Which Daycare/Center for an Infant?

Parent Q&A

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  • Happy new year! We are considering options for part-time care for our 6 months old in or near Oakland. Do you have any strong referrals for places that have openings as early as April? Here are a few search parameters:

    -Center based (not interested in home-based care)

    -Inclusive/Social justice oriented

    -Health & Safety conscious (e.g., COVID-19 safety practices)

    -Good communication, accountability and transparency with caregivers

    -Play-based, Project-based, Emilio Reggio-based or Montessori 

    -On-site outdoor play space.

    TIA for any recommendations.

    No responses received.

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  • Hi, I'm a first time parent looking to start my son in daycare in November or December, when he will be 6-7 months old. It is so hard to find availability! I would really appreciate any recommendations of in-home daycares that might have availability anywhere near Laurel, Fruitvale, Dimond, or nearby neighborhoods. Our only requirement is a safe and loving environment where our baby will get enough attention. Outdoor space and healthy meals would be very nice. We are a bilingual English/Spanish household so would be fine to work with a Spanish-only daycare.

    Thank you!

    We have been really happy with Irma Leon/Happy Hearts Daycare near 38th and foothill. Our son started at 6 months and is now 3, he loves Irma and his very happy there. She provides meals but we send some snacks too. I think she may have openings now but am not sure. 510-712-8711, can call or text her. Spanish is her best language. 

    My daughter went to Monte Tavor at 6months, we only stayed 2-3 months because then covid started, but the time we were there we loved it, as did she. Additionally, DLPA is where my son went 5 years ago, in DImond--- they have since expanded from an in home day care (multiple locations), so I dont know their age groups... but could be worth checking out (I LOVE THEM). 

  • Hello all,

    We are not loving our current daycare provider, and I’m particularly upset by the fact that our daycare refuses to allow me to nurse our 5 month old during my lunch break.  I’m therefore looking for recommendations of daycares in/around Albany and Berkeley that might allow mothers to nurse during the day (in my case it would be only once per day).  I would also just be open to recommendations of infant daycares in the area that you love and trust.  I know it is very hard to find infant spots, but I would at least like to have a short list of daycares in the area that would be our top choices, in order to get on waitlists or to keep calling to ask about spaces.

    As an aside, MANY thanks to those of you that kindly responded to my post a few months ago when I was desperate to find daycare.  It REALLY helped and I was able to find a few options because of your kind and thoughtful responses.

    They won’t let you nurse during lunch?? That’s crazy. My youngest is now 12, but I would go and nurse him at lunch sometimes when he was an infant. It was never a problem. He went to Cornerstone, located at the Berkeley First Presbyterian Church. Both of my kids went there and we loved them so much. 

    Cornerstone Children's Center in Berkeley is great.  They actually encourage parents to visit mid-day.  They have a room expressly for moms to nurse children during the day that has rockers and nursing pillows, and I know several moms who worked nearby did that at lunch. All the caregivers and the director were very supportive of nursing and special needs in particular.  (My son has a few severe allergies and health issues, and they've been good partners along the way.). http://cornerstonechildren.com/

    I can't recommend any particular care provider but WHAT!!??  I dont' think it's legal for them to prevent you from stopping by at any time, and it's definitely the law that if you are allowed to be there you are allowed to nurse there. 

    Center-based programs:  https://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/English/pub393L.pdf  

    Home-based programs: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/English/pub394L.pdf

    Right to breastfeed: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV&sectionNum=43.3.

    I realize it might not be comfortable to stay at a place that you're not welcome, but our entire community should be supporting families that choose to breastfeed/chestfeed, and child care programs are part of that.  

    Resources to share with your provider: http://www.acphd.org/acbreastfeeds/child-care-practices.aspx  


    The UC Berkeley childcare program supports nursing for infants. My daughter stopped taking bottles shortly before starting daycare at 3 months. I had been planning on going during my lunch break, but ended up going at 11 and 2 each day, which was awful for me but they were super nice about it. It was also nice to get an intimate view of the classroom because I spent so much time hanging out there nursing my kid. That said, the program is hard to get into, and they just issued admission letters for August. There's always a shakeup because of postdocs finding jobs elsewhere etc, so it's worth checking in.

  • Looking for a daycare that has cameras

    (3 replies)

    Dear all! I was wondering if you know a good daycare in east bay that has cameras installed, so we can see our babies whenever we want on our phones.



    That would be a very odd request (having a daycare with cameras).  I've never heard of that.  Daycare providers can send you pictures and videos of your children throughout the day if you ask.  Also, if you want to see your kid during the day, consider hiring a nanny and place a nanny cam at your house.

    That's sort of a huge security risk. Wireless cameras are a huge way that hackers are able to hack networks and spy on kids/families in their homes, so I'd expect it to be an easy target at a daycare. Also, there would be liability because then you could watch other people's kids without their permission. My daycare in the city has an app where they share pictures and they disable the download function for the pictures with other kids. (Obviously there are ways around that, but at least they try!) No place that I've visited in the past couple of years has had anything like that. 

    Don’t know where you are located, but The Child Unique Montessori in Alameda have classroom cameras. They don’t have multiple angles, so you can’t see the entire classroom. You view the camera from an app, and they only give you access to the classroom you’re child is at. The school has 3 different campuses in Alameda.

  • Dear all,

    I have been looking for a daycare that let me stay with my three month old baby. I don’t want to leave the baby for the whole day and leave, and since I am studying online, I am just looking for a place that my baby is entertained while me being there (maybe in a separate room studying at my laptop). Please let me know if you know of such a daycare.

    thanks a lot,


    Hi, seems unlikely to me. It sounds like what you’re seeking is an in-home daycare provider. The centers I knew of didn’t want parents to linger at all after drop-off (yes, even if baby was crying). 

    Not a daycare but Mothership HackerMoms in Berkeley has sitters available for members who are working in the space.


    What you are describing sounds a bit strange. You want a babysitter/nanny to take care of your child while you are there, but for you all to go to her house instead of having her come to yours. Just have a nanny come to your house and take care of your baby while you work in a different room! It is very normal for mothers to arrange for someone to come into their home to take care of the baby while the mother works at the home. It is not normal for the mother to work in the home/center of the person who is taking care of the baby.

    Have you thought of hiring an in-home mother's helper?   When I was home on maternity leave, I hired one so I could complete my graduate school work 2 days per week.   I hired her for 4-hours, but she was willing to do full days if I had been interested.   Since I was home, I paid $16/hour + tip, which is far less than the typical $24-26/hour for solo care for a nanny.  We used UrbanSitter to find our provider.  

    Another option is a daycare that is flexible about letting you stop by.  My child is at Cornerstone Children's Center in downtown Berkeley.  They have a nursing room and encourage breastfeeding moms to stop by at feeding times to nurse, and parents are always welcome to take a break and come play with their child during the day.  (This is the infant room policy - under 12 mo - I'm not sure they encourage that for older kids where it could be a classroom distraction or promote crying at drop off.)  I did this quite a bit while part-time at work while my baby transitioned.  In addition, the campus where the childcare is located has a great coffee shop where you could do your studying - 1951 Coffee.   Cornerstone also has a variety of schedule options - like 2 or 3 days per week, or a part-time 9.30-3.00pm schedule.

  • Greetings!

    My husband and I are looking for daycare, preferably in-home daycare, starting the first of November for our daughter, Claudia.  She will be 4.5 months old come November.  We are located in Oakland by the zoo and are looking for daycare anywhere in Oakland or San Leandro.  Any help or referrals would be greatly appreciated! Thanks and have a great day!

    Ryan and Brig

    Up by Chabot Park is Betty's Children's Academy, where our kid has thrived for years. We love it. The caregivers really love the kids, the kids get to play outside a lot but also learn basic age appropriate things like counting, colors, two letter words, Spanish and music. They get breakfast and lunch, and an afternoon snack. I recently went to the graduation of the big kids who are off to kindergarten this year, and cried at the genuine love shown between teachers and kids, and the kids showing off all they learned for their families. And my kid didn't even graduate. :)

    Not sure if our daycare is going to have openings but I figure it can’t hurt for you to reach out. It’s called Bee Happy Family Daycare. It’s on Harrison Street near 29th Street  I found it through BPN and my son has been attending for 5 months now and he loves it. 

  • Can anybody recommend a good, AFFORDABLE daycare located in Berkeley? It’s for a 9 month old. The daycares all seem to be for 2+ Year olds. Many are around $1,300 per month, when we can really only afford 1/2 that. We are looking for larger group settings and possibly foreign language immersion. 

    Try Little Stars on Stuart Street in Berkeley. Manar is great, and I think she will have space in August/October. 

    Not to be an unhelpful poster, but $1,300 for full-time care is already a very good rate. Most full-time day care in the Bay area is around $1,600-2K, and that's for mixed ages and group setting outside the house. For lower cost you might look for in-home day care, have you checked-out https://bananasbunch.org/? They are a company that does child care referral. 

    In Berkeley I think you would be hard pressed to find full time care for an infant for less than $900 a month. You would be able to find something cheaper if you are willing to look in Richmond or El Cerrito. Have you worked with Bananas or looked at the home day care lists on Berkeley Parents Network?

    Infant care  (24 months and under) is very expensive. I think it's very unlikely you will find full-time care for less than $1,000/month in the Bay Area.  We were paying about $1,400/month 3-4 years ago and felt that was one of best rates around.

    I wish I could help, but I just wanted to say that I believe what you are experiencing is typical. I don’t think you will have luck finding infant daycare at half that price... My son’s daycare at that age (nearby) was $1,200 per month, and that was one of the least expensive I could find.

    For full-time daycare? $650/month is $162/week is $4/hour at 40 hours/ week.
    Even with the legal limit of 1:3 adult to infant ratio, that's only $12/ hour... Which is less than the legal minimum wage of $13.25/hour in Berkeley.
    You may find someone willing to work for $4/hour, but that provider will not be an official daycare, licensed or legal.

  • Hi wise parents,

    We have a child who will be 4 months old on March 6 and we can't find infant care anywhere!  We commute from Richmond to Berkeley via El Cerrito, Albany, and Kensington. We have a tight budget $1200-$1300 so a nanny share is out. I'm headed back to work on March 5th and would love to have something lined up so that I can enjoy my babe and prep my lessons for being back in the classroom. I've called over 50 spots and have been having a very hard time getting people to answer or call back.

    Any info on who's got an infant opening would be greatly appreciated!

    We looked at an at home day care called Mother's Pearls in El Cerrito that charged about $1100/month. I don't know if they have any openings, but you could ask. Google Mother's Pearls and you will find the number.

    Hi Ember, 

    We put our baby (she is in kindegarten now) at Flora day care in Albany from when she is 1 to 4. Her number 510 575 4610. She is superb! If you havent checked her out yet, feel free to give her a call.

    Hi Ember,

    I don't know if our folks have an opening right now, but they've been great  ( IF, and only if, you're interested / open to a Mandarin immersion program for your munchkin )  They take kids 0 - 2yrs  [but they're down a staff person right now, so I'm not sure if they would be able to on board you right away...   Anyhow, let me know if you'd like me to ask them, their program is brand new -- I don't know how my wife found them -- I don't even know if they're listed by BANANAS.   But I did find this:


    Good Luck, and let me know if you want more info (!)


    Try Nini's Place Childcare just off Carlson Blvd in the Richmond Annex. Reasonable rates and close to 80 so convenient, too. Nini (Anita) is a pro with infants on up. It's a small daycare with up to 12 kids, if I remember correctly, and infants have one primary caregiver to help with bonding. As they grow, there are many opportunities for art, outdoor play, music, and togetherness. Give her a call to see if she has any immediate openings...(510) 524-2603

    You can try Shawna Suazo and the Little Learning Cubby at the North Berkeley BART station.

  • Let the search begin! (again) Our daycare plans fell through for mid-March for our baby who will be 4.5 when we'd need care. We're looking for somewhere she could attend until she goes to preschool in June of 2020. Looking for full day openings and/or suggestions for an in-home daycare for mid-March or the beginning of April (or May/June...) in North Berkeley/Albany, if possible.

    Please check out Bouchra's Daycare across from the El Cerrito Plaza BART station.  My daughter went to Bouchra's Daycare 10 years ago and we still consider them to be family.  My daughter loved them, and we all felt very loved and supported in her care.  She cooks fresh, healthy food for the kids and loves them like her own.  You can find her contact information on the BPN archives and some reviews of her daycare.  Good Luck!

  • Hi, we are looking for an infant care program (family child care or center) in Albany or Emeryville for our daughter, born 3/16/2017 starting January 2018! Thanks, Peggy

    We took our child to Cornerstone Childrens Center in Berkeley from the time he was 4 months old and he did really well there!

    We recently took him out because he will be moving to Keystone in January--not because we didn't love Cornerstone but because we're planning for him to go to school in El Cerrito and thought he'll have more familiar classmates he going into school in 3 years. 

    Happy to chat more about our experience if you're interested.

    So we already found a family child care for our little one and I would like to share the family childcare facilities who have an open infant spot:

    Sweet Hart Daycare, Peggy Hart at 56th St in Oakland, phone: 5102099219

    Alice Wei, Kains Ave. in Albany, phone: 5107665456

    Pryscille and Neto, Kains Ave in Albany, phone 5103343044

    We have chosen another one because of my time schedule. 


  • Infant daycare near El Cerrito

    (1 reply)

    Hi there! We have been looking for a daycare for our daughter who will be four months when I return to work in October. We have somewhat of a tight budget ($1300-1400) and are looking for a place near El Cerrito. Please let us know about any openings you may know of- we're feeling a bit stuck. We've tried Bananas but haven't quite heard back from places we've reached out to.


    I highly recommend Nini's Place in Richmond Annex. Anita Lavenia has decades of experience and was a loving home-away-from-home for our two kids since six months of age until our youngest recently transitioned to preschool. Her phone is 510-219-2603. Happy to share more if interested.

  • Hi, 

    We are new to the bay area and are expecting our first baby this October!  I have done quite a bit of research online but do not have many friends/network to ask for personal recommendations on day cares in the area.  Does anyone have any daycares to recommend in the concord/walnut creek/pleasant hill area?  Appreciate any input or feedback that would be helpful in making this important decision :)  My baby would probably need to start around 4 months old but I can be flexible if needed.

    Thank you!


    Hi Hanna,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!  I would recommend a couple of groups on Facebook - The Mamahood - SF East Bay and TM Childcare Network (SF East Bay).  You can ask questions about specific day care centers in the area and often can get good responses.  Our daughter is currently at Alice's Montessori Infant & Toddler Center.  I would say that we like it but are not crazy about it.  I have heard amazing things about Love n' Care but they do not have availability in your time frame and I think it's pretty much become impossible to get in.  I have also heard great things about Small World Infant & Daycare Center.  

    Good luck!


    We had our son start at Alice's Montessori in Pleasant Hill when he was 3 months old. I really like the director Kiana and all of the teachers plus it always super clean and somewhat calm (as calm as a daycare can be) environment. 

    I have also heard good things about Where the Wild Things Play in Pleasant Hill as well. 

  • Hi! My husband and I are expecting our first child at the end of October. We are looking for daycare options when I return back to work at the end of February/early March 2018. We are in Kensington but are open to areas near, north and south of us. Our primary concern is closing time/evening pickup flexibility, as both of our jobs can be unpredictable. Thoughts and ideas are most welcome! Thank you!

    Try to contact Ms. Lan Ding at 510-375-9428, she had a family daycare in Albany. My daughter grew up from her daycare couple years ago and learned Mandarin Language from her. Weina

  • Hi there

    I'm searching for a part time daycare for my baby who will be 4 months old in August. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for daycares in the Albany, El Cerrito or North Berkeley area.


    We absolutely loved Bouchra's Daycare. http://www.bouchracare.com/

    My daughter has been in pre-school for almost a year now, but she still talks about Bouchra (and "Baba" Najib) all the time. They are very special people-- so much nurturing and unconditional love for babies, toddlers, kids. Very organized, professional, consistent, and convenient too. She's a block from the Plaza BART station.

    I don't know if she is accepting new families, but I highly, highly recommend Amy's Daycare in Albany. Amy Sintchak and her parents watched both of my children when they were young, and we were outrageously happy there. Our kids got a ton of personalized attention. The evening updates were informative. I completely trust Amy and her parents' judgment. A bonus is that our children learned Mandarin. parentsamy9973 [at] gmail.com

  • I am looking for recommendations for daycare centers that accept 3-4 month olds in the Crocker Highlands or Lake Merritt area. I have found a few online but would prefer a recommendation or information on additional centers that may not be listed.

    I am in love with SmallTrans Depot!  I cannot sing its praises enough.  My eight month old daughter has been there for the last three months and they have made the transition to daycare quite painless.  I feel good going to work everyday and knowing she is in good hands!  Feel free to message me if you have questions.

  • My husband and I both work full-time. While our offices have been accommodating by allowing us to work from home some of the time (we're currently alternating MWF/TH home/in-office), this isn't sustainable for either of us. We're on the waiting list for ECDC but it's unlikely they'll have an opening until this fall when they move their classes.

    We really need help finding a place for our currently 10-week-old daughter by mid-May (when she'll be 4 months). Can anyone provide guidance? While we'd prefer a center, we're willing to consider in-home with references. We are both monolingual and do not have strong preferences for foreign language immersion education. I'm a fan of Montessori methods as I grew up with it, but it's not a requirement. We live in Emeryville so we'd prefer something in the Emeryville/Oakland area, but would consider Berkeley or something further south (San Leandro, etc.) if necessary.

    Really we are just looking for a safe, friendly space for our infant to stay while we're at work! Ideal hours would be 8am to 6pm but we can work something out.

    Hi there!  Yes very frustrating.  You could try St. John's in berkeley (College and Garber) - they have great teachers, hours and community.  They are open from 7:30-6 and you can have your kid their until they graduate to K.  You can call them at 519-549-9342 but very likely a long waiting list.  My infant is their now.  And my eldest is in the preschool room.

    Also try Aquatic Park School in berkeley again for the hours, but also limited spots (6 infants only).

    Hope that helps.

  • Seeking infant daycare near Del Norte BART

    (3 replies)

    Hi there! I'm looking for M-F fulltime daycare starting in May for my daughter, who will be 9 months old at that time. I've tried calling as many places as possible and am having no luck getting a spot for an infant! Any help would be much appreciated. Closer to Del Norte Bart is best, but I'm flexible. Thank you!

    Have you heard of Bananas? They’re a nonprofit childcare referral place. Great resource...


    I have a 10 month old in daycare, and it seems harder to get an infant slot than to get into a good college! Unless you luck out and happen to find a family daycare opening, it might be easier to find a nanny share on BPN.

    You can check if Shahin has an opening. She lives very close to El Cerrito Del Norte. 510-847-7561


  • Hi BPN, our childcare plans didn't work out as expected and we are now looking for daycare for our baby girl in El Cerrito or the surrounding area beginning in April. I work in El Cerrito for WCCUSD, and will be returning to work April 17th. I work 8:30-4 during the school year with some intermitten work in the summer. Lucía will be 5 months old the week prior to me returning to work. If you have an infant spot available at your daycare or can recommend someone who does, please contact us. We prefer a small in home daycare.

    Thank you!

    I highly recommend BB's Daycare!  Bouchra is the most loving, nurturing, wonderful provider.  Even after my daughter started school, she always asked to go back there for daycare instead of summer camps.  BB's is a home-based daycare, one block from the El Cerrito Plaza BART station.  I would trust her with my infant any day.

    Please call Bouchra at 510-541-9239. 

    Our former Nanny Tseyang (pronounced Tse-young) opened a home day care on the El Cerrito Richmond border.  It is called Kunga Day Care and it is listed on the BPN's website.

    Tseyang is magical.  Seriously she is the best.  The place is beautiful and clean and she is meticulous in her care.  If I can answer any questions for you, feel free to contact me via my user name.

    Contact Ligia Alvarez at Little Blue House Preschool on Arlington in Richmond. I don't know if she has openings or not. She only takes 14 kids at a time and only a few can be infants. Her whole family is wonderful. Our son thrived there (after failing at a bigger, fancier preschool in El Cerrito). 

    (510) 234-83325834 Arlington Blvd
    Richmond, CA 94805

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Seeking a Center with preschool and infant care at same location (near 580/880)?

Aug 2013

After finding out this week that i'll have a job to go back to in january 2014, i'm now scrambling to find a preschool that also has an infant center on-site so that i can do just one drop-off of my 4 yr old and newly-turned 1 yr old (their ages in january). I live in west oakland, will be working in san leandro, so looking for places in oakland (near 880 or 580 would be awesome), alameda, or san leandro. Back to school

Monte Tavor Spanish Immersion has openings for infants and preschoolers. Monte Tavor is in the upper Dimond close to the exits of Coolidge/ Fruitvale on 580. This is a Spanish Immersion program for all ages based on children's interest and teacher instruction. You can receive an e-packet by requesting at hmontetavor [at] aol.com or by calling (510) 967-2876. Yeira Howell

Chatham Preschool - 35th Ave campus. It is a large daycare/ preschool which serves 0-5. http://www.chathampreschool.com/ Chatham parent

You may want to check out Small Size Big Minds next to the Alameda/Bay Farm Island Bridge. Good luck w/ your search!

BlueSkies for Children is located half a mile off 580, between Fruitvale and Coolidge, so it is on your commute path. We currently have an opening for a 4 year old (born before 8/31/09)and will be able to enroll an infant later in the fall. BlueSkies is geared to meet the needs of young children and their working parents, accredited by NAEYC, open 7:30-6 year round. Please look at our website at blueskies4children.org and come by for a tour! Liisa Hale

I don't know if it fits your location requirement, but the Model School in Berkeley has both infant care and preschool/Pre-K in the same building. We didn't take advantage of the infant room, but I've observed that they take loving care of the little ones. There are nice places inside and outside for the babies to play. And our family has been very happy with the pre-K program. The teachers are great! There seem to be a lot of families from Oakland too. Good luck with back to school and back to work! Joanna

I just went to check out a few preschools recently and Little Stars at 169 14th St, Oakland, CA does have a preschool with an infant care as well. It's run by Chinese owners and a lot of the teachers are Chinese, but there are non-Chinese ones as well. Kids are a mix. Preschool is very affordable, however, infant care (up to age 2) will be twice as much. I did like it and felt a relaxed vibe. They have a huge playground for all the kids. Alice

Best Daycare Centers for Infants Berk/Oak?

Aug 2003

I am looking for recommendations on the best daycare centers (and the ones to avoid), that accept infants. My baby will be 4 months old when I go back to work, part-time. I have read numerous posts about various centers but they are a bit outdated. Positive and negative feedback would be greatly appreciated! I stayed home with my first child and am nervous about placing baby in a formal daycare, but finances may require it. Thanks in advance for your help. working mom

Recommendations received:

Other advice:
I think searching for a day care is such a personal thing. I recommend visiting a couple first, and not wait for the recommendations. I went to one day care that takes infants that got plenty of great reviews on the UC Berkeley Parents website, but after visiting the place there was no way I would place my child there. Things that may be important to you might not be important to others, and things that bother others might not bother you. Trust your instincts, ask a lot of questions, and as awkward as it might feel, just hang out for a good long while in the infant room and observe. Bananas has some publications that you can use as guidelines for what to look for and ask. They can also give you a list of day care centers that take infants. There are plenty of home care providers that take infants, but as far as day care centers, there are only SEVEN in Berekeley and none in Albany. I don't know how many there are in Oakland, as we decided that was too far for us. So even if you get great recommendations now, you will probably by suprised by the waiting lists at most centers, and part-time is even harder to get. (This isn't the case I found with home care providers.) So if it's a day care center you want (and not a home care provider), then I suggest getting on the phone now and start doing site visits. Even if there is a waiting list there is still the chance you can get in to a center. Keep in mind that you will have to pay an application fee to even get on the waiting list. One place I called at the Aquatic Center said that they wouldn't even give me a tour until I had filled out an application and paid the fee, as their waiting list was so long for infants (1 1/2yrs long!). Other places I had to get on the waiting list just for a tour. But don't get discouraged - just start making the phone calls and something will fall into place. anon