Tips from the Nanny: Making the Transition Easier for Your Baby
Transitioning your infant from your care to that of a nanny is, undoubtedly, one of the most difficult things you will do as a new parent. But, if you are careful in your approach to hiring your nanny, and you are thoughtful in your preparation for that day – when you will leave your precious baby entrusted in the care of another – you can walk out the door with few misgivings, and calmly return to your job.
The first thing you can do to make this transition easier actually starts the day you bring your baby home from the hospital. Immediately begin using some type of sleep-soothing device in the baby’s crib or bassinet each time you put the baby down to sleep. There are a variety of these devices, and Cloud B makes a wonderful one called a “Sleep Sheep.” Any device producing the sound of the ocean, gentle rain, whale’s songs, or a mother’s heartbeat will work. Determine which of these sounds is most soothing to your baby and then utilize it consistently while your baby sleeps. When the baby moves to the nanny’s care, make sure the nanny knows which sounds soothe your baby best and ask that the device is used every time your baby sleeps.
Another great soothing tool, which you can start using as soon as you get home from the hospital, is a pacifier. Sometimes, babies need to be offered a variety of shapes and textures before you can find one that they like. Even if the baby is being nursed, the use of the pacifier will allow the baby to be soothed by someone other than the mother, and by something other than the mother’s breast. It may feel wonderful to keep your baby in bed with you after nursing, allowing him or her to self-soothe using your breast; but you are setting yourself, and the baby, up for a miserable transition to the nanny’s by this practice.
Special blankies or lovies are made specifically to help soothe babies by giving them a small, soft material to feel or nuzzle with. Keeping one of these in your baby’s crib or bassinet, where it’s within easy reach, will imprint the coziness of your baby’s personal bed when he or she moves to the nanny’s. It is particularly helpful if the blankie or lovie is used by the parent during feedings, resting between the baby’s cheek and the parent’s body, the week before the baby moves to the nanny’s. Don’t wash it before you send it to the nanny’s – you want to ensure it has your scent on it! This will keep the bond between you and your baby strong in your baby’s mind, and help ensure that your baby feels safe while you’re away.
Finally, the day comes when the nanny takes over! Help make those first days and weeks a bit easier by allowing a little extra time before you have to leave for work. If possible, make those first days short ones, coming home from work as early as you can. Keep the homecoming calm and warm. Your baby will do fine – and so will you!