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 Post subject: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:16 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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I was wondering what method of childcare everyone uses and what the advantages and drawbacks might be to each. Obviously cost varies, but I'm sure there are issues beyond that that I'm not aware of.

I know about half have a stay at home parent, but for those that don't I guess there's daycares, at home care places, nannies, and relatives. Any information and stories about your experiences would be helpful, thanks.

I'm married hoping to have a child in the next year or so, but none of the options jumps out as ideal. We don't live near either family though moving could be a possibility. I think my partner wants to stay at home, but that would be very difficult financially. Anyway, don't feel like you need to make your story relate to me. Just wondering about people's experiences.


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 Post subject: Re: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:31 pm 
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I'm also interested in this. We're planning to use the day care associated with my work. There are two locations, so it's either a few blocks away or across the street(!) from my office. But there's a waiting list, so we'll probably need to use something else for 6 months or so. And I have no idea what that something else should be.


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 Post subject: Re: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:52 pm 
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Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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Will goes to an in-home sitter. It was an easy decision to take him there, because my sister's kids had been going for years so I felt very comfortable.

Some drawbacks are... 1) She is not state-licensed, so we can't claim any dependent care on our taxes, 2) She's only one person, so if she's sick or decides to take vacation, we have to either take off or make other arrangements, 3) We don't get a discount on a second or additional kiddos.

The benefits are... 1) She is 5 minutes from both my school and Will's doctor, 2) He is around kiddos from baby to pre-school age, 3) When we send our 2nd baby, they will be together all day (as opposed to separate rooms at a daycare), 4) She doesn't charge for the summer or teacher days off.

I think any of the options you mentioned have pros and cons, so you have to decide what is the most important for you and go from there. For example, I have friends who work crazy hours and centers work well for them, because they are more accommodating, have later hours and never close (but centers are generally more expensive).

If your partner really want to stay home, have you thought about trying to live solely off your income for a few months before baby to see if it is feasible? We have contemplated my husband staying home, but long-term it's a better decision for him to work. We could survive on one salary, but it would be harder for him to get back into teaching once our kids are school-age. Once we have two kids in daycare, it will be a huge chunk of his paycheck, but it is still worth it for him to remain in the field and bring home what he does.

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 Post subject: Re: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:15 pm 
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I've used both a nanny and a childcare center/preschool.

Both were fine. We originally had the nanny come on days when there weren't slots open at the daycare center, then eventually parted ways with her when the preschool had availability.

The primary advantage of the nanny was that we didn't have to get the kids ready and out the door first thing in the morning. The primary disadvantages were cost and the fact that I felt like I had to keep the house a certain level of clean, which stressed me out!

The big advantage of the preschool is the social aspect. One of my kids has always been a super outgoing people person, like since infancy. He has always been dramatically happier if there are lots of other people around and so a group setting is perfect for him. Um, what else... I like the age group thing in the preschool, and knowing that the teachers in each room are people specifically experienced with that age group.

Disadvantage of preschool for me is the lack of flexibility with scheduling. They close on every holiday, including lots I still have to go to work on. Oh yeah, and disease spreads through them like wildfire, which is annoying to say the least.

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 Post subject: Re: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:27 pm 
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This is obviously coming from the other side of it, as a former childcare provider/non-parent, but a big downside of having a nanny is that you have to be responsible for being someone's employer, which I think a lot of families don't really think through. There are contracts and taxes (or not paying taxes, which, let's be honest, is the more common and also very illegal route) and lots of very complicated questions (can you pay for health insurance? do you want a nanny who doesn't have health insurance?) that you don't have to deal with in a daycare setting. Managing employees is a complicated thing in general and I think it is even more complicated when that person is caring for your child in your house.

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 Post subject: Re: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:28 pm 
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i decided to be a stay at home mom so child care is all me all the time with like nary a break.
however i know a lot of people who had babies around the same time as me and i seem to be the only stay at home parent of people i know in person. (i have one internet acquaintance whose husband is a SAHD while she works)

seems a lot of the people i know worked it out so family is helping out ALOT.
my best friend whose daughter is a month older than mine i think splits days because her mom and her mother in law.

my friend who had twins had an extra long maternity leave as i guess you get more leave when you have twins (makes sense!) and now that she is back to work i believe they have one mother stay with them Tues through Thurs or something. so one week her mom who lives in NH stays for a few days and the next week his mom who lives in CT stays a few days. on the days when one of the moms is not there they hired a nanny. for them it ended up being cheaper to hire a nanny rather than two daycare tuitions. plus they were told to keep them out of daycare for as long as they could since they were preemies.

my cousin, im not 100% sure about but what i have inferred is he and his wife work opposite shifts. she is an EMT and he used to be a firefighter but i think he went through EMT training so i think he might be an EMT too so i think they work opposite shifts. difficult for sure but i think it means they dont need to pay for childcare. i think her mom might help out too.


for us it made WAY more sense for me to quit the job that i hated going to rather than going there and being miserable making money basically to put my kid in daycare. since my daughter was born with a heart condition (not something we knew until after she was born) it probably would have been recommended to keep her out of daycare anyways.

even though my husband definitely is the breadwinner of the family and i wasnt making tons of money at my job it still was not easy to just get rid of one entire salary plus benefits. i was the health insurance carrier too so we had to switch to my husband's health insurance which is more expensive and also shitty coverage (IMHO). so many things became more expensive when i quit my job but we are somehow making it work. we do have savings so at the very least we have a buffer if i have to find a job.

i couldnt have family take care of her because my inlaws live 6 hours away. none of my husband's siblings live nearby, both my parents were working full time when she was born, and my brother and his wife live an hour away and work full time (and i would never leave her with my crazy gun toting republican SIL). however my dad just retired last month so if i can convince BabyPunk to stop being petrified of everyone besides me and my husband i may have an option every now and then. i dont think he is comfortable with BABY care though as i asked him to watch her when i have jury duty this month and i guess he is having my mom take the day off to come with him because he was nervous. when she is older i think he will feel more comfortable.

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 Post subject: Re: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:46 pm 
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We've done three things: my husband stayed home the first 18 months, we've had nannies, and we've done center daycare.

SAHD/M advantages: parent caregiver so great for attachment, don't have to leave home, may be cheaper if the parent's salary wouldn't have covered beyond daycare, don't have to worry about hours/closing/illness; disadvantages: not everyone is cut out to stay-at-home, not every parent is great at finding things to do with kids, socialization may be difficult to come by for both parent and kid (may be worse if it's a SAHD - there are a lot of groups geared toward SAHMs, almost none geared toward dads, and lots of SAHM groups are actively unwelcoming toward dads), can be a financial difficulty, non-primary parent may wind up not really doing their share of housework and parenting and there may be resentment that happens and relationship difficulties from one parent getting a lot of adult time and the other getting very little. We didn't personally have issues with socialization because my husband never stayed home with her, he was always out in the world and is a gregarious guy who made her a bunch of friends on the local playgrounds and our neighborhood, but for someone who is more introverted I could imagine it being really difficult.

Nanny advantages: they come to you usually, on your own turf/you make the rules, your kid gets lots of individualized attention, your kid doesn't have to deal with the stress of multiple caregivers which is tough on some kids, generally lots of flexibility in scheduling so good for jobs with weird hours (like mine), most nannies will watch your kid even if the kid is sick; disadvantages: again, socialization can be tough, can be really hard to find a good person, if they're unreliable you're screwed, if they get sick you're screwed.

Center daycare advantages: don't have to worry about caregiver getting sick, plenty of socialization (socialization is not actually an issue for infants, though, as much as caregiver relationship is - so I wouldn't make a decision based primarily on this), plenty of well-organized time and a variety of activities, reliable hours, cheaper than a nanny; disadvantages: hours may be limited, you may not love their rules and procedures, there may be a heavy focus on academics from a young age (a huge pet peeve of mine), we haven't found a daycare in our area with a progressive pedagogy, there may not be great attachment that develops between caregivers and children because there are several caregivers and they may not always work with the same kids.

We checked out a center daycare when I was pregnant that seemed great with infants - tons of holding, cuddling, eye contact, very low staff-to-child ratio, etc., but they had a wait list like two years long. The rest of the places we saw were frightening in comparison. I have gleaned from this board that the daycare situation in other places in the country is a lot better than it is here. There are a lot of things to look for if you look at daycares - all their policies and stuff, their pedagogies as kids get older, the amount of holding and snuggling the infants get, the consistency of staff in each room, their policies about vaccination (we strongly preferred places that strongly encouraged their staff to get flu vaccines and required kids to be up on their vaccinations if medically feasible), having an open-door policy to visiting parents (especially for infants!), etc.

I am hugely grateful that my husband could take off 18 months to be with our daughter - he's even said that he's sad he won't be able to do the same with the next kid because he valued that time so much (even though by the end he was kind of losing his mind being with her all the time). We prefer the nanny model at this point, despite its disadvantages, because of the caregiver attachment piece, because Malka gets to stay home if she needs/wants to, and because we can make it work better with our work schedules. She gets a lot of socialization in general and is a social butterfly, so that's not a major concern of ours. We also don't need preschool for organized academics (she's 2 now - the daycare she used to go to occasionally does a lot of reading readiness at this age) because we don't believe that's how 2-year-olds learn best and she gets read to all the time at home.

When I was a kid we went to a series of home-based daycares, which were all awesome. But I have a much higher bar for home-based places than centers and I wouldn't use a home-based daycare I didn't have a personal recommendation for.


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 Post subject: Re: Infant Childcare
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:48 pm 
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Huffs Nutritional Yeast
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We've done a variety of things since having our twins. Nannys or daycares are too expensive for us with the two (neither of us make very much), so we've had to do without.

For awhile my partner and I worked opposite shifts. I worked an overnight and he worked a day shift. It technically worked but I ended up super sleep deprived and getting very run down physically.

I've been staying at home with them for a little over a year now and started working on an online masters. For awhile we traded babysitting with other local parents. It worked out pretty well at first but then quickly became pretty one sided. If you know people who aren't flaky though trading sitting can be a good arrangement if finances are tight.

In many ways staying with them has been great but at this point I'm pretty burnt out. Lately I've only been able to get a break every four or so months, which takes it's toll (2 three year olds can be pretty intense and I'm 36 weeks pregnant). We're really hoping that we qualify for the local head start program. I think it'd be great for all of us.

I'm not sure exactly how we're gonna work it out once the baby's here but eventually childcare for 1 (if the twins get into the program) would be way more manageable. I'm really happy that you started this thread. Hopefully it'll help us figure out what we're gonna do down the road.


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