♥ Attachment Parenting: A Nanny's Perspective

Copyright Andy Dean Photography

Note: Content might be somewhat controversial to some.

As a Nanny, I always strive to comply with the parenting style of each individual mommy client and I will always do whatever they feel that works with their values. Some parenting styles focus on the nurturing connection between the parent and their baby. This nurturing connection is considered my many-a-mamma as the perfect way to a raise a secure, independent, empathetic child. I've always felt there is something so special and sweet and loving about the whole idea of attachment parenting. 

If you're not sure exactly what that is, it's basically the philosophy that your baby is an extension of you - almost like a part of your body. Baby goes everywhere you go. You carry baby with you out to the garden to plant seeds together, you sleep next to baby and cuddle and snuggle all night long together. You nap together you co-sleep and snuggle on the couch together, "bed-sharing". Baby comes in the kitchen with you and you're cooking and preparing meals. You bring the baby with you when you go into the restroom, sometimes even bathing together. 

It's a really sweet concept. It feels old-fashioned to me. It harkens to back in the old days when the farmers and slaves had to work in the fields so they carried their babies in a sling on their back. Or like the Native American baby Indian in a papoose. This carrying baby around on your body while you work is still common practice in so many countries today! I'm sure you've seen or maybe even tried carrying your baby in a body wrap carrier, sling, baby bjorn.

I feel it is endearing and effective for so many wonderful things like: mother baby bonding, establishing trust, relationship building, connecting, confidence building. Baby can be there right with you at all times. Your best buddy, side-kick, best friend, constant pal, closest companion. Baby can learn from you very directly, up close, by watching and observing and participating in everything that you do. A strong loving bond that is nurtured during nursing breastfeeding, face to face admiration and gazing into each other's eyes, holding mamas finger with that tiny little hand. Breastfeeding on demand, never letting the baby cry, picking him/her up immediately if baby starts to fuss.... all that comes with attachment parenting.  I really do love all these things about attachment parenting. 

Yes, there is a however. 

From a Nanny's perspective, attachment parenting can be a challenge to both the Nanny and the baby. Eventually, ultimately to the mommy as well. If an "attachment-parenting-mama" is going to hire a Nanny or caregiver or newborn caregiver to care for her little attachment partner, it can get confusing. The Nanny's role is not to attach to your baby or expect your baby to bond (or "imprint" like an animal or hatchling) with your Nanny or connect and build deep relationship connection with your baby. That's for Mamma, Daddy, family. 

The Nanny is there to do a job, to keep your baby safe, in a dry diaper, fed, healthy, protected, engaged, bathed, having fun, entertained and pacified. So when it's time for nappy time or bathroom potty break time is your Nanny expected to bring the baby into the bathroom with her? Do you want Nanny to sleep in the bed with the baby or on the couch holding the baby on her chest, listening to her heart beat the way Mommy does? Okay, maybe just hold the baby on her chest or lap in the rocking chair in the nursery? What about putting the baby down for a nap? Is your baby going to sleep in it's crib or is it going to be laying on the Nanny? For a three-hour nap? Sadly, this can get very confusing for the baby because baby is going to expect to do all the same things with a Nanny that it usually does with Mama. Well... not the nursing part. Most commonly the Nanny will be able to hand over the baby to Mama when it's time for nursing. That or Nanny can bottle feed the baby Mama's milk from the bottle. Keeping in mind many attachment parenting Mamas prefer to continue breast feeding until the baby is 2 or 3 years old if possible.

Some of the Pros & Cons I've run across in my 39 years as a caregiver:

In some cases attachment parenting can create a co-dependent baby, in my opinion. Babies become used to their parents helping them with everything because of their closeness and proximity and willingness to help. Babies who are raised with attachment parenting often find it difficult to complete certain tasks on their own, or even develop sort of a laziness because they know Mamma will do it for them. (open a lid for baby, put in a puzzle piece for baby, turn a page of a story book) I've worked for families whose little ones grew up to be down right lazy about some things! An 8 year old not getting their own water from the fridge, expecting Nanny Jen to "fetch" it for her. A 10 year old boy who did not know how to tie his shoes. A 19 year old girl out at a restaurant dinner table who would sit and wait for Mom to cut her meat for her! These are real people and true stories y'all! I'm being totally serious!

Lack of independent thinking and making their own choices. Baby might also be reluctant to make simple decisions on their own, things like picking their own outfit to wear to school or what they want to eat, because they've become used to their parents making all these types of decisions for them. Lack of independent thinking and making their own choices y'all. Sometimes babies raised with attachment parenting may not develop their own sense of self because they've always relied on the opinions and assistance of mommy, daddy and siblings to define their own self-worth.

While I do feel it is so very important to connect with babies on a deep, personal level and I truly feel it is important to have that one-on-one snuggly loving contact with a developing baby to help them learn how to form healthy attachments with others during all stages of their life. I feel it is just as important to give a baby some space and a little independent play time. This will give them permission to explore the world on their own and learn to self entertain and not always be so dependent on others to entertain them or do things "FOR" them. This way they can discover on their own how things work, who they are, what they like and where they want to go...

I've learned with all this trial and error that it's a fine balance. It doesn't need to be all or nothing. 100% attachment style. Give a little, take a little, implement some of your favorite parts and do away with the aspects of attachment parenting that you think might not be necessary. Have fun with it. Be creative. Pick your favorite parts and choose your battles Mommies!

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💗 Nanny Knowledge with Miss Jen Parenting advice, tips and fun helpful insights from a Professional Nanny. • Nanny • Newborn Care • Life Coach • Blogger • YouTuber • Content Creator Find me on: