'It's the best thing I ever did'
Stir frys, garlic bread, spaghetti -- you name it, Emily Costello will eat it.
And her parents Catherine Brady (40) and Richie Costello (42) credit her crèche with helping to widen her palate.
Emily (11 months) has attended Tír na bPáistí in Milltown, Co Cavan, since she was five months old. After attending one day a week until she was seven months, she now attends three days a week while her mother works at a local GPS office.
Catherine's eldest daughter Laura (12) was cared for by her grandmother until she went to school but Catherine decided to go a different route for her youngest daughter.
One reason was because her mother is now older and she felt that whatever form of long-term care she was opting for, that was what she should go for from the beginning.
"My mother was going to look after her until she was one but to put her in crèche at that age felt like too much of a change."
Another plus is that costs are subsidised because she has a medical card.
But she also felt that crèche would help Emily's social development. "Laura hadn't mixed with other children and she found it very difficult to mix at school.
"With Emily, I sent her one day a week for two months, and it was the best thing I ever did. Now when I drop her off when I go to work she's happy to be there."
Another big plus for Catherine was the healthy eating initiative the crèche operators have in place. A chef, who is also a nutritionist, cooks all the meals on site. "There's no processed food."
For those availing of after-school care, the children are picked up at Milltown primary school and brought back to the crèche. Catherine plans to send Emily to that school so she expects her to be going to that crèche until she is 12.
"When I drop her off she waves me goodbye. She just loves it."