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First time parents and childcare

(9 Posts)
CannonPark Thu 20-Nov-14 12:32:05

Hi there,

This is my first post so please be gentle with what I know is a very broad and general question :-)

We are expecting our first child and I want to be as organised as possible! I think we have most bases covered in terms of knowing what to expect but there is one issue that is keeping me awake a little at night and that's childcare.

We live in North London and moved away from our friends and family almost 10 years ago. whilst we are all still very close and see family regularly we will be on our own in this sense which we always knew would be the case.

My wife will be taking approx 7-8 months off work and we are at least lucky enough that our employers are flexible enough for us to each work one day from home per week meaning that we will only require 3 days per week in terms of childcare.

As I'm totally new to this I'm not sure as to whether nurseries actually accept children so young. Is this the case or would it have to be a child minder? Is there anywhere I can look in terms of knowing the differences? Is one more expensive than the other etc?

Our employers both provide childcare vouchers and we were hoping to take advantage of those too.

Any thoughts or signposting at this stage would be very welcome

slippermaiden Thu 20-Nov-14 12:40:07

Babies can go to some nurseries from 6 weeks! Check the individual ones. Childminder will be a quieter and more homely experience maybe?

FlorenceMattell Thu 20-Nov-14 13:59:15


"Work one day from home per week meaning that we will only require 3 days per week in terms of childcare".

If your baby is at home you will not get much work done.
Babies at @4-6 weeks feed every 3-4 hours. Even an experienced maternity nurse will spend an hour every 3-4 hours feeding, changing and settling a baby. With maybe 2-3 hours in between they can do other jobs. But that time will often be interrupted. Some babies sleep very little inbetween day feeds. By 3-6 months you are looking at more wakeful stretches and by time they are a year old a short sleep of an hour in the morning and two in the afternoon.
Can you do most of your work when the other parent gets in from work?
Sorry to upset you but realistically the working from home will not work.

Could grandparents do a days childcare each?

Otherwise a local childminder might be your cheapest and most flexible option. Childminders charge per child either an hourly or sessional rate.

A nanny for just one child is very expensive.

Au pairs don't generally care for under threes.

Nurseries may be an option.

Start looking at nurseries and childminders now.
Maybe find some parents who work from home and get their experience.

juneau Thu 20-Nov-14 14:12:23

I agree that you won't get much done on those days when you and your DW plan to 'work from home'. You'll get a bit done while the baby naps, but many babies aren't very good nappers and I can't help feeling you'll both feel stressed on that one day a week and like you're not getting anything done.

So yes, do your homework. Ask friends with DC who live locally what they did or didn't do and why. Ring up local nurseries and childminders and ask to go and visit. Think about how pick-ups and drop-offs will work (i.e. ideally you need somewhere that's either very close to home or on your route to work). The age won't be a problem. Many women return to work when babies are around six months old.

LightTripper Thu 20-Nov-14 20:47:25

Just to echo what others have said, my DD napped probably 2-4 hours a day until she was 3 months old, but then was pretty much a nap refused from 3-6 months. The odd 20 minutes allowing me to put a wash on or unload the dishwasher but that was it. At 6 months she is now napping a bit again, but MAX two hours a day.

All babies are different of course but worth preparing for the possibility of a nap refuser!!!

fusspot66 Thu 20-Nov-14 20:55:40

You can pay childminders with vouchers as long as they're registered. Tax free and can save you about £1,000 p.a

SoMuchForSubtlety Thu 20-Nov-14 21:00:43

I don't let people on my team who have small children work from home unless they have alternate childcare - as PPs have said it's impossible to get a full day of work done if you're looking after a baby, and it's not fair on the baby - they need your attention.

Re age, my DD went to nursery two days a week when I went back to work, which was when she was 5.5 months old. She was fine, and she loves it. We also haven't had any issues with stranger or separation anxiety because she got to know the nursery as a safe place before those development stages happened.

LittleBairn Thu 20-Nov-14 21:07:44

Yes babies can be taken very young. If you are going to use a Nursery then start looking around them now and put your DC name down at the nursery of your choice as soon as it is born.
Baby room Nursery places in London can be like gold dust.

Nurseries, Child minders and Nannies all take childcare vouchers.
Will you days working from home be set or liable to change? If changeable the a nanny would be much more flexible. Plus if on your days at home you wanted to do a bit of mix between working and being with the baby a nanny would be able to accommodate that too.
You could always do a nanny share with another family that would half the cost plus provide company for your DC.

WottaMess Thu 20-Nov-14 21:07:48

DS has done 3 days a week at nursery from 9 months and like a previous poster no separation anxiety etc as he was there before it hit. He's 20 months now.

Agree you won't actually be able to work from home and look after a baby in all likelihood, so wouldn't plan on this unless it doesn't matter that you do no actual work?

Nursery gives you less chance that the care won't be available due to holidays or sickness which can be a problem with childminders. But you may prefer a quieter homier setting. Reliance on one person is both a pro and a con... You really have to like the way they 'parent'.

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