:47

thanks Feisty!

Anyone else ??

OP posts:
Bramshott · 25/01/2006 10:12

My DD started nursery at 12 months, and settled really well. It was an easy time to leave her as she had just dropped her morning nap in favour of an afternoon one, and she was on cows milk so no formula. That said, I can't remember what she was like at 9 months, and pretty sure she would have settled in okay then too. I think that unless they're in major throes of a separation-anxiety phase, settling them in a nursery under 18 months is a doddle compared to trying to settle in a 3 year old!

In short - I don't think 12 months is particularly any more or less difficult than any other age so I'd go with your gut feeling which is to spend as much time as you can at home with your baby.

bundy · 25/01/2006 10:15

9 mths better imo. have 2 dd's who settled at around 7.5 mths in nursery and see a lot of other children there settling, definitely takes longer when the child is older is more distressing for the parent.

blueshoes · 25/01/2006 10:27

smallvoice, depends on your ds' temperament, when he starts separation anxiety - no one size fits all. But a long settling in period is always preferable. I would start settling him in slowly from 9 months - by 12, he should be fine. This gives you the option to iron out any wrinkles whilst you still have the flexibility.

bundy · 25/01/2006 10:30

The babies in our nursery settle in one or two weeks, I can honestly say they are absolutely fine after that (and on the rare occasions that the child doesn't settle well, usually with older say 2 yr olds, the settling period is extended). A 3 month "settling" period would be ridiculously long, most people use childcare so they can do other things eg go to work.

blueshoes · 25/01/2006 11:05

I appreciate your views, bundy. But I am also coming at it from the parents' perspective of the unique needs and personality of their own child. Most nurseries will not have a settling-in period of longer than 1-2 weeks. In my case (and if smallvoice has the financial flexibility), I paid for full nursery 4 hour morning sessions after the initial 1-2 settling-in period. But I still collected my dd after 2 hours for the first few months, because as a mother, I felt she could be eased in over a longer period (she did not nap on her own and was still bf-ing and refused bottles). I would not have this option if I was already back at work. One nursery was a bit quick to reassure me that my dd would be fine and almost pooh-poohed my concerns about her settling in (labelled me a first time mum). Needless to say, I did not send my dd there but chose the nursery who was more accommodating.

bundy · 25/01/2006 14:21

"I appreciate your views, bundy. But I am also coming at it from the parents' perspective of the unique needs and personality of their own child. "

and I'm not????

as I said my own child's nursery is happy to extend the settling-in period for children who do not settle well. but this rarely happens, and is accommodated when it does. some practices which parents want to bring to a nursery setting (in good faith i'm sure) like long, lingering goodbyes and "popping in" at lunchtime to see their child are unsettling for the child (although they make the parent feel better - or would if it didn't cause the child to get upset, as it normally does)

my dd1 refused bottles too and the nursery was invaluable in getting her to take ebm from one and also establishing a daytime sleep pattern, which I'd failed to do. I am still in awe of them whenever i visit (to do voluntary work in the office) and all of the children are sleeping peacefully..that sweet smell of sleeping infants and gentle baby snoring

rarrie · 25/01/2006 15:38

I agree with blueshoes, if you know it is inevitable and can afford it, then start earlier and build up.

I started my DD at 10 months, before any separation anxiety had really hit... but although I paid for full sessions, after her settling in period, I'd still only leave her for an hour, then an hour and a half, then two hours and so on.

She settled really easily and although she did the usual crying as I left the room, I could see from looking through the small window (she couldn't see me) that she had stopped as soon as I left the room - often before!

I will do exactly the same with my next child as it was stress free, for both me and her... and now she is a very happy two year old who loves her nursery!

bunyanvillas · 26/01/2006 09:17

My dd starts nursery at the beginning of March when she will be 13.5 months old. I've been taking her there for the odd visit since December (not had to pay) - they are great! We had another visit last week, and on Feb 1st I'm going to leave her there for one hour. They are a fab nursery (well, so far I am pleased with what I see) and have no probs with me bringing dd along for the odd half an hour here and there just to get used to the environment. I, too, was just like you - told work I would be back after 9 months and then stretched it out to 12 and a bit! When I took dd to the nursery last week she really seemed to love it and there were no tears at all. Mind you, next week I'll be saying goodbye to her and leaving her there on her own for an hour so that might be a different story!

tracyk · 26/01/2006 09:21

I started my ds going to nursery for 2 x half day sessions at 6 months - didn't go back to work - just had time to myself. Then increased it to 3 x half day sessions at 9 months and then 5 x half days at 10 mo and went back to work.
So I'd recomend starting slowly, earlier.

MumtoBen · 13/03/2006 20:16

I started my 9 month old at nursery for 1 day a week for 2 months then 2 days a week for a few weeks before starting back at work. He had been with me for nearly 100% of the time before starting nursery. I was concerned about how he would settle in, being so used to me being around all the time. I have also seen mums crying at work on their first day back, not used to leaving their baby. On my son's first day he wouldn't take any milk or food and I had to go to the nursery to give him a bottle. Then the next week he took milk. Then food the next week. Then gradually over the next few months seemed happier and happier there. By the time I returned to work he was fully settled in, and not even crying when I left. It was such a relief. Would recommend a gradual approach if you can afford it.

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