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Old 12-05-2018, 07:17 PM
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Default How Do You Manage Four Infants?

I hope this is the right place to ask; I'm a parent who is currently looking for Daycare and I just don't understand how it's possible....but all of the places we've gone to have the same 4 to 1 ratio.

What does a normal day look like when you have to care for four babies? Do you assign naptimes so that one or two babies are always in a crib sleeping? What do you physically do with babies who can't stand/walk/sit-up?

I've asked some questions during our tours and everyone is super friendly and says that it's not a problem and how they do all these great things with the babies and maybe I'm just a little skeptical because they're also trying to sell me their services.

For those who have worked in those situations, how do you feel about the ratio? Would you put your own child into a 4:1 daycare as an infant?

Also, how do you really feel about special requests/medial issues?

Our baby has some reflux/spitting up issues. It's a real pain. The doctor has us holding him upright for 15 minutes after every feeding and feeding him more frequently so he eats less at at time. We've mentioned this to providers and they all say, 'Oh, that's no problem at all' but - dealing with that is a pain for me when I'm home alone with the baby. I can't fathom doing that and dealing with three other babies.

Do you feel like you have time to do these things each day?

My apologies for all the length. I will say, everyone we've met has been super great and I have so much respect for the job they do. Still, I'd really love some 3rd party opinions.
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:33 PM
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I'm assuming it's a center, right?

Are you using a wedge at home?

I've never been in an infant room myself (I'm home daycare with only two kids under two max, plus some older ones), but a friend of mine was in an infant room at a hospital daycare, and she did say that the three infants she was in charge of was a handful.

Who is telling you that it's easy? Is it the owner? director? teacher in the room?
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Two View Post
I'm assuming it's a center, right?

Are you using a wedge at home?

I've never been in an infant room myself (I'm home daycare with only two kids under two max, plus some older ones), but a friend of mine was in an infant room at a hospital daycare, and she did say that the three infants she was in charge of was a handful.

Who is telling you that it's easy? Is it the owner? director? teacher in the room?
We do have a wedge but it's honestly not nearly as 'wedged' as I'd like it to be. We have a weird rocker thing that elevates higher but is still pretty angled. What works best is holding him vertically - but obviously that's a pain.

I've been on three tours now. I think the first two were done by the directors and the 3rd, I'm honestly not sure what she did, but she wasn't the director. She made it sounds like she'd started in the room and now helped out all over.

In all of the tours we did get to see the infant room and in two of the three, meet the caregivers in the room - but we didn't get to ask any of them questions. All of the questions went to the tour guide.

I hope I don't sound negative or untrusting. Everyone we met seemed really nice, but I was a honestly a little surprised at how they made it sound easy. I don't want to say that I don't believe them, I'm just trying to understand more about what it is actually like for the baby.

My guess is that they don't want parents to worry and if they say, 'Oh yeah - it's a real handful but we do our best!' parents aren't going to feel great about that?

I dunno.

I do know that 4:1 is the legal minimum in our location and other places are 5:1 or even 6:1 so I guess part of me knows that logically, 4:1 must be a safe and manageable limit. I'm just in awe of how anyone can handle it.

I wonder if it'd be terribly odd if I asked to hangout and watch them all day? As an employee I think that'd make me feel really uncomfortable, but as a parent I think it'd really clear up all my questions.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:09 PM
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At one point I had 4 infants only and no other kids and it wasn't too terribly bad but I spread the ages around a bit. In CA an infant is any child under 2 years and back then I think I had a 2 month old, a 6 month old, a 12 month old and an 18 month old. It was easier for me because the 2 month old did a lot of floor time with me while the 6mo had started to crawl and was mobile somewhat and could explore the playroom, the 12 month old I think was my hardest and the 18 mo was easy.

I had meals prepped beforehand so I just had to warm and serve. The 2 younger babies napped whenever they were tired but because they were all pretty young it was never too loud so napping them in the same room wasn't a problem. The 12mo was the loudest and I did have to a lot of redirecting if he got upset. The older two only napped once a day and the two little ones weren't loud so they wouldn't wake them up either.

As far as diaper changes went I scheduled them every 2 hours unless they went #2 which got an automatic diaper change. That wasn't too hard either.

The rest of the time was just me on the floor sitting and playing with them. We occasionally had sharing problems which is expected but I think because I only had 4 of them and only 2 of them really had the sharing issue it was fine.

I honestly think that babies are easy. In my opinion, the older the child gets the harder it is, the more supervision they need and the harder it is to keep them happy. I'd take 4 infants any day vs 2 infants plus 4-6 older kids. I have my own kids now however and because they count against my ratios I can't have 4 babies until all of mine are 10yo (my youngest will be 3 this month).
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
At one point I had 4 infants only and no other kids and it wasn't too terribly bad but I spread the ages around a bit. In CA an infant is any child under 2 years and back then I think I had a 2 month old, a 6 month old, a 12 month old and an 18 month old. It was easier for me because the 2 month old did a lot of floor time with me while the 6mo had started to crawl and was mobile somewhat and could explore the playroom, the 12 month old I think was my hardest and the 18 mo was easy.

I had meals prepped beforehand so I just had to warm and serve. The 2 younger babies napped whenever they were tired but because they were all pretty young it was never too loud so napping them in the same room wasn't a problem. The 12mo was the loudest and I did have to a lot of redirecting if he got upset. The older two only napped once a day and the two little ones weren't loud so they wouldn't wake them up either.

As far as diaper changes went I scheduled them every 2 hours unless they went #2 which got an automatic diaper change. That wasn't too hard either.

The rest of the time was just me on the floor sitting and playing with them. We occasionally had sharing problems which is expected but I think because I only had 4 of them and only 2 of them really had the sharing issue it was fine.

I honestly think that babies are easy. In my opinion, the older the child gets the harder it is, the more supervision they need and the harder it is to keep them happy. I'd take 4 infants any day vs 2 infants plus 4-6 older kids. I have my own kids now however and because they count against my ratios I can't have 4 babies until all of mine are 10yo (my youngest will be 3 this month).
Thank you so much for your reply. That honestly makes me feel a lot better.
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:43 PM
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I was an infant room teacher for 8 years before moving to toddlers. 4 infants in a room is very manageable. They all are on their own schedule, which seems to work out. MarinaVanessa has given you a very good response of what the day looks like. Infant teachers have learned how to sooth babies while feeding another and can very easily multitask to make sure everyone gets what they need.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:19 AM
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I had 5 infants by myself at my home daycare. It was very manageable. Each baby was on their own routine. Most naps overlapped some and bottles were staggered.

It really isn't too hard once you have a good routine and system going.

When babies were awake they play on a blanket on the floor
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:54 AM
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I specialize in infants, special, and high medical needs. 4/1 is actually lower than when I first started, it was 6/1 infants with 12 kids total to 1. Mixed group.

Being a caregiver is something that has always come quite naturally to me. It comes down to schedules, routines, physical cues, and patterns.

Now we are expected to also write lesson plans, socialize with parents throughout our workday, educate both child and parent, document trends for the state, police immunizations, conduct health and developmental screenings, and act as family resource offices. That is where my concern lies. With all of this added workload and with documentation being the main focus of rating scores, fewer new providers are actually learning the skills of hands-on caretaking. The training barely skims the topic anymore. That is troublesome.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:18 AM
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oh my, if I could afford to have only 4 kids I'd totally do all infants.

So much easier than chasing 4 year olds around.

When I've done it in the past...I just stayed on the floor with them all day. You eventually get them on pretty similar schedules too. interacting and caring for an infant is NOT, nor should it be, constantly holding them. That does them a disservice.

When you're feeding one a bottle, you're generally still sitting down on the floor with all of them, talking to them, smiling at them etc. If two need something at once, you attend the more urgent need first, and the other one waits a few minutes.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:25 PM
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Another thing to keep in mind, as a parent, you have to cook, clean, pay bills, do laundry and the list goes on. Plus the babies love the interaction of the other little ones.

Is there a time where one baby cries or has to wait for a bottle, sure. It happens. However schedules tend to work out.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:32 PM
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I worked in a center in the infant room for many years. It was always 4 to 1 ratio. Whoever said it was easy is lying. I worked very hard and if by some slim chance I was for a moment just standing still.....well, something was not getting done! I was also very attentive and did not have the heart to allow any crying. I loved taking care of babies. It is not for everyone. Taking care of 4 babies is possible but like I said it is non stop! I now care for little ones in my home. Only 3 kiddos and they are all under 2. It is still busy busy but not as much as a center.
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:35 PM
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What does a normal day look like when you have to care for four babies? Diapers every 2 hours (unless they poop). Feeding as needed. changing the unmobile children's position every 10 minutes. Lots of teacher on the floor time with the babies.

Do you assign naptimes so that one or two babies are always in a crib sleeping?
We dont do this. babies sleep when they are tired. We do try for a afternoon nap at the same time (between 1-3) for all 4 babes. If it happens great. If not the wakeful babies get some extra teacher time. Usually on a good day we have 1 or 2 sleeping at the same time. This time is used in our center for small group activities and extra attention.




What do you physically do with babies who can't stand/walk/sit-up?
We lay on mats by mirrors. We grasp for toys. We kick play gyms. We work on rolling, pulling ect. In our state its a rule that non mobile infants must be moved every 10 minutes.

For those who have worked in those situations, how do you feel about the ratio? There are days when 4 babies stinks. When there all unhappy and screaming its hard. The thing is most providers know what to do when it gets hard to resettle and make the babes happy.



Would you put your own child into a 4:1 daycare as an infant?
yes

Also, how do you really feel about special requests/medial issues?
I had a reflux baby. You just plan for his needs. We used to feed our reflux child first, then put him in the bouncer or swing to be upright while the others got fed (our kids were on a pretty good schedule. He ate first, then the twins, then our other tiny one. )

Do you feel like you have time to do these things each day?
Yep, you just need a good routine. Ours is diapers, feedings/ play, diapers, nap, feeding/play, diapers, feeding/play then pickup.
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewParent2018 View Post
We do have a wedge but it's honestly not nearly as 'wedged' as I'd like it to be. We have a weird rocker thing that elevates higher but is still pretty angled. What works best is holding him vertically - but obviously that's a pain.

I've been on three tours now. I think the first two were done by the directors and the 3rd, I'm honestly not sure what she did, but she wasn't the director. She made it sounds like she'd started in the room and now helped out all over.

In all of the tours we did get to see the infant room and in two of the three, meet the caregivers in the room - but we didn't get to ask any of them questions. All of the questions went to the tour guide.

I hope I don't sound negative or untrusting. Everyone we met seemed really nice, but I was a honestly a little surprised at how they made it sound easy. I don't want to say that I don't believe them, I'm just trying to understand more about what it is actually like for the baby.

My guess is that they don't want parents to worry and if they say, 'Oh yeah - it's a real handful but we do our best!' parents aren't going to feel great about that?

I dunno.

I do know that 4:1 is the legal minimum in our location and other places are 5:1 or even 6:1 so I guess part of me knows that logically, 4:1 must be a safe and manageable limit. I'm just in awe of how anyone can handle it.

I wonder if it'd be terribly odd if I asked to hangout and watch them all day? As an employee I think that'd make me feel really uncomfortable, but as a parent I think it'd really clear up all my questions.
It would be intrusive for you to watch them all day. Probably would not be allowed for security reasons. It sounds like you are not comfortable with group care. Have you considered a nanny?
I am a home provider and have cared for 4 under 2. Of course it is not easy but it is manageable and quite enjoyable under the best of circumstances. When parents interview I go over our daily schedule in detail. I give a tour and answer questions. We discuss any special needs such as you describe.
I donít interview during daycare hours or allow long visits during daycare hours. It is disruptive for the children in care.
Honestly, once we have interviewed, if a parent doubted my ability, seemed skeptical, and/or asked to observe my facility for a DAY (?!) in order to feel more comfortable the spot would not be offered. Demand for infant care is very high - why deal with a parent who is high maintenance before care even begins? If you cannot fathom a 4 to 1 ratio why are you even looking at group care?!
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