Finding the right childcare is a potential minefield and few parents can get away without paying for childcare at some point.
If you want help or are returning to work and don’t have family nearby then below are your options.
Specialising in the care of newborns, maternity nurses stay with you for the first 2-4 weeks, caring for your baby and allowing you as much rest and recuperation as possible. They are also expert in establishing sleeping and feeding routines and allaying the anxieties of first-time parents.
A doula is an experienced, non-medical assistant who can look after mothers post-natally. They come to your home and support the family by cooking for the mother, breastfeeding support, newborn care assistance, errands, light housekeeping, taking older children to school as well as many other things.
Many parents are more comfortable with the idea that their child is cared for by a number of adults than leave them in the sole care of an unsupervised nanny. Nurseries are fully equipped with the latest toys and most have good outdoor space for running around in all weathers. They often prepare home-cooked meals and children develop an enviable social life. Some day nurseries can also offer extended hours care so that if you want to start work early you can still arrive at your desk by 9am.
Professional childminders are trained and inspected by OFSTED and their local authority. They are registered for a “family-sized” number of children [currently 3] and usually being local can continue the after school care for your children when they reach reception age. Vacancies with childminders are held by the local authority
This is an expensive option, although equates to the same as having two children at a day nursery. It’s infinitely more convenient plus the added bonus of someone keeping on top of things at home. Many nannies are happy doing a job share with another local family if you are looking for part-time help.
Mother’s Helps/Au pairs
This is the cheapest way of getting some help with the children and at home. However, we do not recommend an au pair for sole charge of children under 5 – whatever their experience. Mother’s helps are slightly older, more mature and tend to have good experience with families. But neither should be looking after your baby or toddler whilst you and your partner work a full day.
Full-time nanny, childminder, mother’s help or au pair?
Through word of mouth, via the web, small ad in the local paper or scribbled card in a shop window? While such methods of finding help my yield happy results, childcare is one area where you don’t want to take risks. In this section we recommend professional agencies that will find you a nanny, maternity nurse or other carer with proper qualifications, experience and references.
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