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Parenting Image Gallery

It's hard enough leaving the baby to go to work each day. But what if the baby starts to prefer the nanny? See more parenting pictures.

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Working parents have a lot to consider when it comes to leaving their child in the care of a nanny. Will the baby be safe? Will the nanny respect our child-rearing values? How much is this going to cost us? But most aren't prepared for a, surprisingly, common concern with regard to the nanny -- will their baby prefer the nanny to them?

Parents are usually somewhat prepared for the feelings of anxiety and guilt that can accompany returning to work after having a baby, especially first-time mothers. But most are not expecting to be jealous of the person they've employed as their child's caregiver. Moreover, the working woman is supposed to be enjoying the best of both worlds, right? Maybe, but some women still find themselves battling the green-eyed monster when it comes to their nannies. If you're one of them, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone -- such feelings are increasingly common as women join the workforce in record numbers [source: U.S. Department of Labor].

If you're having trouble coming to terms with your nanny's special relationship with your baby, it may help to consider the process by which children form emotional attachments. Babies enter this world with a strong instinct to bond with others since this is usually critical to their survival. The bonding process begins immediately after birth and babies are soon able to recognize a caregiver's touch, smell, voice, appearance and mannerisms [source: Schore]. For parents, bonding with baby occurs naturally in the earliest days of life as they comfort and care for their infants and this bond continues to strengthen with the passing of time.

So what happens when a nanny enters the mix? Will the baby bond with the nanny, too? And, if so, will that bond grow so that the baby comes to prefer the nanny?