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Making Daycare Decisions

If you're considering a daycare center or a home-based family daycare, spend a few hours observing the facility. Pay careful attention to the interactions between staff members and children. Ask about schedules, parent participation requirements, and staff qualifications. Take note of hygiene. Do the staff members wash their hands before and after changing diapers? Do they disinfect toys and eating surfaces? Ask about food: When your baby is old enough to eat solid food, will that be provided or will you bring it from home? Take along your checkbook: Even though your baby's birth is months away, you may be asked to put down a deposit to hold a space.

Check out all your childcare options before deciding what kind of care you're most comfortable with. Some mothers like the sense of community at a daycare center, for example, but others want their babies to be cared for in a home setting.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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