Some valuable things I learnt:
- Patience is key! It's a given that you need A LOT of patience when it comes to raising little ones. I learnt ways of maintaining my own, especially around the little babies where they got frustrated with me as I was trying to learn and communicate with them. I would try using my words to try figure out what they could be asking for. We all know that feeling when you have exhausted the possibilities on what your bub could want, but sometimes I found they were just as frustrated as me, when they were trying to communicate! So do take the time to reset - whether it be taking a little 5 minute breather, going for a quick walk with them (fresh air does wonders!) or set them up with an activity – a slight distraction can make the world of difference ♥ Making sure your mind is clear and you aren't getting easily frustrated is absolutely paramount, as babies are strong feelers of emotion, so they could be acting up if you are releasing 'negative energy’, so be sure to nip it as soon as you can - don't let yourself spiral!
- Communication! Going off the last point, I found talking to the babies – even from newborn – that they would ‘coo’ back to me when I would talk to them consistently. Obviously, they didn’t understand what I would saying to them, they were just enjoying the fact they were engaging with me. It is an overwhelming sense of bonding with the child, and you may even find they start talking at a younger age. I also started using hand signals to help them tell me what they may want – kind of like my own version of baby sign language. For example: Scrunching of the hand, could signal milk. Showing them this gesture, whilst bottle feeding, I found they would scrunch their hands when hungry – even when they couldn’t speak any words! So, you can imagine the level of less frustrated babies I had because of this newfound way of engagement and understanding.
- The ability to multi-task like a pro! I have found I have mastered the ability to multi-tasking. I was a Nanny for two sets of twins, so caring for two infants and maintaining housework, cooking and tending to their needs; I had to make sure I essentially could do it all at once, and sometimes at speed! If I was to prep food for little ones under 1, I would place them in their little chairs (or recliner, depending of course on the strength of their little neck muscles!) so they could watch me while I worked – just so they could see that I was close! I would show them what I was doing, whilst talking them through the steps. Most of the time, they would stay so entertained, that they would be happy sitting there while I completed the tasks! It wasn’t always the case when they got older however... 😂
- Wearing the right clothing! My clothes would get SO dirty after every shift. Before I started looking after newborns and infants, I worried a bit about my clothes getting dirty at my Nanny jobs. This quickly changed! You WILL get food, paint or playdough on you; and these babies will puke, poop and dribble on you ALL THE TIME! I didn’t mind this – I was privileged to always be wearing a baby badge! But my staple work clothes became a rotation of leggings and hoodies, all day every day. And my hair HAD to always be up (don’t underestimate the strength of those little hands, trust me 😂).
- The ability to play again! How often is it that an adult can put the stresses of everyday life aside, and just be able to play! I absolutely loved joining in on the reading, colouring in and playing with the little one's toys. Not only was I enjoying myself, but the babies would be overjoyed that YOU wanted to play with them. It was also a great time to bond, for you to get down to their level – and just be!
The last thing I will touch on is that I have an EVEN bigger appreciation for parents. During my Nanny years, my appreciation for MY OWN parents and ALL parents grew immensely. IT IS NOT EASY! As a Nanny, I was able to complete my shift, go home and be child free; something I will always appreciate... until I am ready myself to head into parenthood! So, I have so much respect for every single parent out there, you are amazing. 🖤