Nanny versus Parents: How Everyone Can Win in the Battle for Baby's Heart
If you're having a hard time shaking off feelings of jealousy or resentment over your nanny's special bond with your baby, it may be time to address the problem. Negative feelings can quickly turn into negative behavior toward the nanny, which is akin to punishing an employee for doing an outstanding job. Your baby may also pick up on tension between you and the nanny, which can be stressful and ultimately make the situation worse.
Keep in mind that most nannies are trying very hard to bond with the children in their care. If they fail at this, chances are they won't remain employed for long. And they don't really want to displace the parents. On the contrary, they're probably very interested in pleasing them. For these reasons, it might be a good idea to talk to your nanny about the problem. Start by saying that you're thrilled with the bond she has with your baby and that you're very happy with her work. Then, explain that you feel a little left out when it comes to your child, and would appreciate her help strengthening your baby bond. Perhaps she can teach you your child's favorite lullaby or some of the baby soothing techniques that only good nannies seem to know.
If your child shows a preference for the nanny more than just occasionally, it may be time to reestablish your connection with your little one. Make time to focus on your child, interacting with him or her in a relaxed and comfortable setting. You may need to sing, dance or act goofy as you work your way back into your child's heart, but he or she will eventually fall back under your spell. Infant massage, increased breastfeeding or other forms of skin-to-skin contact can be very powerful bonding techniques [source: Karl].
If your baby continues to show a preference for the nanny, it may be helpful to try a nanny of a different gender. For example, if there is competition between a mom and a female nanny, switching to a male nanny may be the solution to the problem. Male nannies, also called "mannies," tend to be very fun and energetic caregivers. They may also be less likely to displace mom in baby's eyes.
It's important to keep in mind that although feelings of jealousy toward your nanny may crop up from time to time, they are almost always short-lived. Most parents whose babies love their nanny soon realize that a strong nanny/baby bond is essential to the well-being of their child. Remember that parents usually go to great lengths to find a nanny that is warm, loving, patient and fun. What baby wouldn't fall in love with such a person? And when your baby does, you can pat yourself on the back for providing your child with a good caregiver. Keeping this in mind can be enormously comforting during those long hours while you're at work and away from your baby.
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- Chehrazi, Shahla S. "Psychosocial Issues in Daycare." American Psychiatric Press 1990. (Accessed January 27, 2010) http://books.google.com/books?id=gPiQAYy2HPYC&printsec=copyright&source=gbs_pub_info_s&cad=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false
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- Karl, DJ, et al. "Reconceptualizing the Nurse's Role in the Newborn Period as an 'Attacher.' "American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, vol. 31, issue 4, 2006. (Accessed January 27, 2010) http://journals.lww.com/mcnjournal/Abstract/2006/07000/Reconceptualizing_the_Nurse_s_Role_in_the_Newborn.11.aspx
- Schore, A.N. "Effects of a Secure Attachment Relationship on Right Brain Development, Affect Regulation and Infant Mental Health." Infant Mental Health Journal, vol. 22 (1-2), 7-66 (2001). (Accessed January 27, 2010)http://www.atlc.org/members/resources/schore1.pdf