Daycare vs Nanny for 6 Month Old

Updated on May 30, 2015
M.D. asks from DHS, MD
10 answers

Dear moms,
I am wondering whether to send my baby to daycare vs keep her at home with a nanny when she turns 6 months old.
She is currently 9 weeks old, and when she was 4 weeks old she had a uti, that freaked us all out. I am wondering how promptly they would change her diaper, and how quickly they would notice a dirty diaper. The daycare I am considering is considered to be a good one for whatever it's worth. I wish I could stay home with her, but unfortunately I have to work.
Thank you!

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answers from New York on

We always have had nannies bc of the flexibility it gives us and the kids. I also thought consistency was important. At large daycare centers, caregivers seem to change a lot. We used a professional nanny agency who has a long track record with the nannies they place so it felt safe. We had great luck. And as the kids got older, the nanny took them to plenty of socializing opportunities.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Either way, get references. There are excellent daycares and nannies and there are also crappy ones. One is not inherently better than the other, ultimately what matters is the quality of the program/care.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Both of my kids went to a mid-sized center starting at 6 and 8 weeks. I wouldn't change a thing. It was a licensed center with a great staff. For licensing they had strict guidelines for everything. I think the center was no doubt cleaner than my own home! I never had to be worried about my kids being alone with anyone. There were always multiple employees in the center so even in the case of an emergency I never doubted my kids would be ok. I never had to worry about what to do if my caregiver was ill. There was always a back up. I swear it was daycare that potty trained my kids. I could never get my kids to nap, but everyday at daycare they were the first to fall asleep. My kids are very social and make friends easily. They handle conflicts well. They were more than ready for kindergarten. I attribute all if that to daycare. For us it was the best choice. Yes, our kids probably got more than their fair share of sickness, but I think it built up their immunity and now they miss very little school.

The reason I didn't go with a nanny was because it just seemed too stressful to find someone I was sure would keep my kids safe. I wanted the checks and balances that came with a center. I didn't want the stress of what to do if my nanny was sick. I didn't want the stress of writing up a contract or worrying about salary and taxes. I didn't want the responsibility of disciplining an employee. I didn't want the worry of being stuck if my nanny decided to quit. Those are the same reasons I didn't go with a home daycare either.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have worked both at daycares and as a nanny. Were it my choice, i would choose nanny care until age two or so. Kids learn a lot just being out and about with a caring adult in their world. Sometimes it is more economically feasible to do day care, however, you should expect that your child will get sick a lot the first few years. With in-home care, sometimes your caregiver gets sick and then you have to have backup care or flex time at work.

I think you really have to look at your level of need for care, consistency of care, your income (in relationship to the cost of childcare), etc. There are many great programs which really are wonderful for infants, but I haven't seen a lot of them, and no, you won't get one on one care.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

When my oldest two were daycare age, I had this same dilemma. Plus, the nanny route was slightly cheaper than two young kids in daycare. However, I decided to do the daycare instead. One, for socialization with other kids. Two, sometimes my kids went to daycare but I stayed at home to get other stuff done - hard to do if you have a nanny. Three, I am one of those people that if someone is at my house, my house has to be clean, and I treat them like a "guest." This would have created impossible issues with having someone in my house daily (I know myself well enough to see this being a problem for me). However, my girlfriend, who had 3 young children did the nanny route. Overall, it worked out fairly well, but I know she went through a number of them before the kids didn't need one any more.

Maybe interview a few nannies, and then visit the daycare (surprise them) a few times - then see if your decision becomes a little easier. Also, ask for references from both the nannies and the daycare and see what those turn out like.

Good luck no matter which you choose - leaving your little one with someone else is always tough!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

we can't tell you whether a nanny would ever be forgetful, or it's more likely that an oversight would happen in a daycare. it depends completely on how good the nanny or daycare center is.
go with whichever suits your parenting style and budget best, and interview thoughtfully.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

ETA, now "I" get to get on my high

Sherry, you make a bad comparison. YOU are licensed. YOU have checks and balances in place because the state fully investigated you too. YOU have regulations on safety you have to know. There are certain training classes you had to have about choke hazards and drowning in a mop bucket or a toilet and what is safe and what isn't. A person who hasn't had professional child care training isn't the same. You know that.

I was referring to a person who fills out an application and comes to your home. Who's to say the people they have on that sheet of paper aren't their best friends who are lying about her working for them and taking care of their households and children. All the mom can ask when calling references on an application or resume, legally, is if this person WAS employed there and from when to when. If asked if they'll give a personal opinion of them they don't have to answer anything else.

You have had hours of training. You provide good care. It's different than just hiring someone off the street. Even with a nanny service that person could be new, and again, friends can answer the phone and say they are anyone and say anything they want. If a person wants a job enough they can say anything.

When they are checked out to work for an agency the do a background check too, I assume the same as for child care with a complete child care background search. If they have never been caught for any crime against children their background check can still come up clean, just like you said.

So having additional people in the classroom with them is an added bonus to me.


I had a friend who was a home provider. I called her one time and she didn't answer and didn't answer. I was worried. I called again and she had been in the shower....huh? Were the kids not there? No, they were playing in the living room...huh? Who was watching them? She said no one, it's just like my own kids, I can go to the bathroom and do what ever I need to do just like they were my kids. People leave their kids all the time when they need to go cook or go take out the trash or get a shower.

I felt that was the fine line for me. She explained that home regulations were much laxer due to it being that person's personal space, the state can't come in and say "you can't go to the bathroom all day because you can't leave the kids unattended". In a child care facility they have to wait for another staff to come in and relieve them so the kids are NEVER out of sight of their provider, they are never left to play while their teacher goes to the kitchen to start dinner for their family.

I don't like that freedom for a child care worker so that one thing is the only reason I don't use home providers. I want eyes on my kids the entire day and to have other people in there to make sure the teacher isn't dozing off or reading a book or watching TV or playing on her phone or anything. I want those other people popping in without notice so that everyone is watching each other and the kids are safer.

I understand you are offended by that and I'm sorry. I prefer more people. You are licensed and that is not what I was referring to at all. You are running a professional child care business. I just don't like that you get to go off and leave the kids unattended to cook and pee and anything else you need to do. I like having extra people.


When I was a nanny I was a contract employee. I did not have taxes held out, I didn't' have social security held out, I didn't have insurance or any other withholding at all.

I was expected to report my own income and pay my own taxes. I gave my employer my social security number so they could file for child care benefits on their taxes. I always claimed my income and paid my taxes.

It's the same as if you are hiring a plumber. They get paid $XXXX. Then they go take care of their own income things.


Child care in a full fledged facility is regulated by the state with random inspections and checks and balances. I would always prefer that to leaving my child alone all day with a person who could have been lying on their resume and had friends cover for them when I called to check out their references. Seriously they could be wacko crazy!

So I prefer child care because the child will never be alone with just one person. In a normal facility they'd have 4 babies each teacher and 2 teachers to a classroom. This is pretty regular ratios and is very easy to do.

At 6 months of age you need to know that they will expect you to provide most things she consumes. They'll likely offer her some snacks or something once she's older and eating any table food. They are usually required to give you a daily report that will include every diaper change and the contents of the diaper so you will know how many pees verses how many poohs they had. They should include what she ate and how much, how many bottles she drank and if she finished them, if she's getting low on any supplies such as needing another can of formula or more diapers or more wipes, they should tell you how much she slept and when they start her on one nap per day how that's going. By the time she is 12 months old she should be down to one early afternoon nap per day on a cot and learning to do many other things.

When she turns 12 months old they will move her to another room. It might be a non-walking toddler room and it might be a regular toddler room. Each of these rooms are strictly controlled by the state, as to what they have for toys, what they do all day, how many hours of sleep they can have, (they are required to sleep on cots from age 12 months and up) when they can nap because they have to be awake and participating in something most of the day, and if they are having any problems and what is going well.

They'll be at 1 nap per day and they'll be expecting them to learn to feed themselves finger foods, drinking from a cup, etc...they'll work on toddler skills and have lots of play time and fun. You should still be getting a note each and every day as to how many diapers they changed and what was in that diaper, how much of her food she ate, how her nap time was, etc...a complete take on her whole day.

All in all I like a predictable day where I can look at a piece of paper and go online and log in to watch my child and see them doing exactly what the paper says they're supposed to be doing. Some deviation is normal such as not going outside if it's raining but doing something productive inside instead. Or perhaps seeing they're having green beans with their lunch instead of corn because the cook dropped the last can of corn on the floor when they opened it. So many things can happen but with the system that child care is set up on is working then the little things that can happen to change the day are not big deals in any way and all the staff work together to make sure things run smoothly.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When I was considering daycare for our son there was a news item where two 6 month olds had died a a home daycare due to being put down for a nap on an adult bed with blankets around them (so they wouldn't fall off) - the kids pulled the blankets over their faces and suffocated - while the mom who ran the daycare was planning a birthday party for her own kids.

Look - no one will look after your kids like YOU will however I wanted a place where I could be reasonably sure my kid would be alive at the end of the day.
I went with a commercial daycare.
They were right across the street from a firehouse (with EMTs), parents come and go all day (and see what goes on), care providers could take a break if they were stressed out.
They weren't perfect but our son thrived!
Plus he developed a life long love of firetrucks (the kids all loved watching the trucks come and go)!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

A lot has to do with how much you can afford. A nanny is usually more expensive than a daycare.

Another thing that has to do with it is how your child's health progresses in the following months. If she has no more UTI's, then maybe she'll be okay.

Another thing you can do is talk to the daycare about the diaper issue. If they know the issue, they can do more than they normally do.

One good thing about the daycare is that they have other people watching what they do. A nanny has no one watching, unless you have a nanny cam. Just because a nanny charges more and only has one baby to watch doesn't mean she's good. You need to make sure you get a lot of references about her.

Hope it all works out!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First I have to say that as a home daycare provider for many many years licensed thru the state with home checks both scheduled and drop in from the state I am offended by Gammas opinion that any time you have an at home daycare or nanny you are putting your child at risk of being with a wacko. I went thru as heavy a licensing procedure as a daycare center and probably more as my entire family had to pass health and background checks. So I don't agree that a 21 year old helper in the 1 year old room would be a safer option. Than an adult who chooses to run a professional home daycare. that 21 year old could very well be a serious gang member and doing lots of crazy stuff on her time off which would not show up on an application question. only lead teachers are required to have the degree in early childhood education. so you could have a couple great teachers in the school but the rest are minimum wage workers who have the same education as a highschooler. just some things to think about.
Now off my highhorse.
I did home daycare for many years and have been a nanny for several families in their own homes when I decided to cut back on doing it in my own home. Children with a nanny are exposed to a lot less germs. They are able to go on a lot more field trips and excursions. They generally eat better as there is less distraction when it is just the nanny and them and not 8 other children stuffing peas up their noses and throwing food. Diapers are a non issue. as they have regular chaning times at daycare centers. so kids are changed regularly. and if a child smells because they need changing they get changed. The socialization thing is great but until she is about 2 she will not really "play" with other kids. she will play parallell which means she will play sitting near other kids but not with them if that make sense. So if you can have her home til she is older do it.

2 moms found this helpful
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