twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Help! My Baby Loves My Nanny More Than Me!

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Dr. Wendy Walsh: I'll never forget the first time that my toddler burst into the kitchen, crying over a boo-boo -- and ran straight into her nanny's arms, when ten more steps would have gotten her to me. In an instant, I felt flashes of jealousy and shame: Was I being a good enough mother? Does she love her nanny more than me? It was a confusing moment, but because I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, it lasted only as long as my brain needed to retrieve the necessary data on attachment theory. Children can and should form multiple consistent attachments with caregivers, to help them feel loved and develop a repertoire of relating styles.

baby sitter

But similar questions about nanny/child attachments -- probably spurred by age-old mommy guilt -- continue to crop up when I speak to parenting groups. When one's tiny bundle of love seems to have goo-goo eyes for a nonbiological caregiver, it can bring up some confusing feelings.

Children can form multiple attachments and have "love affairs" with parents, kinfolk and caregivers alike. In fact, our amazing human species grew so strong exactly because of elaborate networks of "alloparents" -- a.k.a. aunties, friends, grandmothers and other caregivers who supported mom while she was off gathering food for the clan. (Yes, even hunter-gatherer mothers worked outside the home -- about twenty to thirty hours a week.) Some anthropologists speculate that one reason that menopause evolved was to create nonfertile females filled with nurturing energy, to help with the babies of others. I call it the "grandmother gene".

In her new book "Mothers and Others," UC Davis professor Sarah Blaffer Hrdy makes the case that it is indeed this social network of "alloparents" that gives children more opportunities to learn empathy and feel secure.

So when baby prefers the sitter, feel relieved. And please squash any urge to release your nanny from her employment. The key to healthy emotional development is consistency of care; if your nanny is winning the love of your baby, then she's probably doing a great job -- and firing her could cause an attachment injury to your little one. 

You don't have to compete with your nanny. She is your partner. Trust me: Babies always know who their mother is. Hold your baby often, sing, rock and bathe him or her. And feel grateful that you have someone to share in the hard work of child-rearing.

next: America's New Threat: Terror Babies?!
37 comments so far | Post a comment now
navarre beach vacation rentals January 11, 2011, 4:30 PM

Austins across the street from the Hyatt offers lunch and dinner -good food at a reasonable price. Be sure to order a side of buttermilk fries!

Jailbreak iPhone 4G January 13, 2011, 4:33 PM

You are a very smart person!

dye dark hair blonde January 14, 2011, 11:14 PM

Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter.

crude oil prices 2011 January 22, 2011, 1:35 AM

He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.

Roland Wadlington January 27, 2011, 1:58 AM

Very useful information. Nice piece of info, finally a decent website with good information in it.

Nick Crawhorn March 16, 2011, 12:03 PM

wonderful log you’ve hog

Hyman Santeramo March 16, 2011, 2:05 PM

This page seems to recieve a large ammount of visitors. How do you promote it? It offers a nice unique spin on things. I guess having something authentic or substantial to post about is the most important factor.

dofollowdigg March 29, 2011, 1:34 PM

There are a lot of strange comments on here.

Asia Boetcher March 29, 2011, 5:20 PM

Well I sincerely enjoyed studying it. This tip offered by you is very useful for correct planning.

Eddie A. Cameron March 31, 2011, 4:04 AM


Kathryn R. Braswell April 8, 2011, 5:01 AM


ślady biologiczne April 9, 2011, 7:28 AM

it is a really good point of view. I often meet people who rather say what they suppose others want to hear. Good and well written! I will come back to your site for sure!

artiklar April 9, 2011, 3:12 PM

Only wanna input that you have a very decent website , I like the design and style it actually stands out.

louis vuitton outlet May 4, 2011, 4:02 PM

Not sure about this text. It seems to be all right, but something is missing May 23, 2011, 7:20 AM

Help_my_baby_loves_my_nanny_more_than_me.. Huh, really? :) June 3, 2011, 4:59 AM

Help_my_baby_loves_my_nanny_more_than_me.. Nice :) June 5, 2011, 5:16 AM

Help_my_baby_loves_my_nanny_more_than_me.. Not so bad :)

Back to top >>