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Daycare Perspective Needed says
Good morning, ladies! I need advice from some experienced daycare mamas. I won’t go into gory detail, but my little first-percentile-for-weight nine-month-old has refused bottles at daycare for the last three weeks, seemingly out of the blue. Conversations with his pediatrician, teachers and other moms have led me to believe that the issue is extreme overtiredness. I feel horrible that I haven’t pitched a fit about daycare not following his schedule up until now, but he is one of those kids who moves faster the more tired he gets and he is difficult to get down for a nap – I know this better than anyone! I pitched my fit with daycare teachers and administration, requesting that his schedule be followed, that he get a minimum of two hours of daytime sleep per day, and offering some suggestions for things that have made getting him down easier in the past. We will see how this goes.
My question is this: where is the line of what is reasonable to expect in terms of individual attention at daycare? I am sympathetic to his teachers who are charged with care of multiple babies and my people pleaser self hates asking for attention that I imagine is above and beyond what the other children require (he really is a wild man!). At the same time, this is a health issue. Little guy has not gained weight the way he should have over the last month due to refusing bottles and despite my best efforts to get calories in him.
Will someone give me some perspective? Should I tell my people pleaser self to sit down and continue to raise cane until his needs are met? Am I asking too much of daycare? Thanks for reading my ridiculous ramblings – I am completely lost here.
I don’t have daycare experience but if your kid is not eating, I don’t think you are being unreasonable. Kids are different. If a teacher is tasked with minding 4 kids and one needs more attention, that kid should get more attention. Ideally, your daycare is organized to deal with this by rotating kids in such a way that no one teacher is dealing with the neediest ones all at once. I am all for “not being that mom” but this is not a situation you need to feel bad about.
I would speak with the director about it. S/he can advise and help the teachers. Either put an extra floater in there or work with the teachers. Frame it As getting your kid to eat, not putting your kid on a schedule (even though you know they are linked).
I should add..the The good thing about using a daycare is that they really have seen it all before. Ask what they’ve done in the past.
Carrie M says
I agree with this framing. Since is your instinct that he’s overtired, I’d start with trying to address that piece of the puzzle. But if that doesn’t solve the problem, then be flexible on trying different things – maybe it’s the way they’re feeding him, or that he’s too distracted, or the milk is too warm/not warm enough, etc. But I think it makes sense to start with the sleep. Also – is your LO compensating at night, wanting extra feedings? As exhausting as it is, I’d try to give him whatever he seems to need at home. I remember my LC saying before we started at daycare that it’s not uncommon for there to be feeding issues, but babies are smart and resilient and won’t starve themselves – they might just switch when/where/how often they feed, but still get themselves what they need. But I totally get how nervewracking it can be, esp when your baby is on the smaller end of the spectrum.
We struggled with daycare feedings at the beginning because the teachers were feeding our LO way too fast, which was aggravating her acid reflux. I had to show them all several times how we do it at home and ask that they replicate it. It took a few weeks, but everyone eventually fell into a great routine.
You’re doing a great job!! Good luck!!
Thank you so much for your kind response! I think half of my stress is wondering if I’m doing the right thing, if we picked the right daycare, if-if-if down into a black hole! Your encouragement is much appreciated. It sounds like you have had many of the weight gain struggles we have.
His teacher has been great working with me to try different milk temperatures, different bottles, and different feeding locations/environments during his bottle strike. She has also been great today as we brainstormed about ways to get him to sleep. I’m hoping there is light at the end of this tunnel!
Agree that this should be framed as a getting kid to eat problem, not a schedule one. By 9 months, most daycares have a nap schedule for the kids and they all sleep at the same time. I’m sure they’re not letting him skip naps on purpose… The teachers want that break, too!
Talk to the teachers and director about the weight/eating concerns. Your pediatrician must have recommended something- offering bottles longer/more frequently? More finger foods? Use that info. Daycare teachers have seen it all and want what’s best for your child, too. They will absolutely work with you on this (or anything!), but it will go over a lot better if you have a conversation “I’m worried about X, doctor suggested Y, what do you think? How does baby respond when you do Z?” vs pitching a fit and telling them how to do their job. Taking care of a roomful of babies is different than taking care of only one. Hope your little guy gives up his hunger strike soon! Is he eating well at home?
A 9 month old is likely in the first infant program. And, at my care center, each kid is really on their own schedule. It isn’t until the next class where there is more significant group scheduling of food/sleep.
Hm, all centers are different I guess. At mine, even in the tiny baby class they try to get the babies on a 2x nap/day “schedule” asap, so everyone is more or less sleeping at the same times by 6 months or so. There’s no crib room, and the only effective way for the babies to get good naps is if they’re in synch.
I imagine a group schedule would be better for longer bouts of sleeping.
For whatever it’s worth, I’ve toured about 10+ daycares in our area (DC), and I’ve never seen a schedule for the infant room (usually younger than 12 months).
He is in the older infants room where they at least try to follow each baby’s individual schedule, but “lights out” time is only between noon and 2, which is certainly part of the napping problem (so much to see! do! play with! don’t make me nap!) The younger infants room has no schedule and allows for lights out whenever >75% are asleep, so they are going to move his crib in there for the time being.
My daughter is 9 months and she is still in the nap whenever room. She doesn’t sleep great at daycare. Sometimes I can see the bags under her eyes at the end of the day. However, she sleeps like a log at night, so I won’t complain.
You’re not being unreasonable. If he’s formula fed, I’d ask your doctor about the ratio to mix for weight gain. There’s an off label way to mix formula so that it’s more caloric which is often used for preemies or other babies that struggle with weight gain.
sleep at daycare says
Their job is to make sure he eats, but I don’t think it’s fair to expect them to get him to nap 2 hours a day, and I’m saying this as a mom of a 9 month old who goes home annoyed with how little he has slept at daycare pretty regularly. I have talked to them many times about getting him down for his first nap 2 hours after he woke up or not letting him stay up for more than 3 hours at a stretch, but even with 4-5 babies and 2 teachers in the room, and with them trying their best, he’s not cooperating. The food thing is for sure something they need to focus on (have you thought about trying a cup?) but I think sleep is a totally different ballgame at daycare and something I’m finally making peace with (does it affect his night sleep? For all I’m bothered about my son’s daycare naps, he still sleeps through the night, which is why I’m okay with it)
I don’t think you’re being reasonable about the schedule thing. I mean, if you know a secret to forcing a kid to sleep, let me know, but you can do all the right things and the kid just won’t sleep for whatever reason. I think there’s a limit to asking for individual attention – if you really want a 1:1 caregiver, then you need to pay for a nanny, not ask that the teachers take away from the other kids in the room. You can ask that they spend a little time getting him down, but asking for them to say, hold him “just so” in the rocker for 45 minutes until he’s out, is not okay.
Focus on the eating part. Try different bottles/straws/sippys, try different feeding patterns, etc. Have you started foods? Experiment with bottles before/after food. Experiment with food textures and tastes – maybe he just wants all his calories to come in pouch form or in yogurt form or whatever. Right around 9 months, mine refused all table food unless he was holding a spoon. Then, even though he wasn’t actually using it, he was happy to put everything else in his mouth. If you haven’t started foods, maybe you should? Is he stealing food from other kids? Or looking longingly at their cheerios? Refusing bottles might be his way of protesting for food.
And also look at the activity levels. 9 months is a pretty movement-heavy time period where a lot of kids learn to roll or crawl or cruise. They tend to lose interest in having to sit still to take in calories because why sit when you can CRAWL. We bought those snack catchers and let the kids eat Puffs/cheerios to their hearts content as they crawled all over. Messy, but at least calories were going in. Maybe daycare has a strategy or policy around this that you can follow?
I absolutely agree with you about not being able to force a kid to sleep – this is certainly the issue. Little guy started crawling at four months and just started walking, so I’m sure this is part of the equation. Your comment regarding the nanny is something that has been on my mind over the last week, second-guessing our decision to move him from a nanny to daycare three months ago. I think our strategy is going to be to move his crib to the back corner of the little babies room where the lights are off for a good portion of the day, let him have his sleep sheep sound machine, and have him put himself to sleep like he does at home. We will give it a shot and see if it works. My mom has agreed to keep him on Wednesdays, so if all else fails he can have one day midweek to catch up on sleep.
FWIW, after napping for over 6 hours at my mom’s house yesterday, he took bottles for her and for his daycare teacher first thing this morning. We have tried every kind of bottle and sippy cup that Target sells, but he associates milk with the winding down process before a nap so he has refused every one. On the bright side, he is a great eater of solid foods!
So it sounds like you have a lot going on (everyone does, it’s the first year!) but part of it may be him reacting to your second-guessing of the nanny vs daycare thing. Your plan sounds like a good one, but remember to stay flexible. If he’s a great eater of solid foods, work on that. Have you given him a sippy with his meals? Don’t force him, just place it on his tray like you would a cup for a toddler. Let him come to the bottle, so to speak.
Do you drink a lot in front of him? Buy your family water bottles, and drink from them around him. Drink while you’re playing, drink while you eat lunch, drink after you go to the bathroom. (We do straws, so we all have Contigos. Plus it helps me get more water.) Let him see that everyone drinks all day, not just babies at bedtime, and see if that helps change the association for him.
These are really great tips – thank you so much! He does take a sippy cup, but we could definitely do a better job of modeling drinking around him. The cups with straws are a great idea.
If he associates bottle with nap, then the easy answer is to break the association. Work on an eat-play-nap schedule. Offer bottle on waking. Offer 1-2 oz bottles that he can hold/carry himself. If formula fed, just leave his bottle around at play time.
Your schedule is exactly what I would have little guy operate on and I feel your annoyance daily! We will try a few more (easy, non-time consuming) things on the sleep strategy like moving his crib, etc., then I will make peace with the fact that this is how he will sleep at daycare. I also keep reminding myself that this is temporary. Soon he will be able to sleep less during the day and it won’t be an issue. The impact on his eating and nighttime sleep (early wake ups, which I can deal with) are the reasons I am looking for solutions now.
This is a really tough issue, and one that I faced with my first. He just couldn’t sleep at daycare. I kept hearing that it would get better over time as he got used to the routine (and yes, after he turned one and got out of the infant class, and there were set nap times, he probably would have improved), but every day, I faced the frustration you are experiencing now. I spoke with the director, the head teacher, and the other teachers, and they were always very sympathetic, but as Faye says above, I ultimately realized my expectations did not match his environment. My expectations for schedules, helping him learn to fall asleep, or giving him extra attention if he woke up early, weren’t going to happen at daycare (our issue was that he’d wake up at 25 minutes, and rather than doing much to get him back down, they called it a nap and moved on). That’s not to say it wasn’t a wonderful facility, with caring, kind teachers – what I wanted and what they could do just didn’t match.
Ultimately, we put him in a nannyshare. It was an amazing fit – the nanny had him on a set schedule within a week or two, and sleeping for long, solid intervals. He needed a calmer environment, and importantly, I realized I really want a level of direction and communication with my caregivers that isn’t possible in daycare (I like texting with our nanny throughout the day, I like giving directions about how to help him nap, eat, etc.). It was great for my son – his nannyshare was hosted by the other family with a trusted, long-term nanny. The cost was about the same as a large daycare in DC the first year, but rather than costs going down after he turned 1, it stayed relatively flat.
We enrolled him at a preschool when he turned 2, and despite some fears about going to a school after his first experience, he absolutely thrived. There are a lot of moving parts with a nannyshare, and it can be a hard set-up, but we never looked back after we made the transition.
This is a great perspective. Thank you so much for sharing. Switching to a nannyshare or even just a nanny is not off the table, but I want to be sure we have exhausted our options at daycare first.
Yes, I think this is right. My style fits better with a daycare scenario. But parents who want a little bit more control and information do better with nannies. Neither approach is better than the other, it just is.
Is your child’s crib near a “loud” part of the nursery? If so, can it be moved to a corner where it is quieter/calmer.
Is your child “jealous” of all the real food the older kids are enjoying? If so, perhaps it’s time for more substantive non-milk foods.
If your child is formula fed, perhaps it’s worth trying a different kind that might be more palatable.
My used to be 1% baby, who is 9.5 months, is in a large, corporate daycare. I visit on lunch breaks. I see the teachers try to get other babies to eat. The teachers truly care about that. However, I do not see an adequate effort (imho) to get them to sleep. And, often the babies will wake each other up when the first rouses, then cries, after a nap.
My experience is similar – his teachers really are great about getting kids to eat. That is what prompted the pediatrician visit when they couldn’t get him to drink anything. His teachers are going to move his crib to the younger infants room where it is quieter and the lights are often out – my fingers are crossed!
It is also nice to hear “used to be 1%” – I know you can understand sensitivity to feeding issues!
I lived by that damn CDC chart for months. I spent hours and hours of tears and stress agonizing over weight. Ultimately, you know your baby. If he’s “off”, then it’s time for action (sounds like the case with not eating). If he just doesn’t fit the mold of the chart but seems to be fine, then try not to stress.
Also, as my dad always said, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I would rather be “that mom” and feel comfortable about my baby’s care and health, than let a perceived negative opinion stop me.
I don’t think you are being unreasonable with your expectations regarding more attention, but I think their ability to get him to nap more is going to be limited. Also, the results you will get regarding more attention is really dependent on the daycare. Our baby has needed some accommodations that were recommended by his physical therapist (more tummy time, working to strengthen one side, etc.) and would require some extra attention from the teachers and they were super gracious about working with us, and mentioned it wasn’t the first time they had dealt with requests such as these. Our current daycare operates below the ratio that is legal in our state (legal ratio is 4:1 and they usually operate closer to 2:1 or 3:1 for most of the day). If we had made these requests at our last daycare I am almost positive they would have completely ignored them (and probably lied to us about actually doing them).
At 9 months, my kiddo was starting to really transition to table foods – most of her “naps” took place with her head down on the high chair tray (she hates sleep). Her bottle intake dropped by half. She also popped her first two teeth, and didn’t like sucking on the bottle when her gums hurt. She was also easily distracted while bottle feeding and had an easier time eating table foods because they didn’t block her line of sight.
Which is all just to say – sleep may be an issue for your little guy, but it may also be a normal feeding transition/teething/distraction issue.
I would try sippy cups, try different temperatures of milk, and try all sorts of solid and semi-solid foods of differing temperatures. Also try getting a bottle in a quiet setting, or while sitting in a high chair.
All the changes babies go through make sorting out problems so difficult! Thanks for the input.
I was going to mention the teething too. My kiddo (also 9 months) drastically dropped bottle consumption and did not want to nurse at all while teething. Any chance that’s part of the problem?
I and his pediatrician don’t *think* so, but I also can’t rule it out completely. He has been nursing just fine and even more often at home, I suppose to make up the hydration and calories he is missing at daycare. If he pops through a few teeth in the next week or so and that resolves things, I will breathe a huge sigh of relief!
I don’t think you’re asking too much. Your LO just needs some extra attention right now; presumably not forever.
I also have a daycare issue. Today when I dropped my daughter off, I noticed a child in the class with extremely green snot dripping profusely from her nose. She also looked like she had drool all over her chest. This kid seemingly has a constant runny nose, but today was much worse than usual. I don’t feel like she should be at school, and I am annoyed that her parents keep bringing her without allowing her any time to get better at home. I feel bad for all of them, honestly, because it does not look like any fun! Our handbook asks parents to keep children home if they have a fresh cold and/or a runny nose with yellow or green mucous. But obviously the parents keep dropping her off and the teacher hasn’t required anything different. Would you say something to the director??
No, definitely not. .I didn’t realize that green mucus alone was a reason to keep a child home from daycare? If it is, then I better get a nanny. My daycare lets kids come to school with mild colds; they draw the line at a child who is too sick to participate in class, fever, digestive issues, HFM, strep, pneumonia, etc. Unless the kid is showing other symptoms like excessive coughing, sneezing, vomiting, etc that clearly demonstrate a communicable illness, I don’t think it’s your job to police the choices her parents or daycare make regarding her health.
Agreed. I’ve come to the point where colds are unfortunately part of having little kids. Our lives and care arrangements don’t stop for a cold unless there is some other additional factor.
I remember a pediatrician asking if my daughter was “one of those perpetually drippy daycare babies.” She was. Nobody cared. We now have a cold about every 3-4 weeks and we have whole weeks without a runny nose.
+1, our daycare allows kids to come in with a cold. Even if your handbook says they shouldn’t, that really would require keeping so many kids home so often. Not all parents can easily take off work to take care of a kid that simply has a (very) runny nose.
And the daycare is a business. If I had to find alternative care for every cold, then I would just find alternative care period.
Anon in NYC says
I wouldn’t. At most, I would ask the daycare teacher if this kid is sick. For all you know, the parents have already taken this kid to the pediatrician and the doctor said it was just a cold and not contagious. My daycare is pretty on top of calling parents when they think kids are sick.
My first thought was, “Did my daughter really look that bad this morning?”
Our daycare has rules related to degree of sickness. I would refer to the manual. For us, running nose is snot (pardon the pun) worth sending a kid home. It’s fever over x degrees, vomiting repeatedly, etc.
I chalk all the colds up to building her immunity up now rather than later. And, frankly, I would rather deal with a 9 month old with a cold than a 4 year old with one.
I’m sure if the parents had the resources and ability to keep their child home for a few days to recover from a cold, they would. I’m sure the parents also don’t want their child suffering in daycare when the child would be more comfortable and relaxed at home. I think you should be a little more compassionate to what is likely a stressful, overwhelming, guilt-inducing situation.
OP here–I asked to get some perspective. Thanks. You’re right, I don’t know the parents’ situation and I am being unnecessarily judgey. To be honest, I am feeling compassionate for this kid–she is constantly in tears in the classroom and her immune system has obviously been through the ringer. But I am also thinking of my own child and the others in the class. The rule is right there in the handbook and this looks like more than just a normal cold, but what do I really know? it’s just not a big enough deal to do anything at this point.
Per my doctor, green snot does not necessarily indicate that a cold is anything other than a normal cold. I know when I am sick with a cold, my snot tends to start off very green in the morning and get clearer as the day goes on. Sorry for being gross.
I’m sorry if I came off a little snippy. Obviously your primary concern is your kid. But I think this is just one of those things you need to accept when you choose daycare. You can’t blame the parents for not keeping their kid home – most parents have no other choice and would do the same thing.
Pumped for Trial says
For litigators out there, does any one have experience with pumping during trial? I’m pumping 3 times a day at work for my 6-month old and will start a trial soon as 2nd chair. So far when I had to work out of the office, e.g. client meetings, depos, etc., I’ve asked for longer breaks and mostly pumped in my car . That’s not really feasible at trial. Has anyone else dealt with his before? Should I bring it up with the judge or courtroom clerk at the pretrial conference? Thanks!
I second chaired a trial 6 months PP. I didn’t want to ask for pumping breaks in front of the partner I worked for, so I just sucked it up and pumped in my car for lunch. I had a cooler in the trunk and put the milk there. I also pumped immediately before and after court. To his credit, my colleague didn’t ask why I disappeared at lunch every day. Bad move not to ask for breaks, because my already poor supply dropped even further after trial since I went from pumping 5x a work day to 3x during trial.
Estate plans – what’s in yours? We’re just starting to go down this route now — lawyer suggested a revocable trust for some money and an IRA trust for other money, as well as living will, power of attorney, health power of attorney, money manager for the trusts, and more.
Sounds a bit like overkill to me, unless you have oodles of money or a complicated situation. Not speaking as an estate lawyer obviously. My husband and I each have a will (which incorporates a trust), POA, and healthcare POA/advance directive.
We just recently finalized and executed ours, and I am so relieved. It took us an inexcusably long time (bad lawyer mama!). We need to increase our life insurance amounts too, and then I will truly be able to sleep well at night.
Whoa, that is overkill unless you have a lot of cash or a lot of financial products/income producing assets that need to be managed….admittedly, the only things in my estate plan would be significant life insurance proceeds, retirement funds, and some bank accounts (as well as various personal property, much of which should be donated or recycled). My estate plan looks a lot like the one Anonymous described, with a wrinkle regarding keeping power over the cash out of my ex’s hands if I die while kiddo is still a minor (not as a vindictive thing, but when he’s in the middle of big change, he makes expensive, impulsive financial decisions, and I think my death would be a “big change” for him).