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opinion on this please

(45 Posts)
ohnoshedittant Wed 21-Sep-11 20:26:10

On behalf of a friend;

She's a live-in nanny. Initially 3 children, but family have just had a fourth. Her contract includes 2 nights a week babysitting (standard for live-in). She usually works until 7pm and children in bed by 8pm at latest - so essentially works an hour extra and then just listening out for them. The baby is 8 weeks old and the family are now including the baby in the 'babysitting' remit (MB on maternity leave so she doesn't care for the baby during the day and contract had not been amended to include the baby yet). The baby is always unsettled early evening and basically screams from 7pm-9pm. Baby is EBF so even if the screaming is hunger - nothing she can do. She thinks they are unreasonable to leave the baby with her in these circumstances, I agree.

What do you think?

TheOriginalFAB Wed 21-Sep-11 20:28:19

She needs to talk to the parents and explain that if she is up too late with the baby she is not going to be rested to look after the older children in the day..

hayleysd Wed 21-Sep-11 20:29:31

Sounds like colic? Usually this is early evening and if it's ok the rest of the time might be worth looking into?

Not sure contract wise as I'm a Childminder.

TheOriginalFAB Wed 21-Sep-11 20:34:05

That reminds me, DC3 used to cry 7-9pm and needed holding the whole time. A friend suggested the baby had to put up with dc1 and 2 around in the day and 7-9 was dc3's time. Not sure about that really.

Ebb Wed 21-Sep-11 20:58:11

Tbh it wouldn't occur to me that they wouldn't leave the baby. I can't imagine them enjoying an evening out with a young baby screaming for the majority of it. I would, however, expect them to leave a bottle of expressed breastmilk or formula so I had options. I'm assuming they don't stay out too long if the baby needs feeding fairly regularly?

ohnoshedittant Wed 21-Sep-11 21:23:23

Thanks for your replies. She's planning on talking to them tomorrow, but wanted some opinions on whether she was being unreasonable.

I thought colic as well hayleysd

Ebb her view (and mine) is that if you have a screaming 8 week old baby, you shouldn't be 'enjoying an evening out' twice a week, while someone else (essentially unpaid) struggles to comfort her. They are back in within 4 hours to feed the baby, but 4 hrs of screaming on top of a 12hr working day, twice a week is a lot to ask a nanny to deal with I think.

nannynick Wed 21-Sep-11 21:25:25

In the past I've babysat for a 3 day old baby, so whilst it may be quite a young age to leave a baby with someone else, it's not that unusual especially as the parents know your friend quite well if they have been employed for a while.

Babies are often not great that time of day and do need quite a lot of soothing as they can get wind build up in their tummy.

I would expect to be left with the ability to be able to feed the baby. EBF? Possibly what I know as EBM (expressed breast milk) - so is mum not leaving expressed milk in the fridge/freezer?

The contract includes babysitting two nights a week, so I don't feel it's unreasonable to leave baby. I do however feel it's unreasonable not to leave any way of feeding that baby, if that is indeed what is happening.

Does your friend know lots about babies - are they perhaps not feeling confident in their ability to care for the baby.

If mum and baby are around during the day, does your friend have any contact with baby at all during the day - getting to know the baby during their most wakeful time could help.

ChippingIn Wed 21-Sep-11 21:31:02

Well - she is being paid as a live-in nanny, 2 nights babysitting included is pretty standard (as you say). Sometimes babysitting means just listening out, sometimes it means dealing with the kids - she's had it lucky until now, but now she actually has to do something in those hours. I just see that as the way things are.

If she isn't happy nannying for them at the same rate for 4 children rather than the three - then that's something she needs to discuss with them - but she needs to decide if it's worth losing her job over & if not, how she's going to approach them. If she gives them an ultimatum she may find she's out of a job - it's an employers market out there right now.

RitaMorgan Wed 21-Sep-11 21:31:59

Babysitting is standard, but it usually means after the children are in bed - I have never been expected to work an unpaid hour between finishing work and children going to bed.

4 hours is too long to leave a breastfed 8 week old with no milk. Breastfed babies often cluster feed during the evenings where they need feeding little and often, hourly or more, it's not a good time to be leaving a baby to go out.

looneytune Wed 21-Sep-11 21:39:47

Nannynick - I think she means EXCLUSIVELY BF rather than EXPRESSED - is that right OP?

If that is the case, I think it's out of order to leave a little 8 week old baby with no means of being fed sad No way would my children have managed 4 hours with no milk although I've looked after children (I'm a CM) from younger than 8 weeks old who've been fine for that length of time if on formula as I think it fills them up for longer.

For me the discussion would be around the lack of means to feed the poor baby rather than having the 1 extra child to look after but yes, they also need to look on the impact on the nanny if they work a 12 hour day as they can't expect nanny to be as refreshed as they normally would be.

nannynick Wed 21-Sep-11 21:46:26

looneytune - ah, that would make more sense. 4 hours is a long time between feeds at 8 weeks old though, isn't it? Mind you suppose some people will follow those routines done by certain people like the one who will not be named on mumsnet, rather than feeding on demand.

looneytune Wed 21-Sep-11 21:54:44

Oh yes, we mustn't mention 'that' person must we! Crazy, poor babies!!

nailak Wed 21-Sep-11 22:07:13

so i am guessing the baby gets fed before 6 and then not until 10? in the routine by gf it suggests a expressed bottle feed at 10 so perhaps you could point that out and get the mum to express for you?

ohnoshedittant Wed 21-Sep-11 22:09:02

Sorry, did mean exclusively breastfed! No milk is left in fridge/freezer.

My (and her) understanding of the 'babysitting' included in a live-in contract is in line with yours ritamorgan i.e. listening out mostly rather than an extra 2/3/4 hrs of work. I can't see why comforting a crying baby during the day is 'working' and paid as such and comforting a crying baby at night is 'babysitting' and therfore paid less!

chippingin it's not the number of children she has problem with. If the baby was asleep or content she wouldn't mind it's the stress of trying to comfort the baby for 2/3hrs at the end of the day. I don't think she has any intention of issueing an ultimatum though!

She's been with them a long time and afaik they've always been good to her, which I think is why she's canvassing opinions on whether this is unreasonable or not.

thebody Wed 21-Sep-11 22:10:38

sorry just cant get over the fact that mum is even managing to go out in the evening( unless its a sponsored sleep a thon) with 4 kids (one of whom is 8 weeks old) total respect!!!

next to that your young friend being annoyed by a crying baby for 2 hours pales into insignificance.. yawn yawn still tired and youngest dc is 12

RitaMorgan Wed 21-Sep-11 22:14:37

Do the parents actually know how upset and unsettled the baby is while they are out? I can't imagine leaving an 8 week old to go out if I knew they were distressed.

thebody - if you have a live-in nanny 60 hours a week, then 4 children is obviously no problem grin

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 22:17:07

the babysitting isn't unpaid, though, is it? it is part of the job, and included in the contract., and therefore included in the salary.

agree with ChippinIn - your friend has had it easy with the babysitting so far (no judgement meant, just stating facts) - assuming the other 3 are youngish, then ti would not be unusual for one/all of them to occasionally play up, or be wakeful etc, so for this to have not happened, she is lucky to have had peaceful evenings.

milk should be being left for the baby, though. whether expressed milk, or formula, she should have a way of feeding the baby if it wants to feed - and as other posters have pointed out, cluster feeding in the evening is not unusual at this age.

StillSquiffy Wed 21-Sep-11 22:29:34

Your friend is being very unreasonable about having to 'work' during the babysitting slot - it's part and parcel of her job and there are times when it will be demanding, times when it won't be.

Not sure also why you would 'amend' a contract because a new baby has arrived?

BUT it is unreasonable to expect to soothe a baby without having expressed milk to hand and she should definitely kick up about that.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 21-Sep-11 22:42:42

the babysitting is part of her contract, and yes lucky that most of it, puts to bed and all quiet smile but amazed impressed that the parents have been going out twice a week with a 8week old

tbh a 8 week baby should be starting/if not in a routine and as bf should be able to last 3hrs between feeds - so fed at 7pm and should last till 10pm

def sounds like colic - poor wee sausage sad - but yes there needs to be some means of feeding/milk left for the nanny

if this baby is ebf then maybe mum needs to take with her

RitaMorgan Wed 21-Sep-11 22:50:51

I think many babies would disagree with you that they should be going 3 hours between feeds grin

StillSquiffy - if the current contract doesn't include the new baby then they need to renegotiate it.

ohnoshedittant Wed 21-Sep-11 22:55:07

'Do the parents actually know how upset and unsettled the baby is while they are out? I can't imagine leaving an 8 week old to go out if I knew they were distressed'

Yes the baby is the same every evening so they know how it is, plus she tells them when they get back!

'the babysitting isn't unpaid, though, is it? it is part of the job, and included in the contract., and therefore included in the salary'.

'Your friend is being very unreasonable about having to 'work' during the babysitting slot - it's part and parcel of her job'

This is true. However, if when you take the job on you're told 'we'll pay you X amount this will include 2 nights a week babysitting, they all sleep really well, just keeping an ear out really'. Which then changes to 'the baby will be distressed and scream for a couple of hours, you will be expected to deal with this' you can see why it feels unpaid. It's a sudden increase in duties for no increase in pay. I kind of view it the same as being asked to do light housework and the this changing to include heavy cleaning without any increase in pay/reduction in other duties.

' ti would not be unusual for one/all of them to occasionally play up, or be wakeful etc, so for this to have not happened, she is lucky to have had peaceful evenings'

I don't think she's been there 5 years without any of them ever being wakeful/sick/distressed etc. But occasionally is different to twice a week. Also comforting/putting back to bed an older child is completely different to dealing with a newborn isnt it?

'Not sure also why you would 'amend' a contract because a new baby has arrived?'

I don't know the specifics of her contract, but in mine the number of children is stated and all the (very specific) requirements of the job, pay etc. A new baby changes this and as such I would expect my contract to be amended. It may well be the case that some jobs be dropped in place of other jobs related to the baby. If they were all at school/pre-school for example I would expect to sit down and discuss taking on something extra to fill those hours.

I'll give her the mumsnet view and tell her to get on about the milk (though I think they may using she who cannot be named and so may not want to feed anymore than the 4hrs anyway!)

thecaptaincrocfamily Wed 21-Sep-11 23:06:12

Your friend is NBU because the new child is not in the contract. Also like so many have said the mother needs to leave EBM if she is going out. At 8 weeks it is quite often nowhere near 3 hourly feeding - mine never did that and dd2 was fed bm until 6months, we never got beyond 2 hourly and 1.5 during growth spurts! It is unfair imo on the baby and the nanny sad

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 23:07:51

um, she has had a fair few months to anticipate this, though, surely?

has she not ever spoken about it before?

babies cry. it's what they do. quite a lot, sometimes.

It's not like she has suddenly come down to work one morning and - surprise! there's a baby! - she should have been thinking this through before now.

The babysitting thing is a real red herring though. anything could have happened over the last 5 years to interrupt her peaceful evenings - one of the children could have developed a fear of the dark, or sleepwalking, or anything - would she have wanted extra pay then?

it is a sudden increase in duties, but then the addition of another baby was always going to be that, wasn't it, at some point? once the MB goes back to work, there will be an additional child to look after all day too - quite an increase in work, and there need not necessarily be an increase in pay - nannies are paid per household, not per child.

It sounds to me like your friend is not comfortable with babies, tbh (aside from the milk issue - that does need sorting), and that is something she needs to work out.

I had a maternity nanny when my 2 were born, and when dc2 came along, it was the nannies job to (share) care for dc1 all day, and then dh and I would occasionally go out in the evening and she looked after dc2 - then about 6 weeks old, I suppose, so grumpy, fractious etc (milk was available). that's life, really.

It will not last forever - the baby will grow and settle into a routine. but i do think she is being unreasonable to think that the babies parents should not be having nights out, and she should certainly not view the babysitting as unpaid.

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 21-Sep-11 23:13:18

most of the babies i have had have gone 3hrs ebf and 4hrs if bottle at 8 weeks old - but thats not the point smile

the constant screaming means babs is unhappy/in pain rather then hungry and this needs to be sorted

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 23:18:44

my 2 (admittedly not a great sample size grin) were both going about 3 hrs ebf at 8 weeks. but not at that time in the evening - they both cluster fed, and would not settle at all between 7 and 9.

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