Our Experience with Daycare vs. Nanny

This was Lila’s first full week in child care now that Luke’s mom is back home in Indiana. My transition back to work was made SO much easier by having her here to watch Lila for 2.5 weeks. Honestly, if you’re looking for a gift to give a new mom, offer to watch her child that first week back to work. (Thank you Felicia!!)

So we have been agonizing over what to do with Lila while I’m at work. I work 35 minutes away from home and Luke’s commute is 45 minutes the opposite direction. Which means when we have a full day of work, we can go up to 10 hours being apart from her. Man those days hurt.

The two options we were weighing are either daycare by my office or a nanny in our house. Both have their pros and cons. Daycare near work means I could go nurse her over lunch, but then she’d also be in the car a lot and Luke would have no way to pick her up or drop her off if I’m traveling. Plus she’d get much less one-on-one attention and those daycare germs are scary.

A nanny would provide one on one care in a familiar environment, but would nearly break our budget and I’d have no option to see her during the day. We eventually landed on a hybrid of the two. M-W-F with the nanny and Tu-Th at daycare.

This Monday we left her with the nanny and both had tears in our eyes as we said goodbye. Poor Lila looked so confused. Thankfully, her day went well and our nanny sent us a lot of pictures. Lila was ALL smiles when we came home and was a happy girl that evening.

The next day was the first day at daycare. Lila was one of four babies in the baby room and I’m not going to lie, it was a hectic environment. When I went back to nurse her around lunch, the teacher told me she hadn’t slept yet. I guess because of SIDS regulations, she had to sleep out in the main room vs. the quiet room. Well that room had three other crying babies (teething) and music playing, so there was no way Lila was going to get any rest. When I got her at the end of the day, the poor thing looked like a zombie. Soooo tired and it turns out, overfed. They fed her five times vs. three!

I felt horrible for her. She slept the moment we got in the car and didn’t really wake up until 7am the next morning. My mommy instincts were going off. Daycare didn’t seem to be a good option for her. But I felt slightly hysterical for nixing daycare after just one day. I took to Facebook to get some opinions from other moms and what they had to say was so valuable.

– “I would talk to them and give them another chance. 1 bad day doesn’t mean that Lila won’t get used to being a daycare. I think it takes time for babies to adjust to a different environment and schedule. Good luck! Hope it gets better”

– “I don’t have kids yet but I already know we will do a nanny. And I’ve worked at day cares and would still do a nanny. Best of luck figuring one out. And PS: I LOVE reading your blog!”

– “My only advice is to go with your gut, maybe not tonight, because everything about today is so fresh. But, if something feels right or wrong to you, then it likely is.”

– “Liz – we had a similar experience with daycare at first — but after the first week and some growing pains, it got so much better. It has been SO good for Charlotte — she’s socialized, happy and very go-with-the-flow. Give it a week or 2 — and speak up, be picky — even drop in unexpectedly . . . in my experience — it’s worth it.”

– “Liz, if you can afford the nanny, make her stay full time. Lila can stay in her comfort zone with being at home and on her own schedule. With my three girls I found that that is very important in the first year. When they can walk and talk, it is so much easier to find a daycare where they can play with other kids…and they can tell you if they feel unhappy about something. And that is a big plus. I wasn’t always sure about daycare and a couple of things that happened there, but when the kids are happy and have friends and like the place you will be able to accept these things. All the best for you and Lila.”

I have some smart mommy friends, huh?

After sleeping on it, we decided to try another day at daycare – mainly because our nanny wasn’t available and there would only be one other baby on Thursday. I’m glad we did because she had a GREAT day on Thursday. She took all three naps, ate the right amount and I was able to nurse her in person a couple times. We also got some playing in.

Lila’s daycare teacher also took her outside for some fresh air, which I appreciated. That night our happy girl was back and my instincts were at peace.

For now, we are going to give daycare some more time. I feel slightly selfish, but it really helps me cope with being away from her when I have the option to visit two days a week. 10 hours apart from my baby is too much!!

I’ll keep you all posted on what becomes our permanent situation, but for now, a mix between daycare and a nanny seems to work.