Where do I leave my child -- infant care or nanny? Here's a comparison of the two.
When my son was born in 2013, I had to source for a caregiver to look after him in the day. Being a helpless baby with no capabilities of expressing his feelings other than crying, I deemed it to be one of the most important decisions I had to make during his babyhood. I felt responsible to ensure that his wellbeing was taken care of, as he would be left alone with his caregiver in the day. Kinda stressful, to be frank.
We don’t have a maid and are not looking to hire one in the near future. As for grandparents, that’s not an option for us too. This leaves us with either placing him in Infant Care (IFC) or getting a nanny. So, here’s a rundown of our considerations for your reference.
Caregiver to Baby Ratio
I’m assuming 1:1 for the nanny here. ECDA guidelines in Singapore is 1:5 though most IFCs set an internal limit of 1:3. Frankly, based on my observation, 1:3 is really the max that one can go as looking after a baby can be really really demanding. Over here, it may seem like having a nanny is the clear winner. But, once again I’m assuming the Nanny only looks after one baby. The nanny can in fact be occupied with things other than babies, such as household chores, looking after the elderly and cooking. As for IFC, it’s a full time job in a work environment for the teachers, whose sole responsibilities are to look after the babies in their care.
I recalled nanny rates were around $600 back in 2014 and our nearby IFC cost $600 after subsidy as well. Oh yes, Singapore working mothers enjoy subsidies amounting to $600 and $300 for IFC and childcare respectively. It however very much depends on the IFC as fees can range widely between $500 to even $2000 for the high end IFCs after subsidy. You can refer to the ECDA website for a list of IFCs available.
Ok, nanny is the clear winner here. IFCs typically operate from 7am to 7pm and impose a penalty charge for late pickup. For my son’s IFC, there’s a grace period of 5min after which parents are charged $1 per minute. This means, if you arrive at 7.15pm which is 15 minutes past cutoff time, you’ll be fined $10! No kidding! It’s probably to ward against parents who are often fashionably late and these penalty charges go straight to the teachers as overtime pay. I personally think it’s a fair system.
How about baby’s food and daily environment? Read on the next page…