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? re: daycare center, nursing on my lunch & separation

1494 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  chellemarie
Hi all,
Just a quick question for all you who have BTDT or are there doing that...

This week, DD (9mo old tomorrow--my how time flies!) is moving to a daycare center about 5 mins. from my office. So far, I love the center and people there and DD (who's been in with me this Mon and Tues and will get to stay 1/2 hr without me tomorrow... and then longer each day of the week until "full time" next Weds.) seems to LOVE it there...

Now, DD is still nursing but I really want to be done pumping (but will start pumping again if I need to if supply issues crop up because we're NOT weaning until at least 1 yr no matter what, after, well, it's up in the air (and in my head, up to DD)).

I asked the daycare center's director today if I could come in on my lunch break and nurse her. No one has ever asked them to do that before so they're not very sure. They are willing to give it a try but are slightly concerned that my coming in and then leaving again during the day might "make the separation harder" for DD and prevent her from settling down into their routine. Or that it might be a disturbance in their lunchtime routine that they can't work with. (But if the timing is good, even they think it shouldn't present a problem on their end... their only "real" concern is DD and how it may affect how she copes with the separation.)

But, they're willing to give it a try... sooo... the plan is to get DD settled in and give her a couple of weeks so she can find her rhythm for naps and food (which 99.9% sure will not be the same as at home)... and then, when we know when she'll likely be awake and etc., and if that fits when I can come in (which it will since I can take my lunch break whenever I want)... give it a two week trial run and see how DD adjusts to that.

OK, so my question for those of you who have experience with doing this is:

Just how much of a chance is there that DD will find the separation (from me) more difficult if I come in once a day each and every day she's at daycare for a whole day at the very same time? (Especially since it is likely that on some days (rare occurences) she'll only go to the center for a half day and I won't come and go but will just come get her.)
Did it make it easier or harder for your kids seeing you during the day but not getting to leave with you?
Should I suggest starting directly with coming in to nurse? (One less adjustment for DD if it works, but with the risk that I come in when she's sleeping or whatever and so less regularity in the pattern...) Or is our current plan a good one?
Other thoughts? ideas? suggestions?

Oops, I said "one question" and that was a few! So I'll stop here for now.

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I have no specific advice about your plan. But I have to address the fact that you should not need to "ask permission" to stop by your dd's daycare anytime, for any reason. If you plan to come by and nurse her at lunchtime -- then it would be a nice curtesy to let them know that. But I don't think they need to have a real say in it. If separation becomes an issue, of course you will need to listen to their perspective and consider your dd's best interests. But it seems to me the final decision should be yours.
It does seem a little weird that they would have a problem with this but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions yet. Make it work and make it easier for the next Mom!

Anyway, to your original question. My SIL was lucky enough to be able to do this with her son. It worked very well. Her son was 6 months old so she went down and nursed a couple of times a day. I don't know too many details but can ask her if you want. My gut says you should go in and nurse from the beginning rather than set up one routine then change. Just my gut, trust your gut.
We have an onsite daycare that closes for an hour during lunch, so it's a bit of a different set-up. It is very common for moms to go downstairs and nurse their kids on demand throughout the day.

The occasional sightings can be very difficult to deal with. Now that my dd is weaned, I avoid going down unexectedly during the day. But the expected visits do wonders to improve my quality of life and relationship with my daughter.

I'm sure you will grow to savor that time like no other.
keep it coming!

I just want to clear something up, first, though.

Mamaduck, don't worry... you said:

But I have to address the fact that you should not need to "ask permission" to stop by your dd's daycare anytime, for any reason.
and I totally agree. So does the center, more or less. They would not be the least bit put out if I dropped by unexpectedly at any time (unless I was doing it all the time)... and don't want me to "ask permission". However, they place a great deal of importance on communication with parents and have made it clear (and rightly so, IMHO) that any visits by parents takes time and attention (however slight) away from their charges.

HOWEVER, we're not talking about drop-in visits/spot checks/etc. here, but a (potential) regular, daily event that impacts their daily organisation (when DD (who loves her solids) gets her lunch, notably, and thus by extension, when the other kids in the "baby" section get theirs since, as with all daycare centers here in France, there is more than one kid per adult caregiver--5:1 is the ratio of children (legal standard here in France) to caregivers to be specific, not counting other staff such as the director and cook who lend a hand on occasion) and their ability to provide quality care for all the kids, not just DD.

I wouldn't ever send DD somewhere where I felt I could not just drop in unanounced if I felt the need to do so. BUT I do think it only fair that I ask them about "regularly scheduled events" such as this, AND respect their organisational needs.

They do NOT, I repeat not, "have a problem" with the idea... they've just never been asked to do this before. They don't know what to expect from something like this. It is totally uncharted territory here for them.

(For what it's worth, and for more "cultural context", I am the only mom of all the kids there who's still nursing... and all the new little babies--4 months old--coming in are in the weaning process because their moms are going back to work. And, even if some moms don't wean when going back to work, the VAST majority switch to "mixed feeding", i.e. breast morning and night and formula days, at the earliest possible moment. The lady that was watching DD up until now has been taking in kids since 1982 and I was the very first ever to bring her EBM.)

Liz, thanks for the reminder to follow my gut... my gut is telling me that two adjustments (to the center then to my coming in once a day) is better for DD and me so I can be reasonably sure to go in at the best time for DD and not "waste lunch breaks" visiting her in her sleep or whatever.

.me., what you say about "expected visits" vs. occasional/unexpected sightings makes sooo much sense to me! Thanks!

Anyway, anyone else BTDT? Keep all the good input coming!!

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I did what you are proposing with my 2nd dd, and it worked very well, BUT, my baby was younger...I was one of the moms who went back to work when dd was about 4 mos. old, but I was NOT willing to wean her or put her on formula during the day and so forth. My center was very amenable to the idea of my coming over, and after awhile, I just blended into the woodwork. So no problems with that on my part. And as others have said, going over there did wonders for me during the early months of separation. Knowing that I never had to go more than 4 hours until I saw her again made it much easier for me to go back to work. It also helped regulate my pumping as well--since I knew I would go over to nurse her around 12:30, I could (usually) arrange it quite easily to pump once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. As she got older, I was able to drop pumping sessions gradually, but didn't give it up altogether until she was about 11 mos. old.

Your question about whether your dd will have a problem with you leaving again the second time is valid, but one that you will have to answer for yourself and your daughter. My baby was so young that it didn't really phase her when I came in the middle of the day and then left again. She even did okay with it once she hit about 8 months, which is often when they start to put it together that they are being "left" for longer than just a minute or two.

If the center is as good as you say they are, they should be willing to work with you to help your daughter make whatever transition she is making easily (to whatever degree they can--obviously there are some limitations to what they can do). For example, at one point, I found that my daughter wouldn't cry a bit if I put her directly into the arms of her regular caregiver. But if I left her on the floor, or in a jumpy chair, or with someone else, she would complain and fuss. So we went with what worked. And if that caregiver wasn't immediately available and I could wait for her, I did. Even my older daughter, who needs to give me at least four hugs and kisses before I leave her in preschool, still has her routine, and our center is good about supporting it.

Good luck with everything!

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Thanks, singermom,
I went back to work ("full time" but FT where I work is 4 days/week) when DD was 15 weeks old. We were on a waiting list for this daycare center from a week or two after she was born. The slot only just now opened up (when school started and the older kids moved to school, and the others moved up a "section").
A woman had been watching DD in her (the woman's) home until this week (except for vacation, from mid July to the first week in Sept... I worked from home in July, took all of August off (5 weeks paid vacation is the legal minimum here, and my work gives us 6.5 weeks), and DH stayed home with DD until F (the daycare lady) came back.
So, DD is very used to my going to work and being in daycare of one sort... and is just changing type of daycare.
I think she'll be really happy at the center and the two days I've spent there with her (not whole days, just few-hour chunks) she's had a blast and crawls further away from me to get at toys and other kids than I've ever seen her do.

BUT, the daycare lady was too far from my work to even think about an arrangement like this so DD is used to going full days, but not used to seeing either me or DH again until it's time to go home.

I'm really hoping it works out for both DD and the center, and I'll even admit that the possibility of my going in to nurse her during my lunch break is one of the big "pluses" for me in switching to the center... along with an hour more with her every day (just on the commute (on foot) alone, being less "rushed" to get to work on time and get to her on time after work, and with DD's LOVING to play with other kids.

Anyway, thanks again for the input! (Gotta run, sleepy baby to put to bed...)

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I just wanted to chime in and say that you have a great plan.

I wonder if it would help you both to start the routine as soon as she starts full-time. I would make it clear that this can't be put off. Does her room have a rocking chair where you can feed her?

A mom here in my office went over to see her daughter every day to formula feed. From what I could tell, she put a lot of stress on the staff when she came to visit. When she came back to the office she did nothing but complain. It even had a sour effect on my feeling for the daycare, until I realized she was asking way to much out of the staff.

I would make it a natural part of your day. It would be the same idea as picking her up for a Dr's appt and taking her back. Focus on the positives when you go to see her for the feeding and have a positive attitude when you leave. She will follow your cues.

I should really stop now. Do what is right for you and it will work.
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I worked in a preschool that also had infant care. They had at least one mom who would come in and nurse. I can't see how that made more work for the teachers. Probably the first few times quite of a bit of attention was spent saying hi, checking in, getting things ready, but before long at all it was easier for the teachers. The mom would come in take her baby and go rock and nurse and often even lay her down asleep. Sure the other care providers probably said hi, but after a few days both mom and teacher knew that the other was busy and it was not a time to talk or even stop working beyond saying hi. Then during a time of day when lots of babies were needing rocked or fed they had one less baby to worry about (because she was with her mom, who often did several things that some other care prvider would have been doing- feeding, rocking, and often sleeping or a diaper change too).

And in our infant rooms there was really no scedule- except for food from the kitchen. But the babies had bottles or slept on thier own time tables and most of them even brought thier own solid foods so even that could be at their own times.

I would go for it all at once, but I also think you should listen to your gut.
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I started back to work when my dd was 11 months old. However, I only worked 6 hour days and with factoring in commute time both ways, she was going approximately 7 1/2 hours without nursing. At first, I tried nursing her on a mid-day break, but she had a hard time focusing during the feeding with all of the activity going on around us. She would get a little upset by my leaving a second time, but the staff assured me it didn't last long. Anyway, it just didn't seem to work for us, so, we just skipped the mid-day nursing. My supply wasn't affected by this. She just seemed to nurse extra long when we got home at the end of the day, and then again a couple hours later.

One thought to add... you said most of the mommies wean at 4 months at this daycare. Wow! Maybe you can pave the way for the future for mommies to continue daytime breastfeeding while working!! If at all possible, see if they have a quiet place for you to nurse - otherwise you might have to deal with an environment that is just too distracting.
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. . .at almost the same age and have had no problems. My ds is in a center were most all the babies are formula feed. I came at lunchtime almost the same time everyday. My ds cried when I left, but only briefly. I think the twice a day instead of once was far harder on me than ds. DS wanted his milkies. They had a rocker for me to sit on and I would visit with the staff as they gave the rest of the kids lunch. It was great to get a first hand account of the morning too.
I echo the suggestions of making midday nursing part of the "routine" once you start there. I went to nurse at lunch from when dd was 5 mo (when I returned to work) until she was 18 mo. I loved seeing her midday every day, and I know she liked seeing me. There was a brief sadness when I left at lunch, but she got used to it and it became "routine" most days (I honestly think I was usually as sad as she was).

I stopped going for lunch nursing when dd went to 1-nap-per-day, because it was hard to schedule being there and not interfering with her lunch and also ensuring that I would have parking when I got back to campus.

Good luck!

TCC's Mom, momma to wonderful 21-mo
just want to chime in here

I went back to work at around 13 months. My DS was in a daycare center just few blocks from my work. I went there to nurse him at lunch time everyday until he started to slow down on nursing (around 15 months)

Doing this helped me so much. I never felt like it upset his day or the daycare workers. It was one less child they had to deal with at lunch time and I think we all enjoyed each others company. I feel blessed that I was able to do this every day. Once he turned one and moved out of the infant room I started to phase out my lunch time visits. I think this transition was harder on me than it was on him. His nursing had slowed down to just a few times a day and he realy enjoyed eating at the table with his friends. I think if you can do it you should.
If I remember correctly, you and I started back to work on the same day in April. Every day since then, I've gone to my dcp's to nurse DS on my lunch hour. We even switched to a different dcp in August.

I would actually advise going to her at a time she usually nurses that works out with your schedule. I wouldn't give my babe a couple weeks to get used to me not dropping in...I think that would actually be harder for my son to adjust to. Mom hasn't been around and now she's here! She can't leave!

Both of my providers were very supportive of me coming to nurse. The first was appreciative because I was there while she was making lunch and I was an extra pair of eyes in the living room while she was in the kitchen. My current provider just told me a couple weeks ago, "You know...I really like this. You get to talk to me about your day and I get to talk to you about mine. We let off some steam and cheer each other up."

good luck. I hope this arrangement works out well for you.
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