Breastfeeding to sleep transition methods for daycare

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Sere
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Breastfeeding to sleep transition methods for daycare

Post by Sere » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:11 pm

Hi,

My daughter is fifteen months old.

We have adopted many of the methods of attachment parenting with our daughter - we breastfeed on demand, we use slings, we respond to cries, we co-sleep, and I have been privileged enough to have an extended maternity leave.

We have come across one disadvantage to this approach: naps are co-dependent. My daughter will only breastfeed to sleep, and she wants me to stay with her her entire naptime. When I manage to sneak away, she will wake in half an hour and cry for my return (or come hunt me down lol).

At the moment this is a minor inconvenience as I am on maternity leave so can work around her needs, however I have to put her in daycare for three days a week in the new year and this method of taking a nap is not going to be functional there. They are a great daycare, but with more then one child to take care of, I have to be realistic in my expectations, and my fussy breastfeeding only sleeper is going to be their nightmare charge.

I've been asking how other mothers get their child to nap, however no one I know has the same parenting approach (most consider us a little odd in our methods) and much of the advice we're getting involves controlled crying to some extent or another, and that just clashes with every instinct we have as parents.

We have tried rocking her to sleep; laying with her without breastfeeding; napping at the same time every day, and have also tried waiting until she's about to fall over from exhaustion; we have talked to her about it; role played with her dolls; given soothers in the form of her pink teddy and her taggie; use a special blanket hand knitted blanket from her grandma each naptime; offered dummies, bottles of water, expressed milk and formula; we play music; have the room darkened; - but she will cry herself into vomiting unless the breast is produced.

The really disheartening part is that if we manage to get her to sleep (rocking occasionally works, both her father and I have been successful this way), its only thirty minutes before she wakes and it begins again.

We have tried not responding to her call when she wakes during her nap in an attempt to teach her that if she wakes she needs to resettle herself without the breast or actually get up to receive it, but she just cries and cries and cries, and then comes to hunt me down. If we don’t succumb to her at this point, she is tired, grumpy and clingy all afternoon, often demanding breast and then falling asleep during her feed - resulting in a late nap that then disrupts her night sleep.

We have baby sat her out to the grandparents in the hopes of getting her to nap without me, only to be called back to pick her up when she would not settle and became hysterical.

I am beginning to lose motivation as nap times have become torturous and they used to be lovely, bonding moments.

Any other mums out there who have found themselves in similar positions? Any advice on how to move on from this point?

Thanks :-)

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Nedsmum
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Post by Nedsmum » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:49 pm

I would recommend that you speak to the childcarer and see what they would be doing in a child-care setting.

There is a 'clingy' period that starts around 9 months, peaks at 14 months and starts to fade around 18 months. For that reason, I would not be advocating starting anything straight away - you might find that things change gradually between now and then anyway.

Really, the routines and strategies of an experienced childcarer are usually very good, and they understand the children. We have 2-3 children in 20 who are not comfortable/confident to go to sleep and cry when it is nap time. So we try a few thing (holding, singing, playing music, lying next to them) and if that doesn't work, we just put them in the pram and one of our staff takes them outside and rocks them in the pram. At 18 months plus they are a little big to be rocked in arms :wink:

My third child started childcare at 16/18 months, and like you he was very attached to the breast and very much needed 100% attention during the day, even nap time. The first two days of settling in at childcare he didn't sleep, the third day I sent in the blanket from his pram, and he slept perfectly and from all accounts continued to do so - he very quickly went from random napping to having a big sleep in the middle of the day like the other children - up to 3 hours straight! - at around 2 - 2.5 years. He was still having a 1-2 hour nap at childcare at age 3. When he was at home, it was extremely rare that he would sleep more than 1 hour at a stretch during the day.

Because of my experience, I tell parents not to make major changes at home in the belief that it will change what is going to happen at childcare...we childcare workers have lots of tricks up our sleeve that maybe you don't have at home (like lots of experience with many many different children, and a team so different people can try different strategies).... :-D
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Penguin
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Post by Penguin » Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:59 pm

Hi Sere,

Welcome to the forum! I have a sixteen month old cosleeping breastfed daughter who goes to daycare three days a week. When she is with me she always feeds/ cuddles to sleep for naps and at night (or falls asleep in the car on the way home for naps if we have been out in the morning).

When she is at daycare she is happy to sleep in the cot (or now she is in toddler room, on the mats on the floor). When she started daycare we did lots of transtion visits and short days, or we would both drop in for 30 mins to have a play. She seemed to accept the idea that daycare = patting and cot which is different from home (mummy lying next to me feeding me).

I know it's easier said than done, but things may be ok on their own. She may accept that there are different 'rules' for daycare and home and be ok with that. I know that you said that you tried the grandparents and that didn't work, but do you often visit? That is, does she already associate naps at their place with you? For example, my daughter is AWFUL if she is at home in the evening with my husband alone - screaming for over an hour untilshe makes herself sick :( However, she is fine with my sister or my mum if DH and I go out (this has happened about twice :roll: ) It's like she knows that Daddy can get Mummy if I want her, since she's used to teh two of us together. Do you think she associates Granny as Someone Who Can Go Get Mummy?

Hugs, it can be really hard, can't it?

Have the daycare staff given you any suggestions?
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Ronale
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Post by Ronale » Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:19 pm

My experience is that a good centre will do the things nedsmum says, but they're not all that good. Shopping around is obviously the key here if you are able.
DS managed to sleep when then spent time rocking him in the pram, but he never slept in the cot. When he was a little older they managed for a few months to get hi. To sleep with the other kids in a little bed thing, but that stopped once he hit about 18 months. He hasn't slept at daycare since. But still has a 1-2hour nap at home on weekends. The first day at home after being in care all week he normally needs a little more sleep, but seems to have managed ok so far.
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Sere
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Post by Sere » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:01 pm

Hi,

Thank you so much for your advice. I am incredibly relieved. I think I was starting to 'feel' that I was making my daughter and my lives harder then they needed to be in my aspirations to give her a gentle transistion to child care, I just needed it verified! I'm very glad to hear about the 'clingy period' as that corresponds with what I'm experiencing.

I will speak to the centre. We've been attending a play group there weekly for a few months now (multitasking the play group as an opportunity to make sure I'm happy with leaving my daughter there, and also to give my daughter positive associations with the premise), and I have organised a couple of transition visits, but I have been a little shy of directly asking what they would do if she's difficult to put to sleep - for some reason I've come to feel like it's a fault in my parenting, and it's become emotional for me which makes it difficult to discuss :-(

I am so glad I posted! Thank you all very much! Tomorrow is going to a much nicer day.


(Penguin - Yes, I do visit her grandparents a lot, so I think you're right - Granny is "Someone Who Can Go Get Mummy" :-) )

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DellaWellaWoman
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Post by DellaWellaWoman » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:49 pm

DD2 has been in daycare since around 14 months, and still feeds to sleep 90% of the time WHEN I'M AROUND.

At daycare she lays on her bed and goes to sleep, and on the (two) occasions where DH has had to try and get her to sleep, he's just laid down next to her until she dozes off.

What happens when you're in the vicinity will most likely be very different to what happens at daycare - it didn't take very long at all for DD2 to figure out there were different 'rules' at daycare than at home :wink:
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Post by Gwen's Mum » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:51 pm

Our DD (19 months) hasn't been in child care, but she was with my DP for 3 days a week from around 13 months old. Up to that point, I could have counted on one hand the number of times that she fell asleep without bfing. :roll: First day with DP, she crawled into bed, lay down next to him, and drifted off to sleep while he read her a book. :shock:

In the last few weeks and months, she's also started to sleep through (or at least re-settle herself when she wakes) without a feed overnight. We still co-sleep, and have done nothing to actively change DD's sleep behaviour - it's just happened. So, as Nedsmum said, it may just be a matter of time for your LO, too. :)
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clairek766
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Post by clairek766 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:01 pm

My DS is 12 months on Friday and started cc about a month ago. We have done lots of visits and slowly transitioned him in.

He is always fed to sleep but will sleep in his ergo for his dad.

The first nap he had there the cc worker wore him til he fell asleep, then she would rock him but he kept waking when she tried to put him down.

Then last week I guess she gave up :-/ and sent another carer in who patted him to sleep in his cot. Apparently he didn't cry very much but went to sleep pretty quickly. I'm a bit sad about the sleep training as we have worked hard to avoid it at home. But I guess the positive is that he is sleeping there.

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Post by Penguin » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:54 pm

clairek766 wrote:My DS is 12 months on Friday and started cc about a month ago. We have done lots of visits and slowly transitioned him in.

He is always fed to sleep but will sleep in his ergo for his dad.

The first nap he had there the cc worker wore him til he fell asleep, then she would rock him but he kept waking when she tried to put him down.

Then last week I guess she gave up :-/ and sent another carer in who patted him to sleep in his cot. Apparently he didn't cry very much but went to sleep pretty quickly. I'm a bit sad about the sleep training as we have worked hard to avoid it at home. But I guess the positive is that he is sleeping there.
When you say 'sleep training'do you mean crying while he goes to sleep? In my mind, attempting to be settiled by one person and then a second person patting a child off to sleep isn't 'sleep training' in a negative way. Someone is attempting to comfort your child and respond to his needs. To me this is different to putting him in an unfamiliar room on his own and leaving him to cry by himself. Is that what you mean or have I misunderstood? What you have described to me sounds like a good, caring transition. Hope things go well next time.
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clairek766
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Post by clairek766 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:05 pm

Penguin wrote:
clairek766 wrote:My DS is 12 months on Friday and started cc about a month ago. We have done lots of visits and slowly transitioned him in.

He is always fed to sleep but will sleep in his ergo for his dad.

The first nap he had there the cc worker wore him til he fell asleep, then she would rock him but he kept waking when she tried to put him down.

Then last week I guess she gave up :-/ and sent another carer in who patted him to sleep in his cot. Apparently he didn't cry very much but went to sleep pretty quickly. I'm a bit sad about the sleep training as we have worked hard to avoid it at home. But I guess the positive is that he is sleeping there.
I guess by sleep training I mean encouraging him to sleep on his own when he's not ready. I wanted him to learn to do it on his own when he's ready,
When you say 'sleep training'do you mean crying while he goes to sleep? In my mind, attempting to be settiled by one person and then a second person patting a child off to sleep isn't 'sleep training' in a negative way. Someone is attempting to comfort your child and respond to his needs. To me this is different to putting him in an unfamiliar room on his own and leaving him to cry by himself. Is that what you mean or have I misunderstood? What you have described to me sounds like a good, caring transition. Hope things go well next time.
Well he did cry but apparently no more than when they rock him to sleep. By sleep training I guess I was hoping he'd be able to learn to self settle in his own time when he's ready, but I guess that's not possible with cc as they can't cuddle him to sleep every day.

I'm just a bit sad about it as I never put him down awake or let him cry and if I try it he freaks out.

She told me shed hold him for the first couple of weeks if he needed it but she didn't so I'm a bit sad. I also told them I'd rather they give up and try again later if he did cry as I didn't want him upset with sleep and the separation it's a lot for a baby to handle

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