We've taken Em to the DB child care centre a couple of times and to be honest it's a nightmare (getting everyone ready at the same time, fighting for a spot on the commuter train, Em coming down with the green groolies, etc.)
We've sat down, worked out the figures and decided we're now going to try a local approach.
There's a woman in Carshalton that does child minding and for the time being, we're going to be dropping Em off there every morning and picking her up every evening.
Having had a year off - almost - and never really being apart from Em, Sue's in two minds over what to do, childminding-wise. The obvious choice - quit her job and stay at home - really isn't financially viable. Sue's other option is flexi-time, working 4 days a week.
Over the last 9 months, Sue's not only got incredibly fond of the bond she's formed with Em, not having to endure commuting, or office politics, she's also made friends with local mums - most of whom are going back either part time or flexi-time. Part of Sue's reasoning for flexi-time - the main being spending as much time with Em as possible - is to maintain social ties with the local mums.
Come February, I imagine it'll be quite a lot of trial and error in the beginning, with a few late arrivals at work, or seperation anxiety attacks by Em (and Sue).
I think as far as the natural progression of life goes, this has to happen at some point. I know from my experience it just didn't happen this early, and if we could afford it, it wouldn't with Em either.