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Is four months too young for nursery?

21 replies

freudianslips · 12/10/2009 19:11

We're looking at a variety of childcare options for DC2. One is spending 3-4 hours in nursery for 4 days a week from age 4 months, then progressing to fuller days at around 7/8 months. This is not ideal but I am NOT allowed any more than 4 months maternity leave and situation with our nanny is about to implode. But am I just being unrealistic to think that this is appropriate? Any advice very much appreciated.

OP posts:
juneybean · 12/10/2009 19:20

I don't think nurseries are bad but then I used to work in one so maybe I'm biased. And the hours you suggest seem fair.

Is getting another nanny not viable?

jkklpu · 12/10/2009 19:22

Depends entirely on the nursery, I'd have thought, and whether it would always be the same half-day that your lo was there. Might be easier if s/he got used to it always being the mornings or afternoons to develop a consistent routine. Would the baby be at home with a parent for the rest of the time?

scottishmummy · 12/10/2009 19:38

if you chose the right nursery it will be fine.nurturing staff and ambient atmosphere,baby will be happy. take in familiar blanket and toys,phone regularly, meet keyworker and manager.go on ofsted home page look at reports

be aware a precious moments mama will turn up here and tell you no way, too young,but you do what you have to do. be aware nursery for babies provokes some strong sentiments

good luck finding a nursery

GhoulsAreLoud · 12/10/2009 19:39

Personally I'd prefer a childminder if it was possible, are there many c/ms in your area?

bigchris · 12/10/2009 19:43

my ds started nursery at five months at two days a week
the staff in the baby room were fab
they had electronic swings in case babies would only sleep when being rocked, cots in a dark room, staff who cuddled them , a clean kitchen etc
ds was always extra tired after a day at nursety but for four hours a day it sounds fine, ds had to go from 8am to 6pm so your situation definitely preferable

one thing to bear in mind isvif you are breastfeeding you'll need to get into a routine of expressing, possibly at work too

freudianslips · 12/10/2009 20:00

Good ideas and tips. It would probably be Monday to Thursday, midday to 4pm or similar i.e. always the same am/pm. Amongst the nurseries i'm considering is one literally 2 minutes from my house - would be hoping for DD1 to also attend for full days (she will be about 2 years then).

Another nanny is certainly another option we're looking at, but we've had quite a disillusioning time with our current one. She's great with DD but does very little to help around the house, isn't flexible with extra hours at all and costs us the earth in mileage driving to her friends' houses. In addition, I genuinely feel like DD1 would benefit from a more communal setting in terms of normalising her eating habits, teaching her to share etc. Finally we'd rather save the money on nanny's salary in order that I or DH can take fridays off rather than paying for a nanny 5 days a week, if that makes sense (we're paying over £20k a year for a 32 week for our current nanny if you count all the extras).

As for breastfeeding, I actually expressed for DD for about a year so I'd be fine to do some expressing etc. - in fact, I'd be doing that anyhow if we had a nanny. I'd also be working mostly from home for the first 3 months back from maternity leave. This would mean that DC2 spent the remainder of each day with me, but that I could get at least some work done in the 4 hours that he/she was at childcare.

OP posts:
freudianslips · 12/10/2009 20:01

Sorry, I should be specific - our nanny currently works 4 days a week, 32 hours, but for the same length of time of childcare at a nursery we could afford one of us to give up a day's work far, far more comfortably.

OP posts:
scottishmummy · 12/10/2009 20:36

no brainer then!and if staff are sick they get cover

Ronaldinhio · 12/10/2009 20:39

my dd2 went from 3 months full time

she's really really fantastic and loves nursery...if anything she is a lot more "spoiled" that my dd1 who had a nanny for the first year
everyone in the nursery adores her and she is completely loved and cherished there

Hulababy · 12/10/2009 20:40

My DD started nursery at 5 months, doing two days a week (plus one day at PILs). DD settled immediately and appeared to enjoy it from the start. She was in day nursery up until starting school and we never had a day's worry.

scottishmummy · 12/10/2009 20:45

used nursery FT at 6mth.we all love it.

CMOTdibbler · 12/10/2009 20:46

Ds went to nursery ft from 4.5 months. The things I liked about the nursery was that the baby room was small, consistently staffed (one of the two room leaders was always there, and there were 5 other staff members who would ever be in there, no agency staff ever) and that they were totally flexible wrt to feeding, sleeping etc. Always a willing pair of arms to cuddle too !

SarfEasticated · 12/10/2009 20:59

The tiny babies at my dd's nursery are like little celebrities, all the parents ask after them, the carers jostle for cuddles and the babies have lots of interesting stuff to look at, nursery rhymes to listen to. It's lovely.

purepurple · 13/10/2009 07:42

In our nurseries we take babise from about 12 weeks.
Evertone loves the tiny babies and they get spoiled rotten
The hours you describe sound ok.
It is better to start a baby earlier than later, before the seperation anxiety kicks in a t around 9/10 months. It's the mum's that find it the hardest a such a young age.
Good luck with your search for a nursery.
BTW, our afternoon session starts at 1pm, and our afternoon sessions are cheaper than the morning ones as they are a bit shorter and you don't have to pay for lunch.

dizzee · 10/11/2009 13:29

My DS went to nursery FT from 5 months (he's now 12 months). We chose a small quiet nursery with very consistent staffing (always the same 3 staff members in the baby room). DS settled in with no problems and was a real favorite in the nursery. We recently relocated to a different part of the country and DS settled immediately into a new nursery. He is a fairly easy going, happy baby so that probably helps. I don't know if his personality would be different, if I'd stayed at home with him - probably not.

From my experience, if you want to put your baby in nursery it is better to start them sooner rather than later. I've seen quite a few contented, easily settled 5/6 month olds and a lot of distressed 1 year olds who've struggled to settle.

I only have experience of nursery, so I don't know whether a childminder would be better for a younger baby. Certainly if DS had found nursery too tiring/stressful then we would have moved him to a cm.

Hope you find a good nursery.

edam · 10/11/2009 13:34

It's good to hear so many people have had positive experiences of small babies in nurseries. But I think you do have to check the nursery out very carefully.

I thought I'd sent ds (age 7 months) to a very good one with a lovely head of the baby room who was incredibly warm and reliable. But shortly after she was shifted to cover for the manager when she left and I wasn't very happy with the staffing after that. Once turned up early and found they had left one little girl in the rocking swing - she was moaning but no-one bothered to go to her.

ds was fine, though, and developed a very close relationship with his new keyworker, who did look out for him.

Danthe4th · 10/11/2009 13:36

I'm a cm and personally I think young babies are best in a home environment,but reading your options it sounds fine and the bonus of being able to take a day off sounds great, its close by so would be home quickly.If the nursery is good go with it.

Hulababy · 10/11/2009 13:36

" But I think you do have to check the nursery out very carefully. "

I agree. You need to check out any form of childcare carefully for your bab, esp when they are of an age where they cannot tell you about their day.

edam · 10/11/2009 13:40

Thing is, I thought I had, but actually things changed when the manager left, the new company that had taken over started making changes, lots of other members of staff left...

While the nursery my sister used was fab - small, warm, stable, would be very happy to leave even a tiny baby with them.

Maria2007loveshersleep · 10/11/2009 19:58

If it's a very good nursery, then I'm sure it'll be fine especially as it's short hours. I do believe young children (babies & young toddlers) get overtired when it's long long hours at nursery, this is because it's a very loud, stimulating environment. But the sort of hours you describe sound ok. If it's a good nursery, your baby will be looked after well, cuddled, loved etc. It sounds a better option, the way you describe it, than a nanny (although a CM would probably be an even better option if you found a really good CM).

Just realized this thread was written a while ago, so what did you decide in the end FreudianSlips?

twolittlekings · 10/11/2009 20:04

I'm not a lawyer (and you may be!) but I thought legally you are allowed to take 6 months mat leave and entitled to get your job back providing company situation has not changed b;lah blah blah,and a year mat leave but same salary not necessarily the same job title

I am on mat leave at the moment and that's what my company policy is.... is this written into your contract?

At 4 months I think a nursery (especially in winter) is too young - get ready for illness after illness after illness.

I put DS 1 in nursery at 7 months in October and within 2 months he had been hospitalised twoce (with bronhchiolitis and tonsilitis), I got flu and was signed off work for 2 weeks and generally juggled work to look after a sick kid.

I would never ever do that again. This time round I am putting DS2 in nursery in the spring at 9 months old. If I were you I'd hang on with the nanny until the New Year and your DC is older.

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