How to Find Childcare for an Infant

Parent Q&A

  • Daycare Opening for Infant this October

    (1 reply)

    Hi,

    Our baby girl will be 3 months old in early October and we haven't had much luck finding a daycare that is close to home, either home-based one or daycare/preschool is good- as long as it is in the north or west of the lake so we can easily drop her off on the way to work in SF. 

    What we find is that a lot of them simply don't return voice message or email or have no opening this October. I am about to put all of them on excel and religiously call them on a daily basis... Well, I guess I will have to! 

    Meanwhile, if you know any daycare that you can recommend have an opening for our 3 month-year-old girls Please do let me know! 

    *The only requirement is that it will need to be in the north of the lake. 

    Tanya 

    When I was looking for a home daycare I had  to make an excel sheet and call a bunch of places multiple times.  Also, they often don't know if they will have openings or not until very close to the date because parents don't tell them with much notice that they are leaving (a note to all of us in home day cares to give our caretakers plenty of notice!).  I loved our home day care, but it was in East Oakland so not helpful for your requirements sorry.  But yes, make a spreadsheet, call a ton, and eventually you will find something.

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  • Finding affordable infant day care in Berkeley

    (8 replies)

    Hello!

    I'm currently about 5 months pregnant and our baby is expected mid to late Sept 2019.  I expect to go back to work about 4-5 months after the baby is born, so I want to start reaching out to day cares.  I guess that means we need day care sometime around Jan or Feb 2020.  I work in N. Berkeley near 4th St shops, so something close to work would be ideal.  We also are on a budget, so... the more affordable, the better.

    I've seen a lot of posts about this topic, but I'm still a bit confused and overwhelmed about where to start.  I tried the BANANAS Bunch website and got exactly ZERO results when I tried to search for day cares.  I realize I may need to get on a waiting list at some day cares... but I would rather not just rely on Yelp, and many of the day cares I have found don't accept infants.  So, I'm just wondering 1) does anyone has specific recommendations for childcare centers and 2) is there any where I could get a list of day cares in Berkeley that accept infants (and are well rated)?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!

    BANANAS is the right place to go for a list, and there are a ton in Berkeley, so my guess is that something just wasn't working if you were pulling up zero. Call them (or go in person) and ask for help in setting up the search--once successful, it will give you a comprehensive list of all the licensed daycares in your area. There are also some larger centers near 4th Street--Child Education Center and Bright Horizons at Bayer--if a center might work.

    https://winnie.com/ also has a good database that helped me a lot when I was looking! Good luck! 

    I tried searching for full time infant care in Berkeley and gave up! I found several good options in Albany, all cost less than the ones I was finding in Berkeley. The cheaper ones are popular and you might have to get on a waiting list or call back when they have an opening (You call and ask to get that info). On BANANAS I got more results the fewer filters I had because some places don't put in all the info and they might be filtering some out for you. If you are flexible on pick up and drop off times leave that blank. Good luck!

    Bananas mostly lists in Oakland, although there are a few in Berkeley listed.  Have you tried searching the BPN database?  There are TONS of day cares listed on this website all over.  When I was searching for care, I made a spreadsheet of each school and made note of who I had called.  I probably had to call 50 or so places to find a spot.  Also, for home day cares, they often don't book that far out, because they don't know who is staying until when.  So they will often tell you to call back a month or so in advance only.  If looking at home day cares, be prepared to leave a lot of messages that don't get returned (hence me keeping track so I knew which ones I had called or not).  Good luck!

    I've used BANANAS but found the search feature here on Berkeley Parents Network much more useful, because you'll find reviews as well. The trick for me was to look under "Childcare & Preschools" > "Search Daycares & Preschools" NOT the one "with Current Openings." Especially in your case, where you're looking for something in several m months. The search feature allows you to enter the age of the child at the time you'll want to start them, so it'll narrow it down to ones that take infants. When I did this search, I looked in Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville, then only contacted the daycares in the zipcodes most desirable to me. I emailed ALL of them (it didn't take very long), and out of the few that emailed back, I ended finding a good option.

    Good luck.

    To add to what others have said, this site (Berkeley Parents Network) has a huge list of daycares in the Berkeley area... It is how we found ours! Just go to the top of the page under "Childcare and Preschools" and select "search daycares and preschools".  You can then search by age (in months) for places that accept infants, and then subselect cities near you (e.g., Berkeley, Albany). It is also helpful because there are links to the License numbers so you can be sure that they are licensed and have regular checkups.

    It is really tough, I agree! Bananas can be helpful, but they do often have individual care givers and in-home caregivers. When my daughter was 2 months old, I did a general search online for daycares in Berkeley, then I went through and figured out which ones take infants by calling or looking online (some start at 3 months, some at 6 months, etc.), then I took that list and started calling to get a tour, then I got on the waitlist for the 3 that I thought would work for me.

    I could not get into a daycare by the time I went back to work despite being on the lists already, so I used a nanny at first and transitioned to a daycare after 3 months. Word to the wise, if you want to get into a place, get on the waitlist, be friendly (I'm sure you will be fine on this point!), and keep in contact. If they have an opening and they know you are available within a couple of weeks, they may offer you a spot more easily!

    FYI, Cornerstone, CEC, Heartsleap, Turquoise Wonderschool (actually many of the wonderschools), all take infants and are in Berkeley.

    Try calling Bananas. I'm due a month after you, and also looking for care. I couldn't find anything on the bananas website, but they were helpful when I called. They said they do updates on openings every three months, so they don't have up to date info on openings so far out. However, they can give you a list of places that match your criteria without taking openings into account so you can get on wait lists. The list will show hours, prices, location and number of spaces for infants, so it's very easy to comb through. (My understanding, so far, though I'm only a few weeks into looking, is that the centers already have wait lists, and it's good to get on them, and home daycares and nanny may or may not know their openings yet. But I could be very wrong).

    Good luck.

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  • Childcare ideas for 2.5 year old and 3 month old together

    (1 reply)

    We would like to know how other people handle this. We have a 18 month old and are starting to “look” for another one (IVF). If things work out we will have a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old in December. Our boy is in a nanny share and we plan to start preschool when he is 3.5 (Fall 2020). 

    So, for a year we will have the 2.5 year old and the baby at home. We would like for our boy to continue in a nannyshare so he has at least one other kid his age, but we also want him to spend time with his baby sibling. So that means a nanny share for 3 kids with 2 toddlers and a baby. Our nanny says that she is ok with that, but I am curious as to how other people have dealt with having 2 children of these ages and keeping them at home. 

    Thanks

    It was quite simple for us. My kids are almost exactly two years apart. We continued with our nanny through preschool. It was great to have her especially when my youngest was just born. She kept big brother occupied and entertained during the day while we were busy with the newborn. When I went back to work, she watched both kids. When it was time for my oldest to start preschool, she continued to watch my youngest full-time. My oldest only did a half day at preschool so my nanny would pick him up after school and then watch both kids until I came home. There was more than adequate time for sibling bonding time.

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  • Recommendations for infant day care in Oakland or Berkeley?

    (3 replies)

    My husband and I just had our first child, and we are seeking a nanny or nanny share for when we're working part time November and December. However, in January we will both be working full time again and we are concerned that the costs of having a full time nanny will be prohibitive. So we're looking into other options, and have had a VERY hard time finding any day cares/ preschools etc. that accept infants. Our daughter will be 6 months old when we need full time care. Any advice or recommendations are welcome!

    [Moderator Note] This is a popular topic lately - see recent replies to this question on the BPN website: How to find childcare for an infant

    Our son started at Cornerstone in Berkeley when he was about 3 months. We were very happy there, but moved him at 18 months to something closer to home.

    We do a home-based daycare - full time for one child is 1400/per month - it works out to about $7/8 hour. We live in Oakland BTW - I would recommend our place but they are currently full and not taking a waitlist. 

    Hi Willow,

    My name is Rebecca and I'm a first time mom as well. Congrats! We are looking for childcare around the same time and amount (part time and then potentially full time) so I wanted to respond and see if we could talk sometime. Maybe there is nanny share potential in our future. Send me a note via my BPN username if you want to talk.

    looking forward to it!

    Rebecca

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  • Waiting Lists for Day Cares that take Infants?

    (7 replies)

    I just found out I am pregnant. I'm due at the end of February 2019.  I'll have 6 months maternity leave, but after that, I'll need a daycare for my baby.  What is the average waitlist time for infant day care? I'm wondering if it is really necessary to go on wait lists now! For context, my husband and I are currently living in DC, but moving at the end of August to Berkeley.  Any advice would be much appreciated!

    My experience is that it is difficult to get infant day care spots in Berkeley. Especially at daycares that are not in-home day cares. With kid #3 I learned my lesson and put her on a list somewhere when I was 3 months pregnant to start when she was 6 months old. We weren't even the first people on the list. While I am sure you could find a spot somewhere, if you have a particular place you are interested in or location limitation (e.g. need a place near BART), then I would consider getting on lists now. There are some places that take infants and then preschool afterwards. So, you would only need to apply once. Try looking at the Model School if you're more into Montessori-style or the Aquatic Park School if you're more into Reggio-style. 

    If you’re looking at daycare centers (as opposed to home-based), my experience in the Berkeley/Albany area is about a year waitlist for infant spots. Centers that take infants are limited (private message me for a list I went through), and each one usually only takes a few infants due to the required staff:child ratio for the littlest ones. I wish I’d started the process earlier so good you’re thinking of it now! Keep in mind most have a fee ($50-$100) to be on the waitlist. I don’t know much about the smaller home-based options but there are a ton - see BPN’s list. 

    Hi,

    Berkeley is not as crazy as DC (or SF for that matter), but it’s good to get on waitlist proactively.  I just had a baby in April and started looking for care in October/ November starting last December through February. That seemed plenty early for the places I went. I did not check out UC Berkeley daycare because it wasn’t convenient for me and I had an expectation that it would be hard to get into as a non faculty or staff member. That would be the one I’d try for now if you have an interest. You can safely wait until you arrive and settle a bit for most of them based on the timeline you’re describing.  Send me a message if you’d like more info. I can share my daycare search experience. 

    Well first, congratulations!

    You will probably get a lot of conflicting information on this one, but I'll just give a little advice based on my recent experience trying to find daycare for my now 2 month old. The typical advice that people gave us was to get on an infant care list as soon as you find out you are pregnant, especially if there is a particular daycare that you want.  However, this is often impractical, especially from a distance.  Our baby was born in April, and we started sending out emails and calling places in January, about starting daycare in August (so about 4 months before she was born, 8 months before daycare). We got zero replies.

    We then decided to go the Nanny share route and stopped looking at daycares. However, a week after our baby was born, we changed our minds again and decided that the Nanny share route was a bit too expensive, and frantically tried to find daycares again.  At this point we thought that we really screwed up, because we contacted tons of daycares, and most of them either did not reply, or replied saying that they were waitlisted until spring 2019.

    It wasn't until she was about 1 month old (3 months before daycare to start), that we started getting positive replies.  At this point, daycares had new openings because an infant's parents would notify the daycare about a move, or a 2 year old would transition to a preschool or something. It seemed like most of the daycares that did not respond previously simply did not know when there would be an opening, and they wouldn't start a waitlist unless they knew there would be an empty spot soon.

    So, in a nutshell, if you can get on a waitlist, great! But... if your experience is anything like ours you might be filled with stress until the last minute, when suddenly you have multiple options.  

    It might depend on the daycare. I think the bigger standalone daycare centers have official waitlists, and you can try and get on them ASAP. You might have to pay a fee to be on the list. Our daycare is a part of a preschool, and we had to pay an enrollment fee (even if there wasn't a spot for our son, which there was, thankfully). The smaller, in-home daycares often don't have waitlists, and just post openings when they have them. https://bananasbunch.org and BPN are both great resources for finding local daycares.

    For what it's worth, we tried calling around to a bunch of in-home daycares when I was still pregnant, and we had a hard time even getting them to call us back. I don't necessarily fault the daycares for this, their time is limited and there's a lot of demand. We ultimately decided to go with a nanny share option for when I went back to work. It was a lot easier to find a share (we found it here on BPN), and the rates can be similar to some daycares. Then, after about 5 months in the share, we started poking around in the daycare search again, and got lucky and got a spot. Good luck in your search!

    It totally depends. Centers will typically require more lead time, in-home day care typically less. What I did for my searches was basically as soon as I knew there was a need & when, I narrowed down a list of good options based on location, hours and reviews if I could find them. (Check out Bananas https://bananasbunch.org/) I then simply called those and said when I was looking for & asked when they suggested I call back to get on a list, or more seriously engage with them. You are likely way too early for most places, but they may tell you to call back 4/6 months or a year ahead of time to at least check in & start to think about touring etc. Plus, you never know - maybe your ideal place really does have a crazy long list & wants to hear from you now. Doesn't hurt to find out. 

    That being said, do you know exactly where in Berkeley you will be living? If not, you may want to wait until you figure that out and can narrow things down more. You don't want to be driving all over the place twice a day, & Berkeley is fairly large. It will likely not hurt to wait until you are settled here to start this whole process. 

    Thanks, all for your advice! I really appreciate it.

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  • Advice on childcare with toddler and baby #2

    (3 replies)

    Hi BPN folks,

    I’m looking for different options for childcare for siblings close in age down the line, as we are expecting baby #2 when our son will be 19 months. We are both full-time working parents. I don’t have maternity leave for when #2 arrives, but I may have some mother-in-law help plus a few weeks of disability leave. However, my MIL is also in her late 70s, (completely ambulatory but still).

    Cost is definitely a consideration, so hiring a full-time nanny for 2 kids is likely not be affordable for us. However, I’m not ruling anything out at the moment. I also have my own parents who could help out, but they are still 6 hours away so it would not be a full-time thing. I am less concerned about the immediate post-delivery time (since I do think I’ll have a few weeks disability), but more concerned about long run when I’m back at work full swing. Another additional piece to the puzzle is that my MIL will in fact be staying with us long-term, which actually complicates it because while she is willing to help, we can’t expect her to be the full-time caregiver (she doesn’t have a license either, and we will be applying for a green card for her, so she is really not assimilated here). So I also don’t know what a good balance might be because I know she will want to have some part in taking care of the grandkids, but I need to find a solution that would probably be part-time preschool for toddler, part-time infant care, and part-time let-grandma-have-a-role-as-well. Thoughts/suggestions welcome! Thanks.

    An au pair, if you have a spare bedroom.

    Infant care, at a childcare center, tends to be the most expensive, and has longest waitlists. Get on them ASAP  I would get the toddler into care at a local center if you can.  And when you can, start getting the infant a few days a week at the same center, if possible, as well.  Let the MIL help a few days, but yes, in her late 70s, it will be challenging to fully rely on her.  Good luck.

    You should visit a few home-based family daycares in your neighborhood.  They might offer more flexibility in terms of hours, and they are an affordable option when you have two young children, compared to the cost of a larger childcare center or a nanny.  They are great for very young children with their home-like setting, and many daycares also have preschool programs for older kids. Another option you could consider is planning for you or your husband to reduce work hours temporarily for a few years, so you can patch together childcare until the kids start preschool and/or kindergarten. It can be an opportunity to rethink your long-term career goals, too. When my 2nd child was born and daycare for two kids basically consumed all of my paycheck, I decided to go back to school and get a graduate degree. I qualified for grants and loans, I found a part-time office job, and I could arrange my schedule around my kids, unlike when I was working full time. By the time the youngest started elementary school I had a new career path that considerably raised my earning potential over what it was before. Not for everyone, but it worked for me!

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  • Having trouble finding a daycare for our infant

    (4 replies)

    We had originally planned to have a family member watch our infant, but due to last minute circumstances, those plans did not work out. I am due in 3 weeks and trying to secure a spot at a daycare around the Albany/Berkeley/El Cerrito area, starting October 1st. I've emailed and left several voicemails at various locations , without receiving any responses. Is this typical? Am I too late in the game? Any other recommendations for finding care by that date? Thanks in advance!

    Daycare centers in the area have waiting lists of 8-18 months. (I called in May and the earliest I found was Spring 2019.) Infant care is difficult because the staff to baby ratio has to be so low (I think 3:1 or 4:1) so there are only a few spots at any given location.  It usually costs $50-$100 to get on wait lists. Home-based daycare is likely your best bet for short notice. BPN is a great resource - lots of options, most of which have a few reviews, and you can always look up their licenses on the Dept of Social Services for inspection reports and violations. You can search by minimum age, location, etc.

    Contact Ligia Alvarez at Little Blue House Preschool on Arlington in Richmond. I don't know if she has openings or not. She only takes 14 kids at a time and only a few can be infants. Her whole family is wonderful. Our son thrived there (after failing at a bigger, fancier preschool in El Cerrito). 

    (510) 234-8332

    5834 Arlington Blvd
    Richmond, CA 94805

    I've been looking at places for March 2019, and have had a similar experience so I would consider it typical. Some places I've contacted up to 4 times before receiving a response. Other resources to find places (besides BPN, which is amazing) are Yelp, and Bananas https://bananasbunch.org/ . BPN frequently has nanny share openings posted too. Good luck in your search, I know it is stressful but I am sure you will find something soon!

    Hi! There is hope. I’m in a similar situation, looking for September openings. I’m very close to securing something using these 3 sources- BPN (see Preschools & Daycares with Current Openings), Yelp (not so much for openings but for reviews), Nextdoor (actually great for lesser known/reviewed daycares). I HIGHLY recommend, after you have a list, to go on CA Social Services (https://secure.dss.ca.gov/CareFacilitySearch/Search/ChildCare)to look up the inspections and reports for those daycares.

    I maybe called 7 places, heard back from 3 or 4. So I’m batting 50/50. My other piece of advice is- don’t judge a place by its website. Do the homework wth the Social Services thing. I had some daycares that had crappy websites, but good reviews and clean inspections. I visited them and were totally ok with them. Hope that helps! Feel free to PM me if you want to know which places I looked at- I was looking from Richmond down to Albany so similar to you. Good luck!

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  • Baby Due May 2018 - First Steps for Infant Care

    (8 replies)

    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

    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!). 

    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!!! 

    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!

    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. 

    Hi!

    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!!

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  • Waitlist experience for daycares

    (3 replies)

    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?

    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.

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  • Childcare Options in Oakland for babies

    (2 replies)

    Hi all,

    My husband and I are soon to be first time parents, and we live/work in downtown Oakland. We are on the fence about doing a nanny share or daycare, but curious what other parent recommend for childcare options near downtown/Lake Merritt or Rockridge/Temescal areas. I don't even know where to start! Our due date is 12/28/16 and we would be looking for care beginning June/July 2017. Would love any tips or thoughts, especially if we need to be getting on a wait list soon! Also, if any other expecting moms would be interested in meeting up to talk about nanny share options I would definitely be open to that.

    Thanks!

    Hi!

    Congratulations on the first baby! My husband and I are also having our first, a little boy, with due date 12/21/16. We live in Adams Point, so just two blocks north of the lake. We're also thinking about daycare or nanny share. I'd like to meet up to chat about some options and see if our plans might be a good fit.

    Best,

    Melissa

    Congrats on your first child! Start here - at BPN - to search for childcare. Comb through the listings and think about what kind of situation you want. We had our first kiddo in 2012 and lived in downtown Oakland, and the number of options at that time was very, very small in the immediate neighborhood. Nothing close enough to walk to. Nanny share was not on the table for us due to cost, but we did tour some in-home daycares, mostly on the north sided of the lake, and there were some nice ones. We ended up going with a daycare center in South Berkeley that was just a mile or two past my office, and loved it.

    If you're not looking for care until June or July, I don't think I'd worry too much about wait lists until the new year. Go ahead and tour to get an idea of what you like, if you have the time now, then ask your preferred location about when they do wait lists, and how early you can get on it. Nannies are generally not interviewing more than a month or two out from when the job would start, often even less.

    Good luck!

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Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions

Finding infant childcare in Alameda

May 2014

We are planning to move to Alameda in the next 6 mos. I am pregnant and due at the end of the summer. We are looking for center-based infant care beginning January 2015. I am surprised by the limited options in Alameda--from my research it seems there are only 3 infant centers on the main island (Small Size, Jumpstart, and Peter Pan). I also cannot find much about these online (yet they are all full with long wtg lists!). We would appreciate any information, feedback, or experiences you can share regarding infant care at these centers. Many thanks! confused in alameda


I would suggest posting your question to the Alameda Parents Yahoo Group, which has 5,000-members. BPN doesn't tend to have so many Alamedans on the list. You may even find out providers that have openings. My child is school-age, but I would tell you that there are a lot of families moving into Alameda, so daycare has become tight. Back in the day, we went with a licensed home day care - we still keep up with our caregiver, and she is completely full these days. Anyway, to find a space you shouldn't limit your options - there are definitely home-based care providers who are licensed on the island. If you haven't already, you should contact Bananas in Oakland, a non-profit subsidized by the county that has lists of all licensed providers and also has workshops/literature on choosing a provider. Good luck in your search! Alameda parent 


Day care for infant - options, waiting lists

Feb 2007

I am 7 months pregnant with my first child, and taking 5 months off. I will be looking for daycare part-time (3 days a week) in August or Sept. I would appreciate tips for finding day care and sugegstions. I am currently looking at family day care, day care centers, au pairs, and other options. How many family day cares and day care centers should I wait list for? Some day care centers are requiring a deposit (non refundable) for the application to be on the wait-list. It's a bit overwhelming. Thanks, Anon


bananas is a great resource. their website is on line but you need to call or go in for specific info. my advice - i had my son in a daycare facility at 7 months for one month. he hated it. the 1:3 or 1:4 ratio is too many infants for one person. keep in mind what they need at this age is love and a few trips to the park. i put my son in a nanny share after the daycare and it was the best thing i could have done. loving nanny and a buddy to play with and go to the park with. i am doing the same for my second. beth


This is probably a question that many face and the options can be daunting. For neither of my two kids I started looking before they were actually there, although I had to return to work much earlier (at 2 and 3 months, resp) than you. Mainly, do your homework now regarding your options: what would you like and what can you afford. Bananas can help with this. My pediatrician recommended starting them in a group as small as possible to cut down on the infections, but we definitely were not able to afford a private nanny, and even a nanny share turned out to be on the expensive end for us. I liked home daycares best, and have found great options for both kids (different situations) that were very small-scale (1-2 kids!) with openings on 2-6 weeks notice. Both kids then transferred to a place with more kids (12 max) when they were just afer 1 year old. Probably if you want to do a center, you will need to sign up for waiting lists, but my daycares don't even really keep waiting lists, they just have openings or not. Kids will suddenly leave, for whatever reason, and there is constant turnover in those places. You will need to do a fair amount of interviewing, and then you'll get the feeling for which situation is right for you and your child. Good luck. Kitty