The time comes for many working mothers to put an end to maternity leave, return to the office and leave their little ones in the care of someone other than themselves.
As not everyone has the option of roping in the grandparents to help, two of the more popular choices out there are to send the child to infant care, or hire a nanny.
What are the pros and cons of either choice?
Caregiver to infant ratio
Most of the time, having a nanny to take care of your child ensures the lowest possible ratio of 1:1. In some cases, however, there may be other children whom the nanny is also caring for; perhaps other neighbours’ children, or even siblings.
This is compared to the 1:5 ratio of infant care centres in Singapore, which is the minimum guideline set by ECDA. In fact, many infant care centres have lower internal ratios with one caregiver to as few as two or three babies.
Nannies in Singapore are not governed by any regulatory board, and it can be hard for parents to entrust their precious babies to a single person without any other way to keep them accountable during the day.
This is compared to an infant care centre, which normally has larger teams of people to help keep an eye on your baby and reduce the possibility of any human errors.
Furthermore, infant care centres are regulated under the law and have business licences to uphold.
Some parents share anecdotes about nannies who are resistant to seemingly “newer” methods of parenting or caregiving. Some may have misconceptions about feeding baby breast milk, or may insist on caring for baby in their own ways.
Infant care teachers, however, would be more up-to-date and relate to your baby as an educator as well as a caregiver. They are appropriately trained to deal with babies.
An infant care centre space would be designed specially to engage with young children, and foster learning and development. A great example can be seen through the purposefully planned spaces of Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse infant care discovery corners and sensory space facilities, which encourage infants to explore and learn more about the world around them.
Accreditation of caregiving for infants
Most nannies are simply neighbours who may not have any formal training or accreditation in child care – including paediatric first aid. However, they may have years of invaluable experience under their belt.
Infant care teachers are often certified in Early Childhood Care or may have equivalent certificates.
Comparable costs of nannies vs infant care centres
Many parents may be surprised to note that the costs for a day nanny and infant care are comparable. While there are no available subsidies for nanny services, the government provides working mothers with a substantial subsidy to defray the costs of infant care.
A wide range of infant care options is available to parents, and they can select a centre that matches their budget and preferences.
However, it might be difficult to source a nanny whom you trust with your child, as many parents rely solely on word of mouth and have to put their faith in other people’s recommendations.
Nanny services often allow parents more flexibility. For example, a parent who occasionally works from home can enjoy being at home with the nanny and baby.
Nannies may also be easier to work with if parents have irregular working hours, as baby would be at home and there is no need to drop off and pick baby up from an infant care centre.
On the flipside, infant care centres often have fixed hours and may even charge penalty fees if parents are late to pick their child up.
However, there are many infant care centres located near business districts and offices, which can be very convenient for parents working in these areas. For example, there are infant care services at the Kiddiwinkie campuses in Harbourfront and Orchard, among several others.
Many parents are concerned about their babies possibly falling sick. When children are placed in a communal setting, it is often unavoidable that illnesses may spread from one child to another, no matter how stringent infant care centres are with their hygiene practices.
With a nanny, babies are exposed to fewer people and therefore are less likely to fall sick so often.
Furthermore, babies who show any signs of fever would not be allowed into the infant care centre, and parents would need to look for an alternative caregiving option. A nanny would be able to help care for an unwell baby in the safety of the family home.
Decision Time: Enrol into infant care or hire a nanny?
Ultimately, both options are perfectly valid and depend on personal preference. If you should decide on infant care, these services are available at selected Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse campuses.
Book a school tour with Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse and find out how our schools can partner with you on your parenting journey.
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