Probably the hardest thing I have had to do so far. My maternity leave is coming to the end and I now need to find a replacement me for 3 days a week.
My obvious option was the ‘outstanding’ workplace nursery. I’ve had my name down since 3 months pregnant due to the wait – 18 months later and still no space available!
Plan B – find a nursery closer to home. I went and saw a couple but have not been blown away by the idea of a baby room. Ages from 0-14 months, one room to sleep, eat and play with one adult per 3 babies. I decided that this was not for us just yet and I wanted Ruby to be in a more homely setting with children of a varied age. This led me to childminding. The Ofsted website has a list of childminders and detailed visit accounts of each, this was most useful to me as I’m not from the local area so do not have any word of mouth recommendations to go by.
I came across a lady that works with her daughter and another lady meaning they were able to take up to 9 children between them which I liked. I went and met them first and found this approach to be really reassuring. I could see the setting in action, I met some of the children and Ruby took to it straight away. Childcare sorted!
I took Ruby several times over my final month of maternity, leaving her on her own 3 times for a few hours. This was the weirdest thing! I had left her before with family and friends but not a stranger. So this time was good for her but also good for me, learning to let go…just a little.
I’ve now been back for nearly 4 months and I can honestly say that mixing with children her own age as well as slightly older has helped Ruby socially as well as developmentally. When I drop her off there are no tears, just smiles for her new friends.
My advice for childcare – visit several places before making a decision, go with what feels right for you and your baby. You are allowed to be fussy! Also, try and have somewhere lined up around 5 months before you go back for your own peace of mind as waiting lists can be rather long for the popular places.