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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?

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 19:38:19

'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'

She probably can cope, maybe she just needs a bit of confidence. The OP says she is 'generally an excellent nanny', so she's having a slight problem with managing a very young baby and a toddler and your response is 'honestly i would tell your nanny to buck her ideas up or find a new job', how compassionate!

Mrscupcake23 Mon 04-Mar-13 19:40:25

As blondes says she should be able to feed a baby at look after a toddler at music group. How will she ever learn as she goes along if she hasn't tried it?
She is a nanny so she should be good with children.

Karoleann Mon 04-Mar-13 19:44:25

She's probably just a bit daunted, it's one of those things when she's done it a few times she'll be fine.

I'd second the asking her which activity she'd like to do on a Monday/Thursday and then usher her out on those days to do the activities. Most music groups only last 30 minutes so she can easily get back for 11am. Your LO will be on a faster teat soon anyway so feeding will hopefully be easier.

I know you shouldn't have to, but maybe going out with her a couple of times just so she can see she's capable of doing it may work.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 19:49:08

'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. '

You should probably go on a health and safety course then because no way is a child in playgroup/park/music group as safe as they are in the home of a friend. I just asked DC1 (she's 8) why and she said 'erm....coz what if someone leaves the door open at the playgroup and the toddler runs out'. So there is one reason for you. I could ask the 6 year old and 5 year old for ideas if you need them?

'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'

From what I understand she took the job with just the toddler and the OP has since had another baby. You're very lucky to be 'sure' you can do something before you've tried it. Most people need to try something before they're 'sure' how good they'll be at it.

'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'

I hope so to. I hope if she asks other nannies they're slightly more understanding than some of the nannies here. If she confesses she's a bit unsure/lacking in confidence I hope they don't say
'buck up your ideas or find a new job'
'It is weird'
or'Any nanny worth her salt should be able to cope with feeding a baby and toddler' ' 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'

Flisspaps Mon 04-Mar-13 20:08:11

I thought the majority of accidents took place in a home, not toddler groups, playgroups and the like? Besides, feeding the baby doesn't render the nanny unable to get up to attend to the toddler or stop her running out of an open door. Parents who have no training or experience manage.

I don't get why you think it must be such an ordeal for the nanny to cope with doing the job she is paid to do Outraged?

cansu Mon 04-Mar-13 20:10:43

I would expect her to be able to go out for walks with both baby and toddler. I would expect her to start planning how she was going to meet needs of baby and toddler. Tbh I don't see the difference in terms of outings between a baby of six months and a baby of four months. They are portable in sling or car seat. No it isn't easy but surely this is part of the job?? I would be a bit peeved if I was paying for a nanny who stayed at home all day. I think you are either the sort of person who gets on with things or you aren't. I would be a bit worried that she isn't this kind of person. Maybe she simply doesn't like going out to activities? I once had a childminder who never went to any activities with my little one and I worked out in the end it was because she was very reserved and preferred to stay at home as this suited her personality. I would discuss the going out with her and make it clear exactly what you would like her to do with the toddler each day. Then you can discuss how she can make that happen. I would be quite direct about this. Does she have access to a car? This would make it easier as it is then say to make a quick return if baby is unsettled.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 04-Mar-13 20:13:30

obv all nannies earn and gain experience and I do have a lot as been a nanny a long time, but in my first job when i was 18 i had a baby and an older sibling and i managed to get out and feed, and yes that baby was colicky and took a long time to take that bottle - but i coped - infact more then coped, and that was my first job so without having experience

and if i didnt think i could then i would have said something to the mum and discussed my concerns - so i dont think im being uncompassionate when op said that her nanny had lots of experience just not with babies this young

op herself said she was getting concerned - and asked if was being unreasonable - personally no i dont think she is

a nanny with experience should be able to look after a baby and a toddler - if she isnt, or feels that she cant cope, then she needs to tell the op now, and worst scenario maybe hand her notice in sad as op goes back to work in 2mths things need to be sorted out now or op is not going to be comfortable in going back to work if she is worrying how her children are

yes maybe by having a gentle approach/talking about nannys concerns may help, but if they dont then what happens - as i said i hope things work out

if the nanny doesnt want to be away from home for the 11am feed, then she needs to sort out going out in the am for the older childs benefit - its not fair to op's oldest child to be in the house all the time - so even if walk/feed the ducks/park if nice - or a music class/m&t/soft play area/trip to library etc if too cold and back by 11am

perhaps have a look on netmums for local M&T - there seems to be one every day in the morning in my area - and most start 9/930 after school drop off

at the moment op says she isnt even doing that 'refuses to go out' and thats not right

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 20:16:49

I don't think it's an ordeal. I think when a 'generally excellent nanny' encounters a problem, she should be helped to overcome it not criticised and told to find a new job. I know loads of nannies and every single one of them is human, which means they are not perfect, they make mistakes, they lack confidence in specific areas, they have things to learn etc.

If this was on the teaching board 'NQT struggling', the responses would be 'oh I struggled when i first started', 'we all have areas we need to improve on', 'maybe try this/that' NOT 'It's weird', 'buck your ideas up' etc.

I don't get why some nannies are so critical and unsupportive of other nannies Flisspaps, that's my issue. I don't disagree that the nanny needs to deal with the problem and take the baby and the toddler out. I think NannyNick and Lechat and Karo and others have offered some helpful advice. I think other posters have been unnecessarily harsh and unhelpful.

MustafaCake Mon 04-Mar-13 20:18:59

You are the employer so you have the right to tell your nanny what you want her to do.

It is completely do-able to have a small baby and toddler out in the morning for a few hours then come home for the 11.00 feed or even do the 11.00 feed whilst out.

Can you find a few morning activities locally (playgroups, music classes etc) and be clear that you expect her to attend them.

It will be a difficult conversation but I think you need to have it sooner rather than later!

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 20:23:20

Oh and I'm sure there are more accidents in the home, but a) when you think how much time you spend at home v at playgroup you can see why, b) she's not at home, she's on a playdate which means there is another adult there to help her watch the toddler while she feeds the baby.

Mrscupcake23 Mon 04-Mar-13 20:32:50

In a toddler group there are a lot more people to see a door open and close it.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 20:45:07

There are also more people to open the door in the first place. If you're at home with one friend and two toddlers, why would one of you randomly open the door confused

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 20:52:06

Oh Outraged. You are funny.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 20:56:12

Here is my very first biscuit for you and your army of helpful health and safety savvy children.
Please do continue to post any other helpful tips as you see fit?
I have no idea how I've made it this long in this game without your gentle help and reassurance.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 20:59:07

I said I wouldn't take a SOLE CHARGE job with a baby and toddler. I got a lot of my original newborn/two/three children experience as a Mothers Help, which then progressed to sole charge.

Herrena Mon 04-Mar-13 21:10:09

I had 13 months between my DSs and I can honestly say that I didn't have any more problems giving DS2 a bottle at the children's centre/playgroups than I did at a friend's house. As someone said, there are other people around (often trained staff, in fact) who will spot your child and take actions to limit risk.

If you choose your locations sensibly then it simply isn't a problem. And I have no training whatsoever (other than having reared DS1) grin

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 21:16:14

That's brilliant Herrena, but this nanny clearly is having difficulty giving the baby the bottle, it says that in the OP. She probably needs advice from people who did struggle a bit, as they'll be able to tell her how to get round it, rather than a stream of posts saying 'it wasn't a problem for me'.

In the same way, when someone posts about sleep deprivation and how to get through it, it's not that helpful to post 'my two slept through from 1 day old and I was a 15 year old single mother living next door to a heavy mental band who rehearsed all night long'. Great for you, but not really helpful to the person struggling with the thing you found so easy!!

Mrscupcake23 Mon 04-Mar-13 21:21:14

Yes outraged but the nanny has not posted its the mum of the baby that has posted and that is what people have responded too.

wickedwitchofwaterloo Mon 04-Mar-13 21:22:29

It's not the same thing at all! If you are paying someone to do a job, they should be able to do it and I'm sorry but being able to feed a baby whilst keeping an eye on a toddler is one of the basics of nannying for two children I'm afraid.
As I said before, maybe it's the social element she finds daunting, if indeed she is an otherwise excellent nanny.

chroniclackofimagination Mon 04-Mar-13 21:40:41

I look after my 2 year old and 4 month old together and today took them both on two buses, to the park and a playdate. It's not easy and I can see why anyone would be reluctant but the toddler needs to get out, life goes on and the nanny's not coping on a night of no sleep or still fragile from labour.

There is no reason she can't at the very least take them for a walk.

Does she have a sling for baby? I find it much easier out and about to just wear the little one, makes us both feel safer and frees my hands for two year old.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 21:41:16

Whether it's the mum of the baby or the nanny is irrelevant Mrscupcake the question is the same, the answers should be the same. IMO some of the responses were unduly harsh.

Mrscupcake23 Mon 04-Mar-13 21:54:08

Well I do not think they were harsh. I feel sorry for the poor toddler who is stuck in every day because the nanny cannot cope.

Op in answer to your question your nanny should be able to get out in the morning with a toddler and a baby. Maybe you would be better with a more experienced nanny.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 04-Mar-13 22:03:13

Let's just call it a difference of opinion then and stop derailing the OP's thread.

OP your nanny should be able to get out with both of them (as Mrscupcake and others say). I don't think you need to think about sacking her quite yet though and I don't think it's weird that she feels more in control in a home playdate environment than at a playgroup. Let her know that you are happy for the toddler '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' and that you don't expect her to interact with the toddler at the same level as she did before the baby came along. Tell her she must get out in the morning. Maybe let her know that you are confident in her ability to handle both of them outside of the house.

Out of interest, how long has the nanny been giving the baby a bottle? What bottles are you using? I've found the 'closer to nature' ones very good for mixed-feeding.

OP are the Gina Ford required nap lengths your decision or the nanny's?

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 04-Mar-13 22:16:16

I don't think I have been harsh. The nanny is clearly not doing her job and not looking after both children's interests

But we will agree to disagree Leeds smile

Op - you have lots of advice - what so you want to do - do you feel happy going back to work in 2mths and leaving your nanny alone with both children 10/12hrs a day?

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