How to Find Childcare for an Infant

Parent Q&A

Planning for newborn childcare during Covid 19 shelter-in-place Apr 4, 2020 (2 responses below)
Infant daycare advice Feb 9, 2020 (7 responses below)
Help/advice for infant daycare Dec 6, 2019 (10 responses below)
Seeking a daycare for a baby January Oct 15, 2019 (2 responses below)
How to find occasional babysitting for an infant? Sep 22, 2019 (3 responses below)
Daycare Opening for Infant this October May 15, 2019 (1 responses below)
Finding affordable infant day care in Berkeley May 5, 2019 (8 responses below)
Childcare ideas for 2.5 year old and 3 month old together Nov 21, 2018 (1 responses below)
Recommendations for infant day care in Oakland or Berkeley? Sep 6, 2018 (3 responses below)
Waiting Lists for Day Cares that take Infants? Jun 25, 2018 (7 responses below)
Advice on childcare with toddler and baby #2 Jun 1, 2018 (3 responses below)
Having trouble finding a daycare for our infant May 31, 2018 (4 responses below)
Baby Due May 2018 - First Steps for Infant Care Sep 22, 2017 (8 responses below)
Waitlist experience for daycares Dec 1, 2016 (3 responses below)
Childcare Options in Oakland for babies Aug 4, 2016 (2 responses below)
  • I am giving birth this week to my first child and have not secured childcare.  Originally, my husband and I were going to start looking in March and take our time through the process.  I'm an educator and my husband is self-employed so we have some flexibility, and were hoping to secure something by July.  With Covid 19 and California's shelter-in-place order I'm not quite sure how to navigate this at all.  We are mostly interested in a nanny share.  Thanks for any insights!

    My experience with both my children (5 and 10 mos) was that things fell into place with a nanny share about 6 weeks or so before we needed care. It can feel like you're cutting it too close but families and nannies often aren't looking before then so it can be hard to find something much earlier. So if you're hoping for care in July, you can at least wait it out for another month or so to see where we are with the epidemic and stay-at-home orders. 

    There is no reason you can't reach out and start talking to families who might be posting about nanny shares now. You don't typically meet in person until you think you're a match anyhow, so if you see a posting that seems promising, reach out, say hello, start a convo and meet up later. Also agree that you don't need as much lead time for nanny shares as you do with daycares, so 4-6 weeks is a good window. 

  • Infant daycare advice

    (7 replies)

    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! 

    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. 

  • Help/advice for infant daycare

    (10 replies)

    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.

    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.  https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/recommend/preschool/kunga-daycare.  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] yahoo.com.mx

    Good luck! 

  • Seeking a daycare for a baby January

    (2 replies)

    Hi BPN! Our daughter will be 6 months old in January and I'm starting to panic that there are almost no infant spots available in daycares.  I know about the nannyshare option but for several reasons we prefer a daycare.  Does anyone have advice? I've made lots of calls and gone on some visits, but nothing has worked out yet.  We live near Piedmont Ave./Rose Garden and location is important for us.  Thank you in advanced from a stressed out mama!

    ~Claire

    I live in the same neighborhood as you and the only daycare we even got on the wait-list for was SmallTrans Depot (I would have taken him there on the 33 and then barted to work). Since it's one of the bigger day care facilities, it's worth putting your name on the list. We had already found a nannyshare by the time they called to let us know they had a spot for us, but maybe it will work out for you. I remember how worried this all made me and one thing that did help was an older mom telling me that every childcare situation she ever had revealed itself at the last minutes. It's not comfortable if you're a planner (I am!) but it seems to be how things are. Best of luck! You probably already know this, but Bananas has a home daycare search. I remember that I had found a couple that were within blocks of the Rose Garden. Again, none of them had openings when I called, but things change frequently and people move.

    Same experience as the previous poster--we also live in the same area. There are unfortunately far fewer family daycares in the neighborhood than there used to be--three actually closed while we were on their waiting lists!--and almost no centers with infant programs nearby. I'd keep calling and visiting family daycares (if you don't have a list, check with Bananas)--typically they won't have much notice of their open spots and timing is everything. Depending on how far you're willing to go, there are also infant centers in Emeryville and South Berkeley that you might consider. We ended up with nannyshares for both kids, despite starting the search months in advance for the second child. However, part of that was because we prioritized location--we did find open spots in Downtown Berkeley and East Oakland, for instance, but because we work in Downtown Oakland/SF and rely on transit, decided that was going to be too challenging logistically for our family to add in those commutes. I don't know what the going rates are today, but when we were looking, the cost difference between a nannyshare (paid over-the-table) and a daycare center was pretty minimal for full-time care. Home daycares were generally less expensive.

  • Howdy,

    New dad here with a six week old. I've been on parental leave, but am going back to work in a week and thinking about ways to make sure my partner is supported / we get time for us every now and then. Is babysitting / daycare for infants this young something that people do, and if so, anything I should keep in mind when planning this? For example, I'm considering hiring someone for a few hours every other week for a date night.

    Recommendations, tips?  I live in Richmond.

    Thanks!

    I do not recommend daycare’s but possibly having a nanny with regular hours who specialize in infant care. Keep in mind this is the bay area and it is not cheap to find an experienced nanny. 
    Make sure that  they are trustline Certified with infant CPR training. 
     

    hi there! I think for a baby that young you may be better off hiring a doula or night nurse - something with experience caring for that particular age group. Let me know if you need any recommendations!

    It's definitely something that postpartum doulas do. I recommend reaching out to Michi Arguedas of Quetzal Doula. She was my birth and postpartum doula and supported me many months after the birth. She's also part of a doula collective so if she can't help you, she can probably refer you to someone who can. 

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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. 

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!!! 

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

 

When to look for infant daycare

Sept 2005

I will be seeking daycare for my then to be 3-month old in January, preferably in the Oakland/Rockridge area. Does anyone have any recommendations for childcare centers that take infants, or thoughts about when I need to start interviewing or putting his name on waitlists? Thanks very much! rrmom



You mentioned that you need childcare for your infant who will be 3 months old starting in January. You'll find only a small percentage of daycare centers (or at-home daycares) take infants. You can go to Bananas to get a list of those that take infants according to geographic location -- I urge you to call and tour them NOW because the demand for infant spaces is high and there is very often a waiting list (especially at the good ones), and you will want your name on the waiting list many months ahead of time. There is no penalty for being on the waiting list although some will ask for a small deposit. If your name comes up and you don't need the spot yet, it gets moved to the top of next month's list.

If you are interested in hiring a nanny, you can start now casually by scanning the BPN Childcare Digest to get a sense of what others are looking for to help you think about about what really matters to you. Then come up with a job description and figure out what you are willing to pay, vacation/holiday policies, etc. I wouldn't start your actual search just yet because people who are available now are looking to start work as soon as possible. We found starting the nanny search in earnest about 2 months before you need care works well. Especially since late December is holiday madness, if you start in early November you should be able to to have a hire by mid-December to start in January with a little buffer time built in. Start in late Oct/early Nov by posting on the BPN childcare digest and contacting potential nannies who post there and see where it leads you. Count on taking a few weeks to interview candidates. Then, you can set up a few days of paid ''training'' before you start work so you can train your nanny and make sure it's going to work out.

Another tip-- if you know of any friends in moms' groups, especially mothers of toddlers, get the word out now that you're looking for a nanny starting in January--- even if they or their friends have a great nanny now, they may be starting their toddler children in pre-school or daycare in January and will be letting their fabulous nanny go. Best of luck! debC



Hi! Bananas has a great workshop on choosing childcare that I found really helpful in answering this (and many other) questions. I noticed their next one is coming up on October 12th. It's free and they'll help you get started looking through their ''database''. I was a serious procrastinator when it came to looking for childcare. I went to this class when my baby was about a month old. If I recall correctly, though, they recommended that we start intensively looking for care about 1-2 months before we needed it since a lot of daycares don't know about openings much farther in advanced. Good luck! Sofia



It has been my experience that many quality childcare centers in the East Bay that accept infants have very long waitlists. Some waitlists take months (even a year!) to clear. If you are looking for childcare in January, I would begin looking immediately. anon



You need to start looking into daycare as soon as possible. I highly recommend AOCS in Oakland (on Brookdale off Fruitvale). It is the only accredited child care center in Oakland and is truly an amazing, special place -- low child- teacher ratios; low teacher turnover and teachers/caregivers who have been there for years and years, and aloving, caring philosophy based on treating each child as an individual and respecting each child's unique needs.



I'm also new at this and will be looking for infant care for my son who will be 4 months old when I go back to work in January 2006. I've signed up for a session at Bananas (the local child care resource and referral agency) on how to choose infant care, scheduled for October 12 from 10 am - 12 pm; you might want to check out this session.



I didn't see the original message, just the responses, so I don't know if there's a particular type of infant care you prefer -- day care center vs. home day care vs. nanny (shared or not). The question of when you should look is highly dependent on what type of care you want. I've heard that if you want a day care center, you need to look many months in advance, i.e. pretty much as soon as you know you're pregnant (of course, that advice doesn't help us adoptive parents much!). I called one day care center about 4 months before I would have needed care, and was told it was full. Other than that, I focused on nanny shares or home day cares.

I started looking into nanny shares about 4 months before I needed care and found this was way too *early*. Most nanny shares offered seem to be for immediate openings or one that is coming up in the next month or two -- if you call about a nanny share now, they may not be willing to wait till January to fill the space. Based on my experience, I'd say that 1-2 months in advance is plenty of time to join an already existing nanny share -- if you're planning to hire a nanny yourself, shared or not, I still wouldn't do it much more than 2-3 months in advance (see the BPN Childcare Digest - most nannies who are looking for a job are hoping to start ASAP).

I eventually decided that I couldn't afford a nanny share, and looked at home day cares, a mere one month -- or less -- from when I was going to need care. I found several with openings (through BPN or Bananas) and eventually chose an absolutely wonderful family day care just 3 weeks before I needed care.

I think a lot of home day cares don't know more than 1-2 months in advance when they'll have openings. I have a good friend who runs a family day care, and I know that's the case with her (she had one woman who called her when she was just 4.5 *weeks* pregnant -- the woman was upset when my friend told her it was too early for her to be looking).

So, based on my experience, I'd say that 1-2 months is plenty for a nanny share or home day care situation. You only need to start as early as possible if you want your child to go to a day care center. Of course, the experience of others may be different, but that's mine.

Good luck! Diane


1999

I found that I needed to have started looking about 1 month before I did. That means, to find adequate infant daycare in Berkeley, you need to start looking TWO months in advance (rather than one, as I had previously heard recommended). Several of the centers I called did not have openings for the next month, but did have some for two months ahead. (This makes it really hard to judge what sort of child you'll have by the time you need care, since a 1-month old can be quite unlike the same child at 3 mos!) I ended up cobbling together care for May (a friend, and my mom), and took a center slot for June.

I also looked into creating a nanny-share arrangement with another woman, though we both decided against it, due to cost. You can list your requirements with Bananas, and hope that people will call.

Also, one should call the places that Bananas has listed, even if the card says they're full. Openings seem to come and go much more rapidly than they update the cards. Dawn