I have a little boy, Alden, who is 20 months. Since his birth I've been home with him- I started babysitting a few other kids when he was about 6 months old. He's pretty good with the kids (I generally have 2 or 3 other toddlers, all 22-26 months old) from Mon-Fri. He's going through a big of a hair-pulling and hitting stage, but we're working on that. He is starting daycare on April 1st, because I need to return to work. I'm sure that he'll be OK in most ways- his "best friend" who I used to babysit is there, and a little girl I currently babysit will be transferring with him to the same daycare- so he'll have the comfort of familiar faces, at least. I do trust the daycare in terms of discipline methods and so on, they are very gentle and I have heard great things.
My worries are mostly about sleep and food. He's a breastfed boy- we've done baby-led-weaning, but he really doesn't eat much. Well, he'll eat absolutely anything, he's not picky, but he eats a very, very small amount. I'd say breastmilk still makes up more than 75% of his diet, and he generally nurses 6-8 times a day, and 2-5 times a night. The daycare provides lunch and snacks, but Alden is intollerant/allergic to dairy and gluten, which means he basically can't eat about 80% of the menu. The daycare said that they can't provide gf/cf foods for him, and told me that they'd give me the menus for the months and i could make a gf/cf version on the meals and snacks (she was saying that he had to eat basically the same stuff, as the kids all need to eat the same stuff or they want what the other kid has). I think the transition from mostly breastmilk to all food is going to be rough for him. Has anyone else here had a similar experience? Did your kiddo adapt quickly?
I've been trying to increase my supply so that I can pump milk to send along, but no luck with either the pump or hand expression. I'm eating more oatmeal, flax, brewers yeast, and drinking lots of milkmaid/fenugreek/blessed thistle tea. He'll drink almond milk, so I think I'll just end up sending that along, and we'll nurse in the mornings, evenings, and through the night.
My other worry is about naps. He's always had me here, and has always nursed to sleep. He always wakes up about 40 mins in and nurses (really quickly) back to sleep. I have no idea how daycare will work with regards to naps...my husband isn't even very successful at getting him to sleep, and when Alden wakes after his first 40 mins of napping, nothing else but the boob will get him back down.
Any thoughts? Tips? Advice? We have a little less than 2 months to try to change some habits/routines in hopes of making this as smooth a transition as possible.
Well - my DS isn't still nursing, but I too was worried about his food intake and naps. My DS is a very picky eater. He has been at daycare for over a year now and still barely touches his lunch. They do provide snacks and sometimes they will give him extra. I used to be so worried about this but finally realized that #1 - he won't starve and #2 - he will eat if he is hungry. I think that it is great that the DC will allow you to send gf/df.
Naps were another big worry for me because I had always rocked DS to sleep, but amazing he fell right into the routine that all the other little kids did and laid down on his mat and napped. Does he always nap, no, but he rests and on those no-nap days we just make an earlier bedtime.
I think you'll be surprised at how well these LOs adapt and it is great that he'll have friends there too. He'll love it I'm sure!
it really is amazing how kids will adapt to a new situation at daycare and/or with other care providers and do things that they would never ever do at home. i actually taught at a daycare and dd attended in a different room. at the time she started, she still nursed to sleep, was in the process of rejecting the pacifier and was still being swaddle weaned. she was 11 months and i thought there'd be no way they'd be able to get her to sleep on a cot (since she was starting in the toddler room rather than the baby room where they have cribs.) even though i work at the same center and know one of her teachers to be like, the russian baby-whisperer of putting kids to sleep, i thought for sure she'd be the one that would never sleep. but no, they had no problems with her on the cot and didn't even need the swaddle.
as far as eating goes, many times kids will eat more and different foods than they'd ever eat at home. first, they all sit together and see other kids eating so that helps but alot of these things have to do with it just being a different caregiver. i've been told certain kids were picky eaters, didn't like this food or that food and i'm sure that's true at home but not what i had seen.
seriously, i can't go on enough about what kids will do with a different caregiver. they listen when mom says they never do, they don;t throw tantrums like mom says they do...the list goes on and on. i've even seen it happen within the center. sometimes when having a tough time putting a kid to sleep all it takes is bringing in a teacher from a different room to help them.
also, the center should be able to accommodate any dietary or sleep needs. i've had kids with allergies/intolerences in my classes and all we require is that there is a substitute on hand that we can give them. in our case it doesn't have to be a similar item...kids don't really freak out all that much if little "bobby" has a soy yogurt instead of whatever they are having. we've even accommodated food preferences...it's not all that hard. this year i had a kid whose parents wanted to avoid white flours so if we had something that was a no-no we'd just grab something from her cubby. no bog deal.
sleep needs also are easily accommodated. i've done pacifiers and loveys. i've swayed some kids to sleep. and i've had bottles ready for early wake-ups that would extend the nap. if anything, if all else fails and he wakes up and won;t go back down, then they will probably just have quiet play time with him. i'd be ready to expect shorter naps anyway as it tends to happen with alot of kids. but you could always practice putting him back down with a bottle...it may not work as well as with someone else though just cause you;re the mommy.
anyway, i wouldn't feel anxious about having a kid that has special needs in these areas because i've found at that age, there's alot of kids that need extra help in certain areas (sleeping, eating, transitions, etc...even among those who have been in daycare from the get-go.
thanks so much for the replies!
you know, i never though about it like that, which is strange because i have seen this myself by babysitting over the past year. one of my girls goes to sleep just by me laying her down, giving her the soother and her teddy bear, and tucking a blanket around her. she'll fall asleep right away no fuss for me, and sleep for 2 hours, but her parents have a much harder time, rocking for 1/2 hr, singing, nursing, etc. funny that i knew she was just easier for me, but couldn't see that this could happen for my son with another caregiver also. i think i'm still suffering from the "but no one can take care of him like i can" syndrome which is usually reserved for brand-new moms, haha.
oh dear. i think i am building this up to be much more of a thing than it really is. he's probably going to be fine, playing with his 2 friends who he knows so well, and making new friends, and i'm going to be the one sobbing when i drop him off...
thank you very much, you've definitely helped to put my mind at ease! i know he'll have fun, and that it will be good for both of us. part of me watches him learn and grow and i'm SO excited with him as he makes his discoveries and explores, the other part of me can't believe he's going to be 2 in a few months, and growing up so incredibly fast. its kindof bittersweet.
now i just have to find a way to balance the breastfeeding part. i had thought of starting to nightwean him, since i am just wiped out, not getting enough sleep and getting colds, losing patience, etc, because i feel worn out. but if he's at daycare, then i wonder if that will lead to total weaning (which i don't want to do yet, especially because of his dairy allergies). hopefully he will continue to nurse in the mornings and evenings whether we night-wean or not, and the daycare says i am welcome to come and nurse him on my lunch hour, though he might not understand when i leave him for the afternoon...
my babe was younger when she started (11 months) but we did just continue to nurse in the am and before bed. at that point i think she was still nursing once at night and that didn;t change or increase until i weaned her about a few months later when i got pregnant.
I just put my 22 month old into daycare yesterday. Until now he's been home with me but I just started a WAH job and it really is better for him to be in daycare.
He went without fuss, no tears, no anxiety.
He still nurses before naps and bedtime, as well as a couple additional times.. but he doesn't have allergies like your child and he eats everything.
I'll admit to a certain amount of smugness when I went to pick him up yesterday... he gave me the BIGGEST hug when I walked in :)
My son, 21 months old, just started daycare this week. I went with him to the daycare whole week last week so he could get familiar with the people and environment. It was so good last week except the eating part. (I don't think he is a picky eater, sure he has few things he does not like. He does not eat much usually and the daycare wants to train the toddlers to eat by themselves. There is only so much food going into his mouth and the big portion goes to everywhere else except mouth).
Well, this week is a totally different story. He is crying when I drop him off at the daycare and he is crying even more when I pick him up from the daycare. He clings onto me for the rest of the day. He struggles sleeping, eats half of his usual portion. He plays well though.
Then everyone (husband, my parents, in-laws) starts to challenge the daycare decision.
I hope he will not take too long to adjust this process. I hope he truely enjoys the daycare life. My friend's kid (25 months old) is there and I hear good words about the daycare. I meet the daycare staff and they seems caring.
Oh, well; oh, well; ...
I was a daycare provider for six years, and my experience is that the first couple of drop-offs are usually pretty smooth, as kids assume it's a 'one-off' type of experience. Times three, four and five are usually progressively worse and worse, as kids realize that this is 'for real.' But by the fifth drop-off, they have started to bond with me and it gets a little easier, and by the sixth time it may still be hard but we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are only two cases where this doesn't happen: 1) if the child is really not ready to be away from mom (in that case they usually have a hard time the first visit, too) or 2) mom is not ready for the child to be away, or the family is second-guessing the decision. Children absolutely pick up on this energy and it makes it very hard for them to settle in. I actually wrote a blog post about this, you can see it here: http://joyfultoddlers.com/2011/10/starting-daycare-and-saying-goodbye/
I just started putting 17 month old DD in daycare last week and had the SAME reservations. I also have done childcare for over ten yrs, and know full well that the kids are usually fine, and as others admitted often better for the babysitters than their own parents....but I still worried. DD has always been a tough eater -also not picky but not motivated. She loves her "milky" and will happily refuse solids for hrs saving herself for that moment when she can have her bottle. She also has never been put down anywhere but my house by either myself or my husband. She's so used to her routine, teddy bear, rocking chair....and "milky" :) I couldn't imagine HOW this was going to work. I have #2 coming in three months, and knew i was going to need the help and decided to start her out slowly -just as you're thinking of doing to make the transition easier. The first couple of times, we went together -as a play date. We played with the other kids, had snack,, etc and then i brought her home for her usual nap and the rest of her day. After a week or two of this -and she was totally thrilled btw -I decided to have her nap there, but I put her down. We set up her room as close to what she was used to as possible. I didn't go all out (like bring the CD player or cover the windows to make it super dark) but I did bring the Blankie and teddy and pacifier. After she was asleep I left, and she did a perfect nap and then woke up without me there and happily played with kids for an hr or so before I came back to pick her up. Finally, just yesterday, I left her there for a full 6 hrs and had the daycare provider put her down -and she was fine! She's sleeping the same there as she does with me, and as far as the eating goes it's been wonderful for her! She gets so excited that all of the other kids are sitting at the table eating -she wants to be just like them! Her eating has improved in leaps and bounds since starting her there! I just make sure to pack her stuff from home to ensure she's getting well rounded meals, and the cooler bag comes home empty each time. I think your son will do great, but perhaps you could start going with him for an hr here or an hr there starting soon and slowly progress with timing so it doesn't seem like such a shock? good luck!