FAMILY, LIVING with kids | November 16, 2011

Happy Baby: Will It Be Day Care or a Babysitter?

babysitter daycare

Many questions came to my mind before I took my decision. What would be the best for my baby? What about the development of his social skills? Where can he interact with other kids if he doesn’t go to day care? How much schedule flexibility do I really need? What are the costs associated with each option? Can I find a vacancy at a good day care close to my home?

I experienced the typical guilt and worries of working moms when it’s time to return to work. Ideally, I would like to spend time with my son in the morning and to send him to day care in the afternoon. On the other end, I wonder if kids under 2 years old are not too young to go to day care. I worry that he will not get enough attention from the caregivers if he goes to day care. Many parents that I know sent their kids to daycare around 1 year old. Their kids enjoy it and they are well-adjusted. Maybe that my fear comes from the fact that I never went to day care. I couldn’t decide what to do.

As it turned out, the final decision came from medical reasons. My son’s neonatal pediatrician suggested to delay day care until next spring, if we can. This is a precautionary measure to avoid the flu season. So what would I do? I want to return to work this winter. Babies and toddlers that go at day care benefit from being with other kids and from being outside the house without their parents. And I read that kids who do not attend day care could be more shy around kids. Can he catch up later? To find the answer, I investigated the impact for a baby of not having daily social interactions with kids of his ages.

I wanted a professional opinion. So I asked the occupation therapist who followed my son when he was at the hospital. She reassured me when she told me that developing proper parents-baby relations are what really count up to 1 year old. If he needs to stay away from day care for a little bit longer, say until 2 years old, he should be able to catch up later.

I do not know yet when I will be ready to send him to day care. I just know that he will at some point. In the meantime, I am looking for baby and toddler activities where he can socialize with kids of his age. Who knows, it might be him that tells me when he’ll want to go to day care?

My Conclusion

A part-time babysitter will take care of him for now. After considering all factors, this is what I am the most comfortable with at this point. It’s a smooth transition that addresses his and my needs. The babysitter will allow me to work for a set numbers of hours per week, without baby distractions. I will be able to attend meetings and events, like I used to do.

There are still many unanswered questions. How do I set the boundaries between my work and my family life? Is it feasible to maintain those boundaries while working mostly from home? Time will tell if and how long I can manage being a mom and running my business from home with the help of an in-house childcare provider.

I am curious to know how you did it? Which childcare arrangement worked best for you and your baby/toddler: a babysitter, a nanny or day care?

SOURCING:
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6 Responses to “Happy Baby: Will It Be Day Care or a Babysitter?”

  1. Hi Kim,

    I was faced with the same decision a few years ago when I returned to work full-time 6 months after the birth of my daughter. She was premature and we did everything we could to keep her home that first year. My husband worked at home part-time during the first year. We also hired a babysitter part-time. Either decision is not easy – they both have their pros and cons.

    Best of luck with the transition!

    Amanda Armstrong

  2. 2 Danielle said:

    With my first daughter I worked from home when I returned to work. I liked the flexibility to be there when she needed. If it was a rough day for her I could put her down for the nap instead of her father or grandmother. I just always made sure I finished what I set out to for work. I avoided daycare as I didn’t feel comfortable with someone I didn’t know taking care of my child and I wanted to avoid the endless colds and flus. With my second I won’t have the opportunity to work from home. It saddens me but know she will be in good hands. I think either way kids are highly adaptable.

  3. Thank you, Amanda and Danielle, for sharing your experiences. Until now, I rely on the grandmothers, mostly my mom, to take care of him when I needed a break or to go somewhere. The big question remains: Who I can trust to take the best possible care of my baby?

  4. Hullo there Kim. I hail from Cape Town, South Africa. I think this is an age old dilemma – deciding whether or not a nanny or daycare is best – one that left me feeling quite drained from all the sleepness nights trying to weigh the pros and cons of both. As my twins were born premature at 27w (Morgan weighed 410g and Konnor 720g), I was forced to give up my business and stay home once my babies were finally discharged from NNICU. My husband and I were fortunate enough to be introduced to a paed that specialised in micro-prems. When the twins were just over a year I finally put the question to her as I had just fallen pregnant with my third child (crazy huh) plus I needed to get back to working from home at some point. She very firmly advised us that because our babies were prem, spending months in NNICU, with compromised immune systems, I should only consider sending them to daycare once they turned 3. So hubby and I did the nanny thing, and we were once again fortunate enough to have the kids’ therapists come to our home during this time. But then I was naughty and sent the twins to daycare after they turned 2. I did however feel confident that they were pretty safe especially after receiving all their Synergis innoculations for RSV, all their other innoculations, using homeopathic meds to balance their systems and by cooking immune boosting meals for them. The final decision making factor for me was that they honestly loved socialising with other kids and I feel that socialising is very important at this age, plus with me working from home and being busy all the time, we couldn’t make it out to play dates that often. So it’s been two years, and the usual childhood illnesses later, but I’m still very pleased with the decision I made. Morgan has Cerebral Palsy due to a Grade 1 brain bleed and major resuscition a few days after birth that left her brain damaged, but I feel that, amoungst other things including her feisty determination, her amazing little friends and helpers at daycare have contributed immensely to her being able to walk and talk today. Same goes for her brother who, due to prematurity, had over extended shoulders which played havoc with his little body. But if it wasn’t for daycare I think his development would’ve been even more delayed. I didn’t think he’d be able to climb or jump, but he’s the best climber and jumper our of them all!! Kim, I’m sure you’ve made the best decision and like they say, “mother knows best”! You hang in there! Warmest regards from Sunny South Africa xxxx

  5. 5 Catherine said:

    My 15 month old has been going to a private in-home daycare since September. We live in Ottawa and there aren’t a lot of big daycare places like in Quebec (pas de CPE!)… Maybe its because my mom had a home-daycare when I was a child… but I always felt confortable with that idea… as long as we could find a place and a caregiver that would meet our criteria…

    We met with A LOT of caregivers… we started our search when Léa was 5 months old.. took us a while but we finally found THE ONE!

    Our caregiver has been doing home daycare for over 16 years (when she had her first child and couldn’t trust anyone else to take care of him..)… She had GREAT references… but most of all… we just felt so confortable meeting her.. And it was a 2-way process.. she was interviewing us as much as we were interviewing her!

    She takes care of a group of 5 kids.. 13 months, 15 months, 20 months, 2 years and 3 years.. Its a lovely group! My daughter is surrounded by little boys! And they are all so nice and so well behaved! They have good routines in place and the kids seem to all really enjoy eachother!

    They go to “city play groups” at least twice a week where they meet with other daycare groups from around town.. and do special activities… Our provider also gets together on a regular basis with another one on the same street and this way the kids get used to other kids and larger groups!

    Léa has only been there for 3 months now and we couldn’t be happier… She is learning so many new things everyday… Sometimes its hard to believe she’s only 15 months! She is visibly very very happy there, and so are we!

    I know if that ever changes, we will have to re-evaluate the situation, but for now we seem to have found the perfect option for us!

    All that being said, we have a healthy baby who seems to be adjusting very well to every new situation and its been like that since her early days.. I know we are lucky and I know not all children are the same…

    I truly think you have to go with what your heart tells you.. You have to be comfortable with any decision you make.. You need to not spend your days worrying about your child when you have work to do and meetings to attend… You have to trust that your son is in good hands and for that you need to choose a provider who you feel will be as loving as you are with your child.. someone you feel really cares about your son… In the end.. our kids need love more than anything at that age.

    These decisions are so personnal and really there is not one right or wrong option! There are many options out there because there are many different needs too! Choose the one that feels right for now… and one day you might find another option is better!

  6. Hi Kim! most of all, don’t worry! I didn’t want to think about daycare, I put it off, it kept me up at night, and I did not put Tess on any waiting lists…then, at around 18 months the idea didn’t seem so bad anymore. And, the most perfect daycare opportunity presented itself. Tess adjusted right away, (it took me a little longer). She will be 3 in March, and we are still only doing daycare 3x per week. Yes, some weeks it’s hard to juggle and get all my work done, but who cares? This time goes by so quickly and I want to be with my daughter. Daycare has been wonderful for her, being with other kids, learning, watching…it’s quite amazing. You will know when the time is right, and your son will know too. The winter colds from daycare are horrible! this is winter 2 and it’s better than last, but still not easy, so keep your little guy home and away from the germs as long as you can! xo