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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ds is 4 months old. I'm going back to work probably in early December. My main concern is that I don't want to set him up so that my going back to work is so traumatic for him due to the way I've parented him so far. (Yet, I don't really want to give up my parenting style either!) I'd originally taken the approach that I'll parent him in the way that feels best and let him adapt to nanny/day care later. But now I think this might be too much to impose. So.... my question is what did you do to help your child get ready to be cared for by someone else besides you???

My main concern is sleep. Ds only nurses to sleep. We don't own a crib. He naps in my lap or I get in bed with him. I can't put him down once he is asleep because he always wakes up. Any suggestions??????
 

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My advice is to find a caregiver who will support your parenting style.

I found an amazing person by being very descriptive and direct about my parenting style and needs. She supported my views and has worked hard to do what we need as a family. Her flexibilty has helped so much.

We also don't have a crib, and at 19 months my ds also nurses to sleep. My sitter has been very successful in working with him to get him to sleep. It took some time, but they have a very sweet routine that works. They look at the moon, sing songs, etc. My point is she belives in my ds and works hard to support who he is.

My other suggestion is that you have some time together with your caregiver. If your child sees that you trust them, they will feel more comfortable. And, your caregiver will learn more about how you want things done.

Working outside the home did not work for me, but it wasn't becuase of caregiver issues. I think you can find the care you want for your child.

I'm not sure where you live, but you might check with your local API chapter for baysitting resources.

Sorry this is so disjointed...very sleepy...but the thougts will hopefully be helpful.
 

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I agree that, if it's possible, you start with your caregiver before you go back to work. Have her come to your home and the two of you parent together for a while, until your son knows her and is comfortable with her. Then you can start leaving them alone for longer periods of time, until you have to go to work. I'm sure if you make the transition gradual it will work out just fine.
 

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And don't change the way you parent to prepare him. Well, maybe if he'll need to take a bottle you could start trying that out but don't change your patterns. As others have said, concentrate on finding the right caregiver then let them find their own patterns. She/he is not replacing you just complimenting you. My son had only been nursed down when I went back to work and it was my biggest worry but everything worked out great. 3 years later he is still napping for his babysitter but never for me!
 

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Zoe (34 months old) nursed to sleep until she was 30 months old -- and now still can only fall asleep in my arms if I'm around... when she stopped nursing in April, she took to playing with my hair until she falls asleep.....

BUT when she's @ school, she naps for them.

And if she doesn't take a nap, then the world doesn't end.

There will be a period of adjustment, and it'll be OK.
I promise. I'm the most pathetic, weakest don't-let-her-cry-it-out-ever Mother, but now that I see how she's adjusted, I promise that it'll be OK.

There's no shortcut; you have a transition ahead, and it's going to be OK. We're with you!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks SO MUCH for your responses. I especially needed them today because I'm feeling so down about my little guy potentially suffering when I go to work. The trigger today was that I had dh feed ds with a bottle. ds screamed and screamed. I only let it go on for 5 minutes. Ds never lets himself be comforted by a bottle. By the time I took him, he was doing that horrible hiccuping from crying so hard. I thought I'd just explode from the pain I felt. I'm SOOOOOO worried that he is going to struggle with someone else--not eat or fall asleep or allow himself to be comforted. But your responses give me hope. Thanks. But is it inevitable that they will struggle in the beginning?????
 

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I know exactly how you feel! DS isn't even in full time day care or anything. He's just with a babysitter about 15 hours a week, but when he was 3 months (he was5 months when I returned to work) he only fell asleep nursing or in a carrier. When he was two months, he was refusing a bottle, and we were VERY WORRIED. The bottle thing is really important. My main tip, that I got from a lactation consultant, is to keep trying, every day, don't let him/her get miserable, and try giving baby a finger to suck on, and then substitute wiht the bottle once he/she is sucking.

When DS was 4 months, we went on a campaign to get him to fall asleep in different ways that would be more convenient for a babysitter. I don't at all feel like this compromised his attachment to me or DP. We rock him to sleep now, sometimes with a pacifier, and then put him in our bed where he naps. AS we interviewed babysitters, I still felt like I was being neurotic when I told them how to put Quinn to sleep, and that they should NEVER let him cry alone. But, at least I could be certain that he would go to sleep and that he didn't have to rely on nursing down.

Katie, quinn's mom
 

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If you can start him at the daycare before you go back to work you can minimise the transition. Spend a few days at the caregivers with him, then leave him for a few hours but have a cel phone, then longer and longer. My son cried inconsolably on one of our trial days. Since I was at home, I RAN crying all the way to the babysitters when she called. And he never did it again. He cried sometimes when I dropped him off but I always listened outside the door and he would stop almost immediately.

It is really hard, there is no way around it but if you have a caregiver you trust (and the lengthy trial period helps build your trust) it will be so much easier on you both.
 

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I agree with the others that you should find someone who shares your parenting philosphy. Make sure that you start your search early, so that you can properly screen people and even have them come over for a trial run. If you can have someone come to your home, IMO, that is a good childcare situation because your ds will be in his own environment, even though he won't be with you. If you can't have someone come to your home, then pick a good in-home childcare situation where the person will parent your ds the way you would (or close enough!)

As far as sleeping, babies get used to going to sleep in different ways with differnt people. I worried about how dd would go down for her naps, since I always nursed her, but it turned out not to be a problem with our nanny. DD somehow sensed that she was not going to get nursed. Instead, she settled for being cuddled and held to sleep. As she got older, we began to put her down after she fell asleep and she got used to sleeping by herself. She still needed to be comforted to sleep, but she accepted different forms from differnt people. Good luck to you. The best advice I can give you is to go with your gut and with a person that your baby likes and that you are comfortable with.

Libby
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just want to thank you all again for your responses.

AND we had a good development this week. I was visiting my Mom for a week and she invited to me to go to her gym to work out with her. The gym has child care. Soooo ... I gave it a try. This was the first time I had left ds with anyone besides dh. I came back an hour later and ds was asleep in the caregiver's arms. She said that she noticed him rub his eyes, so she picked him up and rocked him and sang to him. She said he didn't even cry!!!!! What a relief!

We just got home today, and dh his trying this new system right now!!!
 

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I echo a lot of what has been said.

DD (now 20 months) had a bit of adjustment to daycare, but is now the *best* napper they have. She goes to sleep happily on her mat at daycare. Yet her sleeping at home is still completely ap. At night, she falls asleep nursing, and is often held by dad or me until one of us goes to bed, but sometimes spends maybe 60-90 minutes alone in the bed once she is in a deep sleep. During the day, if she is home, she sometimes won't nap at all -- and if she does nap during the day on weekends or days off (unless she has fallen asleep in the carseat) is held for her entire nap. This summer, I taught a two-week summer course at a different University, so I had a nanny there -- whom she napped for in the bed at our rental apartment perfectly as well!

Kids are smart. IMHO, because DD is so attached to us and thus well-adjusted, in another (appropriate) setting she feels comfortable sleeping on her own.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by TCC's Mom
I IMHO, because DD is so attached to us and thus well-adjusted, in another (appropriate) setting she feels comfortable sleeping on her own.
I totally agree with this, as it's what I've seen with my son, who transitioned from mama&daddy care at 4 months to nanny care and then has recently transitioned to full time day care at 2years old. Neither transition was pain free, but they were relatively smooth and he has been very, very happy in both in a pretty short amount of time.

I think it depends upon the child's nature and personality wrt how long the adjustment will take-- but the psychological literature in attachment suggest that a securely attached child forms better relationships with other caretakers (and peers) than a child that is not securely attached. If a well adjusted child has trouble with a new care environment, that probably means that s/he needs something different, rather than that they simply can't adjust to leaving mom and/or dad.

I sometimes have difficulty understanding what people mean when they toss around AP or "attached child" lingo. And, yeah, I've read much of the AP literature and am probably most like that as a parent, but attachment comes in several different forms. The psychological literature distinguishes between securely attached infants/children and "anxiously" attached infants/children. Sometimes when people talk about their "attached" children, they are describing their securely attached child-- which is a child who feels distress at being separated from a parents, but who adapts to that separation and is content without them. Othertimes, people seem to be referencing anxiously attached infants/children, or a child who can't seem to adapt to separation. There's also a term for "attached" kids who show no distress at being separated from their parents, but I can't recall it right now.

I can barely recall the time in my child's life when he was a newborn and wasn't happy being held by anyone but me, or who wouldn't sleep unless he was nursed and/or being held by me. Luckily, with continued work by my DH who figured out his own style and way of comforting and entertaining and attaching to him, that changed. It was the same process for introducing other caretakers. It takes time and patience from all parties involved, but a healthy kid in a health environment will adapt.

HTH,
Karla
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You all are awesome. Your thoughtful replies mean so much. And much of what you've written has been my mantra of late--helping me feel better about the inevitable transition. It does make me sad that the transition won't be pain free, but I suppose that some pain in ds's life is inevitable, huh?
 
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