Do young children need time away from parents?

[deleted account] ( 89 moms have responded )

This stems from the daycare thread. Do you young children need time away from their parents? Is it harmful to always be with their parents? What age should they start spending time away? My daughter is 20 months and I can count in hours the time we've been apart (with the exception of sleep). I have no desire to be away from her and if I ever need to get a hair cut or something I leave her with my husband. I don't have any family in the area and I refuse to leave her with someone I don't know very well. We haven't decided if we're doing preschool, but if we do it won't be until she's around 4. I have several friends with young children so she gets to have play dates with them. I definitely don't feel like I'm harming her in any way. I feel like this is a major advantage of getting to stay at home, but it seems that a lot of you feel differently. Thoughts?

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Laura - posted on 01/31/2011

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I'm going to throw a monkey wrench into this discussion: Yes, children DO need to spend time away from parents with other trusted adults/people! Clingy-ness in children has more to do with personality type than being with parents exclusively, though allowing kids time with other adults can help teach them to deal with those fears and seperation anxiety. No, the main reason, IMO, is that having kids spend time with others can help build trusting relationships so that the child KNOWS that they will be lovingly cared for by others when mom and dad aren't around. Should the worst-case scenerio happen (mom and dad die) the child will have a loving relationship established with others who may very well be the appointed caregivers. We did this with our daughter. She grew up having "sleepovers" with grandma and grandpa since before she was about a year old. She spent several days/nights with her aunt, uncle and cousins when she was two. She had her first sleepover with friends of ours when she was about 3 years old. She had so much fun she didn't want to leave when we came to pick her up! I was a SAHM but encouraged these experiences with other adults/families. Socialization was a benefit but never the reason itself. No, I wanted my daughter to have trusting, loving relationships with other adults/families more than anything.

I realize that these experiences aren't always possible for other families for a variety of reasons. Yet if they are possible, with friends or family, then create those experiences for your child! These opportunities have the potential to give your child a rich, loving experience with other adults in their life. I sense a lot of fear from young moms that your child won't love you any more or that the other adult will somehow turn your child from you or won't take good care of your child. Those fears typically are hogwash and come from a place of insecurity and emotional transference. Recognize your fears and let your child develop some new adult relationships. Your child will gain so much from the experience and WILL still love you!

Fostering other adult relationships can have a huge impact later in a child's life, too. A trusted adult can become a mentor to a child as they grow. This adult can provide different perspectives of life to the child, especially when difficulties arise with parents (and they will!). This adult can help keep the child safe during those difficult times. A trusted adult mentor can teach your child how to do things that you (or dad) don't know how to do. These other adults should be viewed as parental ALLIES, not as usurpers or enemies. So I encourage everyone to develop friendships with other parents or with family and insist that your child spend some time with those adults. The special bonds and friendships created will have a great deal of meaning to your child later in life. Hope this helps...

Schmoopy - posted on 01/29/2011

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Sara, I agree with you. A child doesn't need time away from his or her parents until s/he starts showing signs of WANTING to separate. Age 4 seems about right for most kids, but some might need longer.

I think that when a child cries and throws a tantrum at the sight of their parents leaving them, it's a sign that they're not ready to be separated. I think society rushes parents to separate from their children. There's a lot of peer pressure to put children into preschool WAY too young.

But I also agree with Brooke - sometimes it's unavoidable. There are plenty of kids who do the daycare thing and grow up to be upstanding members of society.

Tah - posted on 02/01/2011

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no that hasn't been a fear of mine nor the reality, i am okay with my children having something special they do with granddad..like my son can build things with his paternal grandfather because he is a manager for the philadephia housing authority. He plays chess with my father. i dont play chess or build houses...he bakes cookies with me, and auntie and uncle(he is in chef school) He doesn't have to split up his love or the pieces of his life, it adds to it.im glad he gets to experience those things because no mom can do everything. I dont miss pieces of his life because we have a open relationship, children can just be embarrassed about certain things and he feels more comfortable telling his auntie something fine by me, at least he is getting it out and receiving advice from someone who loves him, knows how i am raising him and would not steer him the wrong direction. I dont think having an insecurity over not being the only one he gives the whole picture to should stop a person from allowing a child to receive all the love they can. I believe it takes a village. you can have your child with you every second of everyday and their is no guarantee that there won't be things he doesn't feel comfortable talking to you about, but if i limit his exposure to his family and dont allow him to build that trust with them, then if he does have a question about sex and girls, who is he gonna ask, a classmate...i would HOPE and PRAY he would take that conversation to grandpa first because he feels comfortable enough around him to do it because he has built a special bond with him.



I have nephews who are more comfortable talking about certain things with me or my brother than with their parents, and if it was anything life changing, trust me they would be encouraged to talk with their parents and if i had to i would share the information. it's just not a realistic fear for us. My fear would be that i didn't allow them enough time and space to build those special relationships outside of ours and experience that love and bond with them and in a time of crisis he wouldn't know who to talk to...that would have been my fear if they didn't develop those relationships.

[deleted account]

Babies were certainly not weaned from the breast a lot earlier than many kids are today, Laura. A baby's instinct is still the same as it was 1000 years ago. To deny my baby the comfort of my presence just because I want to prepare her for some worst-case scenario that might very well never happen makes no sense to me. And I kind of take offence to the notion that the choice to keep your child close until they are ready to be separated from you is in any way connected to a mother's lack of confidence. On the contrary. Going against society's expectations demands quite a bit of confidence.

Meghan - posted on 01/29/2011

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It depends what "young" is. I think the first year is vital. I did everything in my power to spend the first year with J. I slowly started to ease into work and allowing other people to watch him..which was hard on both of us. He was VERY clingy and dependent on me. For the first 10 months of his life, anytime I left a room for 10 seconds he had a complete and total melt down. Not good imo. Yes he needed me, but he also needed to learn that there are other people in this world that care about him and love him. He has always be confident, but since he has started going to daycare, he has just blossomed. I love spending time with him but sometimes we DO need a break from each other! He is human...imagine if you had someone watching you, guiding you, telling you don't to touch this, don't jump off that alllll day...I get tired of my own voice! Socialization IS important, and I am glad that he is able to get a jump start on it in a safe, nurturing environment.

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Sally - posted on 02/12/2013

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Some people will scream "conspiracy theory", but I've actually done the historical research. The idea that small children need to be "socialized" outside the family AT ALL is communist propaganda. It was invented just after WWI in an attempt to get children away from their families to ease the socialist indoctrination.
In all honesty, even larger children get much more real world social benefit from interacting with people of all ages (but especially trusted adults) than from being segregated with their own age group.

AmandaP - posted on 02/06/2013

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This is a great article. I have been debating with my husband what we are doing to do about whether we should take time away from work once we have a baby. We are lucky enough where money is not a restricting factor, but I worry about what will happen to my career if I do. I was just partaking on this debate on this topic - http://www.the-counterpoint.com/discussi...

Merry - posted on 02/12/2011

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Sara, I don't want time away from Eric either.
I have only had one experience where I said I wanted time away from him and that was after he had the stomach virus for 5 days and was glued to me the whole time, day and night, and I was 5 months preggo. So I told matt I needed an afternoon out.
I was only away from Eric for 4 hours, but it was needed.
I worried about him two times, but I knew he was fine so I really enjoyed my lunch alone! (well, not alone per say, I was with a bunch of family members, but alone as in I wasn't accountable for Eric!)
And if he hadn't gotten that sick, I likely would still have never wanted any time away from him.
I just don't feel I need it.
I enjoy my personal time when Eric is playing with his dad, or grandparents, or at a playmate, but I'm always with him.
My brain doesn't enjoy being away from him, it's more stressful to be away from him then it is to be with him, but not the one playing with him. :)

Michelle - posted on 02/11/2011

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Spending time with your young child is definately not harmful...at least I don't think so. I also believe that spending a little bit of time away from your child helps them learn independance. But that child still needs to be with an adult, and you leave your child with your husband. Not a bad thing at all. Your child will grow up with the comforting fact that she was always had mom or dad around when needed. By also spending time away from her, you are teaching her trust. Yes you are gone, but you always come back.

Bernadette - posted on 02/11/2011

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I think that they need to get used to being around other people, definitely. This doesn't mean that you need to be absent. Obviously by the time they start school then they will need to be used to spending a little time away, otherwise it will be a bit traumatic for them, but this doesn't need to start from a very young age and it doesn't need to be through daycare - an afternoon being babysat by other people you know and trust (and that your child also trusts) will help with this and you'll feel secure knowing that they are getting the best care they can outside of your own.

[deleted account]

I don't need or want time away that's why I asked. Wanted to see how weird I was. And I disagree that the age doesn't matter. Since I was my daughter's main food source for about the first 13 months of her life I don't think she'd enjoy me leaving her.

[deleted account]

Yes. All children need time away from their parents no matter the age. Even the young. They learn, grow, or just relax and enjoy doing something they like. Do YOU need time away from your kids? Then why ask if your kids need breaks from you?

[deleted account]

Bernadette, I definitely agree with you about the teacher/child ratio. The first place I worked at was fabulous. It had 2 master teachers, 2 student teachers in the morning and 2 more in the afternoon, plus several lab students throughout the day. This preschool was ran by my university and it was a high quality daycare. We got to break up into small groups and spend time with just a few students. It was so much fun. The last preschool I worked for, however, was not like this at all. It was privately owned, but one where the owners buys into the corporation. We had 2 teachers for 8 infants. It was insane at times. When I worked the preschool we had 3 teachers for about 30 students. Those kids ran wild. They kept adding more kids to our room so that they could make more money, but didn't give us any extra help. They also would NOT let us talk to the parents about behavior issues. They didn't want to upset the parents and lose their precious money from that child leaving. There curriculum also came from the corporate office and it was soooo stupid. I was in charge of art and it was basically my art that the kids glued together or colored on. If your putting your kids in daycare the teachers should be certified at the least (a degree would be better), the curriculum should be developed by the teachers and the teacher/child ratio should be small. I just really bothered me that parents thought they were paying all this money for a great preschool when they weren't. And boy were they shocked when their child went to kindergarten and the teachers had to talk with them about their child's bad behavior. Kindergarten teachers *knew* that our preschool did not address these issues with parents so they had to try to explain this to the parents and the parents thought they were lying about their child because their preschool teacher never said a negative thing about their child's behavior. Wow, anyway...this is the main reason why I stay home. There aren't any good daycares/preschools in my area.

Bernadette - posted on 02/10/2011

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I fully agree that it is better for children to be with their parents. I work in day care (and have worked in several different ones on and off for years) and on the days that I work, my daughter doesn't come with me. She goes to my parents' house. I think that the argument that daycare has educational benefits is complete rubbish - from all the kids I've met and worked with, the ones that are in daycare full time are WAY behind in speech, social skills and discipline. When you have two adults to a whole group of children, there is not a lot of one on one time for any of the children. They are learning most of their speech from other children, rather than from adults. There is simply not time to sit down with children and teach them these things, when there is cleaning up to be done, nappies (and nappies and more nappies) to be changed, meals to be prepared, etc.



As for social skills, you'd think that being surrounded by other children all day would benefit but I think a small group like a play group (especially one where the parents are present) is far more beneficial as the play can be encouraged by the parents, and appropriate behaviour can be modelled. In day care, there are too many children and it can be quite overwhelming for kids and they tend to just play around each other rather than with each other because it is not being modelled for them. What they do learn is how to push/bite/hit/etc, in order to get the particular toy they are wanting that someone else might already have. In a smaller group supervised by parents, sharing can be taught and each parent is responsible for pulling up their own child if any inappropriate behaviour occurs - in day care, you are so busy watching everyone that a lot of this behaviour can easily go unnoticed. Not due to neglect, but simply because you can't have your eyes on every child all of the time.



And as for discipline, well a lot of what I've already said applies here - with your own child, you can pull them up on negative behaviour as soon as it happens, and model what is and isn't appropriate. Most of the kids in day care tend to not listen, as they soon learn that there is not much you can do about it. Time-out is pretty much the only "punishment" that can be handed out (and I'm not suggesting that you need to use anything more heavy handed than this) but it cannot really be enforced. How are you supposed to make sure a very young child sits down for the required amount of time when you still have other children to supervise? As soon as your back is turned most of them are gone and they have learned nothing.



I think that as long as your child is having outings where she gets to interact with other children, and gets to see and do things outside of her own home, then there is no reason why she needs to be in daycare. Like I said, I work in one and won't take my child. I tried it for a little while, and she didn't like it. Oh, and by the way - she is FAR more advanced intellectually and behaviourally than any of the other kids her age that I have ever met in any daycare centre.



But of course, all that said I also realise that if a parent needs to put their child in as they need to work then that is entirely different - you have to do what you have to do in order to support your child and make sure they have a roof over their head and food on the table. But is it necessary for all children? No, I don't think so.

[deleted account]

I understand that it is really hard to fit in everything you want to do as a working mom and I really feel for moms who have to work and don't have the choice to SAH because it is hard to work and do everything else I do as a SAHM.

Yeah my son loves wiping up floors too, and mopping and hoovering, just gotta teach him to cook and I can put my feet up lmao :-)

[deleted account]

No I didn't misunderstand you, I know you weren't criticising. I'm just saying, it can be hard to fit everything you want to do in, when your timeframe is a bit limited. Outdoors wouldn't be much of a problem if my DD didn't love it so much. She drops her boots in front of me and shouts 'hat, hat'. And yes, they can be a great help, lol. I always have a polished floor. All she needs is a rag...

[deleted account]

Daniela I'm a SAHM, but I'm not talking about extremes (ok maybe a little with the SAHM's who have no quality time with their kids but they do exist). I'm not sure if you misunderstood my post though because I was actually defending mums who do put their children in daycare (or something similar) due to them having to work (either through need or choice) because it isn't a bad thing when they give their children quality time, I know several working moms both part time and full time who manage to juggle both successfully.

I think that quality time is important for children and so even as a SAHM my housework sometimes slides because I would rather spend that time with my son, I can clean when he is in bed, although we do also clean together because he loves helping mommy do her jobs (he pulls more clothes out my washing machine than he puts in though lol). You don't have to do outdoors stuff to give children quality time (it's far to cold here in winter to be outdoors). The things I treasured most with my mom was when we cooked tea together (it helped her and I learnt) and when we were doing jobs while being silly i.e. singing and dancing while polishing.

[deleted account]

Tony: I'm just wondering if you are a working mom or a SAHM? I am working mornings and find it actually quite difficult to get baby to nap, clean house, cook, do laundry, nurse, nurse, nurse the baby AND find the time to do all those wonderful things you are talking about. If I was a SAHM, we'd be so much more outdoors or play. I do agree with you that quality time is important, but you are really talking about extremes here, most moms probably fall somewhere in the middle. And as such I think it's ideal if a child can stay with mom until he/she is ready to separate. My daughter is fine when we are apart, but it was a long and rocky road to get to that point. Ideally I would have liked to stay at home.

[deleted account]

It is a fact though that some parents actually need to work to pay their bills and as such keep a roof over the babies head. I would rather those parents go to work and provide for their children.

Also it is about the quality of time you spend with your children not the quantity. I know SAHM's who choose to spend very little quality time with their children, they plonk them in front of the TV all day or take them to the mall to watch mommy shop and don't really interact with them, on the other hand I know working moms who when they are home make sure they do crafts, sing nursery rhymes, go to the park, read etc with their children - I would rather children be raised in a home where mom works but actually spends quality time with her kids than mom be there all the time and do very little!

Most working moms also choose daycare options where their child gets emotional support as well as physical, where they can do things that helps them to grow as a person and where they can build outside relationships because yes mom and dad are important but they are not the be all and end all for children!

Sally - posted on 02/08/2011

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Actually, most young children need a lot MORE time with their parents. Trusting that someone who loves you will be around when you need them is so very, very neccesary to a child's emotional well being. Unfortunately, we've trained the last couple generations that what parents want is more important than what children need; mommies need to avoid ther children 50 hours a week to be "fulfilled human beings" and that babies don't really care who takes care of them or how as long as their minimal physical needs are met.
These are causing all sorts of mental and social disorders in our children that we are attempting to control through drugs that mess up their poor little brains even more.
It very sad and until we stop teaching people to hand their children to the state at 6 weeks of age, it's going to keep getting worse.

Merry - posted on 02/01/2011

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Thanks tah, I do know this in my mind, and I work on it slowly. But I'm pretty sure that for now, he isn't harmed by me always being there!

I get more confidence as time goes on that he is safe away from me, and actually, for the first time I told my husband I needed time away from Eric. This past momth Eric had a stomach virus and was like attached to me for 5 days straight. No break at all and I was in desperate need of a break once he was better. So matt watched Eric and I went to lunch with my mother in law and some of her family members and I had a blast! It was much needed and I loved eating without Eric bothering me to share :)

But I still missed him, and texted matt twice to check on him. But I know I won't smother Eric, cuz I can tell that moms who never let their kids grow up tend to get shut out of their kids life. So I work on it. Thanks for trying to understand! I honestly didn't realize how much of my parenting style came from my relationship with Matthew.....

Tah - posted on 02/01/2011

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well laura that would explain alot, as i was reading your post in this thread it did seem like you were afraid that someone would take him from you or fill you role as mom, like an insecurity..noone being able to feed him etc., what you had to deal with is something that would give you those feelings, i would just be careful not to stand in the way of those bonds. children know who mom is and its okay to allow others to love them and for them to love others as well. alot of times we moms..not just you..lol, do things for our sake and security, its hard to draw the line sometimes on whats for us and whats for them.

Minnie - posted on 02/01/2011

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No, not for me, Tah. It's really simple for us- I breastfeed on cue, and my girls have both nursed very frequently. We saw no reason to force artificial nipples on them so they could spend time away. We also saw no need to force a toddler who wasn't ready to be away from me yet. It's been gradual and both of my girls have grown in their independence at their own pace.

Merry - posted on 02/01/2011

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For me, yes I can say it is. Wee bit of background for you :)
My family was a foster family for private infant adoptions so we got a newborn from the hospital and had the baby until papers finalized a few weeks. One baby had epilepsy and his adoptive parents backed out. He was biracial so he was going to go to state foster care, my mom talked with me and said she and my dad wanted to adopt him. I was 10. She said that if I was willing to help we would do it, but she wouldn't go forward in it if I was not willing to help cuz there were three of us kids and she home schooled us, I agreed to help so eagerly!
I did so much with my brother from infant on, and I was practivly like a second mom to him. Three years latermy mom was diagnosed with cancer. Matthew(baby brother) was three. I was 13. I started doing even more with his care, fed, bathed, put to bed, disciplined, etc.
We were quite inseparable. Two years later my mom died. She told me I needed to be Matthews step in mom, he had some mental delays from the epilepsy, and he was quite bonded to me. I was all too willing to do everything for him. When I got my license I drove him to preschool, I took the parent child swim lessons with him, we biked to the park all the time, etc.
My dad remarried. 6 months after my mom died.
They told us she was now mom, and instructed us all to call her mom. I was 16 so heck no! But Matthew was just 6 and he soon was bonding with her and calling her mom.
My dad told me I couldn't do alot of the parenting things I had been doing, he said I had to be just sister now, I had to refer Matthew to new mom barb for many things I used to handle myself. This just killed me inside.
I had no rights to Matthew and I knew it, so I just stayed as close. I could until my dad kicked me out when I was 18. All this time I dreamed of having my own son, who was mine, who no one could take from me unless I was abusive, I just wanted to know I couldn't be hurt like that again. So when we had my son Eric I was ecstatic. I knew he was mine, partially why I stuck so adamantly to breastfeeding I think is cuz that marked me as mom and no one could think I was anything else. So I know I keep Eric closer then most probably cuz I know the pain of having a 'son' taken from me.
Matthew is now 12 and I have seen him only two times in the past three years since I conceived Eric. It's awful. But I'm starting to get my dad to allow me to see Matthew soon.
Matthew still sways when he turns 18 he wants to come live with me, and he hates that my dad keeps us apart. So I know in time I'll have my brother back, but it still hurts now. I'm missing his childhood, and now his teen years! Oh gosh he is so old, but I guess that's alot of why I am so protective of Eric.
To be honest I struggle even with erics bond with grandma (mother in law) because I see he prefers her over me for certain things and it's a feeling I fight, but it's there.

Ok, that's a big post, but it's a necessary story to understand why I am this way. Good or bad it depends on how you see it. But I'm working on it, and the trust will come as I see that no one is trying to take Eric from me.

Tah - posted on 02/01/2011

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so is that a fear that moms have, if the child spends time away from them, someone may come in and build a bond with them that you may not be apart of so you may miss something??..is that why the no time apart thing?

Minnie - posted on 02/01/2011

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Exactly, Laura. When we're at Gramma's I might as well be a fly on the wall, lol. "GRAMMA has to help me! GRAMMA has to get this for me!"

And they never had to be forced into it. It was a gradual from newborn-hood seeing Gramma, her holding them, patting them, being with her more and more, but I was there because they were (one is) still nursing.

Merry - posted on 02/01/2011

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Sorry, I mean like if a kid always does painting with aunt 1, and he always plays swords with cousin 2 and he always gets to help grandma bake, and he watched movies with aunt 2, and so on then maybe the kid starts seeing each family member as a different part of his whole life.
And maybe he wouldn't ask mom to bake cookies cuz that's what grandma does, or if he has questions about war he would seek out his cousin to ask instead of mom, and could get mixed ideas......
Sorry, trying to clarify here....... Like if he always talks to grandpa snot girls and sex, then maybe he wouldn't open up to mom about it, and if grandpa never says anything to mom about the kids questions, she might miss clues in his life as to what he is doing.
I guess it's like everyone gets a piece of the puzzle, but no one sees the whole picture?
Sorry, it's a complicated thought I hope that explains it better.
I'm not trying to knock your family values, not at all, I just am cautious about it and I tend to over think things.

Tah - posted on 02/01/2011

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"Tah, I do think kids benefit from a big family, but I sort of feel like if you have ten adults who you are splitting your time with, each one will only get a certain part of your heart/mind etc. Like spreading it too thin...? "



im not sure i understand what you mean by that..could you clarify???

Merry - posted on 02/01/2011

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Also, in response to the idea that kids need time away from parents to bond with others in case mom and dad die.....
I spend almost every Sunday over at my in laws with Eric, when I'm there Eric is ALL over grandma, or nana as he calls her. He will ask to go over there, he will grab my phone and pretend to call nana, and he knows the drive to her house by heart already and chanted nana, bubba(grandpa), rophe(cat) the whole 7 minute drive over!
He plays with them the whole time, and rarely bothers me unless he needs to breastfeed and wind down from all the activity.
He asks them to feed him, he has them follow him around and play etc.
He ignores me alot of the time! And I'm ok with that cuz I like to sit and enjoy him having fun without being on the floor rolling around with him and my preggo belly!
So yes if every matt and I were hospitalized or died, he would not be opposed to nana and bubba keeping him until he starts realizing we aren't dimming back.
So mom doesn't need to be away from her child for the child to form deep bonds with others. I am there if he needs me, and there to make sure grandparents follow our rules and patterns etc. And Eric has fun!

Merry - posted on 02/01/2011

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Wow I missed ALOT in one day! Ok so Sara, our labor plan is to bring Eric into the hospital if he is awake, if he is asleep grandma will come sit at our house with him. If he is at the hospital with us then grandma will come over whenever I ask, and when I want Eric out of my room, or we are done walking around then he can wait in the waiting room with grandma. We plan on keeping him with us in our post pardum room if we need to stay a night, otherwise we will go home before bed time.

I won't just let grandma watch him cuz her definition of 'fine' Is different then mine. She would say he did fine even if he woke crying for me, but fell asleep within ten minutes of crying or something like that.

I don't really trust her to tell me the details of how he felt, she would tell me if he was crying, but she would under tell the incident. Or leave out minor sadness. So I'd never be comfortable knowing he could be crying for me that second.

So in response to the breastfeeding 'excuse'

I don't want Eric to use a bottle, because bottles to me are substitutes, and not as healthy as the real deal, also I don't think babies are designed to be fed by multiple people. I think one person should always be the one feeding them. Even if I had a baby who required formula, I still wouldn't let others feed her, except daddy. And even then I would make sure I do the most time cuz that's how it 'should' be biologically speaking.

Tah, I do think kids benefit from a big family, but I sort of feel like if you have ten adults who you are splitting your time with, each one will only get a certain part of your heart/mind etc. Like spreading it too thin...?

Like I know everything about Eric, I am rarely confused as to what he wants or needs, I know everything he has done, has wanted, and has played etc. So this way I have a clear image of what direction he needs me to put him in. It makes it easier for me to know him so well, cuz this age is confusing! I don't think it's wrong to have big families help out alot but I do think it confuses things for the main caregiver. And the child could end up not knowing who is number one, and things could get lost in translation.

That's one reason I keep Eric close.

Also I know statistically that 98% of child molesters are close, trusted friends or family members.

So even if I feel ok with someone watching Eric there's always the thoughts that so did all the hundreds of moms whose kids ended up molested....

So there's that fear.

And for the whole breastfeeding comments, in recent American history, yes kids were forced to wean much earlier then now, but in other countries the same practices stay true for generations and those being that kids wean when they decide to, and the average to be around 4 years old. To this day 4 is the world wide average weaning age.

American children just get shorted alot with

breastfeeding.

Eric is almost two, he is ok with not breastfeeding for a few hours but he still asks for me after three or so hours. I feel it's his right to breastfeed when he feels the need, so I make myself available whenever I can.

I also don't pump bottles cuz at this point of pregnancy I can not pump anything. Nothing comes out unless Eric sucks it himself.

So my reasons for not letting him have a pumped bottle also include the fact that at this age it isn't about the milk!

He eats food, he drinks water, juice, even almond milk, soy milk or cows milk if offered by grandma. So he wouldn't see pumped milk as anything more then cows milk. He needs to breastfeed cuz he needs ME not my milk at this age.

There isn't much milk anyways so what he is needing is the close contact from me. The milk honestly tastes awful right now, very salty.

:)

Kim - posted on 02/01/2011

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well my son's gone to nursery since he was 6months old, I love having the time to myself when I was a single mum and he loved being with his friends. he's grown up with the children he plays with now and he's got new friends in there too. he loves it, he's now 3 and doesn't want to come home after nursery. I didn't have a partner to help but I had my mum who did and still does have him one night a fortnight. I really enjoy my time to myself too, now I have a partner and he has a dad, he helps out too by taking him for walks with the dog while I'm in the bath or something. I get all my housework done when I don't have him and I spend the time I have free with friends as I don't see them often enough. I'm 21 and I missed my legal drinking ages of getting messed up in town with my mates : I spent it inside with my parents, son and brother, which isn't very confidence boosting and all my friends are out in town or shopping and never hung me to meet up or anything. I love the time I get away from him and he loves the time he gets away from me and our house. I used to work at the nursery where he goes and my mum still does and had done for about 10yrs or something, so I trust everyone there and like everyone there which is a bonus too.

Minnie - posted on 01/31/2011

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Thank you for clarifying, Sara. I stated 1 year as the common age of weaning in the US, but only because the AAP recommends that as a minimum. You're right- only a very small percentage is breastfeeding past 6 months here. Just 200 years ago if a baby didn't have a mother to nurse him or be wet nursed 90% of babies perished on animal milk. We hear about wet nurses but they weren't all that common.

Medic - posted on 01/31/2011

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I do think that they need to spend some time away, even if its just an hour or so. My kids have the amazing luxury of being able to go to different grandparents houses and god parents houses. My son was everywhere, everyone wanted time with him and my daughter didn't go overnight anywhere near as much as he did and she is not clingy but only wants to sleep in HER bed with HER sheets and whatnot. She is more than fine during the day but now that she is a year she has done better at my parents because they take her sheets and blankets and she has cribs at their houses. I don't think however that being with or away from parents is what makes kids confident and more independent. I think that as long as kids feel safe and secure in their environments whatever they might be they with do well.

[deleted account]

Even if I did live close to my family I wouldn't have left my daughter overnight or for longer than a few hours when she was an infant. She stopped taking a bottle of pumped milk at about 5 months. I can't just let her starve. I don't even know if I'm going to try a bottle with this baby. I don't get why it's assumed that every baby *must* take a bottle. Lisa and Daniela are talking about the natural weaning age, which means before formula, bottles, etc.



"Lisa, before breast pumps and formula, babies were with mom almost exclusively, it's true. Babies were also weaned from the breast a lot earlier than many kids are today, too!" In the U.S. only 13% of moms breastfeed exclusively to 6 months. If babies were weaned earlier than they are today then there were either millions of wet nurses or millions of babies that died. Humans wouldn't be here if moms weaned earlier than they do now because formula wasn't an option then.



I've met moms who had insecurities, self-esteem issues, depression, etc. and they work and have access to family to watch their kids and get their mommy time. I really don't see "clingy mommy" as a valid argument. Everybody could know somebody who feels this way or that way.

Minnie - posted on 01/31/2011

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Well, I disagree with your assertion, Laura, that babies were weaned from the breast earlier than they are now. Take a look at traditional cultures around the world; the biological normal age for natural weaning is somewhere between 2.5 and 7 years of age. Certainly not the 1 year that is so common in the US. It doesn't matter that we don't have to breastfeed nowadays- the psychological need that goes hand in hand with the need to breastfeed is still there. Millions of years of human evolution isn't negated by 100 years of de-tachment parenting.

I do agree with you 100% that babies and toddlers need to form attachments with other people around them. But like Daniela, I don't believe that has to be in the absence of the mother.

[deleted account]

Weaning age has always been strongly influenced by cultural practices and believes of the time and place a mother would find herself in. Separation of mother and infant really just became the norm at the start of industrialisation, so it depends on how far back in history you are going. Either way, I actually do agree that it is healthy for children to form healthy relationships with adults other than their parents and that it enriches their lives. I just don't believe you need to leave them for that.

Laura - posted on 01/31/2011

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Sorry to disagree, Daniela, but babies were often weaned from the breast earlier, historically, as a matter of practicality. You are correct that babies NEEDS for milk haven't changed (evelution has seen to that!) but that culturally the standards for weaning a baby have. At one time in the not too distant past mothers were told NOT to breastfeed their babies--that artificially created formula was healthier. Science has shown that that argument is not valid. Studies are also showing that, once again, babies can be weaned earlier than thought and still thrive. This is where discussions with one's pediatrician and one's personal preference come in.

Back to the original topic: My comments were directed at the importance of young children spending time with other trusted adults. Young children, to me, includes infants. While breastfeeding an infant does pose certain challenges, it should not be the sole reason for not allowing others to care for said infant. And my assessment of SOME moms remains the same: SOME mothers cling to their children out of insecurities within themselves. I am making a broad statement and am not directing or accussing anyone on this thread. On the contrary, most of the posters here seem to have a great deal of confidence and make well thought out and rational choices. It is not my intention to insult or offend anyone; I am merely making an observation based on some of my experiences. I have had to deal with insecure moms in the past and those insecurities (low self-esteem) can show up as being over-protective and clingy (the mom, not the child). If these statements push anyone's button, I appologize, it's not my intention.

[deleted account]

I was in preschool from 2.5 (and away from my parents at younger ages).... I have all kinds of social issues. My girls were barely ever away from me until they started preschool at 3.... they have never had any social issues and only experienced any type of 'seperation anxiety' maybe half a dozen isolated times in their lives. My son is almost 3 and while there are a couple of people I can leave him w/.... for the most part he would completely freak out if I left him w/ anyone else.

EVERY kid is different and their needs need to be respected as such. You have those that leave their kids in the care of others on occasion from birth that have no seperation issues or clinginess and other's w/ the same scenario that are extremely clingy. Just as you can have a kid that has never left mom or dad's side until starting school and be completely fine from day one.... or be a basket case for months or longer.

There is no automatic right or wrong answer on this one. That holds true for a lot of debatable parenting topics though. :)

Laura - posted on 01/31/2011

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Lisa, before breast pumps and formula, babies were with mom almost exclusively, it's true. Babies were also weaned from the breast a lot earlier than many kids are today, too! I have no problem with breastfeeding and I fully understand the natural bond that occurs--I am not arguing those points. I am saying that with the tools available to mothers nowadays, the biological link to the breast no longer has to be a compelling reason for exclusive care of a baby/toddler. There are compelling benefits to fostering other adult relationships, even with babies. Again, the choice is always with the parent!

[deleted account]

Cyndel, raised a good point (in my head), what happens if something unexpected (or expected) came up and mom and dad couldn't look after them wouldn't they be troubled by it if they had never been left. For example, what if mom had an accident and had to be hospitalised, surely the child would find it quite traumatic to then have grandma have to look after them. Or like in Cyndel's (and my) situation where we will be going into labour and will more than likely have someone else look after our child while we are, what if they had never had that happen before, the child could feel pushed out for the new baby or could just be really worried mom and dad wasn't coming back (they have no experience of being left to compare it to). Maybe it is wise to leave your child in the care of a trusted adult where possible for 15 mins, half hour (whatever you're comfortable with) just in case mom and dad cannot look after them, IDK though I'm sort of thinking out loud really.

I realise though that for some people the option to leave their child just isn't there, so I suppose if their ever in that situation they just have to deal with it :-)

Alison - posted on 01/31/2011

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It's really hard to say. I know I notice a difference in the behavior of children who are with their parents all of the time. They often seem very upset or insecure when their parents are not around. For myself, I was home with my mom until I started school at age 5. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if it is not a handicap that kept me from becoming more autonomous and self-confident. My mom was by no means a helicopter mom, but I really always liked to be close to her.

And, you say that you have no desire to be away from her. I think that is entirely natural, because as mommies we love to be near our children and feel guilty when we are away, but that does not mean that it would not be beneficial to you to have more time away and in particular - time with your husband! I would consider no alone time with hubby to be rather dangerous. Those are my thoughts.

Minnie - posted on 01/31/2011

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OK Laura- I was just wondering what your opinion of mother/child relationships were prior to the invention of pumps/bottles/formula?



I honestly don't see it as an excuse, but I think I have a different perception of things than you do. I see breastfeeding as a biological norm and thus contact with mother during the early years as a biological norm. I don't use breastfeeding as an -excuse- to deny them time with other people. Being attached to mother is something that follows this. I simply never saw a reason to force an artificial nipple upon two little girls who gagged and sputtered on it. Babies DO get interaction with other people, even when in the presence of their mothers.



This is not to say that my girls haven't been away from me ever- they have, but I chose to wait until they were ready- until they were comfortable without me in the room or house with them and alone with other people. They really don't have any issues with clinginess. Lol if anyone knew them...

Tah - posted on 01/31/2011

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i agree with laura..in some cases it does seem like moms are having some insecurites and fear of being replaced. thats why i stated i think children will do fine in these situations IF we give them an opportunity. i think it takes a village to raise a child, if my child wont talk to me about something but feels comfortable getting there feeling out to someone else, i would take that, i encourage the relationships with other trusted adults and family. I also breastfed all three of mine, and i would pump my heart out and send the milk with them.



teresa, if anyone you know needs a breast pump have them try WIC and other programs, they give them for free along with bottles

Rosie - posted on 01/31/2011

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see erin i consider what you've done with her IS letting her be around other people than you. you're gone twice a week, and a couple times here and there.
some people here are saying they've NEVER left their child with anyone.

[deleted account]

Well, if you don't have the money for a pump, CAN'T pump, or your kid hates a bottle..... why would you NOT use breastfeeding as an 'excuse'? Sure it's a choice. A choice to not do something that would upset our children more than absolutely necessary.

Now, for my girls.... they probably COULD have done overnights (if I had had access to a pump... which I didn't) before a year since they had no problem w/ a bottle, but it would not have been a reasonable expectation for my son.

So... breastfeeding CAN be a legitimate reason to avoid overnighters/time away from mom, but in SOME situations.... it isn't.

Laura - posted on 01/31/2011

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Breastfeeding a child is not a reason for limiting time away from mom. Breast pumps allow for milk to be pumped and stored and yes, formula is an option for feeding a baby. It boils down to parental choice. Some parents CHOOSE not to allow their children out of their care while others CHOOSE to do so on occasion. Insecurities by parents can influence those choices though.

I breastfed my daughter when she was little and STILL had her spend the night with her grandparents! All I did was pump a head of time for her meals. Grandpa got the joy and pleasure of being able to feed his granddaughter, too. So sorry, ladies, breastfeeding children does not constitute a reason for denying kids time with other adults, IMO! I do, however, respect your choice in this matter--everyone needs to do what works best for their family! As I stated before, there are reasons why these relationships cannot be developed (distance, abuse/violence, for example) but if opportunities arise, parents should cultivate them for their kids.

[deleted account]

I agree with you Laura. I would LOVE if my daughter could spend more time with her grandparents like I did when I grew up, but I can't stick my 20 month old on an airplane to go thousands of miles away. So I'm in a situation where that's not possible. We have one set of friends that I would trust with her, but that's all I have close to us. I wouldn't leave her there for overnights because it's not necessary and she's still breastfeeding. I understand your point, but I think she will still be able to build relationships with adults like teachers, coaches, etc. when she starts school.

Minnie - posted on 01/31/2011

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See, Laura, what confuses me about your train of thought is if a child is breastfed why should the or sh be expected to spend time away from his or her mother? It's a biological need- that attachment to mom in the early years. We haven't always had formula or pumps and bottles. Were children unecessarily antisocial because they nursed all day and night and coslept prior to these inventions?



I'm just not so sure that a three year old not wanting to spend the night away from his or her mother is a negative thing.

Tah - posted on 01/31/2011

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i guess maybe it is different for me and i find it interesting reading about all the different ways people parent. we all know i had Tavier at 16 and sydney at 21 so i just did the best I could. i had honestly never heard of half of these things until i joined COM. Everyone i knew that had children just did/do it ya know. Not with all the books and labels and parenting styles. I guess maybe having my children away from me was different because my family is huge..7 children, 14 grandchildren, i mean sheesh my grandmom had 12 and one aunt had 10 by herself. SO it is almost expected that aunt mani is coming to pick up the boys for the weekend, next weekend is aunt tah's house so we can swim and bowl. I mean from the time they were babies, someone would come take the baby and go to the store with them and you trusted them to do so from a young age. I really only remember being weary of it as far as family and spending nights away when Tavier was a baby..like newborn baby, he was my first and he was breastfeeding, but when i got the okay from the doctor to go back to school and work after 4 months(i had a injury during labor) my sister came by, picked up the kids(myself and 2 of my sisters had babies the same age, my son and niece both on christmas and my nephew in november.) packed their car seats in and took them to her house in the mornings, we went to school/work and she brought them back on her way to work and my mom kept them until we came to pick them up. Then tavier would spend nights with his dad since he was a baby, so maybe thats why i was so intrigued with the not being alone, not leaving baby, ap, not going away overnight until the kids can drive thing..lol.



I worry about sydney more so because she is my babygirl and she is soft spoken and she spends time away with her father..we broke up around the time she was 3-4, she is now 9. i just pray she's safe and i put her in martial arts for confidence and protection, but thats the only real thing i worry about when she is gone because i know she visits her father's family and they travel alot when she visits, disney etc. it always baffled me when moms on here didnt want to leave the baby with grandma or needed the baby to be so close to them all the time, not saying i didn't want my children close and i am a little overprotective says my 14 year old, but hey..lol. its an eye opener for sure.

Cyndel - posted on 01/31/2011

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I'm due in May, and my son will be staying with my brother and father, my mother may be there or maybe with me, not sure yet.
But my son will spend the night with my parents for the first time on Friday. I don't want the first time he spends the night away from us to be when I go into labor. He might expect a sibling every time he spends the night with Grandma, lol! So He will stay over there a few times between now and the time the baby is due.
But I understand about attachment, we put our son into the Sunday school for the first time yesterday, he did so much better then expected. But had we done so just a few months ago he would have freaked out. He has always been very clingy to mommy and daddy. Since he was weaned it has been pretty equal between mommy and daddy.
Ok this feels like it is starting to ramble. Sorry!

Erin - posted on 01/30/2011

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Well my daughter will be 2 next week, and had her first day at daycare today. I am a single AP parent... the only time she was not with me up til this point is the two mornings I work (went back when she was 7 months old and my Mum has her) and a few overnight stays with my Mum when I've either been too sick to look after her or had some sort of official event on (Christmas party, engagement party etc). You know what happened at drop off this morning? She gave me a kiss and said 'see ya later Mum'.



Keeping children close when they are very young does not create a clingy child. Quite the opposite really. I have a confident, independant toddler who was so comfortable being away from me today she even had a nap at her first day at daycare!



Socialisation is important, but it doesn't need to happen away from parents. I also think it's helpful for kids to learn to respect and trust other adults, but don't believe it should be forced.

Tah - posted on 01/30/2011

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I'm glad he did so well Teresa, children do better than we think in these situations when given the chance.

[deleted account]

Oh Laura.... You KNOW I get that because of my son, but honestly... I thought he would be completely freaked out spending a week w/ his father and while he was upset at times..... he did really, really well. I was freaked out for MONTHS before the visit though.

You may very well change on this when he gets a bit older. Might not, but you never know. ;)

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