An option that most working moms use is in-home child care which is convenient and flexible to a working mom’s schedule. In addition, it allows you as the mom to design a personalized and customized care plan for your child as your child gets a primary caregiver.
However, there are certain downsides related to this. Many moms worry if the baby will love or prefer the nanny more than they love them. Given the amount of time and care the baby receives from the nanny, there is a chance of your baby will attach or aggravate towards the nanny.
But can this attachment become too much and threaten your relationship with the baby as the parent?
Is the baby getting attached to the nanny a bad thing or a good thing?
How do you draw the line as the parent to avoid too much attachment between your baby and the nanny?
How can you prevent your baby from getting too attached to the nanny and still keep working?
All these are concerns many working moms have that this post covers.
Can a Baby get too Attached to the Nanny/Baby Sitter/Care giver?
Yes. Your baby can like and get attached to someone else, more so to the nanny, the baby sitter or their care giver. One of the main reasons why babies attach to certain people is because these people are their primary caregivers.
- Your baby will most likely spend more time under the primary care of other people while you are working. It explains why your child will have a preference for their care giver, even more than you in certain times.
- The tight working schedule, especially if you are working full time leaves only a few hours away for your baby, which prevents you from having as much time with the baby as you may want. This means that instead the baby’s most significant and quality time of the day is spent with the nanny or their care giver.
How Baby-Nanny Attaches Affects your Relationship with Baby
The level at which your child is attached or loves their nanny or care giver will determine how this relationship affects you and the baby. Whichever the case, this attachment will affect how your baby relates to you whenever you are around.
- Your baby and their care giver may develop a bond that may soon show as the baby aggravates more towards the nanny or baby sitter than you, which is quite normal. However, the attachment may become too much.
- The baby may prefer or love the nanny more than anyone else. It is shown by the baby having major preferences for the nanny, over you such as being calmer, less fussy, and being generally happy. A major sign is usually the baby always crying when the nanny leaves, that may seem like separation anxiety.
- The two just seem to share a special bond that the mom feels should be exclusive to her. Some babies who spend a significant amount of time with a nanny may even call the nanny mom. However, the threat levels of this relationship will vary.
When Baby -Nanny Attachment is Good
In some cases, a baby getting attached to the nanny could be a good thing for the baby and you. It is pretty hard to get a nanny who loves their job and truly cares for the baby as the mom does.
So if this happens to be your nanny, which is illustrated by the bond that the nanny has with the baby it actually may be a good thing for everyone.
You can then be comfortable in your other undertakings. Your baby loving the nanny is a sign that your nanny is doing her job right especially in your absence.
My 2 year old son love my nanny and this gives me confidence that she treats him right . I can hence relax and go about my day without worrying too much.
Why Baby Getting too Attached to the Nanny is Bad
There is no conclusive answer to whether it is a bad thing when the baby becomes too attached to the nanny. Most moms would outright state that it is a bad thing and for others, it depends on the context and extent/intention of the attachment.
- Attachment between the child and their care giver can be a threat when it goes beyond boundaries and affects your relationship and parenting role. It is not ok that no one else but the nanny can get everything right with the baby.
- Further the strong attachment between the nanny and the baby can be interpreted as the nanny replacing the role and presence of the mom in the baby’s life.
- A certain level of attachment is expected but when the attachment becomes too much, it is a problem. Whether this is done intentionally or naturally is actually what would make it a bad thing.
Proven Signs/ How to Know the Nanny & Baby Bonding/Attachment is too Much
1. Fussy Baby’s Behavior & Responses
How the baby behaves and reacts when around and not around the nanny can tell you a lot. Normal bond behavior between the nanny and bond is praised and expected but should not be uncontrollable. It is normal for the baby to want the nanny in certain contexts and situations.
However, as a mom, the baby should be able to respond to you in other contexts and situations. If you notice too much aggravating towards the nanny or care giver such that no one else can care for the baby at all times and situations, the attachment may be becoming too much.
For instance when the baby cries uncontrollably when the nanny leaves it is not a good sign. If your baby is always crying after their nanny leaves, it is a concern and a possibility they are too attached. In some extreme cases the fussy behavior can develop into separation anxiety such that whenever the care giver leaves, the baby becomes fussy and uncontrollable.
2. Possessive Nanny’s or Baby’s Behavior & Responses
Also how the nanny or baby sitter behaves and responds to the baby and to you with tell if you need to take any action. The role of the nanny is to offer care to the baby in your absence but should be able to step down when you are available for the baby (unless you request them).
Respecting this boundary is important and overstepping further aggravates the situation and denies you quality time with your baby.
Also, the nanny should follow your care instructions, and trying to impose her ways is not a good sign as she may be eyeing to get an upper hand on your child.
Also, their remarks and comments that generally seem disrespectful or down watering your parenting skills are not okay. All these indications are sign to too much bonding between baby and nanny and the need to break it.
How Exactly do you know if your Baby is too Attached to Nanny/Babysitter
There is no outright way of knowing if your baby relationship with their nanny is abnormal and you need to take action.
The behaviors discussed above are not necessarily a clear indication of danger. You should look at the context and persistence of the behaviors. This is because some are specific and unique only for that context and situation they happened in.
For instance, the baby may seem calmer with the nanny than you but only for that specific situation and not all others and this is normal. As such you must evaluate your case in the context it happens in.
Read: Redflags of a Bad Nanny
Tips to Stop/Avoid Strong Attachment between Baby &Nanny
Once you realize your baby is too attached to the nanny, there are a number of things you can do to stop the attachment and too much bonding such as:
1. Setting Boundaries on Nanny
It is important to engage the nanny in their role as a caregiver and what is expected of her. An important element is the boundaries to keep regarding this role. This is a very essential thing to do to ensure that your baby does not get too attached to the nanny.
The nanny is only there to help you the parent in caregiving and not replace you. As such it is important to discuss the expected behavior during engagement time and also when you have a concern to raise later on.
The nanny getting too close to the baby is not a comfortable situation for most parents and these boundaries help control it. The key areas to consider in setting boundaries to avoid too much bonding between nanny and baby include;
- Set working hours/engagement hours for the nanny e.g. 6 am to 6 pm- It lets nanny spend time with the baby for only so much time hence lower chances of forming an attachment.
- Set exclusive roles for the nanny and you e.g. bathing to be done by you. When the nanny does not handle everything for the baby it lowers the chances of too much bonding with the baby and the mom also gets time to spend with the baby
- Set communication manner e.g. have the nanny request to pick baby if the baby is with you. Having the nanny respect your space and time with your baby is crucial in communicating to the nanny or baby sitter that still you are the mom hence discouraging too much bonding between them and the baby.
- Set Parenting plan to be be followed- when the nanny is guided by your parenting style they will unlikely form too a strong bond between them and the baby.
From the nanny’s perceptive caring for the baby is her job. It is hence expected and normal behavior to be bond with the baby as much as possible as she may consider attachment as a result of being good at their job.
Therefore clear communication of these boundaries is important as it directs her behavior and role in your baby’s life. These boundaries should deal with any possibilities of roaming attachment issues between child and their care giver.
2. Replace Nanny/Caregiver/Babysitter if too Attached to Baby
Replacing your nanny or caregiver is one of the things you can do when your baby is too attached to them. As unlikely as it may sound, some cases of attachment could be a deliberate intention of the nanny.
Some nannies have a genuine love for kids and others are after getting the affection of the baby for personal reasons. Some do it maliciously to have a top hand over the mom.
The general assumption is that when the nanny is too good with the baby, the parent will be hesitant to fire them for whatever reason and hence highly irreplaceable. They go out to get the baby attach to them to use the affection as a shield.
Such kind of attachment is dangerous and separation is needed. By firing the caregiver and replacing you are directly dealing with the unruly and overly attached child to their nanny.
3. Monitor Nanny through Cameras
If you need to monitor your nanny i suggest you do so through a nanny camera.
There are many nanny cameras options in the market but the best are those you can view remotely. Such nanny cameras will be connected through your wifi and you can remotely monitor your nanny from your office or place of work.
It will be hence easy for you to identify any unusual behavior that may result in the attachment behavior that you have noticed. From here you will have information about how you can address the attachment issue.
I have nanny cameras in my house. I have them installed in the kitchen, living area, the porch and the baby sleeping room. Although i do not have an issue with my current nanny, i installed the nanny cameras when i hired my previous nanny as i could not trust her.
If you decide to install nanny cameras, buy a nanny camera with good quality and clarity with god resolution, wifi enabled, zoom capabilities. If you work night shift, you may need a camera with a good quality night vision.
My cameras are HD 1080P resolution, audio enabled, wifi enabled and expandable local storage capacity.
If you think it appropriate also consider a camera with a two audio feature so that you can also listen and also talk to your nanny via the camera. Pan-and-tilt feature offers you a wider field of view that you can use when your nanny and baby gets out of focus.
You will find a variety of amazing and affordable nanny camera options here on Amazon to choose from.
When you have the proof that the intention is to control you and have power over your child care options, it is time to replace your nanny and break the attachment they have with your baby. The baby will act out the first few weeks but should get along with a replacement.
4. Change Child Care Plan to Break Attachment
Generally, in-home care arrangement has high chances of the baby getting attached to the nanny than in other care options. This is because they have a one-to-one relationship that is not present in other care settings.
To control the extent of this attachment, check into other care options such as daycare. A daycare center has multiple kids and different caregivers hence have a low chance of the baby getting too attached to any particular caregiver. Normal preferences are expected but are kept in control.
Therefore changing your childcare arrangement is one of the ways of dealing with an uncontrollable relationship and bonding between your child and their care giver.
5. Be More Present for your Baby
Your work schedule as a working mom may be what is damaging your relationship with your child. Having adequate time with the baby as the mom is one of the reasons they attach to certain people such as the nanny.
The little time you may have after work is too little and you may also be too tired to spend any quality time with your baby. If so, make adjustments and try to be more available and present to the baby to recover the bond from the nanny to you.
Look at your schedule and devise ways of spending more time with the baby. Some tips of how to be more present for child to avoid them attaching to the nanny include;
- Negotiate for remote time/part-time work– to get more time flexibility. It gives you more time to spend with the baby
- Career /Employer change– look for mom-friendly jobs/careers . They allow you flexibility of spending quality frequent time with the baby
- Create a baby time tradition– set a routine for weekdays and weekends. The routine helps set a consistency with the baby that will balance off their attachment with the nanny.
- Make your time with the baby, quality pleasant and meaningful. Your baby will always look forward to the splendid memories.
Check your reaction to your baby-nanny attachment concern so that you are not biased . Unless it is threatening, then the nanny truly cares about your child. Be happy that your child has another person to love him/her and do right to control any threatening level of attachment.
Also, focus on the benefits of the baby getting along and aggravating towards other people. It means a lot socially as well as helps in the development of relational skills in the baby.
Also, your bond with your child will remain incomparable to anyone else. Nannies, teachers, and friends among others are temporal and as important & impactful they may be, you’re the mom.
The baby won’t be confused about who mommy is. Appreciate your child’s amazing ability to form relationships with others and cherish your relationship with them.