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keeping au pair during maternity leave

(8 Posts)
fluffymouse Wed 12-Nov-14 23:47:07

I will shortly be starting maternity leave for my second DC, and am keen to keep our au pair as long as possible. I think that it will be good for did that she doesn't have further change of au pair leaving when dc2 is born. She absolutely adores our au pair, and we love her too.

I'm interested to hear from anyone who kept on their au pair/nanny during maternity leave, and how it worked. How much did the role change? Obviously less sole charge care will be required and more general mucking in.

PhoebeMcPeePee Thu 13-Nov-14 12:10:20

Will you be going back to work after ML? If so then an ap wouldn't be suitable for a baby & older DC

minipie Thu 13-Nov-14 12:41:46

Following as I will be keeping our nanny on during ML next year (and after when I go back to work) and interested to hear what works best.

I am picturing that she will mainly deal with DC1 (as now - they go out a lot which will be helpful I think) and I will mainly deal with DC2. However there will be some times when she takes both so I can have a nap, and there will be other times when I take both and she has a break/does some cooking etc. And then as ML comes towards ending she will gradually take DC2 as well more and more in prep for having both.

Agree that an AP can't look after baby full time... unless they are really more of a nanny than an AP ie full time, experienced etc?

citytocountry Thu 13-Nov-14 13:25:21

I think (depending on age of DC1) that a (good) au pair could be super handy when on maternity.

There are lots of midwife appointments, preparations, needing to watch daytime tv that have to be done. She could look after DD as normal whist you get on with all of that.

After baby is born, there are still loads of appointments and stuff, and you may not feel up to taking DD to school etc for about 5 years afterwards. You will be able to relax with baby, and get settled in whilst she does more DD related stuff. When she is confident maybe she could mind the baby (with you in the house) whilst you get a bit of sleep?
An all round spare pair of hands as it were.

It would possibly be good to have her around in case you have to rush off to hospital in the middle of the night too.

Agreed that if you return to work she won't be able to look after baby though, you'll need a nanny/nursery/CM at that point.

I'd be up front with her and now and set out how you would like it to work and see if she's interested?

Good luck!

fluffymouse Thu 13-Nov-14 18:28:58

I will be returning to work but am researching nursery and childminder options for then. Our current au pair realistically won't be around then either, as she is planning to return home after a year, having improved her English to the standard required.

She obviously knows I am expecting and I have made it clear we would be happy to keep her as long as she is happy to stay, but I haven't discussed the specifics yet.

Interested to hear from others too.

Aherdofmims Tue 02-Dec-14 22:27:00

I kept au pair during maternity leave for about 5 months - then it was summer hols so we didn't have anyone for 6 weeks - then I went back to work using nursery for baby and new au pair for school runs, after school etc.

It was a great decision to keep au pair. I know people manage but getting up to do the school run after sleepless nights with baby is not a small thing.

Plus it was great to have another person in the house rather than isolating days with new baby - basically to have her company!

Johnogroats Tue 02-Dec-14 22:33:11

Slightly different, but I had 2 months on sick leave a couple of years ago. Our then AP felt slightly redundant and as I was in the house much more than usual, and I did (totally unreasonably) feel that the AP was under my feet.

Just watch that you don't get into a similar position.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 10-Dec-14 13:25:23

I kept my FT nanny on during my maternity leave. From the outset I knew that the most I would be taking was 6 months off plus accrued holiday and it made far more sense to keep her than risk losing her and trying to hire a replacement.

What it did enable me to do was to return to work part time, working from home after 12 weeks. I was on Maternity Allowance as I fell pregnant just before starting a new job. Rubbish timing as missed their 6 months enhanced package by 2 weeks. But I digress. Returning PT at 12 weeks certainly removed the financial stress and made returning to work easier I think in the long run.

DD2 was mixed fed due to feeding difficulties from birth so it was relatively straight forward for our nanny to do a mid morning or afternoon feed if they were out and about. Also, she had never worked with a newborn before [as most people will take at least 6 months off] so had always started around the weaning stage so a phased handover gave her a lot more confidence dealing with a tiny. I disagree that your au-pair won't cope - babies take practice for everyone, it's more about interest and aptitude in the first place. Coping with two all day though, that's a proper nanny role. If she is definitely returning home that's one thing but if she's great with your DD1, and you will take a reasonable period of time off, you could look at her doing childcare quals and becoming a live in nanny. You would obviously have to be far more hands on and directive than you would with an experienced nanny though.

Issues - because our nanny was FT life went on as normal for DD1, 2.4 at the time. It became apparent that she felt very pushed out as they got on with their normal routine but Mum was suddenly around all day giving cuddles [bfing] on the sofa to her new sister. In hindsight, while it was obviously fabulous for me to have someone around FT, it might have caused less resentment if she'd spent more time just hanging out on the sofa during feeds watching Cbeebies as if I'd been a normal SAHM just getting on with it. DD2 was a very poor feeder with all the stresses that came with it. I was expressing every feed for 6-8 weeks and life basically revolved around getting some meat on her bones. I wish I'd just given her a bit more formula, handed her over for an hour or two and spent some alone time with DD1. It didn't help that I was pretty uncomfortable for 12 weeks after the birth so even a short walk to the park filled me with dread.

Going back to work FT at 6 months was a doddle, I had no concerns about our nanny and DD2. They had been going out as a group for three months by then and had found their own routine.

From our nanny's perspective I think the biggest adjustment was juggling the two ages. DD1 had dropped her nap and they were out and about a lot often without a buggy jumping on and off buses etc; and suddenly she was trying to entertain an older child along with establishing a routine for a baby. She was a big GF fan and so had to be back for lunchtime naps yada yada. Rod for her own back but I left her to it and to be fair to her she did a great job. We were very sorry to see her go in the end.

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