I'm not sure if this is the right forum or if I even have a question. DD just turned 15 months and has started daycare. She seems to be doing well. I, however, am a mess!
First, even though I really need to work (tenure clock is back on; classes need planning; articles need writing) I feel lost and anxious during the day without her. I'm fighting the urge to contact the daycare to hear about her naps, her food, her everything. But because my instinct is to over do it, I'm not sure if I'm keeping myself from asking rather normal questions when I do pick her up. What's within the realm of reasonable? How long were naps? How much did she eat? Is she getting along with other kids? Did they go to the park?
Second, she had been nursing like a newborn for about 2 months prior to starting. She's an avid, drive-by, and playful nursling. She can be on the boob for a few mins every hour or she can be on for longer with more time between. We walk everywhere in the ergo and she'd often spend an entire food shopping outing whole latched on.
We nurse before she leaves at 8:30 am. By 11 am I am engorged and leaking, which I just didn't know was possible at 15 months. I've been hand expressing to help and am getting a few ounces in 5 minutes. Will not nursing her in daytime lead to an evening and night-time supply dip? Should I keep hand expressing for comfort? Or leave it and let supply adjust?
I should note that she has no interest in cow milk or cheese. She will eat yogurt but I'd much prefer to know that we're meeting her calcium needs with nursing. She's definitely latched more than 3-5 x a day. But again, I can't help but worry that daytime separation will result in less milk when we are together.
Please feel free to tell me to relax! I know I'm extremely luck to have been home with her for 15 months. I guess I just didn't realize how much I'd miss it.
Re: Daycare adjustments
I dont have enough experience to speak to your bf concerns but I can speak to your day care concerns. I receive a paper each day with what activities were done in the class, time and condition of diapers, time and length of naps, time and size of bottles, and a little note about something she did that day. Ellie is only 4 months so she is not really participating in the activities but the diaper/nap/bottle information is very helpful. Perhaps your daycare has something like this?
When I first went back to work I would call when I pumped. It helped me to relax to hear that she was okay a few times a day. After about 2 weeks the need to call subsided and I ask my questions at drop off or have my DH ask at pick up.
She is your baby and you have a right to know what she did and how she did each day. If your daycare provider is making you feel bad for inquiring too much it may be time for a talk with them. If it just you self-editing (which I did quite a bit of the first few days) then I would say ask away. The purpose of daycare is to provide care for your child so you can do what needs to be done. If you are sick with worry all day you will not be productive. Better that the daycare thinks you a bit overbearing than your work suffer KWIM?
It does get a little better with time. Just try to hang in there.
Re: Daycare adjustments
How long have you been back at work for? Totally normal to feel separation anxiety at the beginning! Heck, I have a little bit of separation anxiety every Monday going back to work... and I've been through a lot of Mondays by now! I think it will get better with time. I agree with elliemommy, it's totally appropriate for there to be communication between you and your child's care providers about what is going on during the day. This includes eating, sleeping and activities. In fact, if that communication is NOT going on I would actually consider that to be a bit of a problem. I see my kids' caregivers as partners in raising my kids, we all need to be on the same page about what's going on, and that goes both ways. If baby has a bad night, they need to know; similarly if she has a bad day, I need to know. etc. And of course I want to know about their interactions with other kids. In the toddler years you're also starting to deal more with behavior - so it's important that you are on the same page about how you react to given behaviors (like biting, tantrums, etc). My three-year-old is having a lot of crying fits over small things so we're jointly trying to discourage that behavior (and encouraging using words instead) by giving stars for no crying/whining - day time star from her daytime caregiver, nighttime star from us. Also totally fine to call daycare and check in. I think most daycares are plenty used to that, and if they don't like it, that would be a bit of a red flag to me.
"Nursing like a newborn" is really common for young toddlers. They go through that distractible phase in late infancy and then it's nurse, nurse, nurse! Totally normal. And a great way for a working mama to keep up supply even without pumping.
You're not the only one who gets engorged and leaks - my LO is 16 months and it's still happening to me, too! Particularly in the early part of the week after a weekend spent nursing on demand. In my case if I just leave it I get plugged ducts - I've been plagued by them since pump weaning. So I try to do strategic pumping - just enough to relieve the fullness without stimulating too much. I think if hand expression works for you that's a great solution too. And if you're not prone to plugged ducts, you could just leave it, to let your supply regulate. Yes, your supply will decrease a bit - that's actually the point - but there will still be plenty there for when you're at home, and if not, I'm sure your LO will be happy to nurse a little longer! (I've definitely observed that to be the case when I've had supply dips with my period). I don't think you have to worry too much about supply at this point - after all, the fact that you ARE engorged and leaking indicates that you've got plenty of milk! And it sounds like you are nursing plenty so that you don't have to worry about the cow's milk.
It sounds like you're doing fine - I really do think everything you are going through is normal and healthy!
Re: Daycare adjustments
Thank you so much! Yes, I've been self-editing, as Eliemommy put it. I've got this fear that if they don't like me they'll take it out on my kid. Irrational, right :huh
At the same time we have some Quebec-specific issues to deal with. First, there's a language barrier. We're Americans in French-speaking Quebec. We chose this home-based daycare because it was bilingual. As it turns out, the bilingual woman who runs it is hardly there. Her assistant, meanwhile, is the real care provider and she only speaks French. They are far from giving us formal and professional reports. So instead I ask questions in broken French at pick up time and get answers that I can't understand in broken English. Far from ideal. On top of that, we thought there would be 2 providers -- director & assistant -- for 6-8 kids at all times. And obviously there just isn't.
Second, Quebec has a 2-tiered system. About 10,000 daycare spots are subsidized at $7 a day and are in regulated educational facilities. The wait-lists are insane and people pay big dollar amounts to cut in lines. We were bumped at the place we were to register after being on the waitlist since the minute I found out I was pregnant. This is how we ended up in a not as well-regulated home daycare. I'm just not crazy about it for the reasons described above. DH and I need to have a big talk about whether we'd be more comfortable paying a lot more for a bigger and more professionally run private daycare.
Thanks ladies. You've given us a lot to think about. I have to admit that some of the separation anxiety comes from not loving or really trusting where she is.
Re: Daycare adjustments
Just found the daycare forum. Thanks for answering here but I'll move the conversation over. And thanks bfwmom for the supply answers!
Re: Daycare adjustments
Hi Vivsmaman, I know you're moving your thread to a different area - but I wanted to make a suggestion to help with the language barrier. Like Elliemommy, I have my son in a daycare that provides a summary in writing each day. They call it a "daily report" -- it's just a half-sheet form that they tack to a bulletin board (one for each child daily). When the parent drops off the child in the morning, the parent fills in some basic info at the top: name, time child woke, time of breakfast/nursing/bottle, and a line for any special instructions (usually this is blank but sometimes we use this if baby needs any meds, diaper creme, etc). Then they fill in the rest throughout the day: Diaper changes - time & if wet/BM; time/length of naps; time given/amounts taken for bottles; time of meals/how much eaten for solids. It's mostly just a worksheet with checkboxes, and a few blank lines where they write times. What if you were to create a simple form in English, and ask the center Director (who is bilingual) to add the French? Then it could be a bilingual form that the staff could fill out and you could still read -- maybe if you supply the form, they will be amenable to using it? So even if there is a language barrier around more substantive conversation, at least you could get the basic info on how your daughter spent her day.
As far as how much is too much to ask about -- I agree with the PPs, in that I think you should feel empowered to discuss ANYTHING you want with them. I do. And I find that my daycare teachers are happy to answer all questions. Some of the things we talk about that goes beyond the daily report:
-How was his day overall (they tell me if he was in a good mood, exploring more than usual, a little grouchy, did he have an easy time or a hard time going down for nap, etc -- just helps me know what to expect that evening)
-If I sent him with a new food, did he like it (oh he loved the weight of those carrots as he was throwing them off his tray!)
-He has been doing a new skill at home, have you seen him do it here? (or sometimes they will tell me about something funny or new that they observe)
-Did he get any outside time today? What did they do?
etc etc etc
In the beginning I felt like the questions would be an inconvenience, but after a year at our daycare, I find that the daycare teachers are happy to discuss his day with us. I think it actually helps us know his teachers better and vice versa so that we are all sharing in my son's growth and development. Also, another benefit -- it makes me less nervous to communicate when I have a concern or a special request -- because the overwhelming majority of our communication is positive and fun, so I don't think they're going to see me as a nuisance for having special requests or being more directive now and then. If we had more of a "no news is good news" relationship, then they would only hear from me when there's a problem, and then I really WOULD be the problem parent, if you know what I mean.
Re: Daycare adjustments
The first daycare my son was in, the director spoke English but the actual caregivers spoke only Spanish. My Spanish is very limited, and I found it really frustrating not to be able to communicate with them. Fortunately a spot opened up in another daycare after a couple months so we moved him. Anyway, just commiserating that I can understand how frustrating that is. It sounds like you have understandably mixed feelings about this place.... If you continue to feel that way, I do think it's worth at least thinking about some other options - it's just so hard when you are not happy with your LO's care situation.