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Childcare for Newbies

Jessica Glorieux of Motherburg lays out all of the childcare options for your little one in this big city.

Childcare for Newbies

For parents expecting their first child or parents who’ve recently had a child, childcare brings up a lot of questions: What are my options? Daycare or nanny? Do my partner and I want to tag team childcare? Most parents I counsel want to know the difference between childcare options and figure out which one is right for them. But many are also concerned about finding the best care for their children without forgoing half of their combined income. Anxieties run high when parents think of leaving their child in the care of another person. Luckily, there are several choices when it comes to childcare in NYC – some more traditional than others.

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Here’s a rundown of choices to give expectant parents some peace of mind.

Daycare: For anxious parents looking for direction or those with an easy-going child, daycare can be a great option. If you’re lucky enough to have a reputable daycare in your neighborhood, take a tour and see how you like it. Most facilities have very well-trained staff who love and understand the needs of babies. Daycare can also be soft on the pocketbook; on average, it will cost between $300-$800 less per month than a nanny.

Pluses: No one will be calling in sick and most are open on holidays, should you need to run errands (or have a day to yourself!). Also, kids get plenty of socialization.

Minuses: Getting yourself and your baby out the door on time can be a challenge for some. You’ll need to stay home if baby is sick, and your child will get less personalized attention.

Tips: Take a tour and meet the caretakers at the daycare. Check out how you feel and try to imagine if you could see yourself there.

Nanny: One of the more common routes parents go in the city is to hire a nanny. Nannies are wonderful additions to a family and especially helpful for parents who have odd working hours or jobs that tend to run later than 6 p.m. Also, since this type of childcare is in-home, parents feel safe knowing the child is sleeping in his or her own bed, and getting more individual attention. Often, a nanny can help with dishes or get dinner started if you so desire.

Pluses: Nanny comes to you, and can cover you if you’re working late (or want to slip away for a weekend).

Minuses: The expense of a nanny, and your new role as a HR manager. You are responsible for an employee, and must cover sick days and holidays.

Tips: Make sure you check references thoroughly. They’re just as important as background checks. Contracts or clearly stated job roles are also highly encouraged. Be sure to check out the NYS Domestic Labor Bill of Rights.

Nanny Shares: One creative way parents can shave down the cost of having a nanny is joining a nanny share, where two or more families get together to hire a nanny and share childcare. The amount of time can vary and accommodate any work schedule. Nanny shares work out really well if parents live close to each other, have children of a similar age and desire the same sort of person to care for their children.

Pluses: Lower childcare costs and a built-in playmate for your little one.

Minuses: You may have to purchase a double stroller. Also, it’s necessary to be in synch with your other family -- if they want to take a music class, you’ll need to take it too.

Tips: Spend time with your share family. Also, it’s worth exploring a contract so both families agree on details, and including an escape clause should one party decide to go another direction.

Au Pairs: Assuming you have an extra room at your place, an au pair is a great option. Hiring an au pair has a higher upfront cost but a much lower weekly and, ultimately, hourly cost. Parents benefit from having on-site childcare as well as an extra set of hands to help out around the house or run errands. The child can also benefit from a second language.

Pluses: On-hand childcare when you need it and cultural exchange.

Minuses: Stays last only one year. Also, sometimes dynamics between couples can change after a baby and adding another person to your household can change them even more.

Tips: Use a reputable agency, and make sure you’re clear on the all the details of the contract.

Babysitting Co-op: Another option for parents with flexible or freelance schedules, or parents who plan to stay at home with their child, is to set up a babysitting co-op. This tends to work best with 15 or more families who share their availability. Each family banks points based on the number of hours they watch another child and can use those points when they need them.

Pluses: Free childcare when you need it.

Minuses: It requires lots of organization and someone to manage the co-op.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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