How soon to sign up for daycare?

My husband and I are expecting and due with baby boy in June 2021. We are wondering how soon we need to apply for daycares in the area? We are hoping to find one in North Berkeley/Albany area and have seen past posts that say waitlists can be a year long. Also, any recommendations for daycares you liked in this area? Thanks!

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We live in Albany, I'm mom to a 2 year old. I started reaching out to local in-home daycares once I was out of my first trimester. Some daycares immediately said they didn't have spots available, but most I visited weren't sure what availability they would have until the time got closer. It was useful to start talking to daycare providers to get a sense of what was important to us, and to get on their radar. Once my daughter was born we reconnected with our favorite places and had a few options without our favorite places. Good luck!

Don't know of any in your area, but I'd suggest applying now. If you want to do a nanny/nanny share you're good to start looking a couple of months before you need care. But it is NEVER too early to apply to daycares. Many, many, daycares. The good news is that Covid has caused a lot of people rethink daycares, so it might be easier, but we applied to 3 before our kid was born and didn't get into any until he was 8 months old. 


Our son started daycare Feb 1st 2021 (at 4.5 months old).

We signed up in July 2020, so about 7 months prior to starting.

We chose an in-home daycare in Albany with one caretaker (+ some part time helpers), so only four children under 2-years old are allowed.  We had to commit early, because the caretaker has to coordinate around the restrictions.  

The pandemic seemed initially like it changed things and there were lots of openings at one point. Now there seem to be less openings. My son's daycare (Tiny Footprints) is booked through 2021! I would start looking and applying now. 

I don't want to cause any anxiety, but the sooner the better! I signed up for various daycares when I was 4 months pregnant and didn't get off a waitlist until my son was shy of one year old. It's pretty crazy. Perhaps with COVID now there is less demand for childcare, with people wanting to keep kids home. I would try to get on as many as you can. Probably tough now to not be able to visit in person and get a sense of the place, but from BPN you can likely find a lot of great recommendations and information from previous posts. Good luck!