Nanny Probs 05: Navigating Nanny Parent Relationships

Happy fall everyone!

I’m a little rusty with my blogging intros so I’ll just hop right into it! Today I wanted to talk about making it a priority to make sure that you are in a happy healthy work environment! The longer you are in this field, in my experience and that of my fellow nannies, the more likely you are to come across a family you didn’t gel so great with and had to make the decision to leave or stay.

It can be difficult and cause some serious emotional drainage when things are difficult with a family! Whether that be trouble bonding with the kids, communicating with the parents, or any factor that’s prohibiting you from doing your work to the fullest! We are in such a close knit working situation (your office is someone else’s home) and its a hard job to do well and with joy when you’re all not working on the same page. I feel like I would not be able to continue doing what I love to do if I had never found a great family where I was happy to head in to work everyday and be excited about planning the day. For every amazing family i’ve found i’ve also been in positions where it was more difficult to be happy and it was hard to get myself motivated when all I could think about was should I leave or stay.

I think the trait all nannies have in common is this loyalty and dedication to the families we’re with and love for the children. It’s an impossible job to do if you don’t have that. You HAVE to make sure you’re taking yourself and your happiness in account no matter what. If something seems off, if you’re not happy and nothing seems to be working there is no shame in walking away.

Being in a positive environment that you enjoy and where you feel heard and validated is key to every successful nanny-parent relationship. Being able to communicate open and honestly is very important to me in every nanny position and I feel that can only happen when you and the parents are in sync as far as discipline, parenting, and life styles.

With that being said never feel guilty or nervous about having to look for other opportunities or finally sitting the family down to work things out.I am hoping this helps someone just starting or someone in a position they’re not happy with. This only took me about 5 years to learn so hoping this sticks to someone else a lot quicker!

Until next time,

Lauren

Newborn Must-haves/Favorites

Hey there Best Buds Fam! I am so excited to be back on the blog with this awesome piece!

So, if you did not know, being a NCS I work with a lot of newborns and expecting moms. About a year ago I started offering the service to assist in registry/nursery planning. I was noticing a lot of clients either struggling with what they really need or putting a bunch of things they do not need on their registry (which is something you really do not want to do). Putting a lot of non-needed things on a registry can be super distracting from the must-haves! I personally would rather get all of the necessities gifted to me and buy not as important things or wants myself.

With all of that being said, I wanted to give you all some of my favorite newborn must-haves! All links will be in the name!

Newborn Favorites/Must-Haves

Nursery:

  • Crib: I consider myself the convertible queen! I always say if they make a convertible version BUY THAT! I love things that grow with the child. You save so much money sometimes! (It just depends on how fancy you are!) Here are some of my favorite ones!

  • Crib Mattress: This is a place where I would say spend the money! There are so many safer and cleaner products out there now! Your baby will literally be breathing in anything let off from the mattress. Totally I would want the best. Here are my favorites!

  • Changing Station: I actually love that people are starting to primarily use dressers as the changing station! It saves so much space in the room! I suggest just picking the perfect dresser and putting the diapers and wipes in the top drawer for storage. It’s easy to reach and put away. You just pop and changing pad on top and BOOM! You are ready! They also have cute little removable changing trays that can match your dresser as well!

  • Glider: Gliders are important! If you are adamant about safe sleep practices like me, then you will be spending a lot of time in that glider for night feeds and rocking back to sleep! So, it’s important to pick one that is durable, comfortable and of course fits the look in the nursery! Here’s a few of my favorites.

  • Blackout Shades: Blackout shades are a MUST! This helps set the sleepy mood and keep out light for babies sleep time! Helps so much when starting to sleep train and building healthy sleep habits!

Healthy Sleep Pattern Must-haves:

  • Blackout Shades

  • Swaddles & Sleep sacks: When first born, your baby is so used to being scrunched up in the womb that you will notice they stay bunched up a lot. Swaddling helps with calming them andis when they are most content. I have noticed that swaddled babies sleep so much better! Once they are older (rolling over), You can switch to a sleep sack to keep them warm! (it is dangerous to have blankets in an infants bed) Here are my favorites!

  • White Noise Machine: This is another healthy sleep habit MUST! A white noise machine helps block out other noises and resembles the constant sound in the womb!

    • Project Nursery Sound Soother: I LOVE this machine! It has lots of sounds on it, a nightlight, and isn’t low in volume capacity!

    • Marpac Dohm Natural Sleep Sound Machine: This a great more natural sounding machine. It uses a real fan and has more than one speed/volume! They also make a super cute portable one for travel!

    • Baby Shusher: THIS SHOULD BE USED IN ADDITION TO A WHITE NOISE MACHINE! I LOVE the shusher! When sleep training I turn it on with the white noise and set it to the highest time. This helps the baby stay calm and learn to self soothe!

Diapering

  • Diapers: This is always a big question asked to me! What are the best diapers??!

    • Honest Co.: Honestly these are my all-time favorites!! I love how soft they are and eco-friendly! And I mean those designs?!! How cute!!! They have worked really hard to establish more absorption and I think they have done a great job! They also offer awesome bundles and subscription packages!

    • Pampers Pure: Everyone knows that pampers are the most absorbent diaper out there. But, my biggest issue with mainstream diapers is the smell that comes from them. The smell is super chemical like. I can smell it with them just sitting there and louder when opening them to put them on a baby. Sooo that was always in the back of my mind. When they came out with the PURE version I was ecstatic!! They are made without chlorine bleaching, fragrance, lotion, parabens, and EU 26 allergens!! 100% hypoallergenic.

  • Wipes: Wipes are a huge part of diaper changes. Again I always lean toward more hypoallergenic/eco-friendly products!

    • Honest Co.: You will definitely notice a pattern in the blog! I LOVE Honest and all their products!!! Their wipes are soo soft and 99% water! They also come in the cutest designs now!! LUFFFFF!

    • Water Wipes: I LOVE water wipes! They are great for babies with super sensitive skin or eczema! They are soft and also 99% water! (I also love using these for dirty hands and faces since they are alcohol and fragrance free!)

  • Wipes Dispenser: I am not referring to a wipe warmer. That is definitely a MYTHICAL need. I prefer wipe dispensers because the flimsy plastic ones are hard to deal with after a while.

  • Changing Pad: You definitely need one of these for those public diaper changes!!

  • Diaper bag: I personally detest diaper bags and honestly you don’t need them. 9X out of ten you only end up using the diapers and bottles out of them. I always keep a ziploc with extra clothes and diapers in the car and only leave with a cute little bag with milk/food and more diapers in it. Thats really all you need IMO. But if I had to choose here is some cute diaper bags I like!

    • Jujube Backpacks: More than likely I’m going to always choose a backpack over a regular bag. These are super durable with many compartments and super Chic looks!

    • Itzy Ritzy Diaper Bag Backpack: Super stylish, cute and compact! My favorites!

  • Diaper Cream:

    • Aquaphor: HEALS EVERYTHING! I always use aquaphor for literally everything baby ha! I only resort to medicated diaper rash creams if the rash is far along and raw.

    • Aquaphor Cream: SO GOOD! This brand is just awesome.

Bath Time:

  • Bath Tubs:

    • Stokke Flexi Bath: I absolutely LOVE this bath! Its foldable (great to transport if traveling), lightweight and comes with an infant insert! It so perfect and can grow with your child. I’ve seen some children use it until 2!

    • Angelcare Baby Bath Support: This little bath is so compact and great for posture! The net in the middle allows for no suds to stay and makes rinsing super easy!!

    • Munchkin Sit and Soak Baby Bath: This is another multi-stage bath. It has padding and a bump to support a newborn and also allows for an older infant to sit up! It’s shape also allows for the water level to be more supportive as far as keeping your little one warm.

  • Washcloths & Hooded towels

  • Shampoo/Body wash:

    • Honest Co.: I love their all natural shampoo and body wash! Its light and the have the most natural and good smelling fragrances! I also love that they make conditioners as well! I usually introduce those around 2!

    • Babyganics: I LOVE their foaming shampoo and body wash! Its so light! It’s also non-allergenic.

    • Mustela Baby: This is another fave of mines. It’s 90% plant based!! And so gentle on the skin!

  • Moisturizer: For me I prefer to use natural oils on babies skin. Lotion just does not always do the trick and is sometimes too harsh on littles skin. I will list a lotion I like as well though!

    • Honest Co. Organic Body Oil: I absolutely LOVE this oil to keep babies moisturized! It really penetrates and leaves their skin so soft! I have worked with many children with severe dry skin or light eczema and this oil keeps their skin soft still. It’s plant based organic and made with over 95% organic oils including jojoba, tamanu, olive, avocado, and sunflower oils!

    • Float Baby Rub-a-Bub Massage Oil: I recently came across this oil while working with a client. I must say I really like it! It smells so good and is a natural blend! It really leaves the skin so soft and it’s very calming. It has organic vegetable oils (olive, grape seed, fractionated coconut), Vitamin E, Bulgarian Lavender!

    • Mustela Baby Moisturizing Lotion: I actually love this lotion! It’s super gentle and all natural! It’s one that is actually deep penetrating and gentle on baby’s skin. Mustela’s Hydra Bébé Body Lotion is composed of a 97% plant-based biodegradable formula that includes: Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Oil, Vitamin E, Vitamin F, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Glycerin. It’s also infused with their signature Avocado Perseose, a patented natural ingredient that provides both hydration and nourishment and protects, moisturizes, and strengthens baby’s skin.

FEEDING:

  • Breastfeeding moms:

    • Electric or Manual Pump

    • Breast Milk Storage: Breastmilk storage that is easy and efficient FOR YOU is super important. I usually recommend getting a freezer proof bin and storing bags in there. I also advise storing sections of 2oz, 4oz and 6oz. That way you have small-to-large available to thaw. (if a brand isn’t listed I do not really care for it lol)

      • Target Up&Up Storage bags: I really like these. They are a lot more sturdy and have a good shape for pouring.

      • Medela Storage bags: These are pretty common. I like them but they can be a bit flimsy. But, they have definitely gotten better over the years!

    • Bottles: There are certain bottles that are better for breastfed babies. Here are a few of my favorites.

      • Como Tomo Natural Feel Bottles: I love these bottles! The nipple has a oval globe like shape that resembles a woman’s breast. The part that holds the milk is made with a soft, skin-like silicone material to offer better grip and a soothing, calming feel.

      • Mimijumi Breastfeeding Bottle: First this bottle is SO CUTE! It has texture on the nipple to make transition easy and comes in different sizes.

      • Nanobebe Breastmilk Bottle: This is a cool new bottle that everyone is talking about! Its globe design is to preserve breastmilk nutrients. Also, moms can pump straight into the bottle.

  • Formula Feeding Moms

    • Formula: I am 100% for “Fed is Best”. But, I am also pro giving the baby the BEST that is out there! I really do not care for normal US formulas. They have so many unnecessary ingredients. So I will list my 2 favorites!

      • HIPP Organic Formula: This is literally THE BEST I’ve used. It’s all organic and has all of the necessary nutrients for your baby! Including vital prebiotics and probiotics!

      • Holle Bio: This is another popular all organic formula! No steroids, hormones, antibiotics, or GMO ingredients. It also has no added sugar, gluten, egg, wheat, or preservatives.

    • Bottles:

      • Dr. Browns Bottles: Dr. Browns is a well known name when it comes to bottles. They are honestly the best and continue to improve! They are anti-gas and colic.

      • Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles: These are super great anti-colic bottles with a great design. This is also a great breastfeeding bottle!

    • Bottle Drying Rack:

      • Dr. Browns Universal Drying Rack: I really love this rack. Its super compact and fits all Dr. Browns products and it’s design allows for many other brands to fit it as well!

      • Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack: This can be a versatile drying rack. There are some items that may clash with the design but overall it is a very popular and very effective rack.

    • Bottle Warmer:

      • Kiinde Kozii: I LOVE this warmer! It warms so evenly. It takes the water and cycles it through bottom to top. THE BEST!

      • Babebay 3-in-1 Bottler Warmer: This warmer is AWESOME!! It can warm 2 bottles (great for twin parents) and sterilize them! It can also warm baby food. It has a built in sensor to avoid over heating. it’s GREAT!

CLOTHING

  • Onesies:

    • Milkbarn: These super cute and super soft bamboo onesies are the best!

  • Newborn Caps

  • Pants

  • Socks

  • Sleepers

    • Kickee Pants: I absolutely LOVE this brand!!!! They make EVERYTHING! It’s so soft and last super long if it’s taken care of properly. You will absolutely love the feel of your baby in these! They also make adult clothing and jammies and you can match your kiddos! How fun!

Gear:

  • High Chair: I do not like most high chairs to be honest. Once I used this one, all others were ruined for me!

    • Stokke Steps: This is a 100% convertible high chair that grows with your baby until they are a child! It comes in a super sleek modern design but can fit in any home. They have many different colors and wood grains.

    • Inglesina Fast Table Chair: I have actually become super fond of the little seats that attach to the table! They are awesome for traveling and easy to store and clean!

  • Video Baby Monitor: I think this is a super must! It not only great for safety but it allows you to watch your babies sleep patterns and always be able to check their room.

    • Health & Sleep monitors:

      • Miku: This monitor is super cool! It has real-time data is available in the Miku app - breathing, temperature, humidity, sound, and motion are all tracked without disturbing your baby's sleep. It was developed by military engineers! VERY PRICEY!

      • Owlet Smart Sock + Cam: This is the perfect monitor for babies with health issues or born preemie! I was so happy when they made a monitor as well! Track your baby's heart rate and oxygen levels while streaming HD video and audio to your phone. It also allows noise to play from your phone while you are doing other things so you can still hear.

    • Budget Monitors:

      • Project nursery: I really like this monitor! You can have multiple cameras displayed on 1 screen and there is a handheld and app version.

      • Summer Infant Baby Pixel Cadet: This one is super cool. I love the SleepZone technology that alerts you if baby has moved out of the virtual boundary box. You can also view baby’s entire room remotely with the remote camera steering that pans, tilts, and zooms from the parent handheld.

  • Bouncer: Bouncers are not a 100% necessity but they can be super handy in-terms of safe places for baby to sit while you need to get something done.

    • Stokke Steps Bouncer: I love this bouncer! It is apart of the Steps collection which I will talk above in the High Chair Section. Its compact, foldable and super cute.

  • Swing: Swings are another great item for newborns. It can help soothe them in a time when you need your hands. I much prefer classic and basic swings over the new high tech ones.

  • Play Mat: Play mats are a great tool as your newborn grows. They are great for tummy time and playtime.

  • Strollers: I’m not super big on strollers. I would much prefer to baby wear! But here are my favorite strollers!

    • Basic:

      • Ergo Baby 180 Reversible Stroller: This stroller is super cool! The handle can move to 2 different baby facing options! It’s lightweight and easy to collapse!

      • UppaBaby Vista: This has become a very popular stroller. It is super versatile and has great wheels! It can also grow with your family!

    • Joggers: MY FAVORITE! :)

      • Thule Urban Glide: This is my all-time favorite jogger! It is so smooth to push and durable! It will last for years. It comes in a double as well!

      • Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight: Weighs in among the lightest joggers at 25.7 pounds.

  • Infant Car Seat: I really don’t like to have to use infant car seats if it can be avoided. (there are some convertible car seats that support infants as small as 4lbs) Here are a couple I really like!

    • Chicco KeyFit 30 Magic: This is an awesome overall carseat! It has easy install, super light and is great for those on a budget.

    • Nuna Pipa: Super lightweight as well and has a nice Sleek design!

    • Uppababy Mesa: This car seat is very popular. I like that you don’t have to rethread the harness as the baby grows but its super heavy!

  • Convertible Car Seat: My favorites! I love the all-in-ones! Most start from 4/5 lbs and go up to 50! That means you can use it from birth all the way until toddlerhood. HOW AWESOME! It solely depends on your lifestyle which is best for you. I prefer to body carry more than anything and hate having to have a lot of stuff so convertibles work best for me!

    • Clek FLLO: My favorite convertible of all time! This sleeker model is so perfect! The forward facing weight capacity is only 65lbs but its so worth it! Their safety specs are incredible! Also it is super slim and sleek compared to other convertibles. I fit 2 huge 5-point boosters on both sides of one and had plenty of room. The carseat alone starts at 14lbs meaning a newborn could not be in it. BUT, they created an insert to add to make it start at 5lbs! Get it here!

    • Safety 1st Grow-and-Go: BUDGET BUY! OH YEA! Meant for extended use through 3 stages: Rear-facing 5-40 pounds, Forward-facing 22-65 pounds, and Belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds

    • Graco Forever 4-in-1: This car seat is a bit chunky but is literally THE BEST! It gives you 10 years of use from 4 to 120 pounds.

  • Baby Carrier: My favorite way to go out with baby! I love baby wearing! Not only is it great for bonding its much easier and keep my hands free!

    • Ergobaby Omni 360: Ergo baby carriers are my absolute favorite! They offer SO MUCH SUPPORT! I am short and tend to work with super chunky babies, therefore, I need that support on my back since I love to primarily babywear! This ergo is new and needs no infant insert! It can support from birth to 33lbs! They also made a cool air mesh version to support keeping both you and baby cool! NEED for Houston mamas! IT HAS STORAGE AS WELL!

    • Wildbird Slings: These slings are absolutely adorable! They make so many options and offer a quiz so you can choose the best one for you!

Well that’s all the newborn must haves I feel are priority! I really hope this is helpful not only to first time parents but also to parents who are growing their family and want specific recommendations! Also, if you want more one-on-one help with building your registry, newborn/nursery planning or sleep training be sure to check out the services I offer! I have many options for whatever suits your budget! Plus, all first phone consults are FREE! Find more info HERE!

Catch you next time Best Buds Fam!

Freelance vs. Agency Work

Happy 2019 everyone!

It seems I know of a few nannies in transitions as well as families re-evaluating their childcare services and I thought it would be great to give you guys a quick rundown with what i’ve experienced in the nanny market in Houston.

For all of my full time nanny positions I have found them on my own through connections, care.com and Facebook neighborhood groups. In Houston, from my experience, fellow Houston nannies and speaking with nannies in other states about how different their job hunts are, finding full time positions independently seems to be how we in Houston find our families.

I have interviewed with 3 of our major agencies and have continued on with 2. I just thought I would share my experience with our agencies in case there were any new nannies looking for a way in the door as well as more experienced nannies exploring their options. For me personally I had hit a rut in our nanny market and have met many who have as well. With my experience I wanted something slightly above and beyond the normal nanny job structure and thought that joining an agency would help me get closer to that.

Motherhood Center

The Motherhood Center has been open for years and is very well known and established in Houston. Expecting mothers and those with newborns rave about their classes and specialty services. Going into the interview process here was one I really enjoyed, it was set up by nannies and so a lot of the questions and expectations they had laid out were ones that I already implemented in my work ethic. In the interview you speak with the coordinator and then the owner. Both were extremely forthcoming and optimistic about being able to place me. The way Motherhood sets up it’s interviews is the families contact the with their needs, Motherhood sends them profiles of different nannies they feel would be a good fit and whoever the family would like to interview is set up through Motherhood. (must have dad joke. Tinder for nannies.)You do not contact the family beforehand, most of the communication in the beginning is done through them.

During the interview process if you are in between jobs or trying to do extra babysitting before your position ends they also do babysitting where you have availability that you give to the coordinator and they contact you if you are available to work.

I did not wind up having much luck through Motherhood. I went on one interview but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for and didn’t hear much since. During my most recent hunt I contacted them multiple times but wasn’t necessarily given much help or another possibility if their nanny vs job ratio is too great. I haven’t met many nannies who have gotten placed through Motherhood but those who have I have heard great stories from!

The Village Nannies

This is a much smaller agency and I absolutely love it! Upon interviewing you meet Jo one on one and go through the interview process. She was so kind and welcoming upon meeting, the interview flew by. She is an experienced and currently working nanny that understands the ups and downs of nannying. She screens all potential clients and has always been upfront about any possible red flags and gives you lots of one on one communication after you’re done interviewing with the families.

One thing I love about working with Jo is her honesty. It’s a one woman ran operation and you can really feel the sincerity in her wanting to place you in the best situation possible. I’ve never been reluctant about discussing anything with her. One of the biggest differences in working with Jo vs Motherhood or another bigger agency is you are speaking with the parents directly. With Motherhood they are setting up the interview and follow up and here it is more of a traditional nanny interview, the only difference being how you found the family.

All in all I think in comparison to other cities I definitely think our Houston agencies have a long way to go. I have still found all of my full time families through word of mouth and Facebook mom groups. I absolutely loved going through the experience of interviewing with different agencies and going through each process.

The perks of being in a nanny agency is that someone has your back to negotiate contracts, especially if a family is attempting to cut corners, as well as a backup option in case you find yourself in sudden need of part time work. My thinking when entering an agency was that things were going to be 1000 times easier than doing the search on your own however the interview processes and waiting is just about the same as a normal hunt, however the rates can be a little higher coming from a family working through an agency.

I hope this was helpful to someone in some way and I will speak with you all soon!

-Lauren

How to avoid/get through the #nannyburnout

Hey Hey!!!! Brooklyn here! If you have been keeping up with the blog, you know I am currently assisting a family in the mornings with their twins! I then proceed to my normal with L&S. I start my day around 6:30AM and don’t make it home until sometimes close to 9:00PM. I’ve been doing this for about 5 months now. So, depending on schedule changes(usually additions), some weeks I can be working up to 65 hours A WEEK. Now mind you, I’m still doing all things Best Buds while trying to take care of personal things as well.

As the weeks have continued, I have started to notice all of the major signs of “The Nanny Burnout” This is when, in my opinion, 1) the stress and excessive work starts to over-power the fun. Being a nanny is definitely hard work but, it is also a lot of fun and I absolutely love it. So, I have noticed that when the fun is minimal for long stretches it heavily increases the chances of burnout coming in. Also, 2) when I am working excessively.

Having a burnout period while working ANY job is not good. While experiencing a burnout, you cannot put forth your best self. So, the best thing you can do is recognize the signs quickly, that way you can make the necessary changes to get through it!

So first, I’m going to list a few ways that I recognize the start of a burnout and then I will list some ways to get through it!

Burnout Red Flags

  • Unnecessary exhaustion: I always know i’m approaching a burnout when I am tire for no reason. Say I went to sleep by 10 and got a solid 7 hours of sleep, but when I get home I feel so tired and go right to sleep. That shows me that maybe I am working a bit to hard/much.

  • Super sensitivity: Another way I notice a potential burnout is when simple things stress me out or annoy me. This is a very big sign for me that I NEED a break.

  • Mood projection: A huge pet peeve of mines is when someone projects their bad mood out to the public. So, I always work very hard to make sure I do not do that. When I am feeling like my capability of keeping my mood/attitude to myself is compromised I know I am nearing a burnout.

  • Slight-dreading to go to work: I am so happy to say that I LOVE my job. I love going to work and I have to be dead tired to not want to go. So, when I start having multiple days of dreading having to work I know BABY GIRL IS TIRED! lol

Ways to alleviate/ get through a burnout

  • Take a personal day: When I am in the midst of a burnout I can always tell when I need to take time for myself. So, if it gets bad enough I will take a day off. Or, I will not take any additional work for a weekend. This is super helpful because it allows me time to recharge.

  • Travel: One thing I LOVE to do is travel! It always give me major time to recharge and rejuvenate myself mentally. So, even if it just a small weekend trip, TAKE IT!!!

  • Take time to do something that relaxes you: I love going to get a facial or a massage! It is so relaxing for me. You can also take time to do things like: ride a bike, workout, shopping, re-read your favorite book, Netflix binge, GIRLS NIGHT, Yoga.

  • Don’t be afraid to say NO: Say no to the extra work, say no to going out, say no to doing something that stresses you. It’s 100% okay to stay home and to yourself. It’s 100% okay to not answer your phone for a bit.

Those are the ways I recognize/deal with a burnout. Recently to get through my own burnout I took some time for me! I turned down some extra work and took a few trips! I won’t say I am completely out of burnout territory but I am definitely on the up & up.

Here is the Vlog we did over at Bustle Babes on gettig through and recognizing the burnout!! I hope this was helpful! Catch you next time!!!

Nanny Contract Checklist

Hi everyone! Lauren here. 

I have been recently interviewing for new positions here in Houston and thought I would share 3 major keys I like to include in my nanny contract that have been a major savior when working for families long term.  

1. Guaranteed Hours
I was in a situation with a previous nanny family where in the interview we discussed guaranteed hours, however when the time came for them to take a week of vacation I was not payed and could not stand my ground because it was not in my contract.  I now present guaranteed hours as something non negotiable and explain the importance of it. A mother I interviewed with recently explained it perfectly. Just like I pay the month of daycare for whether the kids are there or not we are paying you for your time and the promise of care. Your time is important and you deserve to have guaranteed pay. 

2. Overtime
Overtime is crucial and I refuse to compromise going forward not having it in my contract. As nannies we are working tediously on our feet for hours on end and deserve to be paid fairly for weeks where we put in more than 40 hours. In the past i've allowed families to compromise on when overtime begins. In a previous family I worked a 48 hour work week and allowed for overtime to start past that however looking back on that I regret not pushing for proper overtime. 

3. Solidifying Pay Method
There are several ways to go about pay when working for families. Depending on what you want and what you will be comfortable with in the long run needs to be settled and ready to go before or the week of your starting. It's very difficult in the thick of a position to get the parents to take time out of their schedule to set up a payroll system and all of the extra steps financially that go along with setting that up. When giving two weeks notice to whatever position you are leaving, that time should be when the parent is setting everything up for your first week so that when you walk in that Monday your duties, your pay, what the parent expects and what you are bringing to the table is complete.

 

I truly hope this helps any caregivers new to the field or those editing their contracts! I love reading about rules other nannies have in place for protection because it is so important when representing ourselves that we protect ourselves. 

 

Talk with you all next time! 
Lauren

Why I do it! #nannyinspiration #amazingmoms

Hey there guys! It's great to be back on the blog and man do I have an amazing story to tell! In my nanny journey I have grown so much and learned so much about not only myself but my passions and reasons for doing what I do.

My main goal in my work is to help families and mothers have the best experience when it comes to their children. I get so much joy from helping mothers have some relief and feel more knowledgable and in control when new in parenting. That has always been my top priority. My most recent job really put that in perspective for me. 

Around the end of January/ early February, I started looking for another Newborn Care opportunity. I had completed my time helping a family I had previously nannied for with their new son. I love getting the chance to work with the infants here and there since my primary nanny kids are school-aged. That is when I met Lauren Wood. I saw her advertise on Care.com that she needed overnight assistance with her new preemie born twins since she had a stroke during pregnancy. I was automatically interested because 1) I LOVE TWINSIES! and 2) I have experience with assisting a mother who was ill during and after pregnancy. (Read all about my story with my mom in my first welcome blog here.) So, I reached out to her and we set up a time to meet. I met with her, her mom & step-mom. We talked about their needs and what as important to them at that time. 

So, they basically wanted close to round the clock assistance. Since she had her stroke, she was very limited and had to have someone with her at all times. They wanted overnight care and for someone to stay some in the day as well. All of her family had been there round the clock helping her since the babies came home (they came home at 1 month, they were 3 months when I met her). They were tired and all needed a reprieve (her mom is still there everyday! So awesome) So, from that point we started to discuss rates. My rate of course matched my experience and background but, they were limited since she could not work and her husband was away.  

This was the tricky part. I knew I could not help them with all that she needed but, I knew what I could do for her. The main thing she kept referring to about the night need was that she needed sleep. So, I knew I could get those babies sleep trained quickly! I told her of my method and how best I could help them. We then decided to follow up after we both did a few more interviews. From that point, I did not find anymore opportunities that fit me. and I also could not get Lauren and her twins out of my head! Having been through my mother being sick prenatal and postpartum, I was super sympathetic to their situation. I called her back and told her how moved I was by her story and how compelled I was to help. She agreed that she as well really wanted my help. We came to an agreement that worked for the both of us and I got started.

I started off with just doing 4 nights a week. During that time, I got to know Lauren, her family and of course the twins! The more I learned, the more astonished and inspired I was! I learned how when she was a child she had a brain tumor and this contributed to her having a stroke. I learned that she had her stroke at 24 weeks and carried after (even with a limited left side) until 32 weeks! Hearing all this blew my mind! Especially when she would talk about her determination and insistence to carry as long as she could.

-Now let's touch on that really quick. This woman had a stroke WHILE PREGNANT, carried her TWINS FOR 2 MORE MONTHS even though she could not even walk, AND THEN when they were born (after she had regained partial movement) she still got up to assist feeding and comforting them and took care of them to her best ability. AMAZING is an understatement! Women blow my mind!-

Then I would see her with the babies, see her determined to do as much as she could and I would become even more amazed. Seeing her power through and never complain pushed me to work even harder at getting the twins on track sleep and development wise. 

After 1 month and 1 week of doing overnights, the babies were sleeping 10 hours a night and we were building a great daytime schedule. The babies were on the right track, doing no night feeds and starting to have longer naps. We then started discussing a daytime schedule with no nights. I knew Lauren was determined to be able to be in the house alone from time-to-time. We had already accomplished that for the night since the babies slept. Coming in the day allowed me to focus more on their daytime schedule and get them on structured set naps. 

Now, the babies are 6 (almost 7) months. They are off of premie formula, eating solids, on track developmentally and physically, and most importantly they are happy healthy babies!!! Working with this family really reminded me why I do what I do and LOVE IT!! I nanny and do newborn care not just as a means for income but because I genuinely want to help! I want to help new mother feel confident and knowledgable when it comes to their children. I want to assist in the health and development of any child I work with not only for the child but for the relief and contentment of the mother. Seeing mothers like Lauren (and my own) who push through and never complain all out of the love of their children is absolutely moving. Also, seeing the result of my work which in this case, is a clear from the pediatrician warms my heart. I am so blessed and honored to be able to assist this family and care for these littles. I love these little babes and love seeing them grow everyday! I'm so happy to see their smiles and get my cuddles! I intend to keep going and help as many as I can! 

The Search for the Right Family: 3 Red Flags to Look for in Interviews

Hi everyone! 

The New Year has been a busy one for me! I left my nanny position of 14 months on January 5th and since then I have been interviewing with different families in hopes to find the right fit. It's honestly been a bumpy road getting back into the swing of things however I know I have avoided a lot of possible bad situations by looking for red flags and sticking with my gut. 

There have been many past situations in my nanny career that could have been avoided had I gone with my instincts in the beginning and allowed myself to make the decision that would be best for me; versus going forward with something out of feeling that sense of obligation to help. 

Here are three helpful tips that I've found best help along the way during your search.

 

1. Willingness to Compromise and Negotiate

A family willing to hear your side of things and be open to accommodating contract requests or being able to negotiate in a healthy and positive way is very important.  It is also a reflection of how they will act towards such things in the future. Parents willingness to listen to you and try to provide you with the happiest possible working environment is a big reflection on how they view their nannies and what they think their role in the house hold should be. If you know you are someone who likes to become a part of your nanny families home this can be a huge make or break as communication is, in my opinion, the biggest foundations in the nanny parent relationship

 

2. Disciplinary Styles

This is something that can be make or break. Seeing how parents would prefer or not prefer you handle discipline can make a major impact on your day to day work with the little ones. As we all know starting at a certain age some sort of disciplinary system will be needed on a regular basis for the little ones. I am not a strict disciplinarian, it's not in my personality, and so a parent who is won't like my styles in the long run and that can cause conflict. Discipline is a huge part in working with children and so to have things running as effectively and smoothly as possible make sure that this is on the table and that they do not waiver on what they have said. 

 

3. Are they Respectful of Your Time?

It is common for interviews to lead to a trial day. I always think doing a few trial days before officially signing on to a family is a great idea. You get to truly see how the family interacts on a day to day basis with themselves as well as their children We are in a very tight nit working situation and if you are someone who is very sensitive to their work environment I highly suggest asking for this. If the parent is a stay at home I like to look and see how they do hand offs at the end of your time. Do they try to extend the time by asking you to stay longer? Are they immediately coming to you at your clock off time to relieve you? If they hold you later do they accommodate the pay for your extra time? These are all things to look for as forewarning to future behavior. 

 

Nannying can be tough in the beginning, especially trying to figure out how to properly stand up for what you deserve. It can be hard to have those hard sit down talks with parents, especially since you are on your own. Another nanny put it perfectly in saying you are your own HR Department, we have to be able to have these talks with parents because no one else will.

Don't be afraid to ask for a trial day or week. If you are unsure about a family or have a feeling you can't quite place let them know you would like to sit for them one night and really see how they operate. Interviews are great for a first impression but before contracts are signed it is important to get a true feel for the home and whether or not you all would gel well in the long run. 

I hope these are able to help someone new to nannying or give input to some nannies who have been working for a while! Let us know some of your helpful tips in the comments!

 

Talk to you all soon!

Lauren 

The Truth about Motherhood #1: Naming YOUR baby.

Hello everyone! I'm Ronda P, a partner at Best Buds and a new mom. Up until now I've mostly been in the background, but now that I have started my own adventure of motherhood you all will be hearing a lot more from me. I will be doing a blog series on my big adventure called "The Truth About Motherhood". I am hoping to share my experiences with other women and maybe offer encouragement for all mothers out there. Stay tuned!

Unlike many of my childhood friends, I never had a list of baby names prepared. All I knew is that I wanted kids and that was far away, until it wasn’t. When Dad and I found out we were expecting, a name was the last thing on our minds, I mean we didn’t even have a gender yet, so there was no rush for us. When the 20 week mark finally rolled around and we found out our beautiful baby was a she, there still was no rush. However, it did give us a push to begin searching for the perfect name. I think we always knew we wanted her middle name to be Ray, after her dad but the first name gave us much trouble. I wanted a name that made people stop in their tracks, but I also wanted something that had some history behind it.

The first name I thought of was Asuna Ray, which I’m a little embarrassed to say is from a Japanese anime that I really enjoyed. I thought it was perfect, Dad not so much. It just didn’t really make sense to him for us to name her something Japanese, he had a point. The second, Thali Ray. This name was suggested by my mother who is from Cambodia. According to her, it was a traditional Khmer name, but according to Google, it wasn’t a thing. I still REALLY liked that name though. I have to say otherwise for Dad.

8 months into pregnancy and we still had no name. This is the point in pregnancy when people are constantly asking if you have a name, making suggestions, and voicing their opinions. Being that I worked in a busy restaurant, at the bar, with regulars, the name of my princess was a recurring topic. I understand that not everyone is going to agree or have the same opinions as me about names, but what some people don’t understand is that IT’S NOT THEIR DECISION. Unfortunately I had to deal with a customer who felt that I HAD to take his advice. “Thali, people aren’t going to know how to say that”. “Why not name her something like Jan, or Mary, or Sarah, a bible name! This is America; no one is going to know where the accent in the name goes. Is it Thali, or Tha-LEE?” Be basic is what he was saying, but there isn’t anything basic about me. *Finger Snaps* I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My coworkers could see the anger building up in my face. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse he wrote it on a piece of paper and began stopping the people around him. He asked each person, “Can you tell me what this says?” I am not exaggerating when I say that EVERYONE but one person got it wrong. The name is not hard to pronounce, but obviously it was for the other 6 people he asked. Nonetheless he made the point he wanted to make. I already knew her name wouldn’t be Thali (seeing as Dad did not approve), but my point was that I didn’t care if other people couldn’t pronounce it the first time they read it, my point was that I’m not naming my child something for everyone else’s sale. Believe me, I know all too well the mispronunciation of your name struggle, but it’s a small struggle.

As upsetting as it was, this customer did not change my mind. He only made himself look really bad, so I let it roll off my shoulder. Still we had no name, until one night when I jokingly said, “Sunflower, and her nickname can be Sunny Ray”. Mommy’s favorite flower. This was a name that was everything we wanted it to be, but even then we weren’t completely sold on it. It was a weird name. Lol. What if we stopped liking it a few days after she’s born? What if she doesn’t like it? Is it too hippy? Her name was not set in stone until about two weeks before arrival. A huge part of it was that we couldn’t find anything better, or anything else that gave us that same tingle, but we were happy with it. Sunflower. Sunny Ray. Baby girl is now 3 months old, and I can say we are still in love with her name. Whenever we go out and people ask her name, I’m always tickled with their response. It’s either, “That’s so cuteeeee, I love it”, or, “Oh wow, that’s so…unique”. Lol. Now that is an appropriate response! Yes choosing the right name is important, but there are a few things to remember;

1. Don’t let anyone convince you that the name you choose is wrong, or un-American, *eye roll*.

2. Yes it’s nice to have other people’s opinions, but the only opinion that truly matters is YOURS…and Dad’s.

3. Take your time! It’s great if you already have a list prepared, but there are no penalties for not choosing a name before baby arrives. Even AFTER baby arrives. Don’t choose something you’re not completely happy with just because you feel you’ve run out of time.

4. When people do get you down with their negativity, remind yourself and them that it’s YOUR baby, YOUR choice, and keep it moving.

5. If Mom and Dad are happy with it, that’s all that matters.

… and if baby really doesn’t like their name, they can always change when they get older. Lol.

 

 

Solids! Oh fun! #1 Breakfast!

Hi there!

Brooklyn here! I know it has been a long time! I have been diligently working with my new B9months on his eating! I believe what you do starting as an infant impacts adulthood. So, of course I only want him having the best food and learning good eating habits early. So since he started solids, at 5 1/2 months, I have been homemaking all organic puree's for him weekly.

I am starting a series on healthy eating for infants and toddlers! I will be going into all the puree's I made and how I made them (super easy) and what are the best ones to start with. Also, now that we are transitioning out of puree's at 10 months I will be going into healthy foods for toddlers and what our meal plan looks like. We have decided to keep meat and poultry out of his diet until 1 (which is why Lauren was assisting me in inserting protein in other ways). My guy is a little chunkster and LOVES his food, so we have to keep him satisfied!

First, I will start with breakfast! I am going to show you how I make some of his favorites, then show what some of his typical breakfast meals look like. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your little ones too! I like to start him off strong and give him things that are wholesome, healthy, and yummy! One of my go-to's for little D is rolled oats! Oats are filled with fiber (can help with digestive system) and iron. So its very good for the baby. 

First, I blend the oats in the blender (you can also use a food processor). I use the Bèaba Babycook pro for all of his food making.

This is a godsend! I have food steamed and blended in 20 minutes! Get it  HERE !

This is a godsend! I have food steamed and blended in 20 minutes! Get it HERE!

Rolled Oats

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of blended organic rolled oats
  • 2-4 Organic Dates

After my oats are blended, I put 1 cup of water in a pot to boil. Then I add the blended oats into the pot and stir. Once it has returned to boil, I turn off heat and cover for 10-12 minutes until thick.

While that is cooking, add 3 tablespoons of water to a pan. Then put in your dates and cook them until they are soft. Peel and de-seed then set aside.

Continue to add water to oats as needed to loosen. While you are doing so, add the dates to the oats. Stir and mash until they are almost completely dissolved (for a younger baby you can stir and mash until completely dissolved) I like the consistency of the oats to be very loose since I freeze all the oats I make. 

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When I am ready to feed him I take out and thaw some oats and add either banana, apple-pear sauce, or blueberry chia seed jam (will give recipe in an upcoming post) to it. I also like to pair either eggs or yogurt with it!

A typical breakfast for D (9 months and halfway through since I almost forgot (: )

A typical breakfast for D (9 months and halfway through since I almost forgot (: )

Here are some other great breakfast foods you can feed your little!

  • banana pancakes
  • yogurt
  • toast
  • avocado (he LOVES egg and avocado together)
  • fruit

I hope you enjoyed this post! Next I will be doing lunch time favorites!! See you soon!

-Brooklyn

Meat Alternatives for Your Littles

Hi everyone! 

Brooklyn is in the process of finding ways to incorporate more filling foods into her nanny babies diet while trying to hold off on meats until after 1. 

The main nutrients that meat supplies you with are are protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium and so it is imperative to incorporate foods dense in these vitamins to compensate for the lack of meat. If your baby is still breast feeding, breast milk contains iron and vitamin D and so you don't need to worry about them being deficient in these things, especially since milk is still their main source food. For babies that are being formula fed you can try and find an iron high formula base or just incorporate more iron based foods like leafy greens. 

I think the main thing people think when thinking of a vegetarian diet is you're not getting enough protein. My general rule of thumb is if your bones aren't breaking when you stand and your nails are still growing you're getting enough protein and same goes for your baby. You don't have to worry about making every meal an extreme protein based meal because their getting that from the milk and fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Keeping them happy and full comes from giving them a plate full of everything they need not just protein.

HOWEVER I am not a doctor, soo take what i'm saying (typing) with a grain of salt. If you feel you're missing something please go talk with your doctor! 

Down below i'm going to list a few foods, their vitamins, and some ways that you can cook them! 

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Eggs

Benefits: Protein, Biotin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Vitamin A

Ways to make

  1. Scrambled eggs with added cheese for an extra boost!
  2. Boiled eggs (especially great for an on the go snack, kept cool with an ice pack)
  3. Add cooked and crumbled egg yolks to baby purees, soups, or any thing else around that texture that your baby enjoys!
  4. Mash cooked egg yolk with avocado

Dairy

Benefits: Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Thiamin, and Riboflavin

  1. Incorporate whole milk yogurts into purees and smoothies
  2. Add shredded cheese to cooked meals or add cheese sticks into meals

Grains

Benefits: Protein, Fiber, B Vitamins and Antioxidants  

Whole grains are full of great nutrients like protein, fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Adding whole grains into your little ones meals is also a great way to help them feel full for longer! It's a little harder to sneak these into meals but luckily they great make sides that are fun for the kiddos to eat.

  1. Quinoa mixed with oatmeal
  2. Whole grain toasts with toppings like avacado, nut butters or yogurt with fruit on top.
  3. Whole wheat muffins
  4. Incorporate barley or whole wheat rices into meals
  5. Baked oatmeal with fruit

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Beans and Legumes

Benefits: Protein, Fiber, Complex Carbohydrates, Iron and Folate 

It's a bit tricky to disguise beans in other foods because of their taste, you also don't want to completely cook them down so that they still retain their nutritional value. Luckily beans and lentils make a fun food for your little one to eat. Each bean is the perfect pinching size and made well they won't be able to stop eating them!

  1. Beans and rice
  2. Quick lentil soups
  3. Mix beans with scrambled eggs
  4. Bean hashes
  5. Baby friendly chili

Nut butters

Benefits: Healthy fats, Protein, Fiber, 

If you choose to safely introduce nut butters with your little they can be used as a great snack on the go! Nut butters like almond and peanut butter are full of fat so it's always great to use in moderation so not to upset the littles tummies.

  1. Add peanut butter onto toast 
  2. Give small helpings of nut butters for them to eat alone
  3. Puree nut butters and yogurts to create a creamy dish 
  4. Freeze a banana and mix in butters to make a creamy 'nice' cream
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Complex Carbohydrates

Carbs get a bad rep but unless your baby is in training for some sort of body building competition carb them up. Your body needs carbohydrates as much as it needs proteins and fats. The key to carbohydrates is incorporating healthy, complex carbs and realizing the differences between the carbs at Cinnabon and the carbs you get from sweet potatoes. 

We get a lot of complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables already but i'm adding this section into the list because i've heard a lot of families limiting the amount of "carby" things in their children's diets when it's not necessary. Getting enough carbs, healthy complex carbs that is, is imperative for making sure they feel full and happy as well as having lots of energy to burn.

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Leafy greans

Benefits: Iron, Folic Acid, Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Magnesium

Before giving your baby greens it is CRUCIAL that you make sure they are thoroughly cleaned and preferably organic. With chemicals used in the growing processes for fruits and vegetables you never know what could cause harm to your baby. Food that has been cooked becomes safe however if you are using uncooked fruits and vegetables for things like smoothies and purees make sure everything is thoroughly washed so not to harm your little one. 

If you are trying to mask the texture of greens try your best not to completely lose the crunch in your veggies. The less crunch you have the more you have cooked the nutrients out of your food!

  1. Add nutrient dense greens like kale to smoothies and purees 
  2. Create 'meatballs' with beans or lentils and add chopped greens into them
  3. Add spinach in scrambled eggs or even try out a fritatta

And that's all I have to say on the matter. Sorry for the length of the blog but it's all with good cause! Good luck on you and your little one's eating journey and please leave comments for any great ideas you might have about what you give your little ones or even things that you do for yourself, i'd love to read about it!

Until next time.

Lauren