Infant daycare advice

Hi all: We recently moved to the East Bay and are now expecting our first child. We are looking for daycare centers with availability for a 3-month-old starting this November, but I am finding that the highly recommended daycares are booked out through winter 2021! What is one to do? Are we simply out of luck for having not planned our pregnancy 2 years in advance? Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, especially since we do not know anybody in the area with young kids who can 'coach' us through this process. Can you recommend how we go about finding a reputable and trustworthy daycare, with availability in the not-so-distant future? We live in Oakland, I work in Berkeley, and my spouse works in Alameda, so we are open to daycare options in all three locations. Much thanks for any insight! 

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RE: Infant daycare advice ()

Hey there - our babe (now toddler!) goes to Granny Goose Daycare in Oakland and we love it. Great food, thoughtful activities (owner used to be a preschool teacher), staff and owner are awesome. It's an affordable and small home based daycare, which felt important since we started daycare when our babe was still pretty young. I've posted about her/them a lot here and can't say it enough - Valerie at Granny Goose daycare is the best! Highly recommend. (she's listed on here and Yelp)

RE: Infant daycare advice ()

Keep a list and keep calling around. I also highly recommend looking into in-home daycares rather than the large centers (which tend to have the longer waits). Many daycares don't know their availability until a few months out (or sometimes only a month out) when parents let them know their child is moving on to preschool, they are moving, etc. My experience was that most daycares did not call back or had very long waits but then I'd call back a month later and things would change. I hated not knowing where my child would be going in advance but it worked out about 1-2 months before I needed care and that is often the case for most of my friends in the area too. 

RE: Infant daycare advice ()

Hi there! My husband and I are expecting our first in May and are looking for a family to do a nanny share with starting in September. We have not gotten on any lists for daycares so I'm starting to get a bit scared about care options too. Had no idea we were so late in the game. Are you open to nanny shares? If so, would love to connect and learn more about what you're looking for too. We live in San Lorenzo, just south of Oakland and not too far from Alameda. 

RE: Infant daycare advice ()

Hi there! Congratulations on expecting!

Our kids started at Chatham Preschool (Redwood Campus) at 16 weeks old and we loved it. Highly recommend checking them out.

Having said that, centers that take infants are few and far between in the Bay Area. Long commutes and demanding jobs make nannies an appealing option to many. Several of my friend have opted for a nanny share until age 2, when the number of spaces in center-based care goes way up.

I suggest reaching out to BANANAS ( which is a state funded org that helps bay area families negotiate this process. They will have a comprehensive list of all the centers that offer infant care in the cities you're considering. This is how we ended up at Chatham! They can also provide insight into the nanny share and in-home care options around town.

RE: Infant daycare advice ()

It's so tough.  Depending on where you are in Berkeley, I can highly recommend Cornerstone Children's Center.  I know the waitlist is closer to 9 months long vs 12-18.  I put us on the list in January coinciding with a tour, and received confirmation in June that we had a spot (my son was born in late April).  Our spot was ready for August 1.  I've had a few other friends have similar waits/experiences there.  It does help at CCC and other places if you can be somewhat flexible - ie - can you accept 4 days/week for a while until the 5th day opens up?  I've had friends work their way in that way, using a nanny share or flexible schedules to cover the days the daycare cannot.  BANANAS has a childcare finding service too, and many friends used it and found smaller, in-home care centers that were a good fit for them, and those places can be trickier to find / secure a spot without the help of a BANANAS-type service.  Good luck!

RE: Infant daycare advice ()

Hi! I am sad to hear this. I can imagine how hard this process has been for your family, because it's the same for us.

We have a 4-month-old and have also been reaching out to countless daycares and don't find anything. I will keep you posted if I do hear something possible.

Good luck!

RE: Infant daycare advice ()

I highly recommend Rana's in home day care in Oakland:

It says 8 months, but I know sometimes she allows for younger babies so it it worth a try.  

Also, as another poster said, many in home day cares don't know their availability until a month or two out, so keep trying.  I made a spreadsheet of about 50 places and had to call several times, but it worked out in the end.