Returning to Work: What New Moms Need to Know about Hiring a Nanny
New moms who work outside of the home will likely find that during their pregnancy and maternity leave, they will need to begin looking into hiring a nanny for their return to their job. Nannies have several advantages over daycare, but the idea of hiring a nanny may also bring with it a great deal of anxiety and concern for the new mother. However, hiring a nanny does not need to be traumatic, and in fact can mean expanding one's family to include a loving caregiver for a new baby.
One of the most common fears a new mother is likely to have about nannies is that this person they have brought into their home will run away with the baby or will harm the baby in some way. This is simply not the case. While there have been notable high-profile cases in years past of problematic caregivers, the truth is that the overwhelming majority of nannies are kind, caring people who will treat their charges as if they were their own children.
Another fear that new mothers may have about nannies is that their children will grow more attached to the nanny than to the mother herself. While it is true that a nanny for the child of a mother who works full-time may spend a great deal of time with the child, she will never take the place of the mother. In fact, it is a sign of a good nanny if the children come to care for her greatly - the alternative, a nanny that the children do not like at all, is hardly ideal.
The Hiring Process - Where to Begin
The best way to abate any fears such as these is to make sure that all nannies are carefully screened throughout the hiring process. Whether the new mom is going through a nanny agency, which will handle the screening for her, or is investigating nannies on her own, this step is critical.
When hiring a nanny for a newborn, look for a candidate that has worked with newborns or infants in the past. Nannies with experience with older children may be acceptable candidates, but hiring a nanny with more specific experience with a baby can be helpful. Nannies with newborn experience also are more likely to come prepared with the endless calm and patience that is required to get through many hours with a baby.
Interviewing the Nannies
Once the pool of nannies has been narrowed down to a select few candidates, the parents of the child should interview each nanny multiple times. If possible, the parents should bring the newborn or baby to at least one interview to see how the nanny interacts with him or her. If the mom is still pregnant at the time of the interviews, this will of course not be possible. In such a case, checking references will be even more critical.
Checking Nanny References
Checking references of nannies is a step that many people may be tempted to skip because it can be time consuming. However, by checking a nanny's references, a new mom may feel more at ease about hiring the candidate. Bear in mind that a nanny's references will nearly always be other moms, so the new mom can feel comfortable asking questions and feeling out the answers mother to mother.
Before You Make the Final Decision
Finally, before hiring any nanny, you should make sure she has the proper legal documentation as required by Federal I-9 guidelines. You can also request that any nannies you are considering provide documentation of a negative TB test (or take a test if she hasn't done so already) as well as any other medical tests or immunizations recommended by your family doctor.
Once You Have Hired the Nanny
After the hiring process is complete and a nanny has been selected, the new mom can still take further precautions to protect herself and her child. One of the best things to do, if scheduling allows, is to have the nanny start before the mom goes back to work. Getting to know the nanny in this manner can do wonders for making the new mom feel at ease and can also help ease the transition for the baby.
Once the mom is back at work, she might want to stop by at home unannounced a few times in the first few weeks to see what is really going on. She will almost certainly be greeted by a happy nanny and baby, but she can also catch any problems before they worsen. For a more concerned mother, a nanny cam can be installed in the home (without telling the nanny) to catch any misbehavior.
Above all, it is important for the new mom to try to relax. This can be difficult, but the truth is that a relaxed mom will make both the children and the nanny feel relaxed, which can ensure a pleasant relationship between everyone.
Returning back to work can be difficult for a new mom as she will have to leave her child with someone else for the first time. However, by carefully searching through a pool of nannies to find the best candidate for her family - through interviews, reference checking, and other procedures - the mom can feel comfortable with the person she has chosen to watch her baby. Remember that most nannies are very honest and reputable and that a great nanny can become a loving member of your extended family.
About the Author
Steve Lampert is the president of eNanny Source, an online nanny agency that brings together families and nannies. Lampert previously ran a successful, award-winning nanny agency in a major city for over 10 years, during which time he worked with thousands of families and nanny candidates. Through this experience, he became familiar with the important steps in a nanny search, which he continues to apply to his business today. To learn more, please visit www.enannysource.com.