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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'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.

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?

fraktion Tue 05-Mar-13 07:54:30

I think there are a couple of complicating elements. Firstly the baby is mix fed, so not going to be super keen on a bottle to start, and secondly the toddler is used to a lot of attention from a helicopter style nanny so isn't going to easily take to amusing herself quietly at nanny's feet/on a chair beside her.

If nanny is typically exhibiting helicopter style behaviour anyway then she may feel quite anxious about leaving the toddler 'unattended' (by which I mean not in arm's reach).

Is she worried about safe formula prep/heating the bottle? Can you just use cartons and give her a list of cafes who will heat milk?

Building up gradually is probably key. What are her strategies when at home? On a play date? Does she have someone she can go to for advice - local or Internet nanny friends or someone who can act as a sort of mentor?

Can she get out for a walk with baby in a sling leaving hands free? Does DD1 use reins/a buggy board/a double? Is there a nearby park that's fairly safely contained?

While we all have to learn it becomes more difficult the more you put it off. She does need to do try it a few times and show some improvement or the OP may need to reconsider childcare. To that end I would look at putting all these chats on record as disciplinary evidence.

RosyRoo Tue 05-Mar-13 08:08:16

You might find she is more prepared to be adventurous when you are back at work properly. Speaking personally, I would be reluctant to risk messing up a baby's routine when a parent was at home. It is horrible dealing with a crying and difficult to settle baby when Mum is in the house. Often the parent will try to help out, disrupting their work time and leaving you feeling inadequate. If I knew that in the current routine I could guarantee the baby would sleep easily and be generally happy, I would try hard to stick with that, until I could deal with any changes on my own and in my own way.

oscarwilde Tue 05-Mar-13 10:42:30

Wow - lots of replies and some really helpful thank you. I'm not naturally a very empathetic person and would naturally tend towards Blondes way of thinking smile but I've been on enough management training/fluffy HR courses in my time to know that it's not always the best approach to just lay down the law. I also agree with Outraged that while it's irritating the hell out of me, sacking a very good nanny who has an excellent relationship with my children and is utterly reliable is a little OTT.

Couple of answers to questions:

Baby is mix fed due to weight and jaundice at birth, never got back to EBM. My approach has been to BF, then top up twice a day. She is now bottle fed either formula or EBM in the mornings but initially resisted the feeder rather than the food I think. She would battle the nanny, but if I turned up and tried, would accept it to everyone's irritation. Possibly picking up on tension - I take your point RosyRoo, it is difficult if the kids are kicking off regardless of how hands off the parents are. I'm using medela and tommy tippee but I don't think that the bottles are an issue. Our nanny just wants her to take in the full feed in one go and she is more of a snacker. We've altered the routine slightly so she has 170 ml after her early nap and another 100 just before the lunchtime nap and that seems to be working well.
Sling - a few people have mentioned this. It's been used a few times but she has some back problems and is not that keen. It's been soooo cold and windy here too that I've avoided it myself. It's a decent back support sling so changing it won't improve matters.
Swimming - I wouldn't take them both swimming personally. The toddler is due to start lessons on weekends so if they went well, she could in time but it's one child per adult in the interim.
There are tons of activities and groups in the area, and things to do. We live in a part of London with nice parks, open spaces and kid friendly cultural stuff [not Kensington sadly] so it's really not challenging to occupy them but perhaps she is just going through a bit of a rut on that front. Several of the groups are run from centres in parks or in areas where a toddler would have to go some distance to come to harm.

Our toddler (2.7months) is big for her age and walks everywhere but is still at that stage where she is prone to giving up/crashing out if you overdo things. I know that makes her nervous about having them both out at the same time but she is adamant about not reverting to putting the toddler into pram. Our nanny is quite short so can't manage to push the pram and the buggy board at the same time. I'm wondering if changing the pram to a Phil & Teds or similar will give her a bit more flexibility. Don't particularly want the vast expense to be honest but I will sound her out about it.

Routine - I'm not personally a Gina Ford afficionado. We certainly don't plan our lives around the routine at weekends and if I thought that either child was being left to cry it out for hours, I would sack her. That said, I do think that routine to some extent is a good thing and I've also found that most children will naturally fall into one so I don't think it harms anyone to be gently prodded into one. Baby whisperer and Gina Ford routines are not that dissimilar imo, just the methodology of implementing them from what I can see. Ultimately, I'm not the one at home all day so both my husband and I feel that it is deeply unfair to prescribe an in-loco parenting method that we don't have to work with. It's a long day to have two children with no structure to work towards

If I'm quite honest, our nanny could be described as quite high maintenance on a personal level and likes to be seen as the ultimate expert on all things child related. She is not enjoying being back on a learning curve and has run off with all my PFB (and now untouched) What to Expect the First Yr etc grin. It's quite nice to be marginally more experienced in this phase grin

She is quite strict about behaviour, and would be mortified to be sitting in a class or group with a toddler/baby playing up. She loves to tell me how my DD showed up other children/shone in some way. I suspect it has more to do with her inability to go with the flow and accept that things will not be perfect for a little while than much else. She has two nanny/friends who are the same nationality but with more badly behaved children and is quite happy to go on playdates to their homes and have the baby with her. Feeding a baby in a group environment though will force her to make conversation with other people rather than play with the toddler and I think she wants to avoid that at all costs. Probably why I would just bite the bullet and she does not. To be fair, there aren't a huge number of nannies in the area, despite the dire childcare on offer and she finds that once local mums find out she is a nanny, they tend to close down the conversation and move on. Horrid.

I had a couple of calls with work first thing so had to hand them over and run this morning, they haven't gone out again so I'll have to bite the bullet later today and insist that things change tomorrow. It's another beautiful day and they've had no fresh air. It's approximately 300metres to the park gate so I'm quite angry. I wouldn't be happy going back to work at present and it needs to be sorted.

ZuleikaD Tue 05-Mar-13 11:06:39

Just on the buggy front, I can appreciate that your nanny doesn't want to revert to putting your toddler in a Phil & Teds or similar, but I can thoroughly recommend a Joovy Tandem. The toddler is able to stand, or turn around and sit down if they get tired. It's much easier to push than some of the huge doubles around (largely because the bigger child is at the back - makes steering easier) and because the children go back to to back it only has the footprint of a single. The one downside is that the toddler can't really sleep in it, but it doesn't sound like that would suit your nanny's modus operandi anyway.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 05-Mar-13 13:12:48

OP you sound like a very good employer. I hope you can get it sorted out.

I think it's a good sign that she's taken the books to read, it shows she knows she lacks knowledge in this area and is working on improving. It really seems like a lack of confidence in dealing with them both under the watchful (and if mumsnet is anythig to go by, judgemental) eye of other people rather than laziness or fecklessness on her part.

There was a thread a few weeks ago about CPD for nannies. Do you offer her anything like that? Could your offer to pay towards a course or give her a couple of days off to attend a course that covers dealing with small babies or something along those lines to give her a bit of extra confidence/knowledge? In most jobs some sort of training precedes new responsibilities/roles.

I don't have 2 children, so I accept that I am no expert, but...

The idea of a routine for a baby seems like a good one, but I have always understood that a second baby's routine has to be adapted to fit with activities for the first, so it is not the priority. For that reason I think that a Gina Ford based routine may be too rigid to be practical. After all, your baby may not be a natural for the 45 min then 2 hr naps and it probably doesn't matter if the naps are 1.5 hours each. When I read Gina Ford's books I thought that the routines would suit an only child best and probably someone who is a bit neurotic as a parent and finds it difficult to go with the flow, so wants to be told what the routine is rather than working with the baby to discover the baby's natural routine.

anewyear Wed 06-Mar-13 09:47:25

Someone said up post about cartons, its been years since Ive used them, but I used to feed (5 wks prem, mixed fed) DS2 cartons at room temp in a pre sterilizdebottle when we were out and about?
Or is this not seen as good practice?

Op, have you thought about a change in teat, shape wise?

And as for the nap thing, babies IMO should sleep as and when they need to, not when its convenient for us adults..

anewyear Wed 06-Mar-13 09:48:38

sterilized bottle...even

ReetPetit Wed 06-Mar-13 11:07:45

do you mean your baby won't take a bottle at all? so are you breastfeeding her or bottle feeding her when the nanny is there?

i can kind of see how this would be difficult for the nanny,particularly if you are working from home, i've done this kind of job before and hated it (sorry) felt like i was being scrutinized and watched all the time.

i do think this will improve when you go back to work as your baby will then have to take a bottle and nanny can just get on with doing her job.

does she take toddler out in the afternoons? if so, i'd say that's good, it;s not like they are stuck indoors all day.

if you are happy with her care then i really do think this will improve when you go back, i don't think the problem is the nanny, its the fact you are around all the time and your baby won't/can't/doesn't have to take a bottle.

oscarwilde Fri 08-Mar-13 11:02:46

Hi Reet. The baby will take a bottle but is a slow feeder and does fuss. Ironic since she was underweight and bottle fed bm and formula for 4 weeks.
I've begun expressing during the day (so no mixed messages) and only BFing morning and evenings but she is resisting the bottle still but is happy to take it from me. If things don't improve over the next couple of weeks I will need to think about weaning to bottle completely. Irritating as I arranged to work from home specifically to be able to BF and work. Hindsight is great.
I take your point about feeling scrutinised. I would too but it can't be helped.
Toddler is getting out in the afternoons mostly but by themselves which gives her no practise in managing the two of them together outside the home.

The weather this week gave her a good opportunity to have a gentle introduction to taking them both out nearby and seeing how it went. She wasn't taking advantage of it which was p***ing me off if I'm honest. Unfair to her but that's how I felt. Happily its about to freeze over again so I'll have to hope that it all sorts itself out in the coming weeks. Our nanny is trying to relax and go with the flow a little (feed volumes, timings etc) so maybe that will help. I know it will be routine central here when I go back to work, and weaning will be starting then too to add to the fun but she will be on familiar ground at that point and I'm confident can manage fine then

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