If you’re a new parent who works, you’ve undoubtedly faced this dilemma — what to do with your child once you’re ready to return to work.

Daycare is always an option, but it’s also expensive. Another concern is whether you want to hand off your child to someone else for 8-10 hours every day. It’s a difficult decision fraught with many challenges.

Here are some options if you want to eschew daycare altogether.

1. Change Your Work Schedule

Do you have a job where you might be able to shift your hours around? Is it possible for you to work an early morning shift and have your spouse work later in the day so that one of you can be home with the baby all the time? The downside is that you and your spouse won’t see each other very much, but you might be willing to sacrifice that in order to keep your child at home all day.

2. Go Part-Time at Work

If you can’t change your schedule, you might consider asking your boss if you can work part-time. Maybe working a three days a week instead of five will allow you the flexibility to find other babysitting options. Maybe your spouse can shift his schedule around, or a trusted family member can pick up a morning to watch your newborn. There are always alternatives. You just have to be willing to ask.

3. Find Family and Friends Who Are Willing to Help

Many new parents rely on their parents to watch their children. It’s a natural progression — the grandparents get to spend loads of quality time with their new family member and the new parents get the reassurance that a trusted, valued loved one is watching their child.

4. Telecommute

Do you have a career where you can work from home? If so, that might be an ideal scenario for you. The downside here is that you do have to accomplish tasks for work and being at home can be incredibly distracting. If you are an organized person with strong time management skills, it can be something to consider. The goal here would be to create a workable schedule for you where you plan your phone calls and intensive work time around the baby’s naptimes and downtime.

5. Quit Your Job

With the cost of living as it is, this is a deal breaker for many of us. But it’s worth doing the math. Does your job cover the cost of daycare? If it doesn’t, clearly it’s not financially worth it to continue working. There might be other factors, though, including your status at your job or future opportunities in that position or with that company. However, you should think long and hard about what’s best for you and your child: Having you leave her in the hands of others all day or being with you?

The bottom line is that no matter which option you choose, it must be a decision made with your spouse after serious consideration. You only get once chance to raise your child during the formative years, and you want to be as thorough and introspective as possible.

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