How to Balance Daycare/Childcare and Babywise

How to Balance Daycare/Childcare and Babywise. You can do Babywise even if you are a working parent and your child is in daycare.

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Real Mom Daycare Advice

There are many moms out there who, for a variety of reasons, need childcare. As I do not have experience in this situation, I again turned to friends for their advice for moms using daycare and Babywise. Here are their thoughts:

BaumShelter said:

Thankfully my daycare provider is a Babywise mom herself . . . she’s actually the one that gave me the book! I’ve even found her to be a great resource when it comes to troubleshooting. In the beginning I tended to be somewhat strict with my schedule (when she is more of a relaxed personality) and she was very respectful of my wishes. I just wrote out a detailed description of McKenna’s schedule, talked to her before and after I dropped her off or picked her up, and even asked her to keep me a log for a while of my daughter’s waketimes, naps, amount eaten at a feeding, etc… I know that not everyone will be in this same situation of having someone so familiar with the principles, but I WOULD hope that each person’s daycare provider would be respectful of that woman’s wishes . . . especially since they’re probably getting paid pretty good. A few weeks ago when my mother-in-law came to visit I asked her to read the Babywise book so she would understand our philosophy, routine, etc… Thankfully she did so willingly. Perhaps that is something that some moms using daycare could do–provide the person watching their child(ren) with a copy of the book and set up a time to talk with them about how consistency is a vital key in them having a happy baby to watch! What can beat that?! I hope this information has been a least somewhat helpful.

A Friend said:

I can’t speak to the daycare centers, but I can share my experience with my nanny. First off though, if your daycare provider seems to have a strong parenting opinion against BW, you should obviously find someone else. Ask if they have heard of or read BW in the interview process. Also ask how they feel about CIO. Try to feel them out.

My nanny is 25 and doesn’t have any kids of her own and hasn’t heard of BW. Nor has she heard of attachment parenting. She didn’t have an opinion of either, which was good. Fresh slate. She COMPLETELY respected my wishes. I posted our schedule in the kitchen and gave her an overview of the basics. After a while, she would help me troubleshoot. It was great to have her as a sounding board since my DH was away. She became a great friend. She also didn’t have any issues with CIO. In fact, for a couple of our training sessions (rolling over, swaddle weaning), she did the first 1-2 CIO sessions, which was great. She had an easier time listening to it than I did.
On top of all of this, my nanny was also caring for my older DS. She cooked healthy meals (for me too!), cleaned and even did my laundry! She charged $12/hr. for the two kids. I use past tense because she’s currently looking for a full-time job. I only had her come 1-2 days a week and she needs health insurance. We are both very sad about it and are having a harder time emotionally than we thought we would. That is THE ULTIMATE in a childcare provider. Not only do you want them to follow your instructions, but you want them to become attached to your child and begin to love them! I’m going to start crying here!

Spencemom said:

We have a nanny for our son, and it is working out fabulous. She is 26 with one daughter. She did not use BW, but after being with us for 4 months, she is asking me for tips on sleep and eat patterns:) She fully respects our schedule, and she’ll email me during the day is something is “off” to get my opinion. I’m never nervous DS with miss nap time or get off his normal routine. The one downside is she is $13.50 an hour which for a few days a week is much more costly than daycare. However for our schedule (and less illness), my DH and I think it is WELL WORTH IT!

Bethany said:

I’m still having issues with terrible naps, but my best advice is communication. We are currently using a daycare center. Every morning we write down his feeding times and nap times on his daily report that they are required to fill out by the state. I’ve also typed up a sheet with his schedule and other tips that stays on his clipboard. Now, it is extremely rare for him not to be fed on time.

They haven’t quite figured out how to please me with his naps 🙂 Sometimes they forget it’s his naptime or don’t think he’s tired. Again, communication has really helped so that now they know to leave him in his crib when he wakes early and to always put him down even if they don’t think he’s tired. Every single teacher has commented on his happy disposition. He’s the most well-rested infant in there.

I still have lots of gripes and most days his naps are all over the place. Constant communication is the only thing that has made a difference. I wish I could require the directors and teachers to read BW. Most moms in the room are AP, though.

Dana said:

I don’t know if this will help, but I used to be a nanny and I have also worked in a daycare center. My children have not been in childcare, so I can’t speak to actual experience with babywise babies/children.

As a freshman in college I worked as a “teacher” in the 1yo classroom of a daycare center. The ratio of 1yo/teacher was 7/1. They had one naptime per day, no cribs. They were expected to lay on mats and sleep for 1-2 hours. Most were so tired they crashed for at least an hour. When you have 14 1yo’s and 2 teachers it is very difficult to keep the ones that wake corralled, doing quiet activities and let the others sleep. Naptime was also when teachers took their lunch breaks. Leaving one teacher to handle those that woke early.

I was often found in the baby room during my breaks. (Despite the new rule that any one not hired to be in there was required to stay out.) The ladies in that room often peaked their heads into our room to ask me to come over and help on my break. (I did not know anything about babywise at this point.) The ratio in that room was 4 babies to 1 adult. Which meant there were 8 babies a day in the room with 2 adults to care for them. The cribs were in the same room. Lights were on all day, with only one set naptime where the lights were turned off. Most babies were overstimulated, tired and cranky unless being held.

I was a nanny for a boy of an AP mom from the time he was 15mo to 3.5 yrs. (I found out I was pregnant with my first baby 2 wks after I started. I didn’t take the Prep for Parenting/babywise class until 2 wks before my son was born.) Even though I hadn’t read babywise, I quickly tired of the routine the old nanny had of rocking the little boy to sleep for his naps. I started to let him CIO about a month after I started. I sat right next to the door, b/c the mom worked from home, so I wanted her to see that I was really listening and paying attention to what was happening. My son came to work with me from the time he was 6wks on. The mom was always amazed at how well Kyle slept, how happy he was and how well he ate. By the time I left, she still couldn’t figure out how I got her son to behave so well, when she couldn’t, and why Kyle was such a happy, good little boy. (I shared my thoughts with her many times, but I don’t think she listened.)

How to Balance Daycare/Childcare and Babywise

After doing both these jobs, I feel the best environment for any baby, but especially a babywise baby is with a nanny or an in-home daycare. With a nanny, they are in the familiarity of your home, making the routine easier. At an in-home daycare the ratios are much better. They can only have 1 or 2 babies in the home depending on how many children are there. This would make it easier for the caregiver to follow your schedule.
I hope this info is helpful in some way.

As a nanny, the mom I worked for was able to do a background check on me and I believe was able to check my driving record through the company she hired me through. Since she knew my driving record and felt safe with the car I drove, she had me take her son to classes. I took him to Kindermusik, baby swimming classes as well as a toddler play group. Those ended once I had my son, but with the two of them we often went to parks and indoor play areas. So those moms concerned about socialization have that option with a nanny as well.

My Advice

I appreciate the advice of each of these women. If you have advice and tips to share, please add them. Here are some of my own thoughts on the situation. I haven’t ever had my kids in childcare/daycare, but I have worked in a daycare. Here are my thoughts based on what I do know:

  • I completely agree with Dana when she says that the best environment for a baby is at home with a Nanny or other provider. After working in a daycare, I would never send my children to a daycare. I am sure there are some great daycares out there. I also know some parents don’t have much of a choice. But if you do, I would look in to a nanny or an in-home daycare.
  • Know there will be some disruptions with naps and feedings. Hopefully you can find a person or place who will work to comply with your schedule. I think one reason a nanny is preferable to a daycare is that a nanny can do what you want her to, whereas a daycare has a lot of babies and children to care for and needs to create a schedule of their own. It would be hard to have 8 different schedules for the 8 different kids. Even 8 Babywise babies will have different schedules somewhat.
  • Do certain things at home. If you are in daycare, that isn’t going to be the best place to have them do independent playtime. I would do that at home, which I can see as being difficult because you will want to spend all the time you can with them. But you could have your child do independent playtime while you make dinner. If you have a Nanny, you can certainly have her do independent playtime with your child during the day. You could likely also request this if you take your child to a home for childcare.
  • Try to find a person/place who can comply with your schedule. Some daycares can and will comply to your schedule.
  • Always go with your “gut.” Pray about the situation if you are a praying person. Be in-tune with your child to be sure the current option is the best one for him.

Baby Whisperer Advice

In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg lists some tips for those moms who go back to work. These are found on page 32.

  • Establish Routine. Have your routine in place at least a month before you return to work. If you are already working and want to establish a routine, sh says you might need to take a week or two off to establish the routine.
  • Caretaker: Hogg points out the importance of having a caretaker who is willing to implement your strategies. She stresses the importance of consistency.
  • Consistency: As the parent, be careful that you keep her on her routine. You might feel guilty for working or might want to spend more time with her so you let her stay up later than you should. If you do this, be aware that you will likely disrupt her routine.
  • Enlist Spouse: Hogg says she finds the spouse who is home less is usually better at sticking with the plan for implementing routine.
  • Disruptions: Pay attention to all other disruptions that can affect baby. Job change, moving, new pets, sickness, etc. These things can all contribute to your baby being thrown off.

Reader Advice

  • Susan and Ethan Peterson said…
    I have my 6 1/2 month daughter in an in home daycare. Although we have had to make some adjustments to BW her sitter has done a great job following my wishes, and has really helped me to keep Haley on a schedule. She feeds her when and how I ask her to, and we talk every day about what she did and didn’t do. It was an adjusment for her at first, but now she tells all new moms that she knows to go get babywise. I have truly been blessed!
    July 8, 2008 7:45 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Susan, Thanks for your thoughts! It sounds like you have a good setup there.
    July 9, 2008 11:05 AM
  • G-Man’s Mama said…
    Just wanted to include my experience with a daycare center and babywise. Our son started daycare 3 weeks ago. He is 4 mo. and I have been consistent, constant and insistent (he was previously watched by his G’ma’s and my aunt) about his schedule before he started. He is pretty well established in his schedule. Anyway, the daycare center we take our son to requires that the caregivers have read the babywise book, which helps a little. They have his schedule w/ tips & babywise princpals posted in the classroom and they are pretty awesome about sticking to it. They even succeed in getting him to take a fourth nap, something I am unable to do. This daycare is one of the best in the area and we feel like they really listen to us and are very compliant with our wishes. I hope anyone who chooses a daycare center finds the same wonderful experience we have.
    September 23, 2008 4:03 PM

Reader Questions

  • Nicole Flowers said…
    I am sleep training right now — putting him down in his crib every time he seems sleepy throughout the day/night after each waketime. But he starts daycare part time (every afternoon M-F) in about a week. Clearly I won’t have the same control with that. Should I continue doing what I’m doing in the daytime to sleep train? BTW, my baby is 2 months old.
    August 28, 2008 3:08 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Nicole, I would do what they are going to do at daycare. If they are going to CIO, I would definitely do that so you can try to learn his patterns and give them some clues.
    September 2, 2008 10:21 PM