Waitlist experience for daycares

Hello Everyone,

I have a daughter on the way in March and am trying to figure out day care for her when she is 6 months old. I am in the process for signing up for some wait lists in the Berkeley area.  Did I wait too long to sign up, or were people able to find care with less notice?

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We looked for daycare last summer for our 1-year old.  Our experience was that the "institutional" daycares had waitlists, while the home-based daycares were more likely to have spots, just because kids go in and out and you can grab a spot.  If you are flexible about location, just call all the home-based daycares and ask if they have open spots.  We called one place in May, and they said they would have a space in August when we needed.  In fact, home-based daycares may not known about openings this far in advance, so if the ones you are on the waitlist for don't come through, start calling those home-based ones.  My son is very happy in his home-based daycare with a small group and lots of personalized attention.

Go ahead and sign up. I thought it would be nearly impossible to get into the UCB Early Childhood Education Program for my infant, but it turned out they had a couple of open spaces 2 months into the fall term.

There are a handful of childcare centers in the Berkeley area that have waiting lists, but a lot of people (maybe most people) use a nanny or nanny share, or a home-based daycare, for babies that age.  You can usually find a daycare or a nanny within a month or two of when you need care, so don't sweat it. Check BPN's Childcare listing for nannies, and look at daycares on BPN, or visit Bananas for referrals.