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We have an 11-month-old son which so far has stayed during the day with either us, the parents, or his grandparents. He is our first child and we basically cared for his every little need up to the point where he might seem spoiled. In reward he is very happy and laughs a lot and he is very playful.

He is not sleep trained, he is still breastfed plus solids, but for naps we kind of have to rock him a bit. At night he goes to sleep on his own but still wakes up frequently. He is very curious and wants to see and touch everything in the room and he is full of energy.

We hired a nanny to take care of him while we are at work and we have 3 weeks of overlap when one parent is at home with the nanny and the baby, hoping to make the transition smoother.

Unfortunately, the baby does not seem to accept her. Rarely he plays with her but cries a lot and wants for the parent to pick him up. If we leave him alone with the nanny he starts crying and he stops only when a parent picks him up. She was able to put him to sleep once because he was really tired but today he wouldn’t even stay with her. He refuses to eat from her also. It’s true that she is not extremely entertaining for the baby.

She is really a nice lady and we want to set her to succeed but I’m not sure at what point we should start looking for someone else.

Is a week a reasonable term to start looking for someone else? Is there such thing as baby-nanny chemestry in the sense that we may find a person that he accepts immediately?

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    How is the baby with other strangers? – anongoodnurse Jun 19 at 14:12
  • @anongoodnurse he used to have stranger anxiety but now he is better. I would say he is behaving normally for an 11 month baby – user35822 Jun 19 at 15:12
  • Is your anecdotal evidence of the child not accepting the nanny what you see while you are home, or is it what the nanny reports to you? – Adam Heeg Jun 19 at 17:45
  • @AdamHeeg it’s mostly when we are at home and we can observe. – user35822 Jun 19 at 18:31
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    Why do you think it will be any better with another nanny? – AsheraH Jun 19 at 18:41
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Speaking from my experience having a nanny for my 4 kids, I can tell you that a week is not enough time to find out if your child will bond with your nanny. It IS enough time though for you to observe her with your child and gauge whether or not you feel comfortable with your choice and are willing to let her continue to care for your child. I’m assuming of course this observation time is the last step in your selection process, and that she’s otherwise well qualified, has good references, and is compatible with your parenting style.

Now that you have had the chance to see her in action, you should let her do her job. My kids always behave differently around me and their dad. Even if we are just in the background, not involved, our mere presence changes the dynamic between them and each other (not a concern for your only child) and them and whoever was taking care of them, whether it be their nanny or a relative, or a teacher.

It’s important for you to consider that your child must form a bond with the nanny. Some people find this hard to accept, and others don’t expect it, but it’s one of the main advantages (amongst others!) to choosing a nanny over a child care facility. A nanny will provide personalized, one on one, full time care so of course a bond is formed. That being said, how long did it take you to bond with your child? It probably took more than a week for you and your baby to get into a routine, and then even longer to really REALLY connect. At 11 months, you are still getting to know each other!

An important question was raised in the comments: what does the nanny report? If the nanny feels there are/will be issues then that is cause for concern. However, if she is good at her job, she likely knows that it is too soon to tell if her and baby are a good fit. Especially since she hasn’t really been allowed to do it. If you are picking up the baby when he cries, you are not letting her be a source of comfort and care for your baby, which is what you are paying her to do.

To give you some insight into my experience, I had a nanny for my 4 kids up until recently when grandparents took over. We hired her when my 2nd child was 6 months old and I returned to work full time. My oldest child was 6. It took her about 3 weeks to settle in. I went back in November, and by December my son was happy to go to her in the morning. My 3rd baby went into her full time care sooner-at 3 months. I did as you are doing; I had her start 3 weeks before my maternity leave ended. My 3rd baby was colicky and miserable. He cried constantly. Wouldn’t nap. She was very nervous about not being able to handle him, so I had her come while I was still home so she could build up the (emotional) stamina to take care of him plus my toddler. That first week, when we were home together, I thought she was gonna quit for sure. But, once I started work and they were on their own together-my nanny and the two little boys, plus my oldest, 8 by then, everything was fine. (To this day, my 3rd baby remains extremely attached to the nanny. He visits her often, while none of the other kids do.) In fact, it was like he was a different baby altogether with her. He saved all his crying and ill-temper for me when I got home. :-/

My daughter was the toughest for my nanny. I went back to work at 3 months, like with my third, and while she was pleasant and cheerful for me she was surly and demanding for the nanny. She was breastfed like the others but the only one who refused a bottle. I had to leave work 3 times the first week alone to feed her bc she wouldn’t eat, sleep, or stop crying. The second week was better, and then the third, and by 1 month she was chugging down 12-16 oz if expressed breastmilk in her bottles without hesitation. It did take her a solid 3 months however to smile when my nanny showed up in the morning, but by 6 months they were good friends. The important thing to note tho is that despite how difficult it was (for me, the nanny, my daughter) we stuck to the plan and it worked out. We made the right choice back in 2010, and it was proven again in 2012 and 2016.

What all of this means is that it’s not the nanny necessarily. It might be your baby. Not that there’s anything wrong with him! He might need time to learn to trust your nanny. If you trust your nanny, as I did, even though my kids clung to me and cried and begged me not to go at times, your baby will trust her, as mine trusted and eventually loved my nanny. But not after 1 week. Be patient.

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Very good points from Jax. A few things I want to add:

  1. You say that one parent is at home. The baby is aware of this and knows how to get the parent out and play with them. So the real adjustment for your baby might start when there is no parent. The baby will seek the comfort of the familiar rather than try to adjust to the new person.

  2. Notice how the nanny is: is the nanny attentive to the baby, is the nanny actively engaging the baby, what is your gut feeling about the nanny? I had one nanny who essentially lied down on the living room couch all the time, and actually gave my 9 month old her phone when the baby was fussy. There was another who used to blow bubbles, read books in funny voices, etc. You can guess the out come.

  3. It also takes the nanny some time to figure out what works for the baby. The baby might fall asleep when you pat and sing a song, but the same may not work with them. Notice if the nanny is putting genuine effort into figuring it out.

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