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very worried about childcare(27 Posts)
Hi, I've got a few months to go until my first pops out and am worried about everything(!) but one of my biggest concerns is childcare. I will probably have to go back to work after three months and I have no idea where to start, and what will be suitable. I would appreciate advice and stories about when is the best time to decide (before or after birth) and what your experiences are on the various childcare options (I am pretty sure we can't afford a nanny or au-pair!). We live in East London and no relatives in a 100 mile radius (some say that's the best way!!!) so there is no family care option there either.
Thanks in advance!
my advice would be put in several applications to nurseries -nr yr home & work now otherwise you might have no choice, baby places, esp in London are at a premium and if you plan to go back at 3 mths, defin get yr name down now (don't mean to panic you, but learnt this myself by bitter experience!)
in terms of childminders, word of mouth often best and you may find out about good ones through baby groups after the birth - often this is arranged more last minute when they have a vacancy free.
check out yr local children's info service (who'll list all nurseries and those childminders who want to go on their list in yr area) - www.childcarelink.gov.uk
my advice would be to try and get a nursery near to your home, as if you are off work for any reason it's a bit of a pain to trek in to take your child there. get your local authority to send a list of registered childminders, go & see a few and ask around say your doctor's surgery for any recommendations
Def. go round the local nurseries as soon as possible - before baby is born, and put your name on the waiting list of any you are interested in...I put my name on the list of 5 local nurseries and in the end only had 1 offer (at the last minute) as places are so scarce.
Childminders you can find by looking at childcarelink.gov.uk - they don't generally want to be contacted until a month or so before you want to return to work, as that's when they may have a relevant vacancy...with my first child I was amazed to find that the childminder interviewed me (not me her) as to whether she wanted ds and me as clients... often if you find one that doesn't have a vacancy they may refer you to a friend who does.
Good luck and try not to get too stressed..enjoy your baby (when it comes)
Some clever person (who was it? I think I can guess) made a point of finding out which local parks childminders took their charges to and hovered there with baby so's to get to know them and identify nicest one.
What sort of work are you going back to? Nurseries and childminders are a bit more limited in hours covered than nannies - if nanny of your own too expensive, nannyshare could be an option for you?
You could try www.sharingcare.co.uk (I think that's right) if you want to find a local family to share a nanny with.
Oh, and workplace nurseries tend to be subsidised and so a lot cheaper if you have access to one.
Harriett, I've written a 'pregnant lady's guide to childcare' for one of the baby mags, let me know if you would like a copy. Personally I think you should start thinking about your options as soon as possible.
FWIW, I was absolutely terrified too, but I found the most marvellous childminder and both my children have done amazingly well with her.
im just beginning to look for chilcare and im in such a dilemma...as to whether i prefer nurseries or childminders!
could someone enlighten me with the pros and cons plz?childminding settings unnerve me a bit!
motherinferior id love a copy of the article!shd i cat u with my email address?
Try www.bestbear.co.uk excellent website for 1st time mummies & daddies & all parents period.
Snowfallinthesahara - why do childminding settings unnerve you?
I think whichever kind of childcare you use you must start looking as soon as possible so that you can have a choice rather than having to settle for where you can get a place.
I am a childminder so if you have any questions just ask.
harriett, motherinferior's dd's are living proof of how fantastic childminders can be..my 2 daughters are similarly wonderful and we opted for a nursery. horses for courses & all that.
I live in East london and use a nursery for DD, if you have any specific questions about Mile End / Bow nurseries I can tell you about my experience of using one / applying round here. - if it would help.
re childminders - had 2 wonderful ones, both through local network though, word of mouth rec which I found HUGELY reassuring. I did contact my local CIS at one point but was rather unimpressed by those childminders I called on spec - tv blaring in background etc. I think it's pot luck TBH, and you have to go on yr instinct so much more with a childminder as it's one-to-one care - if you don't like/trust/respect them you're never going to be happy leaving yr baby alone with them. On the other hand, IMO, nurseries are better for older children, we always preferred family environment & 1:1 care of childminder for babies. in this situation again myself though and don't know any childminders locally as we've moved so will probably have to go for nursery option for babe2
i have a wonderful childminder - i was like you and very worried about childcare. i work shifts, therefore needed someone who was very flexible about different times and days every week. i got a list of registered childminders from my local council, read what they had all written in a brief description of themselves, and picked 3 from that, including where they lived (in respect of easieness of walking to their house, as no car)
visited them all and one shone out - she had loads of toys lying around, her house was chokka with toys, but was clean (she showed me round her house, inc toilet, quiet area for naps etc). i met her own children, and another child who she minded (all having lots of fun)
she asked me lots of questions about dd1 as well as me asking her stuff (it was nice she was so interested)
she even had dd1 on her knee for a while (dd was 6 mths) and dd fell asleep on her knee! which was very reassuring
she knew all about the local community, the mothers and toddlers playgps etc, where she took dd
for me nursery wasnt an option cos there are none in my town, but i would recommend a cm for young children. i think now that dd1 is 2 yrs old now she needs a nursery, but i have arranged for her to go to playgp and cm will take her and collect her, so i get the best of both worlds
Harriett, i do agree with the 'get your name down early' sentiment! Childminders can only take one child under one, so places are few and far between...look at some nurseries now, put your name down for all that you like, and the same with childminders. Your local council should have a list, and I found that advertising with SimplyChildcare was really effective - you sign up to 3 issues of their register, can place an ad and see the ads by childcare providers. I found that lots of regs childminders who don't put themselves on the council list do advertise in SimplyChildcare. It costs about £30 for 3 months. Look at several options, and you will soon see what you feel is 'right' or not. Then check again once your little one is born, before taking up an option - your feelings and priorities might have changed once you have a bundle in your arms - mine did.
Thank you all for your great advice- I have just been out of action with back pain for a few days so it was lovely to return to work and find all these messages. Now I just have to put it all into action!
have to get back to work in june and finally decided on a nursery!its caled leapfrog and i liked it best among all the other nurseries i saw...so have sent in the deposit(yikes!)
saw a few childminders near where live-easier to walk to-incase dh is out of town-but i didnt feel comfortable with anyone..i agree the one-to-one care is a Huge plus,but i wouldnt get to know what hes been upto all day--the nurseries seemed to have a daily diary of what ds will be upto etc.
among the cms i saw,one said she'd be leaving him upstairs while she was doing stuff downstairs-NO WAY!
so while i seem to have made my decision,id still appreciate ANY info i could get on nurseries and cms,ds will be 8 months when i leave him-will that be too early for a nursery??
also,he's still mostly breastfed and takes ebm in a bottle once or twice a day.so what is Seriously freaking me out is--what do i do about his milk???started juice on the beaker,seem to have partial success with that.also,hes on 3 meals a day.
should i push the bottle or try n get him used to the beaker?Help!!
I am a childminder and I would do a daily diary for a baby and with toddlers I tend to give a verbal version of our day followed up with a weekly written version. I presume the cminder who said she would leave a baby upstairs alone only meant while he was sleeping (with a monitor like you would at home), if that's not what she meant then she needs reporting.
Good luck with whichever option you all choose.
Sorry entered before finished.
I live far east and know of many childminders I could recommend to you.
Harriett, I agree with Blu, Simply Childcare is brilliant and the people there are really helpful. Good luck. When I lived in London (Norf Lambeff) childminders were as rare as hens' teeth. I found a lovely temporary nanny through Simply Childcare and had excellent response to my ad.
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