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Nanny vs Nursery final decision thoughts and experiences ?!

34 replies

Annie105 · 23/01/2017 00:01

Hi all I posted a couple of months ago at the start of my childcare search journey and need some help trying to make a final decision!

I've just finished wrapping up the last nanny/childminder interviews this weekend and have narrowed it down to one really great and experienced nanny and one childminder who is available to come to my home to do the morning routine (on her own with no charges) and also the nursery drop off. I was going to try and extend my Mat leave as the nursery didn't have a place available in time but this week they emailed to say they had a drop out of the baby room and could offer a place when I need it. And then of course we had already interviewed this nanny who we both really liked and the decision turmoil commenced!

So dilemma is now what the hell do we do?

I'm trying to follow my gut instinct but it's all churned up with the emotion of leaving my baby at all but I must return to work at least for a year for financial reasons.

The nursery is really sweet and I have a friend whose baby daughter is there and she seems happy but she is a much more outgoing baby than mine. Mine tends to go very quiet in larger social settings and gets quite timid. Even at a young age you can sort of identify traits. However she did say her key worker has changed already and she does find her daughter is so exhausted from a full day there (she finds it hard to nap in the nursery and keeps getting colds) that her sleeping at night has got worse over time. The childminder pick up would help alleviate the stress of getting to work in the morning on time without rushing him to nursery 5 minutes before it opens but again it's a long day there at the nursery from 8-6.30. The childminder could come to mine in morning get him ready slowly and have him at nursery for 9.30.

The nanny is fabulous, but it's obviously so very expensive. We are trying to keep cost out of the equation on the childcare front as we will make sacrifices elsewhere to afford what's right for him. So I suppose my only reservation about nanny is becoming an employer and what that entails and I also have worries about what would happen if she didn't work out as we would never get him back to the nursery this year due to their waiting lists.

OP posts:
Annie105 · 23/01/2017 00:02

Oops posted too soon!!

So any words of wisdom or advice experience whatever would help me!

Thank you!

OP posts:
NuffSaidSam · 23/01/2017 00:44

In the interests of full disclosure I am a nanny (although I have worked in nurseries).

IMO a good nanny is always the best form of childcare.

It is best for children to be looked after in a home environment rather than the slightly institutionalised setting of a nursery. It is best for their care to match their natural rhythms (re. food/sleep/activity) and interests rather than needing to stick to a schedule. It is best for them to have one caregiver to bond with and love and who will hopefully bond with and love them back. It is best for them to meet and interact with a range of children and adults rather than being in the 'baby room' of a nursery alongside 3 members of staff and a group of other babies. It is best for them to get out and about and see the world and experience different things rather than being stuck in one or maybe two baby proof rooms and a garden for 10 hours a day.

It is best for parents not to have to get their baby up and out in time for nursery in the morning. It is best for parents not to have to bring baby home at 6:30pm and start baths and PJ's. It is best to leave them in PJ's at home in the morning and come back to them bathed and ready for bed in the evening. It is best for parents to not have to worry about work because their baby has a temperature/chicken pox/a tummy upset and is banned from nursery for 48 hours+. It is best for parents to have someone who can change the baby's bed, do some laundry, run a few errands, let the plumber in, wait in for a parcel and generally make life a little bit easier.

It's not all plain sailing with a nanny obviously. You could be unlucky and get a bad one. They could be lazy or take time off sick. They almost certainly will do some things different to you. You need to factor in their holidays. You need to be an employer. You might struggle with seeing your child closely bonded to another adult. You might struggle to see another adult enjoying your child while you're at work. And it's bloody expensive! It's not perfect, but it is the best imo.

annandale · 23/01/2017 01:12

If you are lucky enough to have the financial choice and a nanny you like, I would always pick a nanny over nursery. And I've seen some good nurseries.

You may curse me when the nanny gets pregnant or resigns and you have to fix it, and when the tax bill arrives every three months [wowser] but there is nothing, nothing as good as a good nanny. TBH i think ds's first nanny was better than me Grin She was certainly an enormous support to me as a parent in every way. We had a wonderful three years with her. It was a nanny share and worked brilliantly. The second nanny we had wasn't quite so wonderful - we didn't fix the boundaries carefully enough. It's hard to know what you care about until someone does something you don't like. The question is, are you a good manager - can you set out priorities, manage effectively but not micromanage? It's not easy. Still worth it though.

Rainbowqueeen · 23/01/2017 01:39

I would go with the nanny .

For me it would be less stressful, you would need to take less time off for sick leave as your LO wont be catching all the nursery germs.

You could switch later when LO is older.

exercisejunkie · 23/01/2017 02:29

I'm also a nanny and a few of my friends have had babies and gone back to work in recent years so I can see it from both sides.

I would say if you can afford a nanny, go with that option. A good nanny will reduce the stress of you going back to work, even just morning routines will be easier and simpler, they will do nursery duties like batch cooking for weaning and babies washing etc which will give you time with your baby at weekends and evenings and I firmly believe that being cared for at home is best for young children.
My friends little one started at nursery in October and has pretty much been ill ever since, she's really struggled to be at work and had to rush back and collect him many times.

one thing that I think mums worry about but don't say is what if my baby builds a strong bong with that one person (the nanny) I can firmly say that yes I care for my charges 5 days a week but mummy is and always will be the most important person to them, I've made sure I do things like say "mummy's here yay" when we hear the door and my poor boss gets bombarded by the children! Ha ha

Annie105 · 23/01/2017 04:15

Ladies thank you so so so much for reponding I've woken myself up worrying about this decision and logged on and read your responses and it's really helped firm up the nanny option for me. I'll read your replies to my other half at breakfast!

I think we can be good employers, we run teams at work so can manage people well and I think we could do that with a more personal situation of someone working alongside (for us, yes, but it's also a joint effort I think) our family. Financially it's certainly a big commitment and I need to do the sums again in the morning to make sure I've accounted for everything just to be certain we can afford it by sacrificing a few other things in life that are non essential and getting the best deals for everything we need to pay for elsewhere.

What is the "better" age for starting nursery out of interest?

OP posts:
nannynick · 23/01/2017 06:33

Have you got a cost estimate from a nanny payroll provider such as based on what you are proposing to pay the nanny? The cost of 1:1 care is high and whilst you say that cost is not a factor, it is something that must be considered.

Do not panic about being an employer, the payroll companies will help you with that and the rest is common sense, such as keeping track of when someone works and when they don't work. Use technology to help, such as Google Calendar, so you track working hours and communicate with your nanny about events.

Childminder coming to your home, not quite sure how that would work. The usual advantage of a childminder is that they care for several children from several families which helps to reduce the cost whilst keeping care being in a family environment.

Some baby rooms in nurseries are lovely, others not so. Is it worth another visit?

celtiethree · 23/01/2017 06:47

I was in your situation and went with the nanny option. IMO it's much easier for you returning to work not to have to worry about getting the baby up and ready. I have no problem at all with nurseries but I also think it is better for babies yo be in their home environment. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

HiDBandSIL · 23/01/2017 07:30

How many days a week is it?

If it's 4 or 5, maybe even 3, I would go for a nanny because I think that one to one care is best at that age.

If it is 3 or less, I think I'd be swayed by the advantages of a nursery setting. I love that they are open without fail 50 weeks of the year. They are never sick. I don't have to plan my holiday around their's. I feel more comfortable knowing that my children's care by any one person is supervised by other people (that was probably the deciding factor for us when we made this decision). I looked at a lot of nurseries and was only happy with the one I chose, which luckily the children - my eldest in particular - has loved. They have good access to the outdoors (woods and a lake even) and although they don't have one to one care, they have that for the other 5 days of the week and it actually feels good for them to have variation, spending lots of time with other children and ultimately developing their own friendships. A nanny may do this too, but they do so many fun activities there I always feel that it is much more fun than any day I manage to give them at home!

I've just realised that I don't know how old your child is - I've assumed 1. If your child is 6 or 9 months I would go for a nanny regardless of how many days a week it is. Nursery felt particularly good from age 2.

I hope this helps. I think if you have access to a good nursery and a good nanny you probably can't make a bad decision here, both will be good in different ways.

Yerazig · 23/01/2017 07:39

As a nanny who started of my career working in a nursery, for under 2'S I would always suggest using a nanny over a nursery. Babies need that one on one that you get from a nanny. A good nanny will make the transition for you returning to work so much easier. I always say when they get to two that's a perfect age to start introducing nursery and being in more of a formal setting slowly introducing them in to more of a school experience.

smilingsarahb · 23/01/2017 07:42

I would pick a nanny for all the reasons outlined in your first reply. I regret picking a nursery for my eldest who struggled (my youngest was fine but he had a different personality and would have been fine with all sorts of arrangements). I picked a nursery because I was worried about reliability of a nanny (sick days, getting better jobs etc) and a belief they were really expensive. I now know more about nannies from a couple of close friends and it looked so much better. They still go to toddler groups to get the social contact and can head to nursery for a few hours a day when they are two and build up to school hours. I am not digging at people who use a nursery as that's what I did but I think a nanny is better.

Crumbs1 · 23/01/2017 07:48

Nanny every time. They can give a more normalised experience in the child's own home. They can adapt to needs of individual. They can look after unwell child.

Wait4nothing · 23/01/2017 07:54

As a nursery user I would say mornings are hard, my dd doesn't sleep well at nursery (so much going on despite sleeping room) and has been ill since starting.
We do think we made the best choice for our family but it's still hard having those negatives!

Annie105 · 23/01/2017 08:02

Nanny Nick no that's on my to do list today to contact them, I'm also trying to work out the incidentals like insurance, extra electricity and heating, kitty.. And actually something just occurred to me I never discussed do nanny a expect food in the fridge for lunch/dinner for themselves or purely only snack stuff?

He will be just under 9 months when the nursery was due to start. 3 days a week was all nursery could offer but I'm likely to have to work 4 eventually by time he is just over 1. I'm thinking of going to see them tomorrow just to be sure as my husband has said this morning he would like me to do one last nursery look (although he is pro nanny not just for the baby but for us to ensure our time with him is quality not constantly chores and racing to get to work and from work)

Should have clarified the childminder has two children in the afternoon after nursery she likes to keep her mid mornings free for her own things like the gym, cooking etc she said it works much nicer for her and the income covers all she needs. She would be self employed so invoice for her time as its under 8 hours a week on average.

HiDB your nursery sounds lovely ours is central London so teeny tiny outside space and relatively small baby room but yes your are right the more than one person responsible is one our parents (they live far away so can't offer care) are worried about for nanny option. They are worried that no one is watching what is going on when she would be in her own with him.. I think they read a lot of scary daily mail stories! But of course that is a concern I do feel a bit like that myself but this woman gives us a nice safe feeling.

This is without a doubt the hardest decision ever!

OP posts:
Surreyblah · 23/01/2017 08:15

I too would go for the nanny, but cost should not be ignored as a factor IMO!

Rinceoir · 23/01/2017 08:27

I was very keen on either a nanny or a childminder when I went back. Interviewed several but didn't really gel with any. The cost of the nanny was eye watering but like you we were willing to make sacrifices if we thought it would be best. Issues we came up with were reliability with nannies- we have no family around also really needed assurances about leave etc from early on but this wasn't forthcoming. We were happy to give very generous leave as long as it was planned well in advance in order to give us time to make alternative arrangements. DD was breastfed, bottle refusing and 10 months when I went back to work but barely eating solids and I also needed someone who wasn't going to panic about that fact. Almost all of the nannies we saw were very displeased and said things like- "you'll need to get her eating" as though I could force it!

I was disappointed as we were offering what we thought was a very attractive package-average pay for the area, with no babysitting evenings/weekends and a paid week off every 6 on top of annual leave (my shifts allowed for recovery days in blocks).

So for various reasons we went with nursery- there was a lovely small baby room with low ratios and very happy children. There was also a breastfed counsellor working in the room who was really a godsend when it came to supporting us through feeding issues. DD is almost 3 now, and still very happy in the nursery so I think it was the right choice for us. I did have a wobble after 2 months of crechitis but she's barely been unwell since those first few months.

I don't think there is a right answer-I would go with whatever setting you feel most comfortable with.

Crumbs1 · 23/01/2017 08:28

Our nannies had free run of the fridge and larder. There was always stuff for their lunch. We usually had a toddler as well and always had extra snack things for visiting friends. That was nicest bit of nanny - they had nanny friends who brought other children around to play and stopped it being lonely.

1DAD2KIDS · 23/01/2017 08:29

I don't think you can beat the benifit of being around other children at that age. So nursery would be my choice.

Sunnie1984 · 23/01/2017 08:31

We do a mix of both.

I work 4 days a week and we have a nanny two days a week and nursery two days a week.

I've found that works for us as we get the benefit of structured nursery, which both my kids love, and the convenience of a nanny at home for sickness etc.

We are due a third baby soon and so when I go back to work we will increase our nanny to three days and nursery for one day as the risk of one of the kids being sick will increase massively!

It's tough financially because I have one at school already and one due to start next September so nursery would technically be the cheaper option as they also run the after school club for my older two.

But my husband travels for work a lot so if the kids are sick it always falls to me, and I can't be off work all the time... my kids fall sick one after the other so I could easily have to stay home for a full week.

So you can have the best of both worlds if your nanny is open to it.

Rinceoir · 23/01/2017 08:35

*breastfeeding counsellor obviously!

orangebobble · 23/01/2017 09:09

As a qualified early childhood teacher (I'm not in the U.K and am not sure what you call the equivalent there). I would say hands down a nanny or childminder rather than a nursery. I really don't want to knock anyone who sends their child to nursery, but, one-on-one (or close to it) care in a quiet, familiar environment, with a person who knows your child well and who will follow the routine you already have in place, is much better for a young child than a nursery environment, which can actually be quite stressful for a young child. I would say from 18 months to 2 years old is a better time to start nursery, if you're worried about socialization. Also, consider all the bugs your child will be exposed to. Some children seem to catch everything going when they first start at a nursery and if you're really unlucky, this can go on for months.

DustingOffTheDynastySuit · 23/01/2017 09:15

We did a mix of nanny and nursery from 9 months.

If you can afford a nanny and find a good one, and assuming your child is around 1, I would say nanny hands down. The nanny can take them to some baby groups for socialisation.

My two were quite happy going into nursery most of the time, but it was only really when they started preschool at 3 that I felt they were really gaining anything from it.

agapanthii · 23/01/2017 09:19

I have done both. For dd1 we used a great nursery which worked out well. When dd2 came along, dd 1 was in school, so we hired a nanny who could look after the baby by day, and also collect dd2 from school each afternoon. I'd say the nursery was great and I don't feel any regret about using it- but nanny was better, providing 1-1 care in our own home.

welshweasel · 23/01/2017 09:21

We were in a similar position and went for the nursery. Cost was certainly a factor. I love that nursery is open 50 weeks a year, I have enough difficulty getting the same time off as DH without throwing another person in the mix. I wasn't particularly comfortable with the idea of one person looking after a non verbal baby on their own. We are fairly rural and I wanted DS to be around lots of other children, especially as he won't be getting a sibling. I was worried about illness, particularly as we don't have any emergency childcare options other than one of us taking time off work. However, DS has been in full time nursery for 8 months now (started at 4 months old) and has only been off once so our fears were unfounded.

sopsmum · 23/01/2017 09:44

As an alternative perspective, I have had two nannies. Both were great in their own way but it is very hard having someone in your home daily and you really do have to remember to set boundaries. I came home one day to find nanny sat in my bedroom playing with my toddler and baby. We have a five bedroom house with playroom and it just hadn't occurred to me that I needed to specify my personal space as off limits. I have also had a nanny that took my children on dog walks with her dog without ever asking me,random sickness generally on a Monday or Friday, never ending soft play with nanny mates, bizarre often processed food choices (despite well stocked fridge and access to Ocado log in and contrary to what was discussed at interview), questionable cleanliness, car seats not installed properly and other small niggles. A lot of what I discovered was because I needed surgery so I ended up being at home but not able to look after my children. I think I would have been oblivious had I been at work as I just wouldn't have seen it. It was also eye wateringly expensive and the tax is always loads more than you have calculated!! Mine are at a small nursery with early years profs (rather than teenagers with an nvq) and I'm very pleased. For me it costs more than a nanny though!

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