I put off searching for day care for the longest time since I was in denial about returning back to work and leaving Baby. However, I knew it had to be done, and the sooner the better since finding a good one takes work.
To begin my search, I started asking around to see what other people were doing with their children. A lot of people, I have found, have willing family members who want to take their kin during the work hours. Unfortunately, I don't have that option. Although my family is close, they all work part to full time jobs and don't want the responsibility of taking care of Baby as well. I can completely understand. Plus, it might be awkward if there was a rift over something that might happen while she was in their care. It's easier to find an outsider, then if I don't like the way he/she/the organization does something, I can fire them and find someone new with no residual feelings. That's my thinking, anyway.
My next thought was to look into getting a nanny. That way Baby would get someone's undivided attention, in her own home. I liked that idea. The person watching her would be able to bring Baby on little day trips, play with Baby's toys, and keep Baby in an environment that she was familiar with. Perhaps the nanny would even cook or clean. However, after looking down that avenue, I found that nanny's are way out of my budget.
The next option was a day care facility. This would be a licensed center where children are dropped off daily, follow some sort of schedule (for the most part, depending on age), and is usually attached to a school. A downside is that day care facilities aren't exactly cheap, and the ratio of teachers to infants is four infants to one adult. Four babies of the same age, all under the care of one person. That's like having quaduplets! I wasn't sure Baby would get the individual attention I was hoping for.
Well, I had heard many good things about a facility near me (on my way to work, actually), and called to see if I could check them out. Unfortunately, when I called they said they had a waiting list already. Thus, I would not be guaranteed a spot for Baby and would have to look elsewhere. I was very disappointed (even though I hadn't seen the place yet), because I had pretty much narrowed it down to that one facility. I mean, they teach baby sign there. How cool is that?
The final option for day care is an in home day care provider. I contacted my county and they helpfully gave me a list of providers near me. Of course I googled every single name listed to see what I could find. At the same time, I also sent out a facebook plea asking if anyone knew a quality day care provider. The word was passed along, and eventually I did receive some feedback.
I contacted a recommended provider and she said that she did indeed have openings and would love to answer any questions I had. Plus, I was welcome to stop by any time to check her out. The daycare provider (we'll call her M), was great to talk to on the phone and I looked forward to meeting her in person.
I checked out M's home and felt very at peace about it. She is a licensed provider and appeared to follow all the safety guidelines. I also watched the way she interacted with the children she had under her care and they all seemed to genuinely care for her as well. She was very comfortable to talk with and it seems like we share a similar philosophy on child raising. She is very nurturing and kindly disciplines if necessary (although Baby is too young for any disciplining now).
I filled out paperwork for her and arranged for Baby to go to her full time once I go back to work. We've also agreed to slowly start transitioning Baby into being away from me. That way it will be easier on all of us when I am back to work full time. So far Baby and I have gone over and hung out a little at a time together. Next Tuesday Baby will go for a couple hours on her own. I hope she does ok.
Baby is still refusing a bottle (we've switched to a sippy cup that I found for four months and up- she likes to play with it), and now has severe separation anxiety. If I leave her, even for a little bit (I left her for a little under an hour with my dad today), she will cry her little eyes out. M has been warned and has actually been great about helping come up with solutions. She was the one who suggested I start bringing Baby by a little at a time before I go back full time.
I'm dreading the day I have to go back to work, but at least I know Baby will be in good hands.