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Nursery vs childminder - 4 month old baby

(30 Posts)
HMT13 Thu 27-Jun-13 09:07:58

Hi, I'm currently trying to decide what's better for a 4 month old baby? I will only need childcare for 2 mornings a week from 4 months on. Has anyone any experience or views on what is better. The nursery is closer and I would expect cheaper but is a childminder more beneficial for such a young baby? I am new to all this so would appreciate your views.

Caitycat Thu 27-Jun-13 09:13:03

I think a good childminder is definitely better at that age, tiny babies need much more attention and also peace and quiet than they can get in a nursery environment. The advice a friend gave me when I was looking was that you should wait till a baby can crawl toput them in nursery. That way they can be more independent.

HMT13 Thu 27-Jun-13 09:15:32

Thank you. I haven't even had the baby yet but trying to be organised as the childminder I have in mind may get booked up. It's my first baby so I have no idea how I'll feel about leaving him/her etc. going to see her this morning.

ChunkyPickle Thu 27-Jun-13 09:17:19

I also think a childminder is the way to go when they're little - it's more homely - more like going to a friends to be looked after for a couple of hours than the (slightly) more structured nursery - unless you have a super-routine led baby who might enjoy that?

When I was making the call for DS (who was much older in the end - nearly a year), I went with a childminder, and then I've slowly migrated his days over to a nursery until he'll be at the nursery every day when he's 3. It's worked out really well for him.

noblegiraffe Thu 27-Jun-13 09:24:00

I went for a childminder, even though my baby was 13 months, because of the home environment. Nurseries seemed too bright and busy for my rather shy boy, and he thrived. When he needed a bit more stimulation and socialisation, he started pre-school.

My childminder was a lot cheaper than a nursery!

ZolaBuddleia Thu 27-Jun-13 09:30:14

My childminder is also much cheaper than a nursery. I'm a fan of CMs, it's a much quieter homely environment.

HMT13 Thu 27-Jun-13 09:39:31

Oh really, I thought it would be the other way around with more one to one care. I suppose childminders don't have the overheads though. See, I know nothing! Fingers crossed she's as good as everyone says and can fit me in!

ZolaBuddleia Thu 27-Jun-13 09:45:26

My CM is very flexible as well, DP and I are both freelance and she's fab at giving us extra slots if we need them.

Middlesexmummy Thu 27-Jun-13 14:15:03

My dd went to nursery at 12 months but at 4 months I'd def pick a cm

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 27-Jun-13 14:16:54

CM without question. DS1 went to his CM at 4 months, there is no way I would have been happy with him at a nursery

Thurlow Thu 27-Jun-13 14:19:46

CM. DD started at 8mo and I personally felt that a CM was more appropriate at a very young age. But that's nothing against nurseries, it might turn out that your LO is the youngest baby in the nursery and gets loads of extra attention just for that.

At 4m I'd want to know an awful lot about how a baby would be able to nap at a nursery, as its an age where they still might need 3 or 4 naps a day.

blueberryupsidedown Thu 27-Jun-13 14:21:11

I don't know about in your area but here nurseries have a minimum of two full days a week. They don't do half days. You would have to pay for the full day even if using just half days.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 27-Jun-13 14:34:01

I also think that nurseries are not really that appropriate for non-mobile babies. Go and visit a few and you'll see it's a very busy place. Mine started at 7mo and she couldn't crawl until 9mo. She was just able to sit up unaided. In hindsight, I thought it was a bit too young. But it was a small nursery with only 2-3 in the baby room.

HMT13 Thu 27-Jun-13 14:50:20

ok - update.
The childminder was lovely but basically won't do half days as it would stop her being able to have a full days pay. Even if I paid for 2 full days there's no guarantee she can take my baby as obviously if she got offered the chance of a baby needing full days mon-fri that would be better for her. She said they can only take 1 baby under 1 year old.
I went to the nursery and was pleasantly surprised. It's only a small nursery, it's very rural where I live, hence why there isn't much choice either. They do half days and it works out quite a lot cheaper. They have 1 person per 3 children/babies. There were only 3 babies in today and couldn't have been more than 10 toddlers in a separate area. I saw at least 6 members of staff. Although I don't know what it's like on the other days.
The only other option is to have 2 separate childminders near where I work on the 2 half days (the jobs are 20 miles from home in totally opposite directions).

Seb101 Thu 27-Jun-13 15:02:44

If you we're suggesting full days of childcare I'd agree with others and def go with a childminder. But two mornings a week isn't a lot, and I think a nursery would be fine. You can have nice quiet afternoons with your lo on nursery days, so that they get a rest from the hustle and bustle of nursery. I'm usually against sending small babies to nursery, but in the case of just two mornings a week i think your lo will be fine.

Seb101 Thu 27-Jun-13 15:03:37

Just to add; I'd def favour nursery over using two different childminders.

AlbertaCampion Thu 27-Jun-13 15:10:55

I'd disagree with the others: if you can find a lovely nursery, it's a good way to go. My DS started nursery at a similarly young age: he got oodles of 121 attention and, being in the babies' room (1-12 months) was surrounded by age-appropriate toys and daily activities. As a bonus, there weren't any other older children around to play tough & tumble with him.

RunningOutOfIdeas Thu 27-Jun-13 15:18:10

Two childminders would be more confusing than nursery. DD2 started at nursery at 7 months. She cannot crawl. She is the youngest there and is very happy (and rather spoiled)! It really depends on the nursery. So if you can visit a couple more times and you still like what you see then it should be ok.

DD2 has the same key worker that DD1 had 5 years ago. I think staff retention is one important sign of a good nursery. DD has some physical development problems and the nursery have really listened to me about this and are willing to try different things to help her. They have far greater access to a wide range of equipment than I would expect a childminder to have.

I do think if your DC is shy or appears intimidated by groups of older toddlers, then a CM might be better. My DD loves to watch the older children and enjoys the attention she gets from them.

flatmum Thu 27-Jun-13 15:24:09

I use both. childminders are much cheaper bizarrely. I think the baby room in a good quality nursery for 2 mornings a week would be done from 4m. they will be thrilled to have a tiny baby and she will get special attention they'll carry her around all day I should think. the nursery all 3 of mine go to or went to (from 9m thought) is busy and bustling but the baby room is tucked away on its own and very calm and quiet. knowing as I do now I'd be fine leaving a 4m old there a couple of morning a week (wouldn't do full time until late though)

HMT13 Thu 27-Jun-13 15:25:05

thanks, at least a couple of positives for the nursery! I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. Plus it's in a better location and can accommodate what I need more. I agree that full time wouldn't be appropriate but I was hoping 2 mornings a week would be alright.
They do have some turnover of staff but that seems to be more down to the fact we are in the forces and there's a lot of people moving in and out of the area. That's the only downside from what I can see.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 27-Jun-13 15:27:41

HMT13 it sounds like the nursery is actually a very good option. They are quietest on Mondays and Fridays. So if you visited mid-week, you'd have a good feeling how busy it can get. The ratios for under 2s are always 1:3 btw. I think it's very good they have a separate area for little crawlers/early walkers, away from the older toddlers and preschoolers. I have a 2yo and I know she could be quite rough sometimes, despite meaning well. Some nurseries have a toddler room. But some don't and have only two groups, which are the ones I think too 'rowdy' for a 4mo.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 27-Jun-13 15:29:06

I mean they have a separate room for babies away from the toddlers. I think even up to 18mo, my DD was very gentle, didn't move very fast, didn't throw toys, iyswim.

HMT13 Thu 27-Jun-13 15:32:30

They had 3 rooms, one for babies 0-2, toddlers 2-3 and pre-school 3-5. It was very calm in the babies room! 1 was asleep and 2 not. Should have asked how many the max they would have in there though. She also said if they feel an under 2 should go up to toddlers earlier then they discuss and move them if needed. I think that's the way I'll go tbh.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 27-Jun-13 15:45:45

DD was in a nursery with only two groups, I think it's split 0-3 and 3-5. And many I have visited seems to be the same. I think it's because there aren't many under 1s round here. Most mums here take the full one year maternity. I was the only one I know to go back to work before 12mo.

Also, they only have one outside area so everyone from 0-5 were on the same area most of the day anyway. Does the nursery you looked at have separate play areas outside for the different groups? Or do they go out at different times? They spend a lot of their time outdoors, more than I would have at home. I once found my DD crawled up to the top of a climbing frame, about my waist height, when i went to pick her up. I wasn't very happy about it. (It was not our first choice nursery, which DD only got into at 18mo).

I think the groupings you said should work a lot better.

Mbear Thu 27-Jun-13 15:54:05

Ds went to nursery from 4.5 mo old, I just felt more comfortable with him in nursery and he wouldn't be out and about doing school runs etc and older children etc. He had a great bond with his key worker and there was a great mix of staff ages too.

The nursery is so lovely though and he his still there now.

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