Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Babywearing as a Nanny

by Stephanie Patrick-Adams
Volunteer Babywearing Educator

One of the greatest benefits of babywearing is the bond you create with your child. We all know that the comfort, safety, closeness and warmth that a child feels when being worn close to its mother or father instills a great bond. This is something I know that I've benefited from with my own daughter. Long before being a mother I have been a nanny. A nanny who wears the children I watch! I've cared for children as early as infancy through grade school years and I'd like to share with you my experiences from this angle. I believe many of these same benefits can be had by not only a parent who babywears, but a nanny who babywears, a grandparent who babywears, an aunt or uncle who babywears, etc.  

One of the most difficult situations a nanny can be in is when a child becomes resentful of you because he begins to notice that when you come around, mom and dad leave, and he doesn't like that. I can tell you that I rarely run into a situation where a child is crying or stressed that his parents are gone. I believe since I maintain that bond of comfort and trust by wearing a child, it makes the whole experience better for everyone. The child is not crying and stressed, the parent can be confident that their child is happy and comfortable, and the nanny doesn't have a screaming child all day! The child is comfortable and close to me, and I can do dishes, pick up toys, and serve older brothers and sisters by making meals or going on walks or visiting the library or hanging at the park. Usually, this even results in the baby falling asleep! Double bonus! Now I have gotten all my responsibilities done, entertained the older children, and the motion of babywearing has lulled the child to sleep! Time to sit down for a bite while the child takes his nap. Even nannies need a few minutes in the day to relax! However we all know that trying to sit with a baby while they take their nap is dangerous. As soon as you're both comfortable, an older kid needs a hand. Or the phone rings. Or nature calls. This is doubly dangerous for a nanny! It is very important that I be able to jump and attend to whatever may come up, but if I'm wearing the baby while he is napping, he stays napping! Everyone benefits.  

There are also other benefits I have seen from my experience as a babywearing nanny. One is when a child learns to crawl or even early at walking. They want to get into everything, and sometimes the best way to get them out of trouble it to wear them. Everyone wins:  they aren't getting into danger and you can get a few things done.  On a completely different note, when you're wearing a child, whether or not it's your own, odds are you are talking to the child. In my case, nonstop. Sometimes it's even inadvertently, but that child is hearing you speak all day. He or she is in on your conversations and interactions, and I am convinced that it helps a child to communicate and understand language at an earlier age simply because of how exposed they are to communication. I have noticed this with children I nannied for, and also with my own daughter.  Being a babywearing nanny has actually also helped me be a better mother to my own daughter. She comes with me to work, and many times the child in the carrier is actually her. She still has to take her naps, and I can't count how many naps she's taken in a carrier at the zoo or at the park while older kids I was watching were enjoying their day. I am blessed to be able to bring her with me, but I can't shortchange the children I am being entrusted with and being paid to care for. Babywearing has helped me here very much.

As you can see, a nanny, grandparent, babysitter, aunt, or any person caring for a child that is not your own can have many of the same babywearing benefits as a parent!

1 comment:

  1. When I was looking for a nanny, it was very important to me that she was willing to wear my baby. Thanks, Steph! :) Great post!