View Full Version : Childcare dilemma during & after maternity leave
OK this could be long but hopefully not too confusing as I really need some advice as I'm completely :huh: as to what to do about childcare arrangements during & after my maternity leave.
So, Harry currently goes to nursery 3 days a week & I originally intended to just reduced this to a couple of mornings a week whilst I'm off to minimise disruption & give me a few hours with the baby plus keep his place for when I return to work next year after 9 or hopefully 12 months ML.
All fine except of course I'll also have baby to consider who I'd prefer to be in a more home-like setting (childminder presumably?) PLUS Harry will be starting school next September (:shock:) so I'm going to need before & after school care for him anyway.
So now I'm wondering if we'd just be better giving up on nursery altogether once I've finished and just get him into the local pre-school for a few sessions a week then find more flexible childcare such as a local childminder for both Harry & baby for when I go back to work :puzzled:
The thought of having to find another childminder is just hideous (I saw 15 when I was looking for Harry 2 years ago & don't think anyone would match up to the amazing one we finally choose :no:) plus I'm not sure moving Harry again - he only started at nursery 4 months ago - is ideal especially with the added disruption of a new baby. Any thoughts or alternative suggestions?
I would say not to worry too much about it yet. Keep your options open - see some nurseries/childminders, but don't worry about committing now unless you have to.
If he's settled at nursery keep him there until well after the baby is born (if you can afford it). This will keep his normal routine & make adjusting to the changes in his family easier to accept. This is what I did with Elena anyway. She stayed at nursery on her old routine until Abigail was about 4-5 months old. This kept her in the routine she was comfortable with and enabled me to spend time with the baby without her feeling left out. Then I reduced her days when I was sure she could handle not being the centre of my attention all the time.
I agree with Scatterbrain. I'm going through the same decision process myself - although I think I've decided I'll put the new baby into the same nursery as Toby, as they are really fabulous and I'd feel I was shortchanging the new kid putting them somewhere else. Just the hair-raising expense!
I would keep Harry at nursery for the 3 mornings especially as he'll shortly qualify for government funding. That means he stays in a routine and you get time with your new one. Not sure about before and after school care. Do you know which school he'll be attending - do they have a breakfast club or afterschool club? Depends on your hours but that might help you a bit.
I have to say I sent DS to nursery at 8 months and he was fine and I've no regrets. I too felt that a childminder would be best but only if I could find one I really liked and I didn't think I'd be able to.
I'd have a look, but as others say you don't have to commit to anything yet :happyno: About a year ago I had a similar dilemma in needing to sort before/after school care for Laura from September (08) and also considered a childminder for Adam instead of nursery. I looked at another nursery and 2 childminders (there weren't that many with spaces locally), and also had a good hard look at the nursery they were both in at the time, and decided that actually, they ADORE my children there and I was happy to leave Adam there. I found the most wonderful lady for before/after school for Laura, who she now adores as well, and so it's all worked perfectly. But I fully appreciate how stressful it can seem at the time and how it can feel like you need to decide NOW....but you really don't :happyno: .
If you can afford to leave Harry where he is, then I think I'd do that for now. Check out childminders if you can, and if one grabs you then fine, go for it, but otherwise maybe try and keep your eyes and ears really open in nursery and see if you can imagine baby going there at 9/12mths (ask to look round the baby room if it's different room to where Harry is). At the end of the day you go with your gut, but at least then you'll know you've really looked at all the options. FWIW both of mine went to nursery 3 full days a week at 6mths old, and no ill-effects that I can see :happyno:
I agree, if he is happy, keep him where he is. I kept C in her old routine for a month, then reduced her days.
She got alot of positive attention from the nursery, everyone asking about her baby, which I think made a huge difference to her acceptance :nod: I also got some quality time with W, and gave me chance to rest a bit, even if just from the mental torture of a three year old :lol:
I think our nursery is fab, so wouldn't even consider a childminder for W :shrug: Hoping to get C into after-school clubs, or even give up work :oop:.
Do you think the nursery is the best care you can get? If you think they could do better, keep your eyes open for a CM.
Thanks for the replies - I think you're all right about the need for keeping some sort of consistancy & routine in Harry's life for the first few months I'm suddenly off & the baby arrives and as he gets government funding from April (just in time :thumb:) hopefully we can afford to keep him at nursery in the mornings at least for a few months until we've all settled into life as a family of 4 :shock:
I'm fairly sure I will look for a childminder later this year for when I go back to work as we had such a positive experience with Harry's childminder for the time he was with her from baby until just a few months ago (she's had a 3rd baby & no plans to return to CM :cry:).
Thanks again for the replies and for helping clarify things in my fuzzy little head a bit :lol:
Glad you're feeling a little more settled Mrs C. We've kept E in nursery while I've been off and W is starting there tomorrow - or would be if E hadn't got chicken pox!
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