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Both my wife and I work full time. So when we had our daughter, for the first 6 months, my in-laws came to live with us and help out. Now, both of them left to take a break. And now my mom is coming for another 6 months to help.

But my baby is now entering a 'fussy' period that is making it hard for my mom to handle on her own during the day (we come home around 6:30pm every night and take over). Three major things that make it hard:

  1. She will cry if anyone leaves her sight. Which essentially means my mom would have to watch her every second of the day. It'll be difficult for her even to go to bathroom or go to kitchen to heat milk for her every 4 hours.
  2. She has trouble napping, both going to sleep and staying asleep. She needs to be held for 15-20 mins and if you are lucky she may fall asleep. And once she is put to the crib, if you are lucky she may stay asleep for 30 mins, usually she would wake up in 15-20 mins and need to be patted and held again. If we need her to nap 3 times per day, you can see how this process would exhaust all energies from her care taker.
  3. (This may get better with time). While she no longer cries when with my mom (she used to in the first day when my mom arrived and inlaws left), she often doesn't want my mom with her alone for any extended period.

1) and 2) and 3) combined, it seems it's nearly impossible for one caretaker to handle my baby for 8 hours during the day.

Am I wrong in the above judgment? And what concrete steps can we do to address those difficulties, or are they more of a nature of a baby and not much we can do to change it at the moment?

She does not spit up when feeding, she feeds bottles of expressed milk 4 times a day every 4 hours. The first and last feeding are the most difficult (she would stop sucking after 3-4 oz's).

Napping: that is what I would say is the biggest issue. We are keeping her on a 3-nap per day schedule, with the aim of a total of 4 hours of napping each day. This is harder and harder to achieve: both getting her to fall asleep and stay asleep is a struggle.

  • That... seems like a completely regular baby. Yeah, those little cute things seem like a lot of work, initially, but believe-me: it's just the beginning! Being a parent (or a caretaker) is developing superpowers for yourself. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 23 '17 at 17:01
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I think your baby is developing well and doing what is very natural to babies. At 6 months, babies are dropping a nap and most start to sleep only 2 naps. In addition, six - nine months is a time of rapid development, cognitively, socially and physically (solids, teething, sitting up, crawling etc). All these interact with sleep, and also her range of expressions.

Please see this link for a quick summary that you may find useful. https://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-sleep-basics-6-to-9-months_7657.bc

Does your mum find her "fussy" and "clingy"? The child obviously wants a lot of interaction or at least, assurance. I cared for my own kids from birth without help while working from home and the things that are most useful for juggling everything are:

1.) A baby sling - not sure if it is too much for your mum, but a baby sling is extremely helpful with a baby that wants a lot of contact as it allows you to get on with your daily tasks.

2) have a daily routine to address a bit of everyone's needs. I took inspiration from the E.A.S.Y routine by Tracy Hogg. EASY is her acronym for Eat, Activity, Sleep, You. So when baby sleeps, the caregiver gets time to do other stuff or rest. So baby wakes up, E= eats, A= goes for walks in parks/playgrounds/swims/activity gym-mats/play tunnels etc, S= naps (which should be easy after activity), Y = time for caregiver to rest or catch up on other things.

There is no hard and fast rule, and it is very adaptable while addressing all of baby's needs. The activity time is good bonding time too for adult and child. If you are in a friendly neighbourhood with a good playground or park nearby, that can also be helpful as babies tend to LOVE to watch older children at play. The caregiver will have to watch out for balls, dogs, bicycles but the babies don't require any form of entertainment from you. Just bring some snacks along and have a picnic.

If your mum is open to this, you can make things easier for her by preparing the outing bag for her everyday beforehand.

3) As the child sleeps less, child-proofing the entire apartment and creating little interesting corners for the child in every room can make life easier for everyone. The child simply follows the adult from room to room (which is really an instinctive behaviour). Some examples are postcards with bold simple designs, animal posters (placed at child's level), cloth books, rattlers, shape-sorters, child-safe mirrors etc. Placing just 2 or 3 items in each corner will encourage the child to explore more deeply than putting many things in a pile. Talk to the child and explain what you are doing as you busy about and check in occasionally on what she is doing. Things that move independently are also great additions - think mobiles, windcatchers, windchimes.

As mobility develops rapidly, the caregiver can integrate the child more fully into the daily rhythm of life (with adequate child-proofing of the spaces). Everything is so new to them, the world is infinitely fascinating. Eg when I was cooking in the kitchen, I would give my child (sitting stage then) a whole apple or carrot, name it, demonstrate smelling it and rolling it. I then pass the apple to the child and do what I had to do while the child explore it. After I finished my task, I would take the apple, wash it and either slice it paper-thin, or grate it, and the child would get to smell and taste it again. By 1 year old, I would give him a little pot with cover and a wooden spoon, along with a little plastic bottle of water, a salt shaker and a few leaves of veg from whatever I would be cooking that day. He would pretend-cook in his corner adding water and salt with gusto while I did the real cooking.

I know it can be very challenging when the caregiver is not you, but I hope some of the ideas can work for your family. You may also want to consider what else your mother needs to do through the day and consider if certain tasks can be simplified or streamlined.

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are they more of a nature of a baby? Yes, this is separation anxiety. It is natural and normal. Imagine living inside someone for a long time, then being throuwn into a cold, "hostile" world. Thankfully, two people are always there to support you. Remember, this has been your whole life so far! Suddenly, these pillars of comfort start to go away randomly! I takes a very grown-up person to handle that with no "fuss".

1) She will cry if anyone leaves her sight. Because you are not there.

2) She has trouble napping, both going to sleep and staying asleep. Because you are not there.

3) [...] she often doesn't want my mom with her alone Because you are not there.

This can be hard. I would suggest reading up on separation anxiety from good, modern sources. Thankfully, it passes. I'm sorry I don't have any sources to recommend, I live in Norway so most material is in norwegian and we have a good health care system where there is a follow-up system after birth so you have a specific person at a health care station you can talk to. I don't know if something similar is available to you.

I remember a time where I was taking over as prime care-giver and was going for a walk with our baby in the stroller. She did not accept this, wanted her mother, screamed down the street and up again and stopped when the mother took over. She had heard from inside the house and gotten dressed and was ready to help when I got back. Felt like the worlds best dad ... Anyway, being present and building up a solid relationship helps on separation anxiety as there are more people the little one is connected to. But understand that this is very hard on her/him.

Patience, presence = parenting

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Link separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is difficult and worrying but is not uncommon and there are ways to help. Set routines and try to be predictable. It helps if your child knows the caregiver.

This is only my opinion, I am not an expert.

  • I wonder if the d/v is because the person does not think this is separation anxiety? If not, then what do you think? I have nothing to add and think I am correct in this assumption. This is not about losing 2 points, it is about not learning what the reason is. I am interested in the topic and am not pretending I know about it in infants. My (then) 4 year old had an extreme case when her parents died and she came to live with me. – WRX Mar 22 '17 at 15:29
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    I'm not the one that downvoted your answer, but I suppose the downvote was a consequence of your answer being too short. People around here give more value to long, more detailed answers! – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 23 '17 at 17:14
  • Thanks TSar, if that's the reason, then okay. I feel like it was already covered and I have nothing to add for this age group. – WRX Mar 23 '17 at 17:34
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I have three children 4, 2, and 1. My mother has helped watch them at that young of age and they never cried like that. The only time I had my youngest daughter cry the entire time is when she was watched by a friend and she has four kids herself plus two animals.

The amount of noise and amount of people was too much for her and scared her. I have a couple of questions for you. First does the baby spit up a lot with feedings? The constant fussiness could be caused from reflux and gas. This will cause the baby to have issues sleeping and the gas pains could cause them to cry. -OR an ear infection can cause the baby to cry every time you try to lay them down and they will want to sit up/be held so it lessens the pain.

Teeth coming in can cause swelling and will cause pressure in the ears as well. This is something you should discuss with your doctor and verify which is the cause. Four if the doctor states none of these are an issue then and only then the concern would turn to why the baby would cry every time your mother watches the baby.

Children can not tell you that someone may not be treating them well and the only telling sign is the child crys/screams every time they see them- OR shows gestures that they don't want to be left with them. This is a major flag that you will want to find someone else to care for your child. I myself have removed my children from others care if I felt it made them even slightly uncomfortable.

Trust me it wasn't easy for me to manage it every time, but it was an easy decision to make for the sake of my children. My husband at that time worked 70 hours a week and I was in school full time plus working part-time 25 hrs. I took care of the kids, cleaned the house, laundry, cooked, bathed them all, got the groceries, plus took care of my husband as he had major surgery, and studied after they went to bed.

I did not sleep, but I was an honor student, a highly recommended worker, and handled the kids just fine on my own (basically a single mother). It can be done you just have to get through the rough patches and it will get easier as the baby gets older. I just remind myself this is temporary and soon it will be better. That always gets me through it.

I'm most looking forward to when all the kids are in school so I get study days instead of study nights. Plus they will then be old enough to go camping and all the fun things...and no more breastfeeding or expensive diapers/formula in one year from now! ;)

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We just hired some help in this situation. The kid will have to outgrow separation anxiety and bad sleeping habits. In the meantime, grandparents should not feel burned out. We felt it was unfair to burden parents with so much work. Hired a part-time person for our pleasant natured #1, and full-time for our fussier #2. Both were bad nappers, so parents were not able to sit for a minute otherwise...

Coordination between nanny and the grandparent is a whole another problem....one way is to hire someone who is starting out, and is willing to do things your way.

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