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nannies/mummies - how much time to spend with baby?

21 replies

goldenoldie · 12/04/2006 09:37

Nannies/mummies - looking for advice.

How much time should you allow for showing new nanny the ropes with baby? I though the week before I go back to work I could ask nanny to shadow me?

But - is it better to stagger it a bit instead i.e. spend an hour a day with nanny and then leave her with baby for a couple of hours on her own - over a two week period say?

Comments/suggestion please.

OP posts:

Bink · 12/04/2006 09:58

I think a good nanny should only need a week at most, and that includes time when she's left alone with the baby.

With our very first nanny (when ds was about 4 months), as well as shadowing me, and leaving them alone together for periods starting short and getting longer, I got her to do little "projects" which were genuinely useful but also served the purpose of (a) letting her feel I was going to value her input and (b) make me feel confident about her ability. The best one was asking her to go round every bit of the house and say what should be done to make the house safe for ds when he started being mobile. I've still got that.

Other projects could be devising weaning menus or finding out about local baby/toddler groups etc.


NannyL · 12/04/2006 10:17

ok... i fully qualified and experianced nanny (ie experianced with the age group approximatley of your baby) should not need very much time at all.... (or even just a very experiance but unqualified nanny)

maybe she could shadow you for a day (at the most!)

Personally id be happy to be given a baby, + instructions of approximate routine etc and then get on with it straight away (a simple tour of house, where nappies / toys / steriliser / kitchen equipment is etc) .... Definitely would not need 2 weeks or even a week!

May be on the first day the mother could hang around for the morning / possible the whole day.... tho could nip off for a bit and let nanny look after baby anyway!

If the person doesnt have much experiance with babies (and we all have to start some where) then may be a day or 2 shadowing. But you could see what the nanny felt comfortable with!


goldenoldie · 12/04/2006 10:23

Bink - like your 'projects' idea. Will try that.

NannyL - good point - I will find out what nanny feels comfortable with first.

OP posts:

PrincessPeaHead · 12/04/2006 10:41

I would do a week, with you around all day on day 1, go out for lunch or a shop on day 2, and then day 3 4 and 5 really organise your social life and chores etc so you have some good time to yourself before work but are still around morning and late afternoon to sort through any questions, see how things are going etc. This is also a good time to invite other nannies you know over with their charges to play so she meets a few people.
Everyone wins that way - nanny and baby are settled and you have had a couple of really relaxing days of doing what you want before you go back to work.


nannyj · 12/04/2006 11:18

Hi i agree with NannyL, I personally wouldn't need a week. I think it would drive me a bit crazy tbh Smile. But alot of it depends on how you feel you need to be comfortable leaving your child. Plus it's a good excuse to get some ME time before you go back to work and also you will have time to get to know your nanny better on a one to one basis.
All the best.


Uwila · 12/04/2006 12:25

PPH's idea is good. I do think you need more time than a day or two, but not non-stop full time shadowing. You can likely expect that the nanny knows how to take care of a baby. She is shadowing to learn your routines and preferences, get to know the area, etc. One of the things I did with my nanny (who came one week early to do this shodow/training excercise) was get on the train and go to London. She is foreign so I wanted to be sure she could get around London Transport. She needs to know where the GP is, what hospital to head to in case of emergency. Possibly show her to the grocery store. Show her where local activities are, and so on...

I think I would do a week, full day on the first day, then half days alternating monrning and afternoon for the rest of the week. The rest of the time she can settle into her room (if live in), surf the web, go out on her own to get toknow the area. Get her mobile phone hooked up (if you are giving her one).

Some of these things obvioulsy won't apply if she is live-out and already lives locally.


elliott · 12/04/2006 12:34

I thought settling in periods were mainly for the benefit of the baby rather than the carer? At ds1's nursery he was settled in gradually over two weeks - obviously this is a different scenario to leaving a baby in their familiar home environment, but even so i think I'd want my baby to build up to a new carer rather more gradually than being left all day the second time they'd met!


Uwila · 12/04/2006 12:39

Yes, Elliott. That's a good point. For the benefit of the baby, a longer period is good. But I think that with a nanny, it is a unique employee / employer relationship. Golden oldie has one week to show her how to do her job because after that she will not be there to manage her (assuming nanny only works while she is at work). But, for a nursery worker, the bosses are there to manage her all day long.

But, you are definitely right about what is best for baby.


ChicPea · 12/04/2006 12:44

A good experienced nanny doesn't need a week to grasp how you like things done but I would do a week so that I get to know the nanny, make sure that I like her and can communicate with her and to give her time to get to know me and how I like things done. During that week I would spend the first day with her and baby, the next day leave her for an hour or two, etc so that she sees exactly the routine and there is a build up to going out and leaving her.

How much time have you spent with her and have you taken up references? Have you even selected a nanny? If not, I stongly recommend 2 interviews, the first to be an initial 1 hour interview and the second, a 2-3 hr interview where she handles your baby and you talk. Its amazing what people tell you over a 2-3 hour period and how much you can learn about them. You will either really like her after the second interview or she will irritate you. Well, that's my opinion but you may disagree!!


callaird · 12/04/2006 13:50

I'm a nanny and have been for 20 years, I have had all sorts of handovers, from meeting at the interview and then being left after 15 mins my first morning to being with the mum for 2 months (4 month old twins), to be honest, as long as I know how long the hand over will be, I am happy with any, as long as they leave me a phone number I can contact them on if they leave me from the outset.

As far as I am concerned, I am a complete stranger and they are leaving a precious life with me, if they want to spend a week or 2 months getting to know me, then who am I to argue.

I agree with spending one or two complete days with the new nanny, then like others have said, take an hour off to go to the hairdressers or shopping, but at the end of the day, you have the final say, and if you feel comfortable leaving them all day, go for it, if not, hang around until you do. But give yourself plenty of time, don't say 2 days because others have said that, I would say give yourself at least a week, two if you can afford it, who knows how you will feel about leaving your baby.

I know I would rather that the mother went off to work completely happy with my abilities to care for her child/ren bacause she has seen them for herself, rather than for her to be worrying all day.

And to be honest 1 or 2 weeks with the mother is not a life time and will go pretty quickly.

Just go with what you are comfortable with!


ssd · 12/04/2006 16:31

good post callaird!


jura · 12/04/2006 16:55

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Uwila · 12/04/2006 16:59

Hey, does she want to meet up with some other nannies in Kingston? I can put you know who on the trail.

I'm sure DD would be happy to meet your DS. (in fact she's quite happy to meet most kids and mark then as "my friend"). Socialite in the making. No idea where she gets it!!!

Everymorning she wakes up and within 10 minutes says "Who am I going to see today?" And "I don't know" is rarely and acceptable answer.


jura · 12/04/2006 17:30

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

goldenoldie · 12/04/2006 18:00

Thanks ladies - lots of top tips.

She is very experienced, but not recently (has been a SAHM for quite a few years). And I've got baby twins - so it is quite a demanding job

Think I will give her quite a long lead in - for me (and the babies) really. I want to feel 100% comfortable going to work knowing everything is OK at home.

I like the idea of spending a couple of days together, but then leaving her for longer and longer periods of time on her own over another three/four days.

After the shadowing I might do an 'trial period' of a couple of weeks when she is on her own with the babies, to see if she likes us/can do the job/gets on with the babies/us, and so on.

OP posts:

goldenoldie · 13/04/2006 11:37

Grrrrrrrrrr, after all that nanny has decided she still wants to be a SAHM and is not ready to go back to work yet.

Back to the drawing board...................

OP posts:

Uwila · 13/04/2006 14:05

Oh no....

Well, I suppose better now than 4 weeks into the job.


HappyMumof2 · 13/04/2006 15:26

oh no! When do you have to find a replacement by?


Uwila · 13/04/2006 16:39

Where are you goldenoldie?


goldenoldie · 13/04/2006 18:56

I'm in Islington.

Don't go back to work till mid June - but I am a worrier and like to get everything sorted well in advance.

OP posts:

Journey2 · 17/04/2006 16:10

As someone who is qualified and worked as a Nanny, settling/hand over periods have varied. Much as my charges are important so are the parents concerns :)
Most jobs have gone with a day spent with the family, good time to learn more about each other then maybe a few hours alone whilst parents go out.
I always kept a diary for both parties to communicate in (because even at the end of my day there would be always something I was likely to forget to mention or some things needed to be said but without the child being talked about infront of him/her if older.
Go with what you feel comfortable with.

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