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starting daycare in a few months
any tips is greatly appreciated!


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#1 NicolinaO

Posted 28 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

So DS will need to go into daycare in July at about 9 months of age and I am realising I really need to start looking into it all properly. There are a few centres nearby that I can choose from, some that provide food some who don't, some smaller, some bigger, one where my next door neighbour works... well you probably all know how it is.
I went to daycare as a child myself and it was the best time of my life! so am in one way looking forward to the little man getting to go, but also feeling stressed about it. I am very scared he would end up in a 'bad' one sad.gif  So to do my best in finding him a good centre and then further making sure he gets to have as positive an experience as I did.. what do I need to know?

I am also unsure of how to manage his feeds when in care. He is breastfed at home but has started solids if ever so little. I have heard of bf babies getting formula at dc but doesn't that interfere with your supply? How does that work when on the days not in care then, do you give formula at home too?
with the solids, if he is in a 'baby' room, then he doesn't get any?

he is very patchy with day sleep at home but we are starting to work ourselves towards some kind of routine. I understand the dcc will do their best to follow this? do they prefer if you have a routine or not? He is very very inquisitive and also will rarely 'go to bed' quietly....how will that work with a whole room of babies trying to sleep?

how long before he needs to attend most probably full-time (Im going back to finish my bachelor degree which is full-time and some) should I start having him there to get used to it all?

What else do I need to think of, plan for, organise?

thankful for all the wisdom you all have, I feel like Im diving into the unknown here!

#2 Goggie

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:36 PM

Bump. I'd like to know all of this too! We start daycare on July and I go back to work in August.

#3 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:49 PM

I would visit a few centres to see what vibe I got. You'll know which ones don't feel right. Also do you know people in the area you can ask for recommendations? I have friends with older kids do they could tell me where their kids went and where other lids they knew through play group or later school went. Regarding feeds my DD didn't start full days until she was over 12 months and I only did 2 breast feeds at that point anyway. At 9 months I was doing 3. Can you express the lunchtime feed? If not I'm sure it should be fine with your supply if he had formula once a day.
Sleep was abig concern for me as DD was tricky and I knew she would find it hard in a child care centre setting. It's been ok though. There were many times she would come home after only one 40 minute sleep. But she survived! And she has improved over time and got used to being put to sleep differently.
Good luck with your decision making. It's a very hard thing to do but it does get easier.

#4 NicolinaO

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:11 AM

thanks for your reply DevineM.

it now looks like we are lucky enough the Mrs next door is just about to open her own family care. So most likely this is where DS will spend his days original.gif I think it will be really handy being so close and am considering the possibility to simple walk next door to feed him around midday. But unsure if this might get diisturbing/upsetting for him?


surely there is more than 1 day care experienced person on here who can give myself and Goggie some tips?

#5 dorkalicious

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:18 AM

Some tips:

1. Visit a lot of centres- try and visit at unscheduled times too and aks them a LOT of questions! Don't be afraid to be nosey/pushy!
2. Ask around town
3. Make a decision if a centre of family home care suits your child better
4. Apply now! Good care can be hard to get in to - especially mid year
5. Start care a fortnight or so before it's needed to give you both a bit of a chance to adjust
6. Never rush drop offs
7. Try to keep home routine and care routine the same so as not to upset/confuse bub

Just a few quick tips while I'm on the phone original.gif

#6 Taffyk

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:28 AM

Of questions there OP!
I think having a basic routine is a good idea.  When DD started (at 5 months) she was having a bottle every 3/4 hours and a play and a sleep would closely follow.  She was having one solid feed but that was dinner at home.  5 months later she has breakfast there and lunch.  I'm not worried about her sleeps and feeds - I've noticed she drinks/sleeps more at home.  So yes, in her baby room solids are provided and we supply the bottles.

She went straight into full-time. We had a half hour orientation prior to this and she was fine.

One thing is the waiting list - it actually might take awhile to get in.

Also, regardless of age, everyone I know had issues with their child getting sick alot early on.  So it might be worth putting your child in early to get past this - lasted 3 months for us - lots of carer's leave used by me!

Can't remember what else you asked...

#7 Taffyk

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:34 AM

Oh, and you can tell pretty quickly if it's a dodgy place or not.  DD follows one particular worker around - adores her, which makes me leaving easier (even if I am a little jealous).

I looked at the cleanliness and organization (i.e. menus attached to door, calendar of events sent out).
After a couple of weeks ask them questions - if they show an interest in your child's development that is a great start. DD's childcare has folders on each child - they picked up that DD was trying to stand and would set up furniture to help her.

As for sleep - I think it's hard because there's so much going on.  I have noticed they will darken the room. They record how they sleep - how many blankets, etc.

#8 jobo77

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:35 AM

I cant help with the breastfeeding questions sorry as mine were both over 12 months when they started and never took bottles of anything. When they were young they would get milk in a sippy cup which I provided (the cup that is) and then gradually they moved on to normal cups. All the kids even in the baby room get solids and they have a puree menu for the young ones. I think there is also a mum in the baby room at our centre at the moment who supplies her own solids for her bub who is probably just over 6 or 7 months old. With a family daycare though you may find you supply all your own food so you would have to check that.
In regards to popping over for a feed, I guess that depends on whether your DS is clingy and likely to get upset if you leave him for the 2nd time that day. I always found mine especially at the beginning would get a bit teary when I turned up to pick them up so no way would I have been able to leave them there again!
I started mine a couple of weeks earlier than needed for shorter days to begin with to get them used to it. Nap times for the babies tend to be in a separate cot room and our carers will follow the parents instructions for sleep times if you are already in a routine. They will pat them and have music going to help them sleep. Only once they are out of the cot and on the little beds do they have them all going to sleep at roughly the same time as each other and they tend to follow each others lead in that. The ones who don't sleep are encouraged to lie quietly.
Label everything in case they disappear home with another child. And I found a quick drop off to be better especially if you have a crying clinging child hanging on you that needs to be prised off  sad.gif  
Hope that helps - each centre and the carers will be different so its just a matter of finding one you are comfortable with and can openly communicate with.


#9 maeby

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:35 AM

My baby who is roughly the same age has recently started at daycare (but only one day a week at this stage).  He is still partially breastfed, and although our daycare have said they are happy to feed him expressed milk, we're not bothering, and I just feed him before and after.  I plan on stopping the breast feeds in a few months anyway, so it's a nice chance to wind it down a bit.  They also offer formula, but it seems kind of crazy to start him on that at this late stage.

At home we do BLW, and I told the daycare this, but I think they give him some puréeed stuff at lunchtime.  They also have solid food and formula available, as required.  Kids in the baby room can be up to 18 months old, so they need a lot of different food options.

They would impose routines if we asked them to (I know they are a bit stricter with some babies, as per parents' requests), but I'm not really all that bothered about my baby's sleep times etc.  He sleeps when he wants, and they write it down and tell me about it at the end of the day.  I don't know if they prefer a routine or not, but they seem to make it all work.  He certainly never comes home without having slept at all!

We were invited to spend an hour or two a day with him at the daycare in the week preceding his first day there.  We went at different times of day (morning, afternoon, nap time), which was really great for me in terms of getting to know the carers, seeing what sort of place it was.

The best thing to do, though, is go and have a look around all the places available to you.  We visited a few different centres before we put ourselves on their waiting lists, and this one that (fortunately) we got a spot at was far and away the nicest one, with the best vibe and the happiest babies (or so it seemed). The director of the centre also spent a looong time with us (an hour or so), showing us around and answering our questions etc.  There were others that, after seeing, I would never have felt comfortable sending my kids to.  Even though this lot aren't perfect (eg. I really would prefer that DS got solid food), I am very I feel really comfortable sending my kids there, knowing that they will be safe and happy and well-cared-for.

#10 two_ones

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:45 AM

Hi there,

My DS started daycare one day a week at 5 months old. I was able to express at work so I took 3 bottles to daycare and they would give them to him according to the routine I provided. Luckily he had no issues taking a bottle. Gradually cut down to to two, then one. I think I stopped expressing at around 12 or 13 months and he had cow's milk.

With solids, he had not started solids when he started daycare. The baby room provided solids for all kids but they asked me if I wanted them to give him any and at that stage I preferred to wait and experiment with solids at home.

As it turned out, I didn't go back to work until 5 weeks after daycare started, so those 5 sessions were a great orientation because I could drop him off late and pick up early so it wasn't such a shock to the system (for both him and me!)

Definitely check out a few places and get on some waiting lists now.

Good luck!

#11 wanting3

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:55 AM

My little ones are in family day care, and they love it. I expressed at work, and just supplied it in a bottle for the carer to give to DD2. As for the rest, most family day carers do not provide anything but the cot. So be prepared to sort out all the food and nappies. I actually find this really good, as I know what and how much they are eating, as well as how many times they are being changed in a day. You may also need to supply the linen, and launder it each week.

You may need to ask the carer if it would be a bother for you to come over and feed during the day. You may even be able to trial it for a little while, see how it goes, and go to plan B if it is not working for everyone involved.

We still have a feed on drop off and pick up with DD2, as I have stopped expressing at work, so she just drinks water during the day, and the carer is happy for me to do this at her house.
Good Luck OP. It is very stressful to begin with, but when your little one expresses joy at seeing their carer, you know they are with the right one.

#12 Tesseract

Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:06 PM

QUOTE (NicolinaO @ 28/02/2013, 04:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So to do my best in finding him a good centre and then further making sure he gets to have as positive an experience as I did.. what do I need to know?

I am also unsure of how to manage his feeds when in care. He is breastfed at home but has started solids if ever so little. I have heard of bf babies getting formula at dc but doesn't that interfere with your supply? How does that work when on the days not in care then, do you give formula at home too?
with the solids, if he is in a 'baby' room, then he doesn't get any?

he is very patchy with day sleep at home but we are starting to work ourselves towards some kind of routine. I understand the dcc will do their best to follow this? do they prefer if you have a routine or not? He is very very inquisitive and also will rarely 'go to bed' quietly....how will that work with a whole room of babies trying to sleep?

how long before he needs to attend most probably full-time (Im going back to finish my bachelor degree which is full-time and some) should I start having him there to get used to it all?


To answer some of your questions:

As PPs have said, you need to visit the centres. Try to visit at different times. I found watching lunch-time very telling because it shows how they treat the kids during this important time. Go with your gut - if it feels off, it probably is. If it feels good, that's a good sign! Don't worry about mess, do worry aobut how the kids interact with the carers.

Managing breastfeeds: could you express, even just once a day? This would help your supply and you can send expressed milk with him each day. They can top him up with formula/water/solids if he needs more. By that age your supply should be fine on his off days. Boobs are very smart!

Managing solids: even babies rooms feed solids. The very young ones get purees, the older ones get mashed versions of the normal food, and over 12 months they get what everyone else is eating. I started DD at 11 months and since she was BLW'd they just sat her down with the other toddlers. They were very happy to accommodate her eating habits even though it was messy and she was their first BLW child. To me this was a good sign that they are willing to be adaptable to what the child/family wants.

Sleep: DD didn't self settle when she started childcare. She still doesn't at home! But they were fine with it. They follow the child's routine as oppossed to imposing the centre's routine. But not all centres do this, it's something to look out for. They pat/rock the babies to sleep rather than forcing them to self-settle (ie scream) if they don't do this at home. The noise isn't an issue, in fact it helps a lot of babies sleep better. They should be willing to work with you and your DS to make it as comfortable for him as possible. And don't worry about it, they're used to babies who don't self settle since this is the norm!

Definitely start him at least a few weeks prior so he has a settling in period. Start off with just a few hours with you there with him, then slowly build up his time there without you.

Just read that your neighbour is starting her own family day care. If she is somebody you like and trust then this is a dream come true! This would be my ideal situation, particularly for a baby that age. Going in to do feeds shouldn't be a problem - my DD was at daycare at my work and I went in and did 1/2 feeds a day for quite a while, she was fine with it, it just became part of her routine.


#13 NicolinaO

Posted 18 March 2013 - 01:30 PM

Thanks so much for all the replies original.gif Bumping the thread really worked original.gif

I feel I have a bit more of an idea now.

Tesseract - Yes I am feeling very hopeful about this possibility. I don't know the neighbour super well as she has only lived next door for about a year or so. But we do get along very well and I have a good gut feeling about her. She is someone I feel comfortable around. I also believe she would be willing to accommodate what DS and myself needs and wants as long as it doesn't cause anyone else trouble.
It will be a very secure feeling to know he is just next door. She will also know I am right next door if I was needed. So I think it might be a win win situation.

I will have to talk to her more about the details. What I need to provide etc. But as someone said, I guess linen and his food + diapers is likely.




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