We did end up with offers from two different nurseries, but not as I thought: we got an offer for two days (Mondays and Fridays) at L’s workplace nursery, as they told us on the phone, while the other nursery for some reason confirmed only three days, including the two we had from the first one and Thursdays! I’m still really upset when I think about it, I can’t understand why they told us we had five available days and then changed their mind, as if it wasn’t stressful enough for us already. Anyway, there’s little point in arguing with the people who will have to care for my child, so… we accepted the two days at the workplace nursery (nursery#1) from the end of November and one day at the other nursery (nursery#2) from January.
This week we’ve been doing three settling-in sessions at nursery#1.
The first day, I went around the place with the baby room supervisor, then I met the “key carer” who will look after Pallino, and I played with them for about an hour. Then I left Pallino with her for half an hour and I went to do some admin with the supervisor. It went well, he didn’t cry and started to be a bit fussy only when it was time for his feed, so I picked him up and fed him, then we left. The carer is new to the nursery and she used to work with pre-school children, so she doesn’t have much experience with babies. That left me not so happy.
The second time, I brought him to the nursery for breakfast at 9am and left. He had some banana purée and some water, but then when the carer tried to give him some milk, he refused to take it. When I went to pick him up after an hour and a half, I found him asleep in a cot. She said he played after breakfast and was happy until he wanted milk at 10.30 but didn’t like the cup (we had given her the Doidy cup we’ve been using at home, but she didn’t manage to make him drink from it. I don’t think she had ever seen one before). However at that point he was also tired and fell asleep.
The third time, he was supposed to have breakfast at 9am, milk at 10 (I suggested that she tried before he was too tired) and lunch at 11.30. Again, breakfast was ok, but he refused to drink any milk and this time he was so upset that she called me. L was at work and came to the nursery as well, to show her how he gives him the milk from the cup (I have never managed really, when Pallino knows I’m there, he want to be breastfed!). But my little baby was already tired and didn’t drink anything even with daddy, so I had to feed him. After that we tried to give him some lunch, but it was more solid than the purée we make for him at home, and he didn’t have much of it.
I should explain my plan regarding breastfeeding: my goal is to feed him only in the early morning and after 6pm from January at the latest. To do this I have to stop feeding him from 7am to 6pm, which corresponds to about 3 feeds (he’s still breastfeeding more or less every three hours, even if he’s having three solid feeds a day). Since I need to reduce the number of feeds gradually, I want to stop the mid morning feed first, then the mid afternoon one, and only at last the lunch time one. This should take us to Christmas or a bit earlier, but it’s vital that we find a way to give him the milk he needs during the day!
The carer wants me to tell her what to do, but I have no idea. She would try and give him a bottle, but considering that he’s always refused the bottles, I don’t see why I should insist with that. We could probably mix the milk with his meals, so that he doesn’t drink it, but still has what he needs. They’ll have to give him more water though, at the moment he’s only drinking a few sips of water with his meals, but if we don’t give him milk for eight hours, he will have to drink more. There’s another element, and it’s that he comes to the breast for comfort as well and to fall asleep, so he will have to get used to me not being there… that will come with time, I’m sure, but we need to solve the feeding issue first.
Overall, I suppose it wasn’t too bad, especially since we have another month to help him settling in. However I’ve been anxious all week, knowing that he’s not happy gives me a physical pain, he’s so little and delicate… I feel guilty that I’m going back to work before he’s one year old, given that I could have stayed home, but we cannot afford to stay one year without my salary – and it’s stupid to dwell on this now.
I know that he’ll grow up, he’ll get used to the nursery and to the new diet and he’ll enjoy spending time with the other children. I know that he’ll still be happier with me and L but going to the nursery will not hurt him. But right now I feel lonely and helpless.