I think you have to be guided by your instincts. I went to see our local nursery and felt the baby room wasn't right for DS - staffed by dopey teens who weren't really stimulating the little ones. I've since met someone who used to work there and who said it has really gone downhill.
DS attends our local nursery. I looked at a LOT of nurseries before enrolling him and it felt right as soon as I found it. Even so, I spent the last couple of months of maternity leave in a state of panic about having to leave him. He has been really happy there and is now in their pre-school room. They are reasonably priced, flexible (only charging me for the hours we actually use, even when changed at short notice) and generally try to be as accommodating as possible.
It seemed like a no-brainer that DD would go there too.
She's now had her first couple of induction sessions. The first one (just an hour) seemed to go really well.
Today she was there for 3 hours and I'm feeling really shaky and unsure about whether the setting is right for her.
She looked so little and lost when I picked her up and she'd been crying quite a bit I think, from what they implied. The woman who runs the baby room is fantastic, but the two other girls (they are young) in there today looked completely disengaged, although they were playing with the children when I arrived, so could just have been awkwardness at having a stranger in the room, I'm not sure. They're not very alert though, there was a grim dummy situation while I was in there today and the other day I pointed out a child who was gnawing on another child's shoes from the shoe rack I'm just not sure it's as nurturing as it was with the staff who were in there when DS was tiny.
To find alternative care for her would be difficult both practically (it's already a nightmare doing the nursery drop-off and getting to work on time) and in terms of pulling out on DS's nursery at short notice. It would have to be a childminder and I've got about a week to find one.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just panicking again about being away from her.