Is seven months too young for nursery?

After three settling in sessions Gabe is having his first full afternoon at nursery today. He is seven and a half months old and technically he doesn’t really need to be there. I’m not working at the moment – I’m still receiving maternity pay from my former employer but as I was on a temporary contract I don’t have a job to go back to. So there is no real reason why I couldn’t look after Gabe at home, like I have been doing for the last seven and a half months.

But the thing is, I’m exhausted. Gabe is not an easy baby to take care of. Whether it’s due to his reflux or just the way he is Gabe is not a baby who will just sit quietly and play for longer than a few minutes. I wouldn’t even mind if he was happy sat on my knee or cuddling with me but he constantly wriggles and writhes, he wants you to stand up with him and when he’s pushing a stone and a half that isn’t easy to do for long.

Oh, and Gabe is not a fan of the afternoon nap either. I don’t really know why – he generally naps well in the mornings, an hour or two in his crib but in the afternoons he will only really sleep either in the car, or sometimes on me at home. I don’t really mind that so much; I get some nice sleepy cuddles and a chance to catch up on some TV but it doesn’t give me chance to do anything else.

Toby already goes to nursery four afternoons a week – he used to go full time when I was at work and when Gabe was born we decided to keep him going part time. He enjoys it, he gets to do things he doesn’t do at home, and if I do go back to work and he has to go back full time then hopefully it won’t be too much of a shock for him.

Gabe at nursery

A month or so ago, after another sleepless night and another minor breakdown from me we decided that it would probably help everyone if Gabe was to go to nursery one afternoon a week too. Barry and I are happy with this decision and yet why, when I tell people do I feel embarrassed? I feel like I’m admitting I can’t cope with looking after my children myself. I know lots of people who’s kids are regularly looked after by their grandparents or other relatives and no-one bats an eyelid but we don’t have that option – our nearest relatives live over 200 miles away.

I know there are probably thousands of mums (and dads) around the country who look after their kids all day every day on their own and seriously, I take my hat of to them. Because I can’t do it. Looking after two little boys is exhausting and I felt like I was going slowly insane. I was irritable and snappy with Toby when he doesn’t deserve that, and I wasn’t giving Gabe all the attention he needs either.

Gabe’s been fine at nursery so far as you can probably see from the photos I’ve taken from his online learning journal. I think it might even do him good to be somewhere else and get some stimulation from being with different people and doing different things.

Gabe painting at nursery

And I’m hoping that this one afternoon a week, when I will have chance to work on my blog, or go to the dentist, or catch up on chores, or even catch up on some sleep, will help me be a better mummy the rest of the time. And I refuse to feel guilty for that.

6 thoughts on “Is seven months too young for nursery?

  1. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about! You need help and have found it. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact looking at the pictures I’d say quite the opposite – he’s having a ball! It drives me mad that there is some kind of badge of honour that comes with being a twenty four seven frazzled mother?! You need a break and can afford to give yourself one. I’d say high five to you!

    1. Thank you – we are very fortunate that we are in a position to send him to nursery, I know for a lot of families it isn’t an option. But I think it’s really going to be the best thing for all of us, and he’s already settled in really well.

  2. It’s just one afternoon a week and it will get him use to being somewhere new and having formal childcare which would then be easy to increase when you go back to work. Don’t be hard on yourself – enjoy the break and have a rest! x

    1. Thanks Donna – I’m actually happy with the decision we’ve made and I think it will be best for everyone. And it is only 4 hours a week – he gets the other 164 hours with me!

  3. There is no such thing as too young, too old, too this, too that – just whatever is best for you and your family. If nursery at 7 months is best for you, then that is that and pish to what anyone else thinks!

    M was 8 months when he started nursery full-time. That was the right thing for us, partly because I did have to return to work but also because I was going bonkers. This had nothing to do with my ability to mother, it was just the reality. Funnily enough, I have a hard time admitting that to my British and Swedish friends, where long parental leaves are the norm. In Italy (where we lived at the time) and Belgium (where I have family too), however, babies starting nursery at 6-9 months are really common and nobody batted an eyelid when I put M in at 8. It just goes to show, again, that there are a miriad different ways to be a parent and most of them are absolutely fine!

    1. Thanks Eline – it’s odd isn’t it have different cultures have such different views about these things. I’m just glad we’re in a position where we can send Gabe to nursery one afternoon a week and I really do think it will help all of us.

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