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I need some words of wisdom from those mamas who have BTDT with regards to putting their LOs in full-time care. My DD (almost 9 months) has just started part-time daycare this week. We took the advice of the owner and are trying to take it really slow, but I'm wondering if this is the right thing to do (i.e. does it make it harder on DD to go slower)...

On her first day, I took DD to daycare and spent an hour there playing with her and the other babies. Then I left her with the daycare owner and workers for 1 hour. Apparently she was fine until I walked in the door and the started SCREAMING like I've never heard. It was, to put it mildly, really hard on me. She wouldn't calm down until we had gotten on the bus to go home.

Today I took her back but didn't stay to play. I brought some fruit for her to eat and her sippy with water, gave instructions to the caregivers and left when DD wasn't looking (avoids a meltdown). I timed it so she was there for 2 hours. When I was arriving I could hear her cry, so I knew she wasn't crying because she'd seen me. Of course the waterworks tripled when she laid eyes on me. The caregiver told me she'd been crying on and off for the past two hours, and had refused any food or water, which I found rather alarming.

I'm supposed to take her back for three days next week, and I had planned to gradually increase the time she'd spend there to ease her into the habit, until we'd get to a full 8 hour day...which makes me incredibly nervous b/c I don't know how she'll sleep or if she'll eat/drink.

Is there anything I can do to help the process along? It's hard on me but I can just suck it up and deal, but I'd really like DD to have an easier time of it. Ever since we started daycare, DD has been ridiculously clingy, to the point where I can't put her down even to go pee; she's a smart cookie and I think she knows what's up
 

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My LO started daycare earlier (4 months) and had a surprisingly easy transition. However, I think around 8-9 months is a tough age in general, they start to have more of the separation anxiety, ability to exert their will, and lots going on developmentally. The daycare we chose only had 3 other kids and she followed our parenting mentality, which is pretty attached but also following a routine as much as possible. I honestly think the routine helped, and we really tried to follow the same schedule when at home (naptime, lunchtime, etc). So, when you are at home with your LO, you may want to at least go through the day as though she is at daycare as another way to ease into things.

Our daycare provider also asked us for a detailed list of all of his favorite ways to be held, favorite songs, soothing techniques, foods, again to ease that transition and make his two "homes" more similar. Try to even make sure the food is similar to what you have at home.

Lastly, I think your LO can probably sense your anxiety - so try to be as positive as you can and talk animatedly about how fun daycare is. It was SOOO hard for me going back to work at first, but in the end it worked out great and my DS loves it there. I would remind myself sometimes that women have been leaving their kiddos with others/ their clan for thousands of years and that we too would get through any rough spots.

Good luck!
 

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mama.

We started at 12 months and went very slowly, working up to full days over a few weeks. It was difficult for all of us and took him about two months to adjust. We had three more transitions (none our choice -- all due to job situations, etc.) and for the next transitions, we did a little advance prep and then made the switch all at once. It took much less time in subsequent transitions. Of course, he was older and more verbal, so there is no way to know whether or not that made a difference, but if I had to do it again, I would think about going less slowly.

I read here not too long ago about one mama who did her easing in routine by showing up, dropping baby off, leaving for a while, then coming back and spending time, rather than the other way around. She suggested that it's the initial separation that is hardest, and if you make dropoff very consistent and don't drag it out, the babe isn't left wondering what to expect.

It is tough. I came so incredibly close to dropping out of school when we were going through the initial transition. It is one of the downsides of the long mat/pat leaves -- if you go back to work, you're putting a babe in daycare right at the height of separation anxiety. (If we have a second, we plan to do things differently and see about having one of us home for the first few years at least.)

FWIW, even though it was hard, my DS did eventually develop a really beautiful bond with his caregiver and was happy to go there. Now that he is older, he is completely crazy about his friends at daycare and is very enthusiastic about what a good time he has there. It does get so much better.
 

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Hi there,

Just wanted to commiserate. I am in a similar boat. My DD (almost 9 mo.) is starting PT daycare next week and I came here looking to see how others have done/handled the transition. DD is with me 24/7, minus an hour a week maybe, and I know it will be tough on her (and me too). She cries whenever anyone but myself, her daddy or older sister tries to hold her. I am planning to go slow at first like you (i.e. attend with her the first week and slowly increasing hours) but some of my friends say it might only prolong her adjustment.

Quote:
I read here not too long ago about one mama who did her easing in routine by showing up, dropping baby off, leaving for a while, then coming back and spending time, rather than the other way around. She suggested that it's the initial separation that is hardest, and if you make dropoff very consistent and don't drag it out, the babe isn't left wondering what to expect.
The above seems like an idea I might try.
Hang in there, we will get through this!!
 

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We have done a few things, last year was crazy and we changed daycare twice, with multiple temporary baby-sitters etc...for reasons beyond our control, like major health issues of DCP's etc).

The first daycare, I started sending him full days, but, only a couple days a week (for several weeks) and I would stay and watch him play for about an hour at pick up time (at the time my pick up was a little earlier than the other parents). DS was older (about 13mos), but, in our case it works better for my to say "byebye, I love you" and give him a kiss, "I will be back after_____ (lunch/dinner/nap etc)" so he understood what was going on (I would also "hype" him up in the car, "we are going to see friends, you can play with your fire truck and eat goldfish!" It took about 2wks for him to get fully comfortable (the DCP said he wouldn't cry much after I left (he cried while I was leaving), as long as she carried him a lot...he gradually got comfortable being down and playing with the other children).

At the second daycare (17mos), we went there twice (after hours), to meet with the DCP and her family, and one of the children (DCP's granddaughter was there also), and he would play while we talked with the DCP. It was pretty similar, a couple weeks for him to get comfortable, he wanted to be carried a lot at first. Now, he brings his "loveys" or whatever toys he likes that day, and I give him a bottle as I leave and he does pretty well...DCP takes off his coat and tells him to kiss his mama and say bye. Now half the time he doesn't want to leave lol.

I do remember having trouble at the YMCA child watch when DS was about 8-13mos (even though he had been going there about twice a week since he was 9wks) , we took a break, and then started back up at around 16mos and he was much better...so in your case, it may be amplified by her age.
 

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i would go less slowly, if for no other reason than all of the coming and going and tears and agonizing is hard on YOU. i found this to be true when we were transitioning DD at 16 months...

if you're working up to a 3 days a week full schedule, i would just try to do shorter days for a week or so, but do the 3 days. the less often the kids come, the harder the adjustment is because they get out of the habit of seeing the DCP. i've seen this in that the kids who are FT at DD's daycare adjust much quicker than the 2 days/week kiddos.

also, tell the DCP under what conditions you want a phone call (if she doesn't take a bottle, if she won't sleep, etc.). they are used to parents not wanting to know every detail because it makes parents feel bad and slows them down at work (my DCP explained this to me; they rarely call parents). but if you want every detail, make sure she knows!
and feel free to call and check!
 

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It will get easier.


One thing I don't agree with is the "sneak out" method. I believe that it will turn any baby into a separation-anxiety filled lo. Avoiding a meltdown is not worth the price you pay for instilling distrust. She should see you kiss her, tell her goodbye, and you will be back to pick her up. She might cry, but she'll learn that you're not going to disappear for a long time each time you go out of her sight. It will get easier.
 

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I'm a home daycare provider and yes, it gets easier. I have a little girl this year it took a full 3 weeks for her not to cry. The worst was when her parents tried to drop and run. Those days she would cry on and off the whole day, not eat, not drink, etc. She did best with about a 10 minute dropoff. After the first week or so the crying was less (still off and on all day, but more not crying than crying). By the third week she was crying for about 5 minutes at droppoff and maybe one other time when she got tired. Since then, nothing. She loves it here and comes happily.
 

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I've had two babes go to full time day care (one was 11 months the other at 14 months) and I assure you, it will get easier. A consistent routine and a great caregiver are key.

I always went for 3-4 visits WITH the babe first, that let me check the place out, get to know the teachers, slip in lots of info about my kids to the caregivers (wanted them to know as much as they could about DS) and ask lots of questions, observe, etc. DS would stick right with me at first, then slowly venture further and further away to explore. I always felt that DS felt more secure once he saw me interact with the teachers, and saw that I was comfortable.

I would explain what was going to happen ahead of time, (even at 9 months, they understand some of it). On the first day, I would find out all of the dcp names (we did child care centers) and introduce DS to them each. Then I would tell him that (dcp name) would help them if they needed anything - a drink, fix a boo-boo, a hug, etc.

I would stay an hour the first day, 3 hours or so the next day, 3-4 hours the 3rd/4th day (including snacks/lunch). I always tried to stay until nap routine during the last few visits so DS could SEE what would happen for nap, but wasn't forced to do nap in a strange place off the bat. I would always encourage/let the dcp interact and help DS during these visits so he got comfortable with the person.

After several visits like this, (anywhere from 2-4 days) I told DS ahead of time he was going to stay with (teacher's name) for a bit while I went to the car. I would stay for a bit, remind him I was going to the car, hand him to the dcp then leave for 1/2 hour. The next day I would tell them I had to go for a little longer, and try it for 2 hours or so (or longer if they were doing fine, which both mine did).

ALWAYS say goodbye, otherwise I find they get more clingy as they think there is always a chance you may leave at any moment if they look the other way.

I personally always have a dcp hold my child while I leave, and I remind them every day (for the first few months anyway) that (dcp name) will help them. I have found it most effective to ask the dcp to distract ds after I leave. For example, I do my good bye routine (always try to be consisent - hand him over, big kiss, wave bye and GO - don't linger). The dcp would then take DS to look out the window at a frog/bug/train whatever (even if there wasn't one) or to look what another child was doing, read a book, get a snack, drink, something distracting. I NEVER found it helped to have them bring the child to the door to wave, watch me out the window as I left, etc.

So, have as many pre-visits as you can. Make sure your child knows who the dcp are and that they will help them (b/c you will not be there). Get a consisent routine, stick with it, don't linger. Always say goodbye. Ask the dcp to distract your child after you go.

To this day (my children have been in daycare for 4 years and 1 year respectively) I still wait outside the door to listen if he cries, and ensure the dcp is reacting appropriately if he does. Once, a new dcp put my hysterical 11 month old on the floor by himself his 2nd week there and walked away. I marched right back in, picked him up and said "I need someone to hold him while I leave, then distract him and comfort him until he calms down". Another dcp came and was great with him.

Maybe I'm lucky (though I like to think it's my AP practices
) but my kids both adjusted so easily to daycare. They both just marched in, like "ok, bye mom, see ya!" their first day. They both ate and slept well from the beginning. They still have rough days if they are not feeling well or if their routine is off, (i.e if we've been on holidays) but if they do cry, they stop as soon as I leave.

They both love "school", love their teachers, have made great friends, have learned SO much and got to do so much more than I would ever have time for at home.

Personally, I would get in to the long term routine as fast as you can rather than go part time. Every dcp has always told me that the part time kids have the hardest time, and they are always the ones crying. If you are going to go full time eventually, then just do every day, but shorter days (i.e. do 5 days/week but 4-5 hour days).

It's amazing how much they thrive in a group environment and how they adjust to new things when they see the other kids doing things, (like eating at the table, washing hands, napping) and they are in a structured routine.

Both of my boys had only ever nursed to sleep and coslept with me, and they both napped in a crib no problem, went RIGHT to sleep beginning their first day.

I'm a hard core anti-CIO, but my kids have cried a few times when I've left them, and they are fine. They learn that you will always come back for them, and on days my kids cried when I left, they stopped right away after I'd gone and didn't want to leave when I came to get them!

So try not to worry - they do great !
 

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monkeybum - that is great advice! That's exactly what I'm trying to do with my sixteen month old who is starting full time care soon. I'm going to use your advice to round out what we're doing!
 

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I don't have any advice. Just hugs. I've been through it. Here is my story.

DD started daycare part time when she was 9 months old. It was a total disaster. She had never had a babysitter before, and she would cry if I left her with anyone (including DH). DD was also VERY high needs. I spent a few hours there with her before leaving her there alone. It took a MONTH before DD wasn't miserable most of the time. I ended up quitting what I was doing (studying for the bar exam) because DD wasn't adjusting quick enough after a month. I ended up just sending her 2 afternoons a week (instead of every afternoon), and only when this once specific care provider was there. Things got better once DD was able to walk. I gradually increased her to 5 afternoons a week, and it was okay. (she still had difficult days).

I sent her part time until she was 2, when I HAD to go to work full time. That transition was another disaster because she had to be in a different room. She cried every day when I left her for FOUR MONTHS. The first week was miserable (puking, lots of crying), and things got better each week. By the end of the first month, she was happy most of the day. After 4 months, she LOVED daycare and became very attached to her teachers and friends. DD just changed rooms last month (she turned 3), and I was very worried about the transition. But her daycare brought her to her new room for an hour a few times a week the weeks leading up to her transition. She cried when I left her the first couple days. But after 1 week, she did great. She has been in her new room for 3.5 weeks, and she LOVES it there.
 

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I haven't read all the replies...but wanted to share two thoughts.

1. 9 months is a tough age (speration anxiety), so I think wether it was a DCP or a Nanny or a relative, you would still have a tough time. We transitioned at 13 months and had no tears on day one (he was waaaayyy into all the new toys), a few tears on day #2 (stopped in 2-3 min) and on day #3 the DCP said the tears stopped as soon as DH was out of sight.

2. Can you DH/DP drop LO off? My DH always does the drop off and I do pick up and it has been pretty easy (see #1). When I was on vacation for a week and had to take him there once or twice to go to appointments, he cried when I left...but when we were back to Dad dropping of it was no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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Originally Posted by ians_mommy View Post
2. Can you DH/DP drop LO off? My DH always does the drop off and I do pick up and it has been pretty easy (see #1). When I was on vacation for a week and had to take him there once or twice to go to appointments, he cried when I left...but when we were back to Dad dropping of it was no problem.
Ians_mommy...unfortunately, it'll have to be the reverse because of the daycare hours (only open between 8 and 5), and because DH works from 7:30 to 3:30. I'm working on the quick drop-off with saying goodbye, but right now it's still super hard and very emotional for us both.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post
Ians_mommy...unfortunately, it'll have to be the reverse because of the daycare hours (only open between 8 and 5), and because DH works from 7:30 to 3:30. I'm working on the quick drop-off with saying goodbye, but right now it's still super hard and very emotional for us both.


drop-off was awful for the first few weeks. but i think you're doing the right thing to make it pretty snappy and be upfront about the fact you're leaving. then don't dally. blow a kiss and just go. if you need to cry, wait till you get to the car


i know it feels terrible right now, but she WILL adjust. as long as you feel confident about the daycare setting, everything will be fine! i promise--it just takes time.
 

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oh my how miserable. i have never dealt with anything that bad. i found that our dcps were very knowledgeable re adjustment to separation. does she have a photo of her family visible to her?
 
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