I see it all of the time: parents expecting their first child asking about child care in Seattle. The one piece of advice all seasoned parents in this area will give is GET ON THE DAYCARE WAIT LISTS NOW!
Child care around Seattle is no joke. You literally have to get on wait lists before your baby is born to have any chance at getting a spot in daycare. (I have heard that sometimes the stars align and several lucky people get right in to their first choice when they need care. But I have also heard that some people are on wait lists for YEARS.) This recent Seattle Times article recommends getting on wait lists if you are even thinking about conceiving.
So, what can parents do? Some make the choice to tighten the budget and have one parent stay home. Others can afford to employ a nanny of their own. The lucky ones have family members nearby who are willing and able to help out. Many parents choose to go the nanny share route, either intentionally or by default once they realize how difficult it can be to find an opening in a care center (especially an infant opening!), or how expensive it can be to shoulder the entire cost of employing a nanny alone.
Other parents seek out a nanny share so their baby can get the socialization benefits of having a regular playmate around. Nanny shares take a little work to set up, but they can be an excellent alternative to daycare and can make employing a nanny more affordable. (To note, while nanny shares are an excellent childcare option, they are not actually legal childcare arrangements in the state of Washington. Learn more about that by clicking here.)