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Daycare Shopping

by Meghann on July 16, 2015

I’ve had a few inquiries asking if I plan to continue working after the new baby arrives. Yes, I do plan to go back to work. Our current plan is (fingers crossed) for the baby to arrive in early October, I’ll take my 12 weeks of maternity leave, then Derek will take his two weeks of paternity leave, and the baby will start full time daycare in mid-January.

I would love to stay home with my baby girl full time, but the truth is Derek and I are a team and, as a team, we rely on both of our salaries to pay the bills and make ends meet.  I also really love my job and want to continue to grow in my current role. Both Derek and I grew up in homes with two working parents. To us, it’s completely normal and natural – not strange at all.

I would also love to really rev the blog back up and make this my full time job again, but that takes a LOT of work and dedication, something I do not have the time to devote to at this moment. Plus, blogging full time is tough. I give major kudos to all the kick-ass bloggers who make it work. Rock stars. All of them.

 

When I was about 19 weeks along a co-worker asked if we had started looking at daycares yet. What? I’m barely showing – do I really have to start thinking about leaving my little girl already? The co-worker had recently returned from maternity leave herself and informed me that her #1 daycare choice had an 18 month waiting list. Granted she lives in a different area of town than I do (with a limited number of daycares), but wow. 18 months? Her kid will finally be off the waiting list in August, a mere two months before his first birthday.

That was sort of the kick-in-the-pants I needed to start looking at daycares sooner rather than later and not wait until my maternity leave was coming to an end to make a decision. Luckily I live out in the ‘burbs and drive by multiple daycares on the way to work every day. In my initial research I found 5 within a mile of my house. Apparently living in the ‘burbs has its perks.

Unfortunately I currently have zero mom friends in the area so a lot of my research has been through google and reading online reviews. I did finally join some local mom Facebook groups, which have been helpful, but also a little overwhelming. I recently narrowed everything down to four options based off of location, availability, and online recommendations. Unfortunately finding a time to actually visit each location has been a little tricky thanks to our crazy work schedules and limited touring hours. Since I knew my 28 week doctor appointment was going to be on the long side thanks to the hour long glucose test, we both decided to take the whole day off and spend the afternoon touring daycares after the appointment.

US 28 wks

Baby girl at 28 weeks. What do you think? I think she already has Derek’s nose and my cheeks. 😉 

Talk about an exhausting process. We saw the four daycares back-to-back and by the end I could barely keep my eyes open. There was so much to take in and think about. It’s really hard to try and picture how you’re baby is going to adapt to a place when you haven’t even met them or know their true personality yet.

The first location was on the smaller side with just 36 children in the entire daycare. It’s run out of an old home and focuses on the Montessori teaching method. In my initial research, the more intimate atmosphere really appealed to me, however, the atmosphere felt off during the actual visit. The children/teacher ratio was higher than other places we’d visited and their infant set-up was not ideal. This was the cheapest location we saw (though “cheap” is all relative – it’s still a small fortune!), but also our least favorite.

The next location had my favorite director. She was really bubbly and very passionate about her job/ the daycare. The infant room was large and there were 7 adorable babies enjoying playtime in the center of the room. I thought I was going to like this place the least going in, but it ended up being a favorite.

The third location is one I drive by everyday on my way to work, so the convenience factor is huge. They also have a great infant room and everything met our expectations. However, this daycare closes 30 minutes earlier than the other locations. While we semi-believe we could make the cut-off, if there was ever traffic on the way home there would be no buffer to get there before closing time. Due to this, the daycare was removed from our list.

The last location also had a great director who was passionate about her job and gave a great tour. Unfortunately by this point Derek and I were so exhausted from the other tours that we barely had enough energy to nod and smile. The infant room was a tad on the small side compared to the other locations, but still comparable. They also had the longer hours we needed and met the rest of our expectations.

So at this point we’ve narrowed down the original four locations to our top two contenders. We still have some time to think it over, as both locations seemed to still have plenty of availability in January. While my co-worker did originally spike my nerves about finding a place ASAP, now that I’ve actually been to each location and realize they don’t fill up quite as fast as we had originally worried about, I feel a bit more relaxed about the whole process. It’s just one more thing to check off the baby to-do list.

How did you find your child’s daycare? Did you have to make a decision super early for your infant or did you have some buffer room?

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angela July 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Honestly I just couldn’t imagine putting our tiny little girl in a daycare center. We found another family through a mom’s group that also wanted to go the nanny route and have been nanny sharing for a year. It’s cheaper and works out really, really well for everyone involved. I will probably consider daycare or preschool around age 2-3.

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2 Lindsey July 16, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Daycare is a wonderful option for children. I knew we made the right choice for me to keep working and for our fourth-month-old to go to “school,” as we call it, when I walked in to pick him up one day. The worker was giving him his bottle and looking at him so sweetly and rubbing his knee. She clearly cared so much; I felt so good about our choice.

My only advice would be not discount daycare close to work, if there are any options. I live ten miles from work, but daycare is just 1.25 miles from my office. I love knowing I could be there almost immediately if he needed me and that eventually we are going to spend our mornings singing songs in the car on the way there and chatting about our day on the way home. (He currently still falls asleep on almost every car ride).

Good luck!

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3 Heather July 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

I came here to say the exact same thing – I would highly recommend finding a center close to the office, rather than the house. My kids’ school was less than a mile from my office and I regularly popped in around lunchtime to say hi and was able to maintain a nursing schedule when I was BF my son. Their school also had a lot of parent-centered activities in the evening and the close proximity to work made it a lot easier to make those.

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4 Sabrina July 16, 2015 at 8:09 pm

While I don’t have kids and I was never in daycare as a child, I agree with the previous comment about a nanny. My mom did it out of our home starting when I was about 3 and continued for several years. It was just me and two other boys. The moms worked close by and everyone was happy. Shortly after high school I started nannying for two families with two kids each. They were good friends already that worked full time jobs with crazy hours. They found me through our church. I would rotate weeks at their homes. Kids got one on one time while still staying in a familiar place. Parents came home to visit when able or I took the kids out to meet them for lunches or other activities. If you have the resources to find a nanny, it may be an option you want to consider. At least for the first bit.
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5 Christine @ BookishlyB July 16, 2015 at 8:10 pm

Finding daycare (my husband and I both work full time) was the only thing that really freaked me out during my pregnancy, and I too was motivated by anxiety and locked in a place about six months in advance. I looked at places I found online, put out a call out on Facebook, and talked to friends and family. In the end we found a small place, run out of a family home that has worked out well. Unfortunately, she’s going to care for my son for one more year and then retire, so then I’ll be hunting for (gulp!) preschools that take young two-year-olds. Good luck and trust your gut! I definitely recommend popping in for a few visits at different times of the day and making sure they’re flexible when it comes to working with how you plan to get the baby to go to sleep, eat, etc… Obviously that can’t bend to your rules 100%, but you don’t want a place that makes your baby CIO when you don’t, or vice versa Good luck!
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6 Lindsey July 16, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Also, don’t let anyone shame you about daycare. There is nothing about daycare that makes it worse than a nanny. In fact, I’d rather know there are additional eyes on my kid if someone is having a bad day. And if my kid’s teacher calls in sick, there are others who can step in, which doesn’t leave me scrambling for care. Not to mention the safety precautions, regular inspections, additional resources like toys and books that they already have and I’m not responsible for providing. Daycare is a good thing.

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7 Sabrina Alexandra July 16, 2015 at 8:57 pm

No one is shaming. Just another point of view and option. My boyfriend loved his daycare experiences and his mom was thrilled to find out that met her needs at that time.

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8 Lindsey July 17, 2015 at 11:38 am

My comment was meant more in general than directed to anyone also commenting. In fact, when I wrote my second comment, there was only one other comment on the post. It is so easy to get caught up in mommy-shaming, parent-shaming and every other kind of shaming when it comes to having kids. All parents need to remember that we are just trying to do our best for our children and what one parent thinks is best may not be the best for another family.

I do feel it’s shaming when someone talk about “I could never” and “I couldn’t imagine” do tend to come off as shaming even if that is NOT what the commenter intended. People simply need to watch their words.

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9 Angela July 17, 2015 at 11:26 am

I really hope my comment didn’t come off like daycare shaming. Daycare just wasn’t the right option for us, and I was trying to offer an alternative that not everyone thinks of. Plenty of my friends have had their children in daycare since they were infants and love it. Different strokes and all.

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10 Gina July 16, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Touring is exhausting! One thing I would look at is do they provide food to the kids once they are eating solids. My sons first daycare did and it was amazing, his current program does not and its one more thing to do at night, so it’s definitely a plus if they have it!

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11 Rebecca July 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm

It is so different here in Canada because of our mat leave. It is so hard to find a daycare centre (not an at home daycare) that will take children any younger than 18 months. In my suburb there was ONE daycare that would take kids under 12 months of age and the daycare fee was over half of what I take home each month. So for most of us, we put our kids in daycares run by a stay at home mom. Funny enough, today was my son’s last day at his home daycare as he moves to a new centre daycare/preschool at the end of August. He started there when he was 8 months old. There is a centralized waiting list here in Ottawa for centre daycares- it is pretty easy to find daycare for older kids. I had a number of choices for the next one

Daycare hours can be pretty important depending on your job. When I was looking for a daycare back in the day, there were several that were only open 8am-4pm – I had to think, who the heck works those hours? BUT – most daycares here are 7:30ish to 4:30/5 – which when you have to go through traffic, is VERY tight – I’ve been late a couple of times! The Montessori schools in my area are even worse with 8:30-3pm hours and no before/after care. I don’t get it!
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12 Katie @ Live Half Full July 16, 2015 at 8:28 pm

I am lucky and we have daycare at my work. But, I put myself on the waiting list when I was 4 months along and I was already the 6th on the list! We’re still deciding how much help we’ll have from my in-laws since they are local and retired and can help. We shall see.
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13 Alyssa July 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm

I would actually rather go through labor again than go through choosing/beginning daycare again, truly. Leaving my baby with a virtual stranger while he was still basically a fetus was ridiculously hard on me (BUT it all worked out fine). We knew we wanted an in home daycare for the continuity of the relationship with one caregiver, especially since we don’t have family in the area. In homes are a hot mess to find though because they don’t advertise and they are so in demand and we got burned with people agreeing verbally and backing out. I tried to find one super early but no one would even take a deposit until closer to the time and paying that deposit once we finally found a spot at 9 months pregnant was the hugest weight off my shoulders. We ended up using one that my friend from work has her daughter in and it’s been amazing, I am so grateful we found it.

It is so tough because, at least for me, the kind of parent I envisioned myself being while I was pregnant is not who I am not and I’m sure I’ll continue to change! And as you said, you have no clue what your kid will be like, but everyone I know (and I know tons of working moms) ended up happy with their choice (even if they had to switch to get to that point) and their kid loves it, so don’t stress over it. I’m sure a nanny would be great, if I wanted to pay my whole salary and then some for child care. Most of my friends use daycare centers and their babies are very happy, I’m sure yours will be too!
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14 Meghan July 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm

I hated touring daycares, we had my son at the cheaper daycare when he was a baby until just over 2 and I always felt it was off. We moved him to the (much) more expensive school and fell in love. So much that we have had baby #2 registered since I was 15 weeks along. I know I picked the right place for her though because when I drop him off the directors and staff fuss over her and I have seen so many times them loving on the babies and toddlers up front when they are sick or overly upset. Go with your gut but if it doesn’t feel right after putting her there you can always move her.

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15 Chelsey July 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm

I can’t even imagine going through that process! I worked in a day care throughout college, and I loved the infant room. For someone who is all about having babies on schedules (me me me!!), that would be a dream come true for me. I am in the minority here, but my mom actually retired when I had the girls because she wanted to take care of them. It works out perfectly. I can’t imagine how expensive twins would have been at a day care center.

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16 Jessica July 16, 2015 at 8:58 pm

This is such a tough process. I have been lucky to have both of my little ones cared for by family. But now that my son turned one I had to start looking and I didn’t like it at all. I ended up finding a nanny to continue watching him since he is still little. I will probably find a daycare once he is a bit older for the social and learning aspects.

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17 Miranda July 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm

My husband and I got a lot of flak at first for putting our son in day care at first, but dropping down to one income was not an option. You know what, though? Being in day care has done our son a lot of good. He’s extremely well socialized and his teachers have done some activities with him that we, as first-time parents, wouldn’t have thought of. Sure, kids who are in day care get more viruses early on in life, but it gives them iron immune systems later.

We chose my son’s day care based in a friend’s recommendation and the fact that it’s right between home and work. My advice to you now that you’ve narrowed it down to two centers is to make a second, unscheduled visit. A good director will not be annoyed by that, and seeing what the center is like when they’re not expecting you to show up can give you some peace of mind. Just don’t go at pick-up or drop-off time when they’re really busy. Make sure to look at the 1-2 year old room too, since your baby girl will be there before you know it. Ask about staff turnover, because if your baby goes through any separation anxiety, having the same teachers there all the time will help. Also ask if they always move kids up to the 1-2 year old room as soon as they hit 12 months. My son wasn’t walking yet at 12 months and was more comfortable staying in the infant room than he would have been in the toddler room.

Good luck with your decision! And certainly do not let anyone make you feel bad about your putting your daughter in day care–there are benefits and drawbacks to every child care arrangement, and the best arrangement is one that works well for you, Derek, and your baby girl.

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18 Angie July 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm

I’d I’d Ana t home daycare while by son was an infant. I loved the more personal and small feel and later switched him to the school I teach at because it has a preschool. I’d google the state daycare certification in your area and make sure they are licensed and if they have complaints, etc. As much as it stinks I wouldn’t skimp in this area. It’s tough to leave them but I felt confident with my decision. They loved my son, came to his birthdays, and we still keep in touch. You Definietly will get a vibe when something feels right. Also, the mother guilt starts early, but your girl will be fine and it’s tough to leave them but knowing you can just focus on them when your off is nice. Good luck!

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19 Theresa July 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm

I want to concur with what another commenter said — do t let anyone shame you about using daycare. My son has been in full time daycare since he was 8 weeks old and, yes, it really REALLY sucked leaving him at first. But I couldn’t afford to take a longer maternity leave and my husband and neither of us had any other leave to use at the time. We were lucky in that we found the “right” daycare for us pretty quickly after we started looking — and we were registered and had a depot is paid at 18 weeks. From a social aspect for our son, it’s been great too. he’s most likely going to be our only child and it’s really great to see him making friends at this age — he’ll be 2 in 2 weeks. He’s also learning so much more and more quickly than I think I’d have been able to teach him if he wasn’t in daycare. Having all of the other kids around really got him talking well really quickly. For what it’s worth, I’ll also second the advice that you may want to consider centers close to your or your husband’s office — if for no other reason than you can more easily pop in during your lunch break, and if they call you to pick up early if she gets sick, you’re a lot closer. Our daycare is 15 miles from home but only 2 from my husband’s office and 7 from mine and it definitely makes a difference in a pinch! Good luck with picking the one that’s right for you!

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20 Melissa July 17, 2015 at 7:39 am

You took the words out of my mouth! Your son must have be born around the time my daughter was (7/29). I get really defensive when people shame me about using daycare. It has been the best experience for myself, husband and daughter. She went to daycare at 12 weeks that we chose very early in my pregnancy. It was an easy decision as its close to home, affordable (we do receive assistance through the military), they provide the food once the child is on solids (unless you want your child to have something different, then you provide it). What also helped A LOT was during my maturnity leave, I was invited to the daycare to get to know the infant teachers better and ask all of the questions under the universe. I would go there about once a week for a few weeks and then pop in a few times a week the last few weeks of my maturnity leave. By then, I had formed a friendship with one of the infant teachers that my daughter LOVES! (Seriously, Miss Stacey is her second mom and that doesnt make me sad). It helps in knowing that my daughter is in good hands, well cared for, loved and given the attention that she needs. She is also a very social little girl which I believe the daycare environment gave her. I know I wouldnt have been able to give her 100% what she needed if I stayed at home or if she was in an at-home day care with one provider. Good luck!

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21 Alyssa July 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

Agreed with both these comments so hard. I have to work to pay the bills, I love that I am modeling for our son that marriage is a partnership and mom and dad work together to provide for the family. It’s hard enough to leave your baby and deal with the mom guilt without judgmental comments. Some people are do well enough financially that they can stay home or pay for a private nanny, great for them, but its not for everyone and no one should feel bad about that!
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22 Theresa July 17, 2015 at 1:14 pm

My son was born on 7/29 too 🙂
It really does help to have a connection with the people at the daycare — and for the child to love it there too. My son just loves going to “school” every day, both for the other kids and for the staff because they’re all so loving and attentive to him. I was a daycare child too — not as young as when I had to have my son start going, but when I was more like kindergarten age — and I have very fond memories of it. Granted, using nanny’s or being a stay at home mom have perks too, but they’re just not he right option for our family.

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23 Cher July 16, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Wow, 12 weeks?? I am totally just curious – how does this work if a mom wants to breastfeed for longer? She would have to pump and store her milk at work I guess?

In Canada our maternity leave is 52 weeks!! 60% of wages paid. Although my company generously tops that up to 100% for the first few months. I couldn’t imagine having to go back after only 3 months! Is this the norm for all companies or does it vary?

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24 Alyssa July 20, 2015 at 8:28 am

12 weeks of unpaid leave is required by the government, many people do less because they can’t afford that much unpaid time. Yup, if you want to continue BFing you pump at work (which I’m doing right now) and send the milk to daycare. It’s a PITA and although there are laws protecting you, in reality many employers (like mine) are not terribly supportive and you kind of pay in other ways (like a shitty annual review that mentions not taking advantage of professional opportunities, because I had to pump at those times). So basically my husband thinks I’m joking about moving to Canada for the next kid. Not.
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25 Whitney S. July 16, 2015 at 10:18 pm

We lived in a tiny military town when our daughter was born and the only daycare that accepted infants as young as 6 weeks was the one on the base. Luckily, it was right across a parking lot and 2 lane road from my office (convenient!). We LOVED it there and I cried like a baby when we moved away. I have liked our 2nd center just fine – convenient to our house (I worked from home) – made for a nice run too. It is Montessori as well, but significantly bigger than the one you mention. We are actually moving across town (homes and my job), so we will be going to a different center in August. Daycare #3 in 19 months. Sigh.

I’ll tell you what my aunt told me throughout all the moving and adjusting: you will be far more upset about everything that happens than you daughter will be. Her every need will be met anywhere she goes. It is VITAL that you trust her caregivers because they will be with her 8-10 hours a day. You should be a team. Make sure communication lines are wide open and that they listen when you speak and you listen when they speak. I learned so much about being a mom at our first center. Those ladies told me exactly what was up and how to do things – I appreciated this tremendously. I work at the school my daughter goes to now and it is my mission to over-communicate with the mom’s and dad’s. It might be annoying, but I HATE when I talk to my daughter’s teacher and she can’t remember what my kid did in the 4.5 hours they were together that morning. Really?! <-soapbox, sorry.

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26 Katie July 16, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Follow your gut the second you walk into a place. I exploded many options for my son when I went back to school & the moment I walked in I knew it was the place for him! Make sure to to check out the caregiver to baby ratio, thats always good! Otherwise maybe look for in-home daycare if that’s an option for you.

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27 Margaret July 17, 2015 at 12:54 am

I’m at the opposite end of the anxiety/over-planning spectrum – I’ve already started googling and asking around for options for the hypothetical baby that will hopefully be born about a year from now! (Part of that, though, is that if things work accordingly to plan, I’ll be in the busiest work season in the 4 – 7 months or so, when it’s probably ideal to be looking, so I want a head start!)

Though I have some ideas of things that would be nice (I like the idea of Montessori), I figure overall it’s more important to just trust the individual/main provider, than what the exact set up is, whether it’s a daycare or in home or nanny share or what.
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28 Christina @ LoveYourselfHealthy July 17, 2015 at 1:22 am

My 2 are in daycare and they LOVE it. I love it too because it’s like a mini-vacation if I’m off work and they still have daycare. We chose a place based mostly on price and location, and we had a great feeling about it when we toured it. They’re active on social media too so it’s fun to see pictures of what they’re doing throughout the day. I will say that mine didn’t start daycare until they were toddlers; we had a nanny for a while and it just became too stressful when she was sick or overslept or went on vacation. Daycare definitely works better for our family and kids.

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29 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed July 17, 2015 at 8:48 am

I always had negative feelings about putting my future kids in daycare… and then I became an engineer. There is no possible way I can take a few years off and then hope to come back to my career. It’s just not an option. My husband was in daycare as a small child and he turned out just fine 🙂 I know when the time comes I will find a place that is the right fit and my kids will learn and socialize and everything will be ok!
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30 Shayla July 17, 2015 at 9:39 am

If you’re in the Tampa area still, all three of my girls went to Mary’s Little Lamb as infants and we loved it!!!! Ms. Anke was the owner then and she’s wonderful. My oldest daughter was their until she was 4. We moved out of state so my twins were only there until they were almost 1. I never worried about their safety and they had wonderful teachers the entire time. I had a bad experience with my oldest first daycare and removed her after a few days, so I understand you worrying. Just trust your mother’s instinct. 🙂

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31 Olivia July 17, 2015 at 10:23 am

I’ve got two kids (3yo and 3months) in separate daycares. Looking for infant placement is soooo different than finding the ideal spot for an older kid. My 3 year old is in a Montessori program (and I LOVE it) and it was important for me that he have play-based learning, an affectionate and friendly teacher, lots of outdoor time and nutritious meals. For my 3 month old my #1 goal was finding a place that was close to his school so that I wasn’t trekking around all over the city twice a day! The place I decided on doesn’t have the most nutritious meal plan and I didn’t even ask about curriculum — all I wanted to know was whether or not I got the warm fuzzies from the teacher that would be watching her. When my son was an infant (both my kids started daycare at 7 weeks) I had a SAHM watching him because I felt it was more a nurturing environment — I moved him to a more structured program when he was 18 months. In infancy they just need love and affection — you can figure the rest out later!
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32 Kay July 17, 2015 at 11:01 am

I have been sending my son to a daycare center since he was 12 weeks old (he is just a couple weeks older than your sister’s son). He loves it and the teachers love him! Every time I’m there picking him up or dropping him off, every single staff member we see greets him so lovingly. We had a really good feeling when we toured the school and luckily haven’t had any issues. The first week was the hardest thing of my life but we got through it! For me it was a matter of communication and once we were all on the same page things went much smoother.
I wish I had thought to visit the daycare regularly on my maternity leave like someone mentioned above. It probably would have been a tremendous help to get to know the staff a little better and let them become acquainted with my son and me beforehand.

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33 Lauren July 17, 2015 at 12:02 pm

I work for an insurance company that writes insurance for day cares and I am also due 2 days after you! From working here, I learned that in certain states you can review day care state inspection reports for violations and corrective measures. (We do this when reviewing their applications for insurance!) Just because a day care has a violation does not make it a bad place, but it will give you an overall idea of their maintenance and how they manage their business. Here’s the website for Florida if you want to check out your top choices: http://dcfsanswrite.state.fl.us/Childcare/provider/

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34 Maria July 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Good luck finding a place! Once you find someone/somewhere that works for you, you will just know. We went the daycare route because I knew some of my other mom friends sent their kids to in-home but they were running into the problem of their provider taking off for the holidays or being sick and not being able to take care of their child. My husband and I needed a place that would open all the time. I wanted to save my time off for when one of us got sick/family vacation etc. Also, I like the daycare setting because you DO have more eyes looking and keeping people accountable and I know my daughter doesn’t just sit in front of a TV. She started bringing home art projects at 8 weeks old and she is SO socialized! It’s what worked for us.

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35 Shannon July 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Thanks for posting this. Reading all these comments help my heart and mind! I’m due in November with my first and the only thing I’ve cried about this whole pregnancy is thinking about leaving my baby. It makes me all kinds of anxious–more so than thinking about labor! I was in daycare when I was a baby and up until the time I went to elementary school, so I know my girl will be just fine but still. I hate the thought of leaving her already and I haven’t even laid eyes on her. I did a ton of research about two months ago, but then we had a SAHM friend offer to watch her. The only problem is that I work about an hour away from where we live, so I won’t be able to just *pop* in. I only need baby care 3 days a week (I work from home 2 days a week), and we have plenty of family close by so I’m hoping it will all work out. I like what someone said above that all of this will be harder on us than our babies. I have to admit that I selfishly don’t want my baby to bond with anyone else but me and my husband as primary caregivers, ya know? Anyway, sorry to ramble on in your comment section. I don’t know many working moms with infants and I’m clearly struggling with this right now, so it’s nice to hear/read you talk about this stuff. Oh, and yay baby girls! 🙂

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36 Theresa July 17, 2015 at 1:22 pm

I have to say, I was worried about my son bonding with his teachers too and not realizing that WE were his parents — since he spends more waking hours at daycare than at home. BUT, my worries were unfounded — from his first day at daycare (part time at 6 weeks, full time at 8 weeks) he absolutely knew that we are his mommy and daddy. Yes, they bond with the teachers, but it’s a completely different bond. I still don’t understand how he figured it out at such a young age, but it was obvious that he never thought the staff at the daycare were the ones he should be bonding with even though they were loving on him and cuddling him and all of that fun stuff. I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to let that be a worry for you — I know now that I wasted a lot of time agonizing over that for no reason 🙂

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37 Melissa July 17, 2015 at 1:44 pm

I understand your feelings regarding you don’t want your baby to bond with anyone else but you and your husband but you really do. You want your child to become familiar with them and be comfortable with them, it will make it that much easier for you and your husband. We have been lucky that one of my daughters infant teachers moved up to Toddler for the time being because they are moving things around (she is now at the tail end of her time in the Toddler room and moving up to the Two’s room soon!!!) and LOVES Miss Stacey. I don’t get hurt, upset or mad when my daughter wants Miss Stacey instead of me (it only happens once in awhile, once she sees me, she is usually all about me). In our life, Miss Stacey is like a big, older sister and we really appreciate all that she does for us ( to make us comfortable) and our daughter. I really recommend going to the daycare that you choose once your baby is here and getting to know the teachers, environment, etc because it will make it MUCH easier! Good luck!

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38 Casper July 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm

This is a the website for daycares in Hillsborough county. I used it to find the a preschool for my 3 kids.

http://sanswrite.hillsboroughcounty.org/Public/ProviderSearch.aspx

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39 Maureen July 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

I feel your pain! I was so clueless of what to look for when I went touring (my husband left it all up to me). At first I thought I found a great place and signed up to be on the waitlist while I was still pregnant – in July, signed up to start in February of the next year so I though it would be no problem. It turned out their process sucked and when I called back while on maternity leave they said that they would only let me know “if” a spot opened up a week beforehand and I couldn’t take the chance of not being able to commit to a return to work date. With only a few weeks left on maternity leave I ran around (literally, with baby in tow) to a bunch of different places and stumbled upon a Montessori school that had an infant program and it turned out to be the absolute best.

It is definitely not cookie cutter daycare with a room of cribs and a nice rug in the center of the room, and at first glance it seemed small and devoid of toys but what struck me is how loving I saw the teachers being with the babies. There was a separate room where the infants slept and a teacher was in there with sleeping babies at all times. They respected any wishes in terms of food, sleep schedule, and love my son like I could not have even imagined to wish for. The teachers were used to being with infants so as a first time mom they have taught me so much! They also even came to his first birthday party and now feel like part of our family. From day one they sent pictures to me all throughout the day and gave me updates all the time with how he was doing. I knew nothing about Montessori going in as it was really emergency finding a place with an opening, but quickly learned that the empty and small feelings of the room was intentional part of the philosophy for every toy/activity to have its own place and to encourage the children to love to learn and be individuals.

So this was a big huge rant to say – 1)don’t be scared, daycare will be good for your baby and for you as a first time mom; 2) everything will fall into place when you need it to and 3) pay most attention to how the teachers are treating the babies (and do the babies look tired there or happy) over what the center looks like, aside from any red flags of course.

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40 Tricia July 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm

I actually prefer the big centers over the home daycare. It’s just a safety factor for me. I like that there is video and pictures available to us daily too. We found ours through my best mom friend who has similar parenting styles to ours.

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41 The Many Thoughts of a Reader July 18, 2015 at 10:36 pm

After working in a few different types of daycares I knew I wanted to go with an in-home. A former student’s mom was running one and it was semi close to the place I was working at and she has such a calm house I was all about it. Now I have a friend who has older kids watch her because I need transportation for preschool. But, because of the location of where my husband and I work some of the other options in our town I’d consider really aren’t feasible. The friend works for now. 😉
The Many Thoughts of a Reader recently posted..Dollbaby

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42 Alexis @ Fitnancials July 18, 2015 at 10:53 pm

I don’t have children yet, but I believe I would prefer putting them in a home care center, with a few other kids, instead of a huge daycare.

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43 Meghan July 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm

As soon as we found out we were pregnant I started daycare shopping because of fears like your co-worker instilled in you. We chose a place right near our house and had our deposit in at 8 weeks. It was maybe a little too soon, but I knew I wanted our baby there. I second all the people who said trust your instinct. I actually didn’t even look anywhere else besides the one that we’re going to use, because when I walked in I loved everything about it and saw all the children smiling. I know it wasn’t staged because when I went again to drop off my deposit everyone was still so happy and smiling, and that was unscheduled. I feel so confident in the place and even got unsolicited positive feedback from parents that were there picking up their children when I was there touring. I’m sure where you end up will be perfect since you’re doing so much research, and I’m with all the people that support you following your feelings and doing what feels best to you.

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44 Katie D. July 20, 2015 at 8:34 am

I use an in home, licensed, day care provider. While this has challenges (she is on vacation this week so we had to find a back-up), I LOVE the homey environment. Mary Ann seriously loves the kids like her own. She was recommended to me by a co-worker. Mary Ann also keeps all of the kid’s stuff at her house, so no bag to pack. I just bring in diapers, wipes, outfits, bottles and breast milk once a month or so.

I checked out another provider and she didn’t ask to hold Eleanor, her own children were WILD (jumping off of furniture, climbing the curtains, etc) and she didn’t allow mid-day drop-ins (huge red flag to me).

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45 Rebekah Smith July 20, 2015 at 1:16 pm

My 3rd son was my only babe to go to daycare at the ripe old age of 6 months. It was about a 3 minute drive from my house and had great hours because myself and my hub both work. My son has been there ever since and is now 5. It is so hard having someone else essentially raise your child but it is what it is. It cost us $1,300 a month until he was 2 and then it slowly went down again once he was potty trained. The school was with him more hours in the day than we were so making sure the daycare loved him as we would was huge for us. They got to see most all his FIRSTS but never told us about any, that way WE saw them ourselves and got to enjoy it without ever knowing he already did it there. I loved that because the moments were still special for us. It is hard but it is doable. Most families nowadays have to have both parents working. I have been working ever since my first baby was born and he is almost 17 now. I am thankful there are daycares who can help us with our children. Good luck!

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46 nicole July 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

As I mentioned in a previous post I am 12 weeks along. And, even at this stage in the game I’m already searching for daycares. I had heard about waiting lists and I don’t want to procrastinate. Obviously I can’t give advice because I am new to this too, but I can certainly relate. I’ve only gone on one tour but I was so EXHAUSTED afterwards. There was so much to take in. Though we will tour other places, however, so far I like this first place. But unfortunately its so expensive. Hopefully we will find something in between. I also though of finding a place closer to where i work (Tampa) rather than where I live (Brandon area) but my husband says he doesn’t want to put all of the burden on my as far as picking up/dropping off our child. Though I don’t think its a burden at all, I do have to say he’s pretty sweet for thinking of his pregnant wife. 🙂

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47 Veronica July 25, 2015 at 9:59 pm

hi there, just catching up on your blog. I have two little ones and they both are in a home day care. I like the idea of them being in a small setting (5 kids) because it gives them a “family” enviroment. They get a lot of one on one attention but get to socialize with other kids too. I too joined moms groups to find my providers. Good to luck to you in your search!

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48 Alexa July 29, 2015 at 11:48 am

I didn’t see this comment on here before, and maybe I missed it, but make sure you check with your state or county’s social services record, not just online reviews from parents and see their violation record.
Every daycare has some sort of violate at some point, some are small, some are inexcusable. Someone recommended a daycare to us when my oldest was born, I looked up their record and was horrified at what I saw. It really is telling, and helps you make a decision. I also took the social services report into our final meetings and asked the director or assistant director to walk me through each violation and what they’re doing differently now (ie, show me).
Both my children have flourished in daycare, it’s hard at first, but has been a great, reliable child care choice!

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