Daycare recommendations for infants in the Cambridge/Somerville area
June 9, 2014 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Hi, my wife/partner/homie and I are going to be having a baby. He will emerge in August. Can you recommend daycare places (including home daycare providers) near Cambridge and Somerville that you've had good experiences with?

My wife will be taking three months of maternity leave. After that, we have not figured out exactly what we're going to do, but we're hoping to swing some reductions in work so that we'll have 1-3 days at home between the two of us, which will probably mean that we'll need 3 or more days a week of daycare.

We are looking for probably what everyone's looking for: A good caretaker to infant ratio, kind and patient caretakers, clean facilities, no child abuse. Advice on anything else that we should look out for when we visit daycares is also welcome.

Also, are babies at all bothered at all by inconsistencies between daily schedules? If he goes to daycare some days and stays home some days, is that going to alienate or trouble him?
posted by ignignokt to Human Relations (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have experience in your city. However, I just wondered if you had considered a nannyshare. This would mean your baby stays in your home and perhaps another baby needing part-time care could also be there. It's cheaper than a f/t nanny and it would perhaps be less confusing for your little one, if s/he turns out to be sensitive.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 5:18 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

In terms of schedule, most babies have the week vs weekend shift so they can handle it. For our kid, the distinction between normal just Mommy day and the day I work from home was helped just by doing something distinct early in the day so that could be the trigger for which kind of day it was.

So if you can figure out someway to make the first 30 minutes differentish it'd be totally fine (not that this is a hard rule--it just seemed to help her some).
posted by skynxnex at 6:27 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

When we were looking, we found this site very helpful in narrowing down our options -- after that, we emailed/called to see who had openings and set up visits.

Daycares vary a lot, from very structured Bright Horizons-type places to home daycares with strict schedules to home daycares that are more laid back. As you visit the places, you'll get a sense of what you like.

Daycare is expensive in your area, especially for infants, and some places will only let you do full time, or else they'll only have specific part time schedules available. If you're looking for particular days only, that will probably help you narrow things down a lot.

Our baby doesn't seem at all bothered by inconsistent schedules (right now, she's in daycare only 3 days a week) but I get the impression that varies by baby.

Feel free to MeMail me if you want more information!
posted by cider at 6:50 PM on June 9, 2014

I know a wonderful nanny who's looking for work if you decide to go that route, just send me a PM.
posted by rivenwanderer at 7:22 PM on June 9, 2014

Get on a wait list now.
posted by kestrel251 at 7:43 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We would definitely consider a nanny share and welcome any recommendations for them!
posted by ignignokt at 8:06 PM on June 9, 2014

When we lived in the Kendall Square area in Cambridge we used the Federal Transit Administration's Children's Center (a few reviews here). It's a facility intended for FTA employees but a few openings are made available to the general public. It was a little more affordable than Bright Horizons and we lucked out that they had a spot just when we needed it. We used it from 2007 to 2010. They accept infants virtually from birth until preschool and offer whole- or half-day care.

We were very happy with it and so were our toddlers. We received written reports on their day and the kids were well taken care of, fed quality food and offered varied and stimulating content.

Since they don't advertise, the center is very much a hidden gem, we felt fortunate we even found out about it (through the parents of a child our toddlers befriended at a local playground).
posted by Dragonness at 10:33 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Somerville Moms Yahoo list is great for advice on nanny shares or for finding parents to share with.

My advice is to call as many places as you possibly can that seem reasonable, tour them, then narrow them down. After a couple of tours you'll have a better idea of what you want. You'll also want to be on multiple waitlists.

I did the NAYEC places first then went to the Massachusetts Childcare Finder thing.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:41 AM on June 10, 2014

And he won't be alienated or troubled. When they get older it starts to bother them and it's better to do a few days in a clump vs MWF. But that's toddler age.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:43 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here's the website for Dragonness's recommendation, TSC Child Care, Inc. We have friends there, memail me for more information.
posted by chocotaco at 5:14 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sorta seconding the young rope-rider, there is also a Cambridge Families Yahoo list (disclaimer, I belong to both and cheat on AskMe there!). Both lists frequently post openings and shares, as well as requests for feedback on specific daycares. As a parent who had two kids in a local preschool, my best advice is to spend some time now looking first at the various types of care (preschool, in-home, nanny-share, etc.) to see what fits your style and price range, then to focus on particular venues or providers.

After that, realize it's not too early to ask about approaches to conflict, aggression, sleep issues, feeding issues, etc. I was overall happy with our Harvard affiliated daycare; nevertheless we did have differences of values and understanding with administrative policies and philosophy for some of the behaviors of the 3-5yo age group. Memail me if you want more info.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:09 AM on June 10, 2014

I have some friends who love Bigelow Cooperative Daycare.
posted by alms at 8:43 AM on June 10, 2014

Chocotaco, thanks for finding that link. I searched and searched but just couldn't recall its exact name.
posted by Dragonness at 3:12 PM on June 10, 2014

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