Which Childcare Options Are Right For You? (A Detailed Guide)

Which Childcare Options Are Right For You? (A Detailed Guide)

After my son was born, I absolutely loved being on maternity leave so I could be home to provide and care for him the first eight weeks of his life.

But, sooner than later, for me, reality was going to set back in since I was going to return back to work.

Luckily, I had my childcare all arranged so the transition would be easier on everyone! 

If you're in the midst of your pregnancy, it’s time to start thinking about your childcare options if you must return back to work. 

There are a number of caregivers who are able to care for your child.

Each has pros, cons, and cost considerations to think about.

Read on to learn everything there is to think about when choosing the right childcare provider for you.

Important Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Childcare

Choosing your childcare provider is one of the biggest decisions I’ve made as a parent.

You need to consider the following things before you begin your search and interview sessions:

Do you want one-on-one care?

A newborn is a lot to take on. While some moms are fine with enrolling their infant in a

daycare setting, others want an exclusive one-on-one caregiver until their baby gets bigger.

Do you want one caregiver or multiple caregivers?

Some moms find it easier and cost effective to have a friend or family member watch their baby for a few days and remain under a facility’s care for the other days.

Others feel this is confusing to a baby and does not help them establish a healthy, daily routine.

Do you want to keep your baby in your home or are you ok with doing a drop off?

Some parents prefer to keep their baby in their home environment with all their comforts and belongings, while others are more than ok with taking their baby elsewhere to utilize their goods and services, or by packing them a bag with everything they need. 

Do you want your child to be around other children?

Some moms like the social interaction that comes with being cared for around the company of other children, while others shy away from it since there’s a higher risk that your child will get sick or not get as much one on one attention.

What's your budget?

Childcare isn’t cheap!

So, it’s important to be aware of your budget and make sure you are able to afford weekly care, or apply for assistance if needed.


Some caregivers have animals in their home. Are you ok with this?

Or, would you prefer that your baby isn’t around other animals?

What's included?

If you're going to pay for care, what kinds of perks are included in tuition?

Many facilities provide formula, food, diapers, and wipes, while others do not.


Will your facility or home have an alarm system or an electronic code that must be entered before gaining access?

Is your childcare provider first aid certified?

Do they know how to handle a baby with special or medical needs?

Is their home or environment baby-proofed and up to safety standards in regards to care?

There's much to consider before choosing the right childcare provider.

Here are some additional pros and cons from some of the most popular childcare options.

Hiring a Nanny

When it comes to selecting a nanny, you can opt to choose one-on-one care, or a nanny-share service (which means another family will be sharing the nanny with you).


  • More individualized care
  • Usually highly qualified and recommended individuals
  • Usually certified in safety areas
  • Some may have a nursing background
  • Many will run errands and cook or clean for families
  • They come to your home—you don’t have to take your baby anywhere 
  • Will usually care for a sick child, so you don’t have to take time off work


  • Can range from $25-$30 an hour, or if they charge per day, around $80-$100 per day in some cases
  • If you take a vacation or are not in need of your nanny on a given day, you still pay them for their time
  • Reputable nannies can be competitive to snag!
  • Nannies prefer to become a part of a family unit, so part time care isn’t really an option

Nanny Cost Considerations

Nannies are not really for those who are on a tight budget! 

Oftentimes, a family will choose to save up money ahead of time and utilize a nanny for just a few months.

Nannies do tend to put in long hours and are mainly for working families who travel a lot or who also need help around the house and caring for pets.

Nannies generally become a part of the family, and even attend family vacations.

And, for these reasons, they are expensive! 

Expect to dish out anywhere from $500-$2,000 a week, depending on the nanny, your location, and your needs.

Sending Your Child to Daycare

Daycare is a popular option for many parents, because there is a daycare in every community that's typically in their price range and within a reasonable driving distance.


  • Exposure to other children, which is great for social development
  • Daycare facilities have enrollment standards to ensure they are cared for properly and given enough time and attention
  • Many include perks like diapers, wipes, formula, and food may be included in tuition
  • Most will give one week off a will excuse a few sick days without charge and will still hold their “spot"
  • Babies get a crib, sheets, and have plenty of stuff to play with, so you don't have to pack much
  • All staff is safety certified and the facility must adhere to certain standards
  • Multiple children from a family usually receive discounts


  • Exposure to other children, which is not so great for germs and children who display undesirable behaviors
  • Children don’t get as much one-on-one time with caregivers
  • In most cases, you pay for your child’s spot, so if they are sick or if you are on vacation or home on a personal day for work, you are still sending in a payment to the facility
  • Your child will be sent home if they have a fever and are deemed ill

Daycare Cost Considerations

Daycare facilities cost anywhere from $35 per day for an infant, up to $45 per day. Generally, expect to pay around $175-$200 per week for full time enrollment.

Many facilities will let you enroll part time (3 or less days a week) and will prorate what you owe. 

In-Home Daycare

Many parents prefer the home daycare routes.

It's much smaller than a traditional daycare, but has many of the perks. 


  • Home-like, family-friendly atmosphere, so your child will feel right at home and less like they are in an institution or facility
  • Your child will still get to socialize with other babies or children, there will just be less of them
  • Because the home day care focuses on smaller amounts of children, they will get the individualized care they need
  • In many cases, home daycares are much more flexible in regard to payments. If you aren’t there a time or two, you generally won’t have to make that day up
  • A lot of times, home daycares are run by retired teachers, former daycare workers, or moms/grandmothers themselves!


  • You’ll have to pack lunches, bring diapers, and provide a few sets of clothes. Most moms bring a diaper bag daily, which can get tedious to pack. You may also have to bring your own sheets and wash them if they get soiled.
  • They follow safety standards and guidelines, but it doesn’t get as monitored as a typical daycare would
  • If you didn’t get referred to this facility through word of mouth, it can be unsettling for parents to leave their baby with a complete stranger (at daycare facilities, there are multiple workers, but at a home care facility there is usually just one person)

In-Home Daycare Cost Considerations

Home day is an affordable option for many families.

Some providers charge by the day, and as low as $25, and some may charge up to $45 per day, so it's important to price around.

Hiring an Au-Pair

An Au-Pair is like  a nanny, and they're usually sourced out by an agency.

They help with childcare and light housework, and often come from other countries and live with a family in exchange for a cultural experience.


  • Your Au-Pair will tend to your baby overnight
  • Help with housework, cooking, and errands
  • Up for travel and other overnight destinations
  • Provided by an agency that does background checks and formal trainings
  • Lots of individualized attention


  • While training is usually provided, most Au-Pairs come from other countries and they may be new to American cultures, traditions, or safety measures
  • Your child is isolated with only one caregiver and isn’t around other children as much

Au-Pair Cost Considerations

An Au-Pair is just as expensive as a nanny (if not more).

Most programs that source them out require a downpayment to hold their spot ($2,500 or more).

Then, you will be asked to pay the remaining balance for obtaining their services( $6,500 or more).

From then on, they get paid a weekly amount (approximately $200) for care, living expenses, etc.

However, they usually eat your food and utilize your own supplies around the house. 

Does It Make More Sense To Be a Stay-at-Home Mom?

After reading this, you may roll your eyes and wonder if it’s better to just stay home.

It all depends on the kind of care you want for your child, how long, and how much you’re willing to pay.

Here are some major things to consider:

  • Freedom & flexibility. When you're a stay at home mom, you have the freedom and flexibility to do what you want, when you want. You can raise your child to your liking, take them on playdates, hire a sitter for a few hours so you can exercise or run errands—the options are endless. Some women would love this, while others couldn’t handle the lack of structure, or the lack of social interaction. 
  • Money. Finances play a huge role in deciding to stay home or not. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck before your baby arrives, leaving your job is not a wise option. It’s smart to sit down with a financial planner to get your debts in order and to devise a plan in order to see if you’re able to stay home, how much you could save in the long run without childcare, and also how much you would lose financially each year, salary-wise.
  • Other children. Do you want to have more children? Do you plan on having another child right away? It’s expensive for one child to undergo care, let alone two!
  • lightbulb-o
    Lifestyle. Do you enjoy conversing with adults? Do you like getting dressed for work and having a different kind of need/responsibility on your plate? Would being home with a newborn all day drive you crazy? Would you be ok with not having a job to define who you are and what your worth is? Some women answer yes without batting an eye, while others are more hesitant because they have set career goals in mind.

Wrapping Up

There’s a lot you need to think about when it comes to to childcare.

Sit down with your partner to determine what you want from a provider, what your budget allows you to do, and the types of goals you both have for not just your child’s care, but your own life.

Choosing the right provider is one of the biggest choices you’ll make as a parent, right from the get go.

Don’t wait until the day you’ve delivered to decide!

Use the nine months leading up to your D-day to plan, collaborate, interview, and think about what you truly want and need for your little one!

Kate Trout

Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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