Expecting too much from daycare?

My eight-month-old will be starting daycare on Monday, and I'm wondering if my expectations are reasonable. For some background, I had 6.5 months maternity leave and we had a nanny while I mostly worked from home in the interim. We follow what I sometimes call "low key" attachment parenting style, and I am anti-CIO for our family. It's the hill I will die on. My baby and I dropped into the daycare yesterday for a planned morning visit, which was a little while before naptime began. I was shocked to find that they let the babies cry themselves to sleep for naps, though they called it "fussing." All the little ones were just so unhappy in their cribs. The teachers were running around putting babies in bouncers holding their own bottles, which also seemed unhealthy to me. Maybe one had fallen asleep by the time we left. It broke my heart. This is not the life I want for my baby. The ratio is 4:1, with 8 babies max, and now I'm realizing that's just not sustainable. Yet that's the going ratio here in Brooklyn. This was the best daycare of many that we toured. They look wonderful from the outside, and I think we'd actually be happy with the toddler room. What have your experiences been with daycare and naps? Maybe daycare just isn't right for our family?

  • Anonymous
    Oct 26, 2018

    I worked in the infant room at a daycare briefly. I got reprimanded for "holding the babies too much." One baby frequently came in and it was obvious her parents didnt bathe her, so I often washed her in the sink to get dried off crusty stuff off of her face and such. One little boy was quite sickly and needed a lot of extra love in my opinion. I got in trouble so much that I went to my grandma's one day on my lunch break sobbing about how these daycares dont actually care for these babies and she told me I should quit and I did. A few years later, the sickly boy from my infant room made the news because he had been left outside all day and forgotten about until his parents got there. I swore I would never have a child unless I could stay at home with them or make enough to hire a nanny. Daycares are the worst in my personal opinion and if you can afford it, I would hire a nanny or wait to put your child in daycare until they can verbalize what's going on at the daycare with you.

  • Kerry
    Oct 26, 2018

    Wow that's bad that a child got left out all day! We used to head count continuously. We also had cameras every where so if that did happen the management would see it also.

  • Cathy
    Oct 26, 2018

    Hi Mama! I’m a Director of a child care center. 4:1 ratio is pretty good, and as someone else has stated it’s better than some others. Here in GA it’s a 6:1 (although my school does a 4:1). I honestly think your best bet is to have a conversation with or send an email to the Director. Yes, some children may have been crying themselves to sleep because of different reasons. Maybe that’s how some fall asleep, or, unfortunately, not every baby can be rocked or have their backs gently padded based upon the number of children or staff in the room. In most states, there are regulations about children holding them own bottles. In most states, if all of the teachers are feeding other children, then it is perfectly acceptable for a baby to hold their own bottles if they can. You should be able to google your state and regulations. Regulations are for public viewing. You’ll also be able to see if they have ever had a complaint or been cited.

  • Sarah
    Oct 26, 2018

    Thank God I was able to avoid daycare & took care of my son myself. I work for the school district & in the summer I did infant/toddler childcare for the school district .... those kids can be terrible & affect the other kids. Biting, hitting, etc. I was so happy my son didn’t have to go. The kids I cared for were kids of the HIGHER UPS & was acting like that smh. If you can get a full time babysitter or nanny please do that!!!!

  • Jessica
    Oct 27, 2018

    I don't trust daycare, that is why I stay home and help other momma's.

  • Eleanor
    Oct 29, 2018

    As someone who works full-time and had both kids in daycare I would say it’s an adjustment. Being that they have probably 5-10 other little ones in the room, they may need to do something that works for the larger group and may not completely jive with what you’ve been doing at home (albeit likely while having the luxury of only one or two kids at a time). Be sure to communicate to them about your expectations and how you manage things at home. Be prepared; their way of dealing with a crying baby may not include the ability to spend countless hours each day rocking them or catering to their every need in seconds; that’s part of the transition kids make as they move into daycare. Also, trust your gut! I’ve walked away from a daycare after a tour because I just didn’t feel it was a right fit and ended up in an incredibly wonderful place! Have you weighed the option to get a nanny if needing a caretaker is a must, but you would prefer more individualized attention? That may be something to consider and may be a better option.

  • Athena
    Oct 30, 2018

    My parenting philosophy is similar to yours, and to me, this is an expectation adjustment situation. The same happens at my daycare - I too have observed some fussing to sleep, but to me that is not CIO. The caregiver is within view of the child and can talk to them. Imagine having twins, or having many children - you don’t have enough arms and sometimes one child just has to wait. This is the case even in amazing daycares. There are literally not enough people and not enough arms. So if you are not ok with your child needing to wait a little bit to have their needs met, then a daycare may not be for you. I prefer 1:1 care for the first 2 years of life (as I did for my first son), but when my nanny quit unexpectedly I had to turn to a local daycare when my second son was 5 months old. I had missed so much time that my school was threatening to kick me out and I had to do it. It was the best daycare in my town. I had my reservations but my son has adapted nicely and does great! I’d say to have some faith, and give it a chance. Remember that your baby is more capable and adaptable than you realize and he or she will most likely thrive there. Good luck!

  • Asia
    Oct 30, 2018

    4 to 1 is standard.

  • Robert
    Oct 30, 2018

    You asked if you need to adjust your expectations...everyone has given great advice and of course you need to be comfortable. I think you do need to adjust your expectations, it’s a daycare, it’s not a nanny or staying at home. I have a 2 year old and she’s been in daycare since the youngest she was able, my wife and I both work full time. I can see how it’s disconcerting seeing kids cry as you go in, it’s also amazing later on when you stop by [this was when she was closer to 2] and two adults have eight 2 year olds sleeping on cots perfectly quiet and content, in cots they can get out of whenever! — evaluate the daycare honestly, stop by often, if you feel they are giving good care, then adjust your expectations and know your child won’t be crying all the time

  • Trisha
    Oct 30, 2018

    I was blessed to have my parents. My ex left me when my twins were 3 months old. My parents together cared for my boys when I went back to Aunts and Uncle would come for visits and enjoyed spending time with my children as they grew. By the time they were 3, they were potty trained, could read and were very well socialized. They went to pre-school, and enjoyed the activities that filled their day. If you are blessed enough to have parents or relatives close by who you trust, see if they can help until the baby is old enough to enjoy daycare. Babies that tiny need to be home.

  • Kristy L
    Oct 30, 2018

    I would have killed for a 4:1 ratio, but everything else sounds like it's not the place for you (or me)! There are likely day cares that have more nurturing practices, so I'd give this one a miss. But yes some expectations will probably have to be adjusted to the reality of multi-baby care. However, there really is a benefit to the socialization and stimulation they get by being around their peers as opposed to 1-on-1 caretaking. And the oversight that you don't necessarily get with a nanny. I found that after the first couple of days at a "decent" day care, my anxieties were allayed.

  • Megcm1
    Oct 30, 2018

    A daycare is not providing one on one care. Each worker is watching after four babies at once. They are barely getting above minimum wage as well. If you want one on one care, you need to hire a nanny. It sounds like you had a nanny previously - can you hire them on full time? If a nanny is not within budget, you will need to adjust your expectations.

  • Violet
    Oct 30, 2018

    Unfortunately daycare providers can’t possibly rock every single child to sleep. If you’d like that level of care, you’ll have to hire a nanny. That’s why daycare is much cheaper than a nanny. You pay less, but you sacrifice one-on-one care.

  • Katie
    Oct 30, 2018

    Have you considered an in home daycare? They may have a lower teacher to child ratio and may be a bit more accommodating to your preferences than a center. I had the same feelings when I visitied daycare centers and ended up going with an I home daycare that a neighbor had used (with great feedback.)

  • Mellisa
    Oct 30, 2018

    That was exactly what happened to me. I visited several daycare centers and in- home daycares. I did stayed for several hours in each daycares. The ratio just doesn't allow them to attend to every crying infant and at in-home daycares the bigger kids were really noisy. Since napping time is really important for infants' brain development I want my son to take naps properly. In the end I gave up and hired a full-time nanny just 2 days before I started going back to work. My son was 10 months back then.

  • MamaNukesYopolo
    Nov 07, 2018

    Athena’s advice is spot on.

  • anonymous mom
    Jul 30, 2019

    I wish I’d seen this sooner. I have to say the infant stage at daycare was hard but we got through it. My daughters daycare never let a child cio. I dropped in whenever I wanted, always unannounced, and there was never a crying baby who wasn’t being talked to, sung to, patted, rocked, Fed, or otherwise tended to. I also think a baby self feeding with a bottle is a terrible idea. There’s so many ways that could go wrong in a daycare setting. Also I only entertained daycares that didn’t allow bouncer seats. I just read too many stories of babies being left or even forgotten in a bouncer. My daughters daycare had only floor time activities for infants. Never a seat or a bouncer. Always free to learn to move and roll and whatnot. All the daycares I went to were also a 4:1 ratio. It’s hard but it is what it is. I would keep looking. There’s no reason to leave your child in a setting that makes you uncomfortable.

  • Jeans
    Aug 26, 2019

    I am a daycare provider. I am a believer in CIO method after 6 months of age. I feel that it helps a child learn how to self soothe. I know people say that there is scientific evidence that cio method is not healthy for children. However, a lot of people twist the research. That evidence says that if you allow a baby to cry non-stop without acknowledging the cry then that’s unhealthy. However, if you let a baby cry 5-10mins, check on them, soothe them, leave and repeat cycle...this is healthy. I checked with a medical professional. If CIO is not your method then I don’t think that daycare is the right fit for you. Better that you find out now rather than later. A lot of providers are against the cio method. Far as self feeding a bottle, depends on the age. 6 months and over, I have a baby feed itself a bottle. It’s a way for them to form independence and it’s part of a milestone. It helps with coordination. Bouncers and such. I have bouncers & walkers. If an infant can not sit up on its own and you have other children to tend to your very limited on what you can use. I have a timer and switch infant from “stations” every 15 mins. 1 station is a bouncer, the other is a walker, other is a play mat, another is an area where we do tummy time and exercises. So I wouldn’t think negative of daycare because they have bouncers. I would ask how are they used? How long are children in them? Plus my infants never sleep in them. Pack and plays on their back only. Good luck on everyone’s search, I know it’s very stressful.