Infant Care Options
When you first hear those wonderful words, it is undoubtedly the most exciting and for some, unnerving time of your life. Childcare is often the last thought in the early stages of the pregnancy but if you plan to return to work it's important to consider your childcare options.
If you work, your first port of call should be your employer. Find out how much time you are able to take off and take full advantage of as much time as you can. Those first few weeks are a precious bonding time for both parents and recovery time for mom.
Your next consideration must be childcare if you decide you are going to continue working once the baby has arrived. Depending on what option you chose will decide how much time you need to plan ahead. Below is a guideline for how much time you must allow.
There are many options available. Below, we look at the most common ones and the benefits, costs and time required to search.
Daycare is the most popular choice for many parents. It's generally more affordable and some of the centers have very good reputations. You will have to do some research and be sure to visit before making a decision. Some daycares have waiting lists up to 9months to one year so be sure to do this early on.
Time required: In some cases, up to a one-year waiting list is required
Cost: $250-$350 a week approx.
In-home daycare takes place in carers home. The carer will look after a certain number of children in her own home, providing care all day. Standards can vary greatly and it's important to make sure they are registered with the state and following state guidelines in terms of ratios, conditions etc. The most affordable option.
Time required: 6 months ahead
Cost: $200 - $300 per week
Often the most expensive option but probably the next best thing to a parent staying home. A professional nanny works as a partner with the parents in raising a child. They work closely together to agree how the child will be cared for. Much more than a babysitter, a nanny is involved with the child's development and will step into your shoes when you are not there.
Time required: Ideally 6-8 weeks.
Cost: $400-$650 per week