Posts Tagged nanny

Having A a Relative Caregiver for Your Baby

If your mom, aunt, or another relative is available to care for your little one, you may feel like you’ve won the childcare jackpot. The biggest perk of relative care? The peace of mind that comes with knowing that a trusted family member is minding your precious bundle. It’s a win for you and your infant — he gets one-on-one attention, and you get an infant caregiver who’s (usually) much easier On your wallet.               No wonder more than a quarter of all working mothers opt for a relative caregiver.

But as with all options in childcare, there are potential pitfalls to opting for relative care. For one thing, it’d probably be pretty awkward to tell your mom (or worse, your mother-in-law) that you don’t like the way she’s doing her job. Or you might face a relative caregiver (especially if she’s older) who thinks she always knows best — after all, you’re a new mom and she has 20-plus years of experience under her belt. So before you decide to keep it all in the family, ask yourself these questions about choosing a relative caregiver:

Does my relative really want the job? Because you’re family, your mother or mother-in-law may have a hard time saying no to watching your wee one. If she seems hesitant, a frank talk is in order before you proceed. Going down the relative care path without all parties being totally on board isn’t good for anyone, especially your baby.

Is my relative good with kids? Your sister-in-law may love swinging by to visit her nephew, but cuddling a baby for a bit and taking care of one for hours at a time are two very different things. Just as you would if you wanted to hire a nanny, consider your relative’s patience, demeanor, and experience caring for children before you leave your baby with her.

Is my relative physically capable of handling the job? Your mom or dad may be willing — and lobbying hard — for the gig, but are they physically up to the task? Can they lug around a growing baby and crawl around with him on the floor? And even if they can hack it now, will they have the stamina to keep up with your tot as he morphs into a skipping, scampering, high-energy toddler? That happens sooner than you think.

Can I tell my relative what to do? Open communication is key to a successful childcare relationship; some moms, however, find it’s not so easy to bring up issues to a relative caregiver. It’s a point worth considering: For one thing, nannies are childcare pros who are used to working with parents. Plus, you may never see them again once your child’s ready for preschool. None of that is true with a relative caregiver. So given that your brother signed on to watch your baby out of the goodness of his heart, could you call him out if you discover he’s parking your sweetie in front of the TV for hours each day? If the answer’s no, toughen up or reconsider your arrangement.

How flexible is my relative, time-wise and attitude-wise? Is your family member’s schedule really that open for her to make this kind of commitment? And how about her child-rearing beliefs? Even if she disagrees with your take on discipline and naps, would she follow your rules while she’s with your baby? If you suspect not, you may want to rethink “hiring” her so you don’t risk a family feud (or a last-minute search for a backup sitter).

Still want to leave your baby in a relative’s care?

 

The Ticking and Tocking of My Biological Clock

When is it the right time to change your focus from new mom to second-time mom-to-be? What to Expect’s Lifestyle Editor, Emma Bing shares the ups and downs and the I-don’t-know-wheres of deciding whether or not to have another baby.

I’ve been an official mom for just more than a year now.

And as you may know, I am obsessed with my Lennox. Like crazy town, over board, no-lifeguard-on-duty obsessed. I want to shout my love from the roof tops. The kid even has his own Instagram feed.

So what could be more fun than another one, right? Or maybe not? That’s where I am right now, deciding whether to get pregnant and look forward to years of fun with another little one, or stand pat and enjoy all my waking (and many sleeping hours) with my one and only.

My biological clock has sounded a little something like this over the past two years:

Tick: I’m pregnant! I can’t wait to do this again and again!

Tock: I’m pregnant—I’m nauseous—never again!

Tick: My baby is kicking! I’m doing this again!

Tock: I’m in labor! Never again!

Tick: I’m holding my baby; I can’t wait to give him a sibling!

Tock: I haven’t slept in 3 months, never again!

Tick: My baby smiled at me for the first time! I can’t wait to do this again!

Tock: My baby puked in his bed in the middle of the night! Never again!

Tick: My baby took his first steps, I miss having an infant, let’s get pregnant!

You get the picture. Maybe you even know what I am talking about. I think most moms of one find themselves here. (And even if you aren’t a mom yet, you may go back and forth on whether you want to give one a go. But the trade-offs are a little different.)

Every day I change my mind on this. Am I ready?

Yes!

No!

Who knows!?

Even on those “tock” days when I swear Lennox will be my one-and-only, I don’t actually mean it. It’s like when I said I wanted to get rid of my bangs and then pictured my life bang-less (not a good look). In fact I always have a pregnancy test and ovulation test box in my bathroom cabinet… Just in case.

Now that my baby is a toddler and I hear the pitter-patter of little feet running through the house, I am missing the baby days. You know, when I could carry Lennox without him wanting me to put him down after .2 seconds. The thing is this, like puppies, babies grow up… as much as you want them to stay cuddly and sweet forever, teenage years happen.

While we are on the subject of “biological clock”, there is also the “age” factor. My mom was pregnant at 23, and in my “life vision” I would have expected (no pun intended) to have about three kids by now. With that being said it is also the age of the Halle Berrys of the world having babes in their 40s. (Granted, she does look 21 and I’m sure her uterus does too).

Also, I am not going to lie, I am strongly concerned about being pregnant with a toddler at my feet. In what land is that going to be easy? My first pregnancy I could be a lady of leisure, nap when I wanted, lay in bed all day like the queen of the house “requesting” what I needed (OK, that never happened).

With a hyper toddler running all over the place, and me expecting, things are going to get real. And by real I mean Mommy is going to have a breakdown at some point. And by some point I mean every day.

With that being said, I still do want to do this… Having Lennox was the best thing I have ever done. Let me say it again: The best thing I have ever done.

Now that I am a mom, I can’t remember what it was like B.B. (Before Boo), and honestly I don’t really want to. Being a mommy is like joining a special club. Initiation was getting fat, nausea, and hemorrhoids (I can’t be the only one here!) but the payoff is love, cuddles, those sticky little hands pulling at your leg to pick them up, and that smile that can stop time — or at least you wish it could.

Okay, question: Is it irrational to think that I won’t be able to love my next child as much as I love my lil’ boo? Probably. Even saying that out loud sounds crazy.

The fact is that I love Lennox so much I can’t even describe my love. I genuinely worry that I may eat him. It’s teetering on stalker status. I watch him sleep and save his early attempts at, uh, art. It’s infinite. He has my heart. But with that said, I would like to think that my heart is big enough for two… or three…

Next stop…baby-making? Or just getting the usual supplies at the baby store? I’ll be weighing these thoughts and more for a little while (I think). Stay tuned!

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff

Should I Get My Child A Pet ?

Your Child and Pet


Whether it’s playing with a pooch or petting a purring kitty, there’s no doubt that pets can bring their owners (young and old) plenty of joy. But the advantages of pet ownership go well beyond the fact that they’re cuddly and lots of fun. So if you’ve been wondering whether this is the right time to add a four-legged (or two-winged or multi-finned) critter to your family, here are a few reasons why getting a pet may be a very good idea:

THE BENEFITS OF PETS: THEY TEACH KIDS VALUES
With a pet in the house, even the youngest toddler can pick up a few pointers about responsibility. Of course you’ll take on most of the pet-care chores, but your tot will absorb a lot from your nurturing example, like the importance of being kind and gentle. He can even lend a tiny hand with the easier jobs, like pouring food into a dish. By pitching in, he’ll realize that pets, just like people, need food, shelter, exercise, and love, teaching him valuable lessons about empathy and compassion.

THE BENEFITS OF PETS: THEY BOOST SELF-ESTEEM
There’s research showing that kids with family pets have higher self-esteem. Why? Probably because they have a four-legged (or two-legged) creature to love who loves them right back, and a friend to talk to and play with when no one else is around. Later on, when your child starts school, your pet can even boost his academic skills. Studies show that reading aloud to a loyal (and nonjudgmental) companion, like a dog, can turn a reluctant reader into a self-confident one. What’s not to love about that?

THE BENEFITS OF PETS: THEY’RE GOOD FOR EVERYONE’S HEALTH
Experts say that children who grow up with pets are less likely to develop common allergies thanks to early exposure to certain bacteria. (Of course, some children are genuinely allergic to animals — so check on that before you take the plunge.) And some research shows that pet owners tend to get sick less often — in fact, a 2012 study determined that children who lived with dogs were generally healthier during their first year of life, with fewer respiratory problems and less frequent ear infections than kids without canines. Another pro to pets? Brushing, patting, or stroking a furry creature can lower stress levels — and that’s just as true for moms and dads as it is for kids.

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