Dear Dr. Ombeva,
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I am finishing my maternity leave soon, but I am so worried about my baby remaining alone with the nanny at home. I need some advice on how I can make this transition smoother and less stressful. Thanks. Tina
Your worries are understandable. Most mothers do fear the idea of being separated from their child when they have to go back to work. The thought of spending an entire day, or even half a day away from their young child is very troubling for the mom.
Remember that the baby also suffers from the separation, a condition called separation anxiety. Here, the baby finds it very hard to adjust to a new person other than the mother, especially to the house help/nanny left in charge of the baby. This makes the child cry a lot or even refuse to feed.
While some mothers ask for more time off work to ensure they help the child adjust, others keep calling home from work to ensure that they give instructions to the nanny on what ought to be done.
These include reminders on feeding, giving prescribed medication, bathing the baby etc. This approach helps the nanny realise that the baby matters a lot to you, thus helping her remain careful and vigilant regarding their attention to the baby’s welfare.
The call also reassures the mom, helping her concentrate at work. You need to adequately train your nanny, on feeding and bathing the baby. Have your nanny tested and treated and even immunized against some of the common contagious infections you may be worried about.
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It is advisable that you stay with a help/nanny long enough, to train her, and this could be from even before you give birth, so that the nanny can welcome the baby with you and understand the baby’s needs and temperament.
Try not to stress the house help because it may affect the way she treats your baby. Be as understanding and as kind as possible to the nanny. For some nannies, this may be the first time they are attending to a child, especially a newborn baby. You therefore need to patiently train your nanny and then observe as she attends to the baby.
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