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Newborn (ish) and Toddler, Nanny reluctant to leave the house

(60 Posts)
oscarwilde Mon 04-Mar-13 10:14:45

I am back at work working half days, from home 8-12, and our nanny is looking after my 4 month old (mix fed) and toddler during that time. In the afternoons, she just has the toddler but I'll be full time in 2 months and working from the office so I'm getting concerned now.
The baby is taking a long time to drink a bottle of milk/resisting it and therefore, our nanny is reluctant to the point of refusing to leave the house in the mornings as taking the toddler to an activity and giving a bottle to the baby seems to be an impossibility. She will only do it on a playdate at someones house in the afternoons on the odd occasion that she does a full day. (I have occasional meetings/deadlines)
Now I get that it's too cold to be sitting around in a park bottle feeding a reluctant baby but my toddler is used to getting out and about in the mornings and it has come screeching to a halt. She's more tired and cranky in the afternoons. I don't understand if I hand over two breakfasted and fed children at 8am sharp, why she can't adjust her routine and just get out earlier and be back for the 11.00am feed.

She's generally an excellent nanny but is extremely rigid in her approach and I'm getting all sorts of excuses like the baby will sleep longer than her requisite Gina Ford 45 mins and then won't sleep for 2 hrs at lunchtime. She keeps talking about getting out as soon as the baby is in a routine but that will all have to be adjusted every couple of months anyway.

I figure that if it were me looking after my own kids, I'd just bite the bullet and get out. The toddler will have to learn not to stray too far, or sit and have a snack and do some drawing in a cafe while her sister faffs about.
Am I being unreasonable, especially since it is not me looking after my own kids - are there any nannies on here and how did you adjust when a second child came along?

MNPin2013 Mon 04-Mar-13 10:29:58

I am puzzled by her attitude.

If the children are ready to go at 8am why she isn't using this 3 hr window to go out. If baby sleeps longer then baby needed it (she says having had charge wake at 7, play till 8 when she was dressed and fed and asleep at 9 and still sleeping, and will go down again after 12.30 feed) and will still snooze after her next feed.

I think you need to sit and talk as she seems to be unable to think outside the (rigid) box.

Flisspaps Mon 04-Mar-13 10:49:11

I am not a nanny, and nor do I have one.

However, you are the employer, so can you not tell your nanny that you expect them to go out every morning, and that if this means your baby doesn't sleep for 45 minutes in the morning, and 2 hours in the afternoon, then so be it.

If your nanny isn't prepared to do this, then perhaps you need a nanny who is less rigid and is willing to apply a bit of common sense?

oscarwilde Mon 04-Mar-13 11:25:13

I know - I've been trying to give her time to settle in with the baby and for everyone to get used to it but I ran around like a blue arsed fly between 7-8 and I've been sitting here all morning working and listening to them in the house. It is gorgeous outside so I am thinking WTF. They are not disturbing me, but I am looking out the window and wishing I could head out and I know the toddler is copping it because she just needs a good run. She's been ill all weekend and has barely left the house which the nanny knows.
Time for a sit down I think.

mrswishywashy Mon 04-Mar-13 12:21:19

As a nanny most of my positions have involved a newborn and at least one toddler. Most avos and mornings have been out, even just a walk around the block.

You need to talk to your nanny about been more flexible, if you're happy with baby having a relaxed routine then she needs to plan outings. Even just a walk around the block would help your toddler, so maybe use that as a starting point. Also does she know she can plan to so feed at a cafe, often I've given a toddler and early lunch while I feed baby. She needs to find a way to work with both but you need to tell her your expectations.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 12:43:26

In terms of getting out earlier for activities, could it be that the activities don't start until later? I don't know any activity for toddlers that starts before 9:30am, so you could hand over two breakfasted children at 4am, it's not going to allow me to get to an activity any earlier!

I also think 8am is quite early to be leaving for the park in this weather, it's cold in the mornings and frost means the grass/slide/swings/benches are wet first-thing. The library isn't open until 9am. Where do you want her to go at 8am?

Having said that, she should be getting out if that's what you want for your toddler. She can go to activities at 9:30am stay for an hour and be back in time to feed the baby.

How old is the toddler? Is she able to play by herself or does she need constant supervision if at a playgroup/singing group/softplay/park? Is she worried about safety?

ZuleikaD Mon 04-Mar-13 13:14:14

I'd definitely get her to ditch the routine (it's complete rubbish that if the baby sleeps for longer than 45 minutes she won't sleep in the afternoon, and in any case, so what?) but outraged also makes a good point. There aren't many toddler activities that start before 9-9.30ish and she may then fret about getting back in time for the 11am feed.

However, it's certainly not impossible to get outside into the garden or the park - take a ball and have a kick around while the baby's snug in the pram or whatever. Take a snack too. Today's gorgeous and the weather's about to warm up a lot so getting out earlier is very possible. Do you have some garden toys? Hoops, balls, that kind of thing.

doughnut44 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:27:54

Could it be she is reluctant to go out because she cannot give the toddler attention when she is feeding the baby? I usually go to a dance and music group with a 2yr old but since minding a 6 month old I am finding it hard as the 6 month old disrupts the group for the other children and I can't join in properly for it to benefit the 2 yr old.
I would however take them both to a playgroup x

Marypoppins99 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:40:32

As a nanny my first thought was has she had enough experience working with a young baby and toddler at the same time. Just a thought that may be one of the reasons why she reluctant to gont

Marypoppins99 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:44:02

Woops ment to Carry on. That's why she may be reluctant to go out with the both of then it would be a struggle for anyone until you get yourself used to it and into a routine. Just like a few people mentioned. I haven't known of any groups to start before 9/9.30. Think your best bet wound to actually sit down discuss what you expect if her I.e being out in the mornings. If nothing changes just have to accept the job obviously isn't suited to her.

oscarwilde Mon 04-Mar-13 13:53:41

Gosh - no I don't expect them to be out the door at 8am but I do think that given that she doesn't need to give either of them breakfast (we've spent the winter training the toddler that she can't get up until it is bright..it's backfiring now) that it's not unreasonable that she could be heading out for a stroll around 9ish.
She has never looked after a baby this young. Lots of experience but always from 6-8 months which is part of the reason I've been holding back, she is learning as she goes as much as I am.
Generally I would describe her as helicopter parent in loco and while DD has a healthy respect for her and is not a bolter, she is not used to entertaining herself much. I'd describe my nanny as quite socially awkward generally, she finds the local mums quite cliquey (or claims they are) and actively avoids just sitting and chatting when out at groups. Which is a good thing but I think there is a happy medium if you want a child to develop social skills.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 04-Mar-13 15:11:55

so your nanny seems happy to fed baby their bottle at a friends house but not out at say music/m&t etc - weird hmm

honestly i would tell your nanny to buck her ideas up or find a new job

its important for your eldest routine/day to day to be the same and if she went out before, then she needs to go and at the moment she is being unfair to her

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 16:14:28

It's not weird! It's perfectly understandable that it's easier to feed a baby at someone's house than at a playgroup or during a music class!! For very obvious reasons.

nannynick Mon 04-Mar-13 16:23:32

Could a routine be created whereby there is an outing every morning to somewhere? Is youngest old enough to go swimming? At 4 months, presuming health ok, I would have thought going swimming would be fine. Pools can often open early (6am sometimes) and can be quiet at 8:30-9:30 as other children are doing school runs with older siblings.

Babies like going for a walk, is there any issue with the practical side of things? Do you have a sling that nanny can wear (I find those best for young babies), which then frees nannies hands for walking with toddler, pushing buggy etc. do they know walking routes in the area that are suitable. I find routes with a cafe at the half way point useful, especially if they have baby change facilities, as it is a place to warm up if it is cold, a place to change nappy, a place to sit and feed baby.

Are there toddler groups that welcome parents/carers with babies? A general toddler group may well be better than a structured activity which I find tend to be aimed at a particular age group. Nanny does not need to stay for the full duration of the toddler group, they tend to be drop-in groups so can leave early, arrive late.

lechatnoir Mon 04-Mar-13 16:53:17

I would do some research & present her with a list of organised activities & outings and make sure you expect at least one outing a day. I have one I've put my list on my iPhone & it's invaluable - in the morning I look at what children I'm minding & taking into account their ages choose an activity. Eg Monday
Morning:9:30-10 rhyme time at the library / 10-11am play group at village hall / 9:30-11am soft play at the leisure centre / 10-11am sensory baby group at children's centre
Afternoon: 2-3pm messy play at church hall / 1:30-3pm toddler disco at children's centre.
Anytime activities: bus rides to the library (include bus times) / farm visit / woodland walk / playground / steam train rides / soft play / duck feeding at the lake etc

Make sure she has pocket money so she isn't paying & has a mobile on her & knows to pack snack etc but I definitely think this needs spelling out to her.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 17:02:23

Agree with Blondes actually. It is weird. Part of being a decent nanny is being able to hit the ground running and I don't think giving a bottle at a playgroup or class is actually that difficult. On a train/bus maybe, but inside, with other understanding parents/carers, not that difficult.

I think she might worry about what people think of her trying to settle etc if baby is refusing to feed though, maybe it is the social aspect she has an issue with?

ZuleikaD Mon 04-Mar-13 17:06:17

I'd agree with lots of the above, perhaps with the exception of swimming as many pools don't allow more than one child per adult for obvious reasons.

lechatnoir Mon 04-Mar-13 17:25:29

Yes although some pools allow a buggy or car seat on the poolside so whilst baby sleeps you can take the toddler whilst keeping an eye on baby (I did this with my DC but best check with the mother first as not everyone will go for this arrangement)

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 04-Mar-13 17:56:10

Thanks www. Any nanny worth her salt should be able to cope with feeding a baby and toddler - and esp inside with other mums or childcarers

If your nanny isn't capable of looking after 2 children and doing simple fun activities then if I were op I would be worrying about what happens when she goes back to work in 2mths

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Mar-13 18:01:58

Shouldnt she be following your instructions on things like routine and activities?
Forgive me, I have no experience of nannies beyond mary bloody poppins grin and so don't know if they decide routines and rules or follow those of the employer.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 18:15:31

Bit of both re. routines Hecate.

I cannot believe that anyone who has experience looking after young children doesn't understand why it's easier to feed a baby at a friend's home than at a playgroup/music class.

The OP has already said the nanny doesn't have experience with a baby this young, she's learning, give her a chance! Did you emerge from the uterus with childcare skills Blondes or did you have to learn at some point to? Maybe bear in mind that not all nannies have the same level of experience as you. She may be unsure about feeding a fussy 4 month old whilst ensuring the safety of a toddler. I completely agree needs to learn, she needs to take the toddler out as the OP wants, but how about some suggestions on how to support her rather than criticism and 'buck up your ideas'!

You've got to love how supportive the nanny community is hmm

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 04-Mar-13 18:23:58

I'm going by what the op said and if it was her she would bite the bullet and go out.

If a mum who has no exp before having her own thinks she can cope - then I hope her nanny can as that is her chosen career

Lets hope the nanny gains confidence in 2mths

I'm all up for giving support and hope all works out and feeding gets easier

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 18:59:11

No. I really don't think it is easier at all. It's not even an issue in my mind, as in I wouldn't think of the pros/cons of either as they it's the same to me.

I did say maybe its the social aspect that worries her. Tbh, if she does feel she lacks experience in caring for a 4 month old, then maybe she should be honest about this and ask for help/pointers and also, talk about situations that she feels nervous in. No one expects her to have "experience from the womb" at all but the way you learn when you don't know is by being honest and asking for help.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 19:00:42

Also, as a side note, if I wasn't sure that I could do a job with a young baby and toddler, then I wouldn't take a job with a young baby and toddler. At least not a sole charge one anyway.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 19:01:52

As Blondes says, I hope that she asks for help and is honest about things that worry her/she finds daunting and that it all works out in the end.

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