Working Moms: Nanny vs Daycare?

Every working mom comes to a point where they have to consider employing a Nanny vs Daycare option for their kids. In this post, we examine the pros and cons with real life experiences
Nanny vs Daycare?

The vital decision of having to employ a Nanny vs Daycare option would definitely come up at least once in every new parent’s mind, especially working mums.

I mean the 3 months maternity leave (obtainable in Nigeria) flies by so very fast, faster than Bolts.

And then the anxiety would begin. How would my baby cope? Will s/he feed very well while I’m away? Will s/he adapt and adjust to my absence fast enough? Will s/he cry the whole time I’m gone?

For me, the questions were endless. I mean, I had barely adjusted to my new role than it was time to go back to work. The first time was hard and the second time wasn’t any easier too. In fact, both times left me seriously considering giving up my job to take care of my babies.

We worked with two different nannies for both kids. Two kids with different personalities. Two women from different backgrounds yet alike in a significant way.

To this day, a part of me still blame myself for my first son, D1 being ‘light-weighted’. It so happened that his nanny would mix his milk with lots of water, going against the instructions given her and I was none the wiser as I only got to know after 2 years when she came visiting!

Her reason?

 Nanny vs Daycare

I went back to work after 3 months but still wanted to try the exclusive breastfeeding method for my son. So I invested in two breast pumps -an electric and a manual one. Serious business indeed.

I would express breast-milk overnight and preserve in the fridge against the next day. As I never could pump enough due to stress and some other factors, this had to be supplemented by formula on exhaustion. After a month, I couldn’t keep up with the pace and stress and switched over completely to SMA Gold for him. Now breast-milk is lighter in color and consistency to the eyes than formula but my nanny felt both should have the same consistency through and through.

Dunno where she was trained.

She would then dilute the SMA milk with water and feed the boy. I just observed he was always hungry and not gaining weight as expected apparently because he wasn’t getting enough nutrients. I felt something wasn’t quite right and asked questions but couldn’t pin-point exactly what. He would latch on to the breast from evening till morning, he practically slept with it in his mouth and now I don’t blame him at all but back then, it wasn’t funny at all. No kidding.

The poor boy was just subsisting on slightly colored water from morning till evening. So much for doing the right thing by him and getting him one-on-one care.

Got noone to blame but me. I made that decision, right?

Employing a nanny to take care of your precious child is a very serious business which should be treated with the gravity it deserves. I mean, you are putting your trust and faith in a complete stranger, in most cases and you would agree with me that the times are terrible now.

We cannot be too careful.

An article I read on   Daily Mail just brought it all back and made me re-examine the choices I made years back. Maybe this would be useful for someone in the middle of making that all important decision.

Having a nanny to provide one-on-one care for your baby at home is great, awesome even, but it is not without its merits and demerits.

For us, our reasons were not far-fetched, we wanted our babies to enjoy the undivided attention of a carer for the first one year of their lives, we wanted to minimize exposure as much as possible to germs.

Plus it really made life easier for me as a working mum, the mornings were less stressful on me as well as them as I didn’t have to wake them up very early to bathe and prepare for the day or subject their tender lives to the hectic traffic situations everyday.

Hint: In Lagos State, Nigeria, we get up as early as 4am in order to beat the morning traffic in order to get to work on time.

Nanny vs Daycare: Weighing the Pros & Cons

Advantages of having a nanny

  • Employing a nanny to care for your baby at home ensures your child stay in familiar environment, there’s little or no disruption to their system when you return to work. S/he plays with his/her own toys and there’s a sense of security that comes with the familiar surroundings – the home s/he has come to know and love.
  • Your baby eats, plays and sleep on his/her own schedule, they develop at their own pace at home
  • Your baby is in contact with few other kids and as a result is exposed to less germs and may rarely fall ill as a result
  • Your baby has the undivided care and attention of a carer and doesn’t have to compete with anyone. I visited a daycare center in the early days and met just one woman taking care of about 15kids! She claimed they were two working with the kids and the other lady just stepped out. But she didn’t come back in the 15mins+ I was there. The woman was busy rocking a baby while 3 toddlers were lined up before her, seated on a carpet with their plates of food before them. She was feeding them one after the other, one spoon here, on to the next one..a spoon…and on to the third child…a spoonful of food and back to number 1 again. About five kids were sprawled all over the room in different postures while about two kids were whimpering without attention. Needless to say I never went back there. Would rather give up my job, I thought to myself.
  • Having a nanny gives room for flexibility. Cant recall how many times I had to get home late from work to meet my baby already cared for, fed and bathed for the night. With a day care, you have to do a lot of pleading, explaining and negotiating if you exceed the time expected for pick up.
  • You needn’t wake up your precious bundle early, they can sleep as long as they want in the mornings except you have a routine you stick to regarding bedtime and the likes.

Disadvantages

  • Nannies are mostly unsupervised which brings the issue of trust and security to the front burner. You want to be sure they do what they say they do in your absence. Abuse Stories abound like the one that triggered this post. Your baby still cant talk, remember?
  • Nannies are not cheap to hire. Won’t even mention how much we paid monthly for the two we worked with but our peace of mind cant be quantified, ever.
  • You may have to subject yourself to a lil bit of ‘inconvenience’ by occasionally visiting home unannounced or having someone check on them in your absence. If you live in an apartment / block of flats, you may want to implore people around to be vigilant and obtain feedback from them. For instance, if the pattern of crying of your baby in your absence differs greatly from when you are around, then this tactic may come in handy in nipping whatever is brewing in the bud.
  • You may have to get another nanny as a back-up, standing by just in case your current nanny leaves or something unexpected happens. If yours decide to leave for whatever reason, then you may be left in the lurch and you have to start scrambling to get another one within a short time.

The nanny we got for D2, my second boy was involved in a ‘minor’ accident on her way to work when he was just 7months old. I was already dressed for work, taken care of my baby and waited endlessly for her to show up before I got the call. I crumbled on the floor and cried my heart out (for her and for myself) before thinking of the next line of action.

We did not bother to get another one, as difficult as it was, I just braced up and enrolled him at the daycare / creche at D1’s school and we’ve never regretted that decision since. Needless to add that I was effectively ‘useless’ at work for the rest of the day.

Nanny vs Daycare
We need to also consider their social lives
  • You have to consider your child’s social life. Having a nanny isolates a child to a large extent from his peers or age-mates. There is usually limited contact with other kids and this may affect the social skills of the child adversely. It took D1 some time before he adjusted after we enrolled him in a proper school but he soon got over his initial shyness and reluctance to associate or share things with other kids.
  • To some extent, there is lack of privacy as you have a stranger in your home everyday, using your things, etc

There are countless stories about abusive nannies as well as about day care centers giving kids sedatives without the parents’ knowledge or permission.

These kids are precious so if you are going for the home care option against daycare (nanny vs daycare / creche), please choose wisely.

Weigh the options, consider the pros and cons carefully.
Prayerfully decide and ask questions. Lots and lots of them.
Get referrals, carry out security / background checks before employing anyone and talk extensively to people who know them.

Do not employ someone you do not know.

It is also a very good idea to install a camera in the house to monitor activities and keep abreast of happenings in your absence, remember the kids can do no more than babble at this stage.

Always trust your instincts and intuitions. Mothers’ gut feelings rarely misfire. If you think something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.

 

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15 thoughts on “Working Moms: Nanny vs Daycare?

  • May 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm
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    My sistah we are in spirit o! …ehehehe…! I was about to discuss about child-care abroad in my post next week, and you addressed some of the issues here. ..'the fear and anxiety' of every mother is 'the feeding aspect'. My SIL cried one day when she came back from work and saw that her son slept with hunger because the maid did not quickly prepare his food before he slept at his usual time. The boy was losing weight and she could not understand because she was buying the needful. Gosh! I already feel angry just imagining the hunger your son was bearing because of the nanny!

    Me that is at home sef, my son latch on my breast throughout the night, for the fact that am not exclusive on him, because I don't have the same strength to do it as I did for his other 4 siblings …. nah old age cause am?..ahahahaha.

    Like every decision making, there is the pro and con, so having a nanny comes with it's own risk … nah GOD we look unto for protection o, because like the proverb says, if a farmer looks at the weather often, he would not sow any seed. The advantage over-weighs the disadvantage of having a nanny if one can afford it. A friend in Nigeria was paying her nanny 30k monthly and the woman was doing a good job out of it that when she was transferred, she arranged for the nanny to come with her.

    When I read some stories also, I get scared, but wetin person go do nah? Please don't ever think of leaving your job. Take care sistah.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm
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    Yes o the feeding aspect is very key. I really felt bad and angry with myself when I heard what she was doing back then. To crown it all, she thought she was doing the right thing because the fomular appeared too 'thick' and she felt he would not be able to ingest and digest it. Oyinbo wey put instructions on how many ml of water per milk spoonful know wetin dem dey do nah. I just restrained myself from not reacting the way I felt.

    You practiced exclusive for his older ones and you are now cheating him of his fundamental human right? We will protest o. You know there are lots of debates too as per exclusive / formula but I believe in doing what one is capable of doing. No hard and fast rule to be stuck to as per parenting, find what best works for you and stick to it. That's my mantra.

    We can only try our best and look unto God to handle the rest where children are concerned.

    Thanks for your advise too, well appreciated.

    Do have a super-blessed week, sis.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm
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    Oh my! That's so sad about your baby and the dilutes formula. I'm terrified to even get a babysitter for my boys for a few hours, I don't trust people with my kids.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2014 at 10:46 am
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    I can't imagine the emotional turmoil a parent goes through when she has to leave her child in the care of a stranger. It takes prayerful consideration indeed.
    I pray that God will guide you as you make this important decision in Jesus name xx

    Reply
  • May 21, 2014 at 7:39 am
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    It's tough decision. But God will give the strength needed. Thanks for your sweet comments you left for me 🙂

    Reply
  • May 21, 2014 at 12:01 pm
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    I realize I never finished my comment before publishing. It is difficult to post comments from my phone.

    I was saying that I don't trust people with my kids, but at the same time.. I have gotten child-care for my boys for this week so I can catch up on stuff around the house. Usually, my mom is the only person who babysits my boys for me, but this time… I got an outside source because I didn't want to burden my mom. Childcare is very expensive! I know here in the US I've been quoted about 150/wk per child, but that isn't for a nanny. Nannies quoted me at about $10-15 (US) an hour and most expected me to allow them to move into my home with their own rooms… Nannies aren't an option for us, but I can understand wanting the one-to-one attention for each child.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2014 at 3:36 am
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    I can relate with your fear with so many terrible stories making the rounds but sometimes you just have to let go if that is the only alternative at hand.

    Thanks, friend.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2014 at 3:38 am
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    Thanks, 1 + The One. It's really not an easy decision to take.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2014 at 3:39 am
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    Hi SarahGeorge,

    Amen to your prayer and it's always a pleasure visiting you.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2014 at 3:44 am
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    $10-15 for an hour? Wow. Doing 10hrs daily would translate to like $100-150 per day…take that to a month. That's a whole lot. And some nannies don't even deliver value for this considering the kind of 'uncare' and abuse the kids are subjected to.

    Now I understand more why most mums over give up their jobs to stay at home and care for their kids.

    God is your strenght, Ila.

    Reply
  • May 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm
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    Very interesting….personally I'm #TeamNanny because I think a healthy and well rested mother is a great mother, and anyone who can help the mum be well rested is tops in my book!

    Reply
  • May 28, 2014 at 7:49 pm
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    Naijawife in the house *drumroll*..lol…

    I agree with you too, the benefits of having a nanny far outweigh the disadvantages.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm
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    I had no choice but to put my son in the daycare and I believed they are the professional one who knows the rules etc. also good for socialization. There is no nanny you can hire in NZ (though there are home care which means she must have a child of her own with a ratio of 4 children to her care only and that includes her child/children) but after weighing up which is the best I have chosen the daycare. Yes, there was things I don’t like but it is inevitable, like some other babies biting my son or being mean to him. If we have a better situation financially that time I will never ever leave my baby to someone care.

    Reply
  • August 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm
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    Well articulated. I can’t agree less to your views.

    However, I think the ‘social isolation’ as a result of having a Nanny may not really have a negative impact since the child to be nursed is a baby and should get into creche between age 1 & 2 to start exploring with her peers.

    In addition, as a Recruiter of Domestic staff, the major point was made, which is to ensure discreet background check (residential address verification, medical, guarantee & previous employer check, + CBC) before hiring a domestic staff.

    Thank you for sharing…

    Reply
  • August 3, 2016 at 3:08 pm
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    Well articulated. I can’t agree less to your views.

    However, I think the ‘social isolation’ as a result of having a Nanny may not really have a negative impact since the child to be nursed is a baby and should get into creche between age 1 & 2 to start exploring with her peers.

    In addition, as a Recruiter of Domestic staff, the major point was made, which is to ensure discreet background check (residential address verification, medical, guarantee & previous employer check, + CBC) and also, assess competencies before hiring a Nanny.

    Thank you for sharing…

    Reply

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