Help/advice for infant daycare

Hello BPN,

We are seeking daycare for our infant beginning mid-January 2020 or possibly in Feb 2020 sometime.  Our daughter will be about 5 months old at that time, and we're located in Albany.  I've been writing and calling day-cares since I was about 5 months pregnant, and literally have not had a SINGLE positive response of a daycare with an infant opening.  I've contacted probably at least 20 day-cares, and I've found that many don't even reply or call back.  Of the ones that have responded, they've all told me they don't have space for at least a year.  I kept telling myself something would work out eventually, but I'm starting to panic as we go into the holidays. We know about nanny-share options, but we looked into one nanny share seriously, and it was just simply not doable for us financially.  We might be willing to revisit that idea if the cost were a little closer to daycare costs.

Does anyone have any advice?  Are there any resources we can lean on (government, non-profit, etc)?  We're looking for something ideally in Albany/North Berkeley/El Cerrito area.   I've been using BPN listings and Bananas website so far.  I really don't know what I'm supposed to do at the end of my maternity leave if we haven't found childcare.  We cannot afford for me to lose my job.

Thanks very much.

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

I had same issue and had to expand my search area. I finally found a home daycare in Richmond called Melody’s Pond. She may still have an infant opening as she was only accepting infants at this time. Hope you find something soon

Not sure if its too far to travel, but Kunga Daycare is absolutely fabulous and worth checking with for openings.  Tseyang and Dahlwah are loving, kind, and thoughtful caregivers and you'll absolutely be happy there.   

Hi there,

I believe that my daughters daycare has one spot available for an infant. It's a wonderful Spanish-speaking home based daycare on Berkeley, on the corner of Oregon & MLK. Not sure if you've already tried them, but I suggest reaching out to Berenice Romero at rombere [at]

Good luck! 

I'm in a similar boat, but at the start of the process. I'm 5 months pregnant and I've been contacting day cares since I was 3 months pregnant. I'll be following this thread. 

I sympathize with the stress you're going through. There's a shortage of infant daycare slots. You've probably heard that family based daycare centers usually don't know about upcoming openings more than 2-4 weeks in advance, and they don't return calls just to say there's no opening. If they're telling you no vacancy for a year, that's likely based on the time it will take for their existing infants to age out of the infant slot. But families do switch in and out of daycares, so it's worth calling them again as January draws closer.

Also, you might need to cope with the cost of nanny share for 6-8 months until you can get into a lower cost daycare situation. Nanny shares are comparable to quality center-based care in terms of costs, though higher than family based daycare costs.

Hey, My friend who works at a (not local) preschool said you that if you are on a waiting list, you have to keep checking in with the schools monthly to keep on their radar. If parents don't check in then they figure they are no longer interested. Also, you should talk to them to see what their first type of availability might be to get your foot in the door, then you'll probably have higher priority when a FT spot opens. For example, I am looking for a FT position, but they said if I was flexible, like open to starting 1 or 2 days a week, then when a full-time spot opens up, I'll be ahead of a "new" family on the waiting list because I'm an "existing" family. Hope that makes sense. Good luck to you!


I was in a similar boat. I would recommend checking out listing on Wonderschool (we had great luck on that one). And, obviously, the BPN subpage that lists daycares with current openings for infants. When we had to switch daycares, I would look at that page every day, and when a new one popped up call immediately before the spot was gone. We also did a hodgepog solution at the beginning, where we found 3 days a week at a wonderschool, and then did 2 days a week with a nannyshare until a full time spot opened up with a daycare. 

Good luck! It's nuts out there.

Hi There,

I was in a similar position when on maternity leave and even had a spot in a daycare, but then they had to take the spot back because there was no longer a vacancy (a family ended up not moving away). We have a nanny share and are in love with our nanny. It’s definitely more money than we wanted to spend and decided we will reassess once our baby turns 1, but for now, we are dealing with the finances and are just happy with how well it has worked out and how much our baby loves his nanny. I know this doesn’t solve your problem, but wanted to say hang in there and a nanny share could be a temporary situation until you find something more long term. 

congrats on your little one!

I ended up having to find an in-home close to my office (Marin) because infant childcare is so scarce around here. 

Have you also looked at Wonderschool for leads?

Reliability is key. We went to the Bunny Hutch for two months but had to stop because of the same day cancellations. Yasmeen had constant issues such as a cold, then strep throat, then a toothache, then her mother was sick, then a flu. We ended up going to a nanny share and she has not cancelled even once. Good luck!