Choosing the Best Infant Care for Your Child

Navigating the vast landscape of infant care options can be a daunting task for parents. Wonderschool is committed to illuminating the path, guiding parents through a curated exploration of thoughtful and nurturing childcare options, ranging from specialized care centers to home daycare experiences, ensuring your infant's developmental journey is enriched and well-supported.

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At-Home Child Care Options for Infants

One-on-one, at-home care can benefit your infant’s cognitive and social development since your child will engage with their caregiver in a familiar environment. It offers scheduling convenience while also reducing the stress on an infant. With at-home options, you may need to conduct your own background and reference checks.

Au Pairs

An au pair is someone from another country aged 18 to 30 years old who lives in your home via a cultural exchange program. In exchange for the housing you provide, your au pair provides child care and, to a lesser extent, housekeeping. You don’t need to pay wages or a salary to an au pair since you’re housing them, though a small weekly stipend is required.

Since your au pair is a member of your household, they essentially become a family member while caring for your infant. This arrangement can give your baby extra support. However, since many au pair arrangements last at most a year, it can lead to what feels, to your infant, like losing a caregiver. Additionally, au pairs can work at most 10 hours per day or 45 hours per week. This means that there are limits on how much care au pairs can provide.


A nanny is an at-home caregiver of any age who may or may not live with your family. You must pay nannies as employees and adhere to your state’s minimum wage legislation. Nannies — especially if live-in — will handle much of your housekeeping, and are typically from the U.S.

Nannies often have more child care experience than au pairs. They can work for your family for any length of time, making them potentially very important figures in your child’s life well beyond infancy. You’ll need to pay them significantly more than with an au pair, plus you’ll have to withhold and pay taxes from their wages.

That said, through nanny shares, you can split your nanny's salary with another family, with whom you create a shared or divided schedule.


In-Home Option for Infant Care

In-home care, also known as Family Child Care, are programs located within the provider’s home, not your own home. This option provides small class sizes, more convenient locations, and lower costs all while offering high quality care and safety. Wonderschool is here to help you find the best in-home options for your infant.

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Family child care homes

Here is more information about home-based care:

  • The maximum group size depends on state regulations but in-home care is typically much smaller than centers. For infant care, the group size can be as few as four or five children.
  • The smaller size ensures your infant gets ample attention and socialization with others, while reducing their potential exposure to illnesses that can happen in larger environments.
  • In-home care is often more affordable than other options since they have fewer overhead costs. Since they are within a home, there are more care options within local neighborhoods compared to larger centers. This is a great convenience for families.
  • In-home care providers and staff are often well-educated or experienced. They create thoughtful and comprehensive learning environments. As such, an infant’s sense of discovery, academic skills and social skills develop quickly over time.
  • Each state has regulations that providers must continually meet to ensure quality, health and safety of your baby. Wonderschool completes further checks on an ongoing basis so you can rest assured.
  • Many providers offer continued care into toddler and preschool ages. As your baby grows, they will receive age-appropriate curriculum throughout their early childhood.

Daycare Center Option for Infants

Child care centers are government-licensed facilities that must adhere to staff and safety regulations. Their reliability and larger staff sizes might benefit your infant, as might the added opportunities to interact with more children.

Center-based care

Daycare centers are staffed with specially trained providers who have extensive experience caring for young children. With a wealth of knowledge on early childhood education, daycare center providers facilitate age-appropriate activities to help your baby grow and thrive. Your baby will get a mix of group time for socialization and one-on-one bonding with care providers. From fun educational toys to joyful singing games, centers can open up a whole new world for your baby.

Since daycare centers must meet rigorous legislative standards, working parents can feel comfortable that there are safe options for their baby. Aside from these safety requirements, daycare centers are typically open during standard business hours with full-time and part-time options. This flexibility makes it easy for working parents to coordinate care.

Many daycare centers offer care for children well into toddlerhood, and some work with children across multiple age groups.


Infant Curriculum and Philosophies

Beyond the environment, in-home and child care center programs offer a variety of curriculum for learning and development.

Curriculum options

Curriculum may be based on philosophies such as Montessori, Waldorf or Reggio Emilia which offer different methods to prioritize individual discovery. Other programs may offer a faith-based approach. There are also bilingual programs that combine these options while learning multiple languages. Similarly, these programs can include a variety of cultural explorations.Having a variety of options gives you the chance to find an environment that’s harmonious with your style.

Learning benefits

You may be interested in a specific program for a number of reasons. You may want a program that focuses on, for example, sensory and tactile exploration. This helps your child develop their fine motor skills and gives them the chance to expand their observational abilities. Others are more centered on discovering their own personal creativity and talents.

Personalized plans

Child care providers may also work with you on a customized care plan and schedule. Programs that utilize early intervention strategies can also provide you support if your children experience any developmental delays. No matter your goals, Wonderschool is here to help you find a child care program that fits.


Age Groups that Qualify for Infant Care

Infant child care, defined by federal standards as any child under 12 months of age, is designed to help your baby reach important early childhood milestones in a safe, secure environment. Quality infant care supports your baby through each developmental achievement, whether they’re rolling over at four months or learning to crawl at nine months.

Use Wonderschool’s age range filter when searching for infant care to find options suited for your child’s current developmental stages.


Wonderschool’s Top 5 Factors for Parents to Consider When Choosing the Best Infant Care Option

1. Trust
2. Safety
3. Schedule and Availability
4. Cost
5. Location

Find Trusted Infant Care Near You

With Wonderschool’s child care finder, families can see the available infant care options in their community, making the search for local child care easier and more convenient.

Find the right option for you and your family today, and explore meticulously crafted resources to nurture, inspire, and elevate every facet of your child’s early developmental experiences with Wonderschool; where parents go to find trusted, quality child care.

Find trusted infant care