Baby Due May 2018 - First Steps for Infant Care

Hey fam,

I realize this question has been brought up before, but the threads look a few years old so hoping for a fresh take. Can any parents provide new parents with some guidance for infant care? Should we start getting on daycare waitlists now (1 year advance too early)? Or try to meet with nannies for nanny share first? Has anyone had better luck finding/securing one over the other? How much should we expect to pay for each, anyone have recent costs they are willing to share? I plan to go back to work when our baby is 4 - 5 months depending on what we find. We live in West Berkeley, so hope to find a nanny share or daycare nearby. Thanks in advance!  - Nicole

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It's way too early to find a nanny, and for daycare it really varies - if they keep a waiting list, the earlier the better, but I found many in-home daycares (the kind that tend to take infants) don't keep waiting lists, they just told me to keep checking in. Super frustrating. I really liked having a nanny share early on when my kid was a tiny baby, and the cost (for a share with one other family) was comparable at that age (infant daycare is expensive!) - around 2 daycare costs go down so we switched then. If you want to do a nanny, you'll have to wait until a month or two ahead, but if you want a share you could start looking for another family sooner than that.

For day cares, start now to get on lists. For nannies or shares, you really can't start until maybe a few months max before you need the care. You might be able to find the family to share with first, but most nannies don't know when their current job will end so they don't start looking for new positions until a few months (or even really a few weeks) before they are available to start. I like to plan ahead so I found this stressful but ultimately I had no trouble finding an abundance of qualified available nannies (using this site to find them!). 

Never to early to start looking for care. Though there are wonderful daycares I would personally recommend a nanny for the early years of development . Yes it can be more expensive but I feel the level of care...(one on one) provided is much better...... Doing a share is a litlle cheaper. Do a contract if you go the nanny route....daycares tend to be closed around 7 weeks out of the year. With a nanny you generlly have more days of care but be fare! 

Best of luck and congrats!

Hi Nicole-

FWIW we never considered daycare and knew we wanted to do a nanny share. Daycare has to be addressed way in advance, but nanny shares not so. My LO is 6 months old and I return to work next week. We found a wonderful nanny and ended up sharing with friends from our birth class! Put it all together about a month ago. Most nannies and recs for nannies here are for immediate or close to immediate employment...There were lots of great candidates here on BPN and we struck gold with our wonderful part time nanny!!!

Good luck and congrats!!! 

Unless you're set on going with a nanny you should start touring daycares now and getting on the waitlist for the ones you like. My wife was only 3 months pregnant when we started looking at daycares. Even though we were at least a year out from needing it there were not many open slots. We ended up booking a place at one place that we *somewhat* liked just so we knew we were covered while we looked for (and luckily found) a much better one. If you are set on a nanny(share) then you can probably skip the daycare route and just interview nannies. For cost, we found that daycares ran around $1200-$1500 for a basic home-based daycare although they could go as high as $2000. I don't know what nannys charge but I heard around $20-$25/hour. Less if you go with a nannyshare.

I had a baby in May, and am going back to work in a couple of weeks, so just went through this process. I started looking for care a bit late in the game, about 2 months before I was scheduled to return to work. I looked at both nanny shares and daycares. For nanny shares, my timing was perfect. I found many families who were looking to share. Most people don't start posting their open nanny share slots until a couple of months beforehand anyway. If you think you want to go with a nanny, definitely wait, you'll find one no problem. The average price I found for a share with two children is about $13/hour. 

For various reasons, I decided to go with a daycare for my child. When I started my search, I found that many had filled up and had waitlists. Several told me that they would open up their waitlist in the new year or next summer, so you may want to start the daycare search now if you have a very particular idea of the type of place you'd want to place your baby. It is more difficult to find open slots for infants than for toddlers. That said, I was able to get into my first choice daycare no problem, so you should be able to find a great place for your baby even if you put it off like I did. In terms of cost, daycare prices ran the gamut depending on type, i.e. small home daycares vs. larger schools. In general though, they were significantly less costly than nanny shares.

Fyi, I live in Oakland, so the childcare scene in Berkeley might different. 


I am due January 2018 and will require care in June 2018. I live and work in Oakland and have found that getting on waitliists and or sending in an deposit now are not only recommended by required for day cares. For cost, most run around $1700-1800/month for M-F full-time. I haven't explore nannies and or nanny shares as it seems nanny  share timelines run later than day care timelines in terms of signing up or organizing. 

I'd love to hear any other feedback from veteran parents. 

These responses are so incredible!! I really appreciate you all for sending these great notes and invaluable advice. I'll share with hubby! So far he thinks a nanny share would be easier as well during the early months as most of you have mentioned. Big hugs. Thank you!!