Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’ve recently gone back to work so we had to get a nanny for our 4 month old. A friend of ours loves her nanny and our babies are about the same age so we have decided to do a nanny share where the woman watches both babies. I thought that this was working out really well until recently when I learned that the nanny doesn’t hold my baby very much.
My friend’s daughter is much louder and needier than my son so it seems like he is getting the short end of the stick. When they go out, the nanny has my friend’s baby in the Bjorn while my son is stuck in the stroller. And when it’s feeding time she has the girl in her arms with a bottle while my son is, once again, stuck in the swing or bouncer!
I’m really worried that my child isn’t getting enough physical contact! Am I being overly paranoid and high maintenance? The nanny is really great in every other way!
Please Hold My Baby
Dear Hold My Baby Dammit,
I don’t think you are being paranoid or overly high maintenance.
If you were, your worries would include:
-Is the nanny watching me while I sleep?
-Can she hear my thoughts when I’m not wearing my foil hat?
-Why won’t she use military corners when making my son’s bed?
-Is the nanny planning on stealing my child and selling him to Angelina Jolie?
-Why won’t the nanny feed my son his rice cereal from our best china?
-Doesn’t the nanny know my son only likes Beethoven Symphony performed by the New York Philharmonic, NOT the Old El Paso Orchestra!
It seems to me that your concern is warranted. The sense of touch is the primary way a mother or caregiver communicates with her baby. And given that the skin is the largest sense organ, this makes it extremely important. Studies have shown that touch helps in both the growth of the body and the brain, and can even aid in digestion. Physical contact, such as holding, hugging, and massaging, creates a sense of security and attachment that helps babies to blossom.
That being said, attachment studies have also shown that it’s more about quality contact than quantity. So your real concern should be if the nanny is able to give your son the quality interaction he deserves. Does she respond to him immediately when he needs it? Does she talk to him? Does she hold him other times of the day? Certainly, if he were in daycare this would be the case. And there are thousands/millions of children who thrive in that environment.
It’s time to have a serious heart-to-heart with your nanny. Because, not only is she in charge of your most precious bundle of joy, but she is also being paid to be a nanny – not a daycare. And taking this one step further, you really have to listen to your gut. You are your son’s mother. You know him best. If this situation doesn’t make you feel comfortable, then change it. There’s no need to throw around labels like “high maintenance” when it comes to your child. You want what is best for him. Even if that means getting a nanny just for him.
Here are a few interesting articles on the subject:
And this book is an amazing resource*:
I read this while I was pregnant and have gone back to it throughout my son’s 4 (sometimes seemingly LONG) years.
*This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.