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Old 07-16-2008, 08:39 PM   #1
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How to find child care

Hi all... this is my first time posting in this particular forum. Somehow I just found it today!

Little background: I am currently planning to finish my Ph.D. in the fall and trying to finish writing my dissertation this summer before the baby comes. For a job, I have a teaching position at a local college. It's considered full time, though this fall I will teach only two days a week (LOVE MY BOSS!). The result is going to mean that I am out of my house from about 3:30pm to about 9 or 9:30pm two days a week. DH is a doctor with a pretty irregular schedule, though we can control it to a certain extent. My EDD is the first week of classes for the fall semester.

The problem: What to do with DD when I have to go back to work and she's still only 5 or 6 weeks old? We are going to do our best to get DH's schedule worked out so he is home those two days every week as much as possible, but that won't always work out. My MIL is willing to come watch DD, but she lives 2.5 hours away, would have to stay at least one night each time, and would probably have to bring her dog (the building we live in doesn't allow dogs), so not ideal for a regular basis. I really don't want to leave such a young baby with a stranger, but my MIL is the closest family we have geographically right now.

So my questions are: (1) How old were your LOs when you had to leave them with a stranger? (2) Do you think having someone come into our home is better than dropping a newborn off in a strange place? (3) What are some reliable sources for finding childcare? I'm sure I could just do an internet search or look on Craig's List or something, but are there services that help you find someone safe, qualified, and reliable? I know I should have thought about all this sooner, but with so much on my plate before she gets here this kind of slipped through. I was thinking I could take care of it during the weeks I'm off with her, but now I'm thinking I should plan way before that. I would appreciate any stories or advice you can offer. Thanks! (And sorry for the long post!)

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Old 07-16-2008, 09:02 PM   #2
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Re: How to find child care

Ok, by looking through other posts I've found care.com and that looks neat, so I'll go through that a bit, but I would still love to hear experiences/opinions from other mamas!
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:07 PM   #3
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Re: How to find child care

So much of hiring child care is about gut instinct.

I see you're in NYC. Check out Best Domestics. They're one of the best agencies for domestic help. You could also hire private - that's what I prefer.

My oldest son was 8 weeks when he went to daycare. My younger boys have had nannies/babysitters all from the same family. This same family has worked for us on and off for the past 4 years.

Talk to the other mommies in your building and check out the nannies in whatever park is near your house. The other nannies will be a GREAT source of information. And will also let you get the "vibe" of the women who work domestically in your area. They're usually nice and chatty.

If you have other domestic help, talk to them about nannies/services that they know about.

The domestic help network is AMAZING in the city. Kind of like the mafia. lol!
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:10 PM   #4
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Re: How to find child care

Also - talk to your doorman (if you have one). They know the scoop on everything like that. (ie, who liked their nanny, who didn't, who's looking for a job). If a nanny got fired they'll know why.

And like with anything else check, check, check. References, background, triple check everything.

In the beginning I worked from home while the nanny was there. In time I felt comfortable leaving her home with the kids.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:02 PM   #5
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Re: How to find child care

Your own home, a nanny, is best if you can afford one. DD can sleep in her own bed and have all her familar things. Drop up and pick-up can be a pain. Also you have evening hr needs and most dc is only open during reg business hrs. If hiring outside help - nanny cam can be a great source of comfort and their prices has dropped signifigantly. We brought and hooked up nanny cams all over the house - cost us about $800 - even came with website access 30 day trial (we cancel the website thing before 30 dys cuz we didn't feel we need it).

I left DS with nanny at 5 month. At 2 we decided he needed more structure and socialization so he now goes to dc/preschool. My DD is being cared for by my "manny" - my dad. (My dad also didn't want to take care of both so DS had to go to dc). With DD, I went back to work after 12 wks/3 months.
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:15 PM   #6
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Re: How to find child care

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Originally Posted by p3nickel6 View Post
So my questions are: (1) How old were your LOs when you had to leave them with a stranger? 6 weeks. Military only gives 6 wks maternity leave

(2) Do you think having someone come into our home is better than dropping a newborn off in a strange place? I prefer a daycare facility, but that's me. I like the idea that it's not just one person in my house who has no accountability to anyone else. She could fall asleep, and no on would be the wiser. But you need to do what's best for you.

(3) What are some reliable sources for finding childcare? I used the child care referral service on Base, so I'm not much help here. I did do an unannounced visit to each child care facility I was considering, though.

Thanks! anytime! (And sorry for the long post!)

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Old 07-17-2008, 02:24 PM   #7
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Re: How to find child care

Thanks Mamas! A good night of sleep (I went 7 whole hours without getting up to pee once!!) has calmed me down about this, as have the resources you suggested. I think we will have to go with someone in our home, as I hadn't even thought about the logistics of picking up and dropping off. All the daycare centers in our neighborhood that I could walk or take the bus to easily don't take newborns, and we only have one car/car seat, so it would be tricky to work out pick ups and drop offs.

We don't have a doorman, but we have several nannies in our building (at least I think they are nannies), a playground nearby and some nice families with kids on our floor, so I'm just going to get out there and start asking questions. Thanks so much!
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:29 PM   #8
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Re: How to find child care

I would look for someone to come to your home. It will most likely be the most convenient. I had a professor in college who's DH was a SAHD and he brought the babes to her at work for nursing. Worked great for them.

Also, start telling *everyone* you know you are looking for childcare and see if you can't get some referrals. I always feel better getting a referral from a friend (or friend of a friend) than just putting out an ad. And, like a pp said - trust your gut. My mommy-gut is getting better but way back with DS1 I left him in a questionable situation way too long, with DS3 there was a situation with a new sitter and I pulled him the next day. Hopefully you'll find someone fantastic right off, but don't be afraid to make a change if LO is not being cared for the way you hope.

(I'm fairly particular, but I've also learned not to be too "picky". It's more important, for example, that the caregiver be nurturing and hold the baby than be the most best-dressed or whatever. Figure out what is most important and don't settle on the big things. But on things that won't matter down the road, be willing to give a little.) My

Good luck.
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JDT View Post
Also - talk to your doorman (if you have one). They know the scoop on everything like that. (ie, who liked their nanny, who didn't, who's looking for a job). If a nanny got fired they'll know why.

And like with anything else check, check, check. References, background, triple check everything.

In the beginning I worked from home while the nanny was there. In time I felt comfortable leaving her home with the kids.
Definitely do a background check. In my state you check criminal history through State Patrol for about 10 bucks.
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