Childcare for infants and toddlers?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    I'm new because I don't have any kids yet and not expecting.  But I'm trying to plan ahead, and my husband and I are considering trying to have a child in the next year or two.  

    We are in our late 20s, have completed graduate degrees, and are in the process of launching intense professional careers with demanding work schedules. So I'm feeling anxious about childcare--how will we balance it all? what choices will we have?

    I'm wondering if any of you would be willing to share your experiences.  When did you return to work after having your first kid? What childcare arrangements did you rely on at what ages? Nanny/babysitter? Day care? For how many hours per day/week? How easy/difficult was it for you to find an arrangement that worked for you? If you are comfortable sharing some reference point on costs, that would be helpful too.

    My husband and I live and work in Boston/Cambridge, if it makes any difference.  Most of our friends do not have children yet, or have one parent with a lot of scheduling flexibility who can stay at home, so we haven't heard a lot about how local families navigate these waters.

    I know everyone's experience is different, but thought it would help me out to hear some stories.  I know this may be putting the cart before the horse, since we don't have kids yet, but I am a planner by nature, and would like to have information so I can imagine/plan what I can.  Thanks in advance!

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

     When did you return to work after having your first kid? I received 12 weeks leave from my job (as a schoolteacher), 8 weeks paid and 4 unpaid. I could have opted for just the 8 paid weeks or for a full year unpaid. The same will happen for DS#2 who is due later this year.

    What childcare arrangements did you rely on at what ages? Nanny/babysitter? Day care? DH works from home, so after I returned to work, DS was with DH and we hired a babysitter to come to the house two days per week. That way, DH got tow full days of work, then made up time on weekends and evenings. When I returned for this school year, when DS was 11 months, we started full-time, 5 day/week center daycare.

     How easy/difficult was it for you to find an arrangement that worked for you? We lucked out that our babysitter was the a family friend of a co-worker. The center we are at is right by our house and we felt very happy and comfortbale from the moment we walked in. So, all in all, the process wasn't that bad for us.

    If you are comfortable sharing some reference point on costs, that would be helpful too.
    Babysitter: $20/hour
    Daycare Center: infant: $1776/mo, toddler: $1625/mo; when #2 comes, he'll go to the same center 3 days/week until he's a year at a cost of $102/day. The center offers a 10% discount on 1 tuition for siblings.

    ETA: We are in Boston (West Roxbury).
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    Congratulations on your degree!

    To be 100% honest, I think it's very difficult to have two hard-charging careers and use a standard day care.
    I mean the kind of careers where you work until 7, take clients and visiting colleagues to dinner, travel once a month or more, et cetera.  Most of my friends who have these types of careers have either had to (a) have one parent downshift their career, or (b) get a nanny or au pair.
    In some cases, the mom has downshifted and in others it has been the dad.  For these families, I usually see the hard-charging parent takes the baby to daycare in the AM and the downshifted parent picks them up in the PM (daycare pick ups are usually early, like 5 or 6 PM).
    One couple that I know with two hard-charging parents has an au pair (from abroad) who lives with them.  They are actually surprisingly inexpensive, but you have to have a spare room and they are still restricted to 40 hours.  To make up for the length of the day, they have their au pair work four long days and have the kids in a day care center one day a week.

    I'm not saying it's impossible.  I'm also not saying that you can't have two awesome, fulfilling careers with a baby -- I think you can have an awesome career without it fitting into the "hard charging" format I described above.
    I also don't want to sound super discouraging.  But I've seen how difficult it has been for some of my friends who worked so hard to build their careers, so I think it's better to take a realistic view of how it might all pan out.

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    Hi Jasmine,

    I just returned to work when my daughter was 13 weeks old. She is at a home daycare full time. We pay $975/month. We don't live in Boston, but we're in a fairly expensive suburb, so I had to search long and hard for that price. Most local home daycares are $1300/month. We couldn't have afforded a center or a nanny, so the decision to do in home was easy.  So far there are challenges involved with pickups and dropoffs; I have a decent commute, so if I want to get to work on time, I have to drop off at the exact time the daycare opens. Even then it's tough. DH does pickup… If he has to stay late, which will obviously happen at some point, I will have to leave work early and probably bring work home with me. I'm lucky to have that flexibility, but I can't take advantage of it too much either. It's all worth it though - I'd do anything for that little girl!!

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from MM379. Show MM379's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    Hi Jasmine,
    These are good questions!  My husband and I both have careers, but until the end of my second pregnancy, he was our main bread-winner and I could afford a lot of flexibility.  He would work late if needed and I would call out to take care of a sick child if needed.  Our priority around work demand/childcare did revolve around which income we were more dependent on.  However, in month 8 of my second pregnancy, I got a major promotion, which was great financially and evened the field for me and DH, but it did come with many more responsibilities.  Further complicating things is that our daycare is owned by my employer and the hours only extend a little bit beyond the official business hours of my employer, so drop off/pick up always falls on me and working late or coming in early is not an option and DH's job is almost an hour from my job (we live in the middle).  However, the reduced cost of this daycare outweighs the shortened hours.  Catching up at home is not really an option b/c my line of work is hands-on with clients, although I can do the occasional presentation or data analysis from home.  DH can work from home, although not in a regularly-scheduled fashion.  We agreed that I would continue drop-off/pick up most days, but there would be one designated night a week that he leaves work early and I work late to get extra things done.  In terms of spending time with our children, I don't think I am spending any less time with them in my new position than my old one.  I do see DH stepping up more, though, and things like MD visits and what not are divided up more evenly, although I'm a bit of a control freak and a worry wart for my babies, so I still like to be there the majority of the time for our kids when sick.  We make the most of our (very early) mornings, our evenings, and our weekends with eachother.  For us to both keep working, we also made sure that not only could we afford daycare and our typical bills, we wanted to also make sure it covered things like housecleaning and few other "chores" so those would take away from time with the kids, and we could also still afford family-fun activities like trips and lessons with the kids (like mommy and me stuff, swimming with daddy, etc.)  Otherwise, we would have looked at down-sizing our expenses, home, etc., and have tried to make it work to have one of us stay home.  I will say, I don't know how one person performs the duties of a full-time working parent and a full-time stay at home parent at the same time.  We women especially, put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do this.  It really will come down to compromising a bit in each area (don't volunteer for too many extra projects at work, sign up for grocery delivery, turn off electronics when home with kids, cook double meals and freeze half so you don't have to cook a lot on weeknights, etc.)  Also a huge help: accepting tons of hand-me-downs and being a very savvy shopper with kids clothes, as well as a savvy shopper with our work clothes so we can stock up.  Although we have a lot of laundry, we can save it until the weekends b/c even with the kids getting multiple changes in a day, we typically never run out of clothes, which also helps save time during the work week. 
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Lostgrouse. Show Lostgrouse's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    Great Questions!  

    1.  After DD (who is almost 3) I returned to work at 10.5 weeks.  After DS (8 months) I returned one day a week around 6 weeks but was off and on through 13 weeks.  DD went to Kindercare starting at 10.5 weeks and DS we have at a home daycare right next to our house.  If we had known about the home daycare when DD was born (we moved after she was born) I would have put her there for the first 15 months. 

    2.  We love the center based childcare for our daughter and she really gets a lot of interaction with other kids and they have a good cirriculum.  She's not even 3 and she can write her own name (I'm not sure if that's good or not, but it sounds good to me!)  We love the home daycare for DS because he's just a baby and the next youngest kid there is almost 2 so he gets a lot of holding time from his provider, and attention from the other kids who love having a baby around.  We plan on moving him to Kindercare when he gets a little older unless more kids come to his daycare because we want as much interaction as possible for him and we like their cirriculum. 

    Some downsides related to the home care though have been some scheduling issues.  We've had to send DS to Kindercare a bunch when she has appointments, and our latest was that she wants a 4 day work week in the summer, so he'll be at KC one day a week all summer long.  If we didn't already know people/places in the daycare arena we would have been stuck in a poor position during these schedule changes.  

    However, we pay $40/day for home daycare ($200/week) and KC charges $316/week, so we've been saving some money there.

    DD is $248/week but we get a 10% discount on her even when DS attends one day per week.  

    We live pretty far south of Boston but we're in a commuter rail community.  Neither of us works in Boston.  DH has a 8-5 job and leaves the house at 7:30 and comes home at 5:30 every day. Occasionally he's home at 5:35.  

    I have a seasonal job (CPA) where I'm busier during tax season and a little lighter during the summer, but we make it all work mainly because DH is always the same hours every day year-round.

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    Thanks everyone who has responded for sharing your experiences!  It is really helpful for me to understand the array of options. I like hearing how each solution has worked for your different situations--making use of flexible schedules, nanny, daycare, and home care options at different ages.  

    I know it will be complicated, but it is helpful to hear these different solutions that you each came up with.  It is also reassuring to know that some of you are able to bring work home and get something done.  My schedule/location will be somewhat flexible, but the expectation will be that I work a lot of hours one way or another, so it is good to know that it is possible to make productive use of time at home.
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from hotcinnababy. Show hotcinnababy's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    Hi, just adding my experience - as far as being ready, I just had to jump in as I think if you try to plan it out you can always find a "not great time" to have a child.  If you're preggers, you just have to roll with it.  So my husband has a career where he has to travel quite a bit, but has a flexible office schedule (he can log in from home, Starbucks, etc) so he can work at odd times of the day.  My schedule is pretty much 9-5, but I have to work some weekends/evenings throughout the year (more this time of year).  We decided to start our kids at a family daycare that fortunately is right on our street.  That is $200/week infant through school age.  The difference for me, she cooks for the kids once they were of the age to stop taking bottles, whereas most centers we looked at we'd have to pack a lunch (petty, but the thought of packing lunch kills me, thank goodness my husband makes my lunch!).  The schedule for family daycare is kind of ridgid (can't drop off before 8 or pick up after 5:30, but then it's okay if there is a major storm and we're both stuck on 128, she understands and is our neighbor), but my husband goes to work at 6:30 and does pick up, I do drop off in the morning and get home at 6pm.  Our kids are 26 months apart, so now the oldest is 32 months and the youngest 5.5 months.  We'll be changing our arrangements for the oldest in September as I'd like a preschool setting, a little more formal, next experiences and a curriculum.  I can't say enough about the family care setting, though.  Our daughter thrived and is super verbal, great imagination and very healthy, so it was great for us and we'll keep our youngest there until she is preschool age.  The preschool we chose is $1350/month, so the price will go up for us.  Most centers will charge more for infant care as they need 1 on 1 attention, so fewer kids, more staff.  We didn't get that 1 on 1 with family care, but my daughter was entertained by the older kids and I think that's why she is kind of advanced in her language ability. 

    Time off from work - I was in my current job for under a year when I had my 1st, so only qualified for 8 weeks off and I negotiated for 2 extra weeks working part time from home.  with #2 I had the 12 weeks off, but I did have to work from home because I'm a program director  and who else is going to do my job when I'm out??? 

    The biggest thing that has made it work for us:  My husband is willing to help out.  I am the main caregiver, feeding the kids (breastfeeding and preparing their meals) and he takes care of a lot of the things I used to in the house - he does the laundry, all the yard work, makes dinner, does the grocery shopping and in the meantime I'm with the kids.  It works for us and it gets easier as the kids get bigger.  And I got a house keeper, and we have an old house and resigned ourselves to farm out the many little renovation tasks that we once imagined ourselves doing (painting, crown molding) - we'd love to do it ourselves, but hey, we make enough to pay someone to do it, can have the confidence it's done right and don't have to worry about all the other things that we're not doing while working on little hobbies.  We'll have time for those things in the future, but we have our priorities right now. 

    So that's pretty much it.  Don't know if it is helpful, but that's what worked for us.  One more thing - you need to be able to communicate with your partner about schedules and when you're stressed out, that makes all the difference too.
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from canukgrl. Show canukgrl's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    I returned to work 3x per week after 12 weeks with #1, and then full time around 5.5 mo.  A dear friend came to our house to watch her those three days and then she started daycare when I went to full time.  It worked for me because it eased the transition, and by the time I went to FT, I was ready for DD to be in a center (more schedule flexibility mainly, and we knew the other situation was only temporary)  I managed to get paid full salary throughout - 6 weeks "disability" and the rest vacation and vacation carry over

    With #2, I took 4.5 months off - 8 weeks "disability" (c-section this time) 4 weeks vacation and 8 weeks unpaid.  I returned January 1, and DS started at daycare.

    We pay ~$1500 for infants, ~1350 for toddlers and ~1000 for preschoolers, with 10% off for the second kid... so these days about $2400/mth.  (northern suburb on 495)  It's open from 7a to 6:30p, though our kids are there mainly 8:30-5:30 or so.

    Our daycare, my work and our house are all in the same town and within about 5 miles of each other. Plus, I have a lot of flexibity in my job - I mainly work with folks in other states/countries, so "face time" is not an issue, so I do the bulk of the drop off/pick up/doc appt duties (I too am a control freak)  I also have unlimited sick time (though I am expected to work as much as I can when "off", stay in touch via iphone etc) so I do the bulk of the sick kid duty too.  I am able to make up work (not time per se) at night when I need to, though I hate doing it.

    DH had a long (1+ hour on a good day) commute until recently, when it got somewhat better, and starts at 7, so I also get the kids ready and out the door.  He's supposed to do pick up, but with traffic it's somewhat unreliable, so that's why I end up picking up too (Plus, I don't mind some of the time, only doing drop off stinks!) 

    I make nearly 2x what DH makes, and unlike him, I like my job. If I did not have kids, I think I'd be more aggressive about my career, but for now, at least, I'm focused on "doing no harm" career wise (ie not setting my self back any) and trying to do interesting work, and getting home on time, for the most part.  It's a choice, and for us, it isn't really his career or mine, but the kids and family time that is the collective priority.  Most days it still doesn't seem like there is enough hours in the day however.

    I still travel a couple of times a year for work, and DH still has the occasional evening meeting or dinner, but I'm not sure how to get around these things as mid career professionals, so we make due!

    I think the bottom line is if you decide to have children, you make it work - no choice really, you can't send them back :)  Good luck with your decision!
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Krystabel. Show Krystabel's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    In Response to Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?:
    [QUOTE]Hi Jasmine, I just returned to work when my daughter was 13 weeks old. She is at a home daycare full time. We pay $975/month. We don't live in Boston, but we're in a fairly expensive suburb, so I had to search long and hard for that price. 

    Hi Fram - I am interested in the day care you mentioned ... I know it is a long shot that it is in the area I'm in, but worth asking... I have been searching for a daycare for a while and am having serious sticker shock ... I just sent you a friend request so I can send you a message... I hope that is ok?  ...also I have not messaged anyone on these boards yet  so I am not really sure how it works.
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    Krystabel, I accepted your friend request, so you can send me messages.  They're not private, though.  I usually delete them after I've gone back and forth with someone.  Happy to help if I can!

  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    I like Kiwi's response, so I'm copying her format:

    When did you return to work after having your first kid? I had 8 weeks paid leave and supplemented the additional four with vacation/unpaid leave.  I went back FT, but had/have the flexiblity to work from home a few days a week. 

    What childcare arrangements did you rely on at what ages? Nanny/babysitter? Day care? We send DD to a in-home daycare four days a week, but some of those are short days so it's about 22 hours/week.  My sister does one full day and one half-day of daycare in our house (she's living with us right now) and I'm home one day a week and cover the other half-day.  And do laundry.  

     How easy/difficult was it for you to find an arrangement that worked for you? I guess our situation was pretty easy -- I asked around for referrals to in-homes and checked out one center, we knew that family would cover 1-2 days/week, and I had made a choice to take my current job knowing it was family-friendly, had a great commute, and allowed for some limited work-at-home time. 

    If you are comfortable sharing some reference point on costs, that would be helpful too
    Our daycare runs us $1200 - $1400/month, depending on how many hours she's there, if there are center holidays, etc ... .  I pay for her scheduled 22 hours if we miss a day due to vacation or illness, but I don't pay for holidays or the daycare's vacation days. 

    ETA: We live on the North Shore. 
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    It can be done!

    DH and I both have high powered jobs. I've made a switch after DS was born (I hated that job) to a new job that is high deman, high stress, and I like it okay (much better compared to my old one). Some days I don't have time to eat (no fun when 6 mo pregnant with #2), working from home is limited for me due to my employeer and what I do. DH just took a new job and with any new job it's high stress and intense. He travels at least one week out of a month, sometimes more.

    So I'm creative with my time at work, I work hard when I'm here, since when I'm not here I'm with DS and a full time mom. The weeks when DH is traveling are really hard on me. With DH's new job we can both do day care drop off and pick up-Day care is onsite and DH and I have the same employer now. Prior to DH taking the new job I was solely responsible for day care-down side I couldn't stay home sick just myself-if I was took sick to come to work I had DS with me-not always the best situation. Downside with DH's new job is if DS get's sick it's all on me take leave until DH acrues enough sick leave.

    DS is in day care 5 days a week and the baby will go there after I take my 12 weeks of leave (all unpaid). Our day care is highly subsidized by our employer, and only employees can use the center. BUT they have crazy standards there that most centers don't have. To get on the wait list for the new baby I have to have a doctors note stating I'm 6 mo pregnant (even standing there with my big belly and all), if I want DS to use a certain sunblock I need a doctor's note, if I want DS not to eat certain foods= doctors note. They are highly regulated and are strict. I know he has excellent care and follows a nice schedule every day. DS loves it there! We just took a two week vacation to visit inlaws and the entire time DS kept talking about his teachers.  

    Any parent will tell you that you will make sacrifices for your kids, and the majority of those sacrifices you won't mind at all!
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    When did you return to work after having your first kid?
    I returned when DD was 12 weeks old.

    What childcare arrangements did you rely on at what ages? Nanny/babysitter? Day care? For how many hours per day/week?
    My DD is currently 13.5 months and has been in center based daycare since she was 12 weeks old.  I am lucky that both my job and my DH's are flexible so she only goes there 2 full days per week.

    How easy/difficult was it for you to find an arrangement that worked for you?
    It isn't easy to manage, but I'm glad that we have been able to.  My job is basically a 9-5 and my DH is a realitor so he schedules things for evenings, weekends and daycare days.  I also work from home 2 days a week to lessen the commute time.  I nursed DD when she was younger on those WFH days, and I can play with her even now if/when work is slow.  I love it, although it can be very distracting!  I do love the daycare center she is in, and now that she's older she loves it even more, but I'm still glad we don't have to put her in 5 days a week.  But this will all change for us when we have #2 in August.  I'm not sure how we'll handle it!

    If you are comfortable sharing some reference point on costs, that would be helpful too.
    Our daycare is in Natick, and we live in a neighboring town, so it's not very far from us.  For 2 days we pay $645/month. 

    HTH!  Good luck!
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    I should add: I pay more than most people pay at an in-home center.  It's an AWESOME set-up and for us it's worth it.  She drops her rate with a second kiddo, but that's a moot point for now. 

    So those are the facts, but you're kind of asking a much bigger question.  I'll say this -- starting back when DH and I were just engaged, we made all our big decisions assuming that we would eventually have two children and that I might want the choice to work PT or even stay home for a while.  So we made every big life choice  -- where to buy a house, how much house to buy, what jobs we pursued/took, how we managed our finances -- with a mind to keep our options open.  I'd say the "what's our desired end-state and how do our current choices get us there?" thinking started a good three years before we even started TTC. 

    I'm really, really happy with where we wound up, and am proud of the planning we did and grateful for the lucky breaks we got along the way.  But it's still hard and I would say that I'm taking more of a "hit" professionally right now.  I'm OK with that and I'm happy with the balance of family care and day care that DD gets, and I love my job.  I tend to think that at least one parent needs a job that has some give and flexibility, but people make the two-mega-job thing work all the time.  I just personally couldn't do it. 

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: Childcare for infants and toddlers?

    I returned to work when my DD was 10 weeks old, transitioning by doing 3 days a week for 3 weeks, then was full-time when she was 13 weeks.  The transition back to work was great for me, as it got me into this new routine.

    When I started back to work, DH was laid off, so he stayed home with DD for an additional 7 weeks or so, while he was job-searching and interviewing.  It was great for both of them, since it delayed daycare for DD (she was a peanut and had trouble with weight gain in the first couple of months, so it was a huge relief), and for DH, who gained so much confidence as a dad by having that one-on-one time with her. 

    When DH started back to work, we started the new routine.  She's at my parents' twice a week, and in a day care center three days a week.  We pay $90/day for infant care there, and it's in Boston (but not downtown).  I think it's a great balance for all of us; DD gets great time with her grandparents, but she also gets the stimulation of the other kids, which is fantastic.  Also, knowing that twice a week I can stay a little later at work if I need to makes it easier for me to prioritize work to get out right on time the other three days. 

    I do the drop off and pick up on the grandparent days; DH does drop off and I do pick up on the DC days.  I work in town, he works in the burbs.

    I really love my job; I'd actually started it about 10 weeks before we had the baby, and they have been incredibly supportive.  It does sometimes require extra hours, but it's also flexible when I need it to be (doctor's appointments, baby sick, all of that).  My hope it that I'll be here fairly long term (and through 1, if not 2 more babies; we hope to start trying for #2 this fall, which would have the babies 18-24 mos apart), and that by the time they're school age, I'll be able to work from home or part time and be accessible for things like activities and sports.