Attachment Parenting

Can a nanny easily work for parents that follow the attachment parenting philosophy if s/he does not agree with the same philosophy?

Hear a video clip and read more about the eight principles of attachment parenting. Click Here:

The Eight Principles:
1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
2. Feed with Love and Respect
3. Respond with Sensitivity
4. Use Nurturing Touch
5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
6. Provide Consistent and Loving Care
7. Practice Positive Discipline
8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life


  1. All caregivers rock infants to sleep. But my concern as a nanny is that I cannot lie down and nap with infants or toddlers. At some point children need to learn to sleep individually.Nannies cannot be attached as closely as the mother and mothers must understand that. We cannot be expected to attach in the same way.Hopefully mothers can allow us enough room to work and care for the children without constant interference.

  2. When I first read a brief description of attachment parenting, I was surprised to see that what I did naturally was an established technique: the responsiveness to the baby, communicating constantly by voice and body language and especially touch, using positive discipline and respect, rapport-building, etc. I always felt, for instance, that it was respectful to hold my hands out to a baby and pause a beat before picking her up, to let her know she was going to be moved. I wouldn’t want to be whisked around without notice.After learning more about attachment parenting, I’ve seen that there are parts of it that I don’t agree with, for instance, I do agree with helping babies get onto a sleep schedule. But if I worked with a family that used attachment parenting as a general guideline that pretty much fit their style and mine, I could work for them comfortably enough.I have heard of attachment parenting groups that take the basic principles to extremes, and families who follow the principles fanatically would not be a good match for me. I’m not comfortable with rigid thinking and extremism of any kind. I suppose I could manage for a very short-term fill-in job, but when I accept a longterm job it has to be a good match for my own childrearing philosophy, since I seek to keep each of my jobs for as many years as possible.

  3. What about the fahters? What about families with two fathers? I hope we realize that caregivers can bond through bottle feeding too.

  4. I JUST finished up with a client who subscribes to this philosophy. There are tremendous psychological merits but it was completely unrealistic to transfer this “sling duty” to the nanny part time. The family adjusted their standards for “nanny time” and have the baby sleeping independently at night and in a sling no more than one cat nap a day. The problem was the baby’s inability to self soothe when she woke suddenly. Due to my communications of open team rapport building with the nanny, the parents took the suggestions to gradually shift standards well. I can’t say all would do so well. This is not uncommon for highly intellectual type parents who have “studied” the right things to do for infant development. Fortunately, my clients believe in attachment but they also believe in scaffolding as the ultimate goal of raising an independent, well adjusted child. Sometimes, it is the parents who “need” the infant more than the other way around. A nanny must be able to objectively evaluate what motives and purpose the parents have behind this method.

  5. The last family I worked for, the first child who is now eight, she did not practice attachment parenting. For the second one, who is now five, she breastfeed as she did for the first child, kept the baby next to her bed while she slept as just like the first, and the other B’s, she also wore the baby ALL Day. She tried for 14 hours a day. I told her I would not wearthe baby all day. I just didn’t want to do that. Every night when I left I would have to hold the baby in my arms until I put my shoes on, because once I left, she cried and cried. I would walk in the door in the morning and she would scream until I held her. I know it had to be so hard for the mother because the baby wanted me. It was so hard on me too. I could see the hurt in the parents eyes and I felt so bad. It took about four months before the baby would not cry when I left and when I came in. The parents I worked for are so calm and no stress anyway. I have never seen them get upset about anything. So I am not a big fan of attachment parenting. I can see why people want to do this. It is just not for me.Kristen

  6. I actually think a lot of what quality nannies do currently would fall under the general definition of attachment parenting. Many of the ideas embedded into the philosophy are simply good caregiving. I think it gets sticky when you’re talking about a family that takes the ideas to the extreme. Which of course is defined by your own individual bias and experiences. For example, I could work for a family that believed in co-sleeping but not breastfeeding into toddler years. Why? Because I see the upside of co-sleeping, just like I see the upside of raising an independent sleeper, and neither choice truly impacts my job on a day to day basis. I don’t have to deal with that child sleeping with me in school age. I get to go home to my quiet and peaceful bed. But breastfeeding a toddler? I just don’t see the upside and it does (IMHO) impact my day and not in a good way. So I think this is like everything else. If the nanny has a core belief that is in opposition to AP, she would be unsuccessful in that job. But if she isn’t opposed to the basic ideas, I think she can successfully incorporate it into her caregiving style when needed. Does anyone find a lot of attachment parenting in the nanny field? I find most of the moms I meet that like attachment parenting wouldn’t even consider a nanny full-time. Or even regular part-time.

  7. I’m a fan of attachment parenting, when it isn’t extreme. The basic principles of it are, in my opinion, simply the basic principles to raising healthy, happy, well adjusted children. Some families take it to the extreme…which can be done with any parenting “method”…and that is, unfortunately, what most people think of when they think of “attachment parenting.” I could…and have…worked for parents who use attachment parenting. In fact, I prefer it since it goes along with my natural inclinations as a caregiver. I’ve turned down positions where the parents used a particular method that is far removed from attachment parenting simply on the basis that I could not, in good conscience, follow that method. The mother carrying her baby 100% of the time…that’s on the extreme end of attachment parenting. I’m all for baby wearing, but the point of AP is to raise healthy children…both physically and emotionally (really, the goal of all parenting anyway). While wearing the baby every second of the day is fabulous for creating attachment, it can create over attachment and/or impede physical development. The nanny might want to really read in depth about AP and then present some of that information to the mother in the hopes of modifying her methods to a healthier format. I’ve nannied for several breastfeeding moms. Every baby transitions differently…some have no trouble at all, others have a great deal of trouble. (This recently came up on Nanny Island, too). It helps if the bottles are expressed breast milk (as opposed to formula) at least until the baby is comfortable with the bottle…that way it at least tastes the same. It also helps to run the bottle nipple under warm running water before feeding. Place the nipple gently against the baby’s lower lip and let the baby suck it in him/herself, that tends to work better than forcing the nipple into the baby’s mouth. Also…start out with the slowest flow nipples possible. Breastfeeding and bottle feeding require different types of sucking, and breastfeeding requires a much stronger suck than bottle feeding…the slower flow nipple helps keep the baby from getting overwhelmed with liquid! For babies who have a tougher time, I also use a tshirt/pillowcase that mom has slept in/on for a few nights…I put it between me and the baby so that the baby gets some mamma scent. Some babies adjust better if all the feeding situations are the same (same location, lighting, distractions, etc) and others need it to be totally different. If the baby isn’t accepting of the bottle after 10 minutes, then give up and try again later. It would behoove everyone if mom and dad started on the bottle transition before nanny’s first full day alone with the baby…if the baby is a tough transitioner, that will be a very miserable day for everyone and there is just, imo, no need to put the baby or nanny through that. Tara

  8. Dear Lora:A nanny just interviewed with parents who follow attachment parenting. That’s why we are asking nannies how they feel about working with parents that follow the philosophy.Steph

  9. Well, first of all you can AP (attachment parenting) regardless of your position (mother,father, grandma,nanny etc.) Also regardless of your chosen feeding method (bottle, breast.) I am also sure any of the previous posters would not like to work for anyone who has ANY kind of extreme parenting idea, overly strict requiring hitting for example. I can speak towards this for I was a nanny who did operate in a very AP way. If I was ever to hire a nanny I would want a care giver to find my child’s feelings important and respond to his needs in a sensitive fashion. If you were unable to do that you would not be a good fit for my family. If you were unsure if you were able to lay with my child as he fell asleep, then I would not want you to work for me. Please don’t assume that EVERY AP family follows the same implied behaviours, for example some AP children do sleep in a crib and some AP children ride in strollers a good deal. I think a general rule of most AP familes is that they find the importance of flexibility and creativity in child rearing. To say that you are unable to hold a baby as much as possible implies you have other duties such as housecleaning. If you do not have other duties and still find it unimportant to carry a child when he or she is distressed I am concerned about your work ethic as a nanny. The child is your job. If you were interviewed by a parent asking about AP, please ask them to give you spesific cases that would demonstarte how AP is in there family and how you would fit in as a caregiver.

  10. Previous poster –“While wearing the baby every second of the day is fabulous for creating attachment, it can create over attachment and/or impede physical development.”There is no evidence to support this claim.

  11. I am a mother and really love the philosophy. I think any parent interviewing and hiring a nanny is going to understand that the nanny cannot replace the mother. If not, the relationship is bound to fail.It is difficult letting anyone else care for an infant, I even used to squirm when my mother came to “sit” with the baby so I could shower and rest or go shopping. But, eventually parents learn to allow other people to help with the care of their children.Even if a mother carries a baby in a sling most of her waking hours I don’t think a realistic mother could expect that of their caregiver.My reason for bringing up the attachment parenting in an interview is to help the nanny understand that I could never allow an employee to hit (spank), yell at (or shout at) or ignore my child.I don’t expect a nanny to be me. But I expect her to follow my expectations. If a nanny spanks for example, I couldn’t hire her. Period. But if she is kind and caring I think we could be a good fit.When hiring a nanny I think they must tell potential employees their wishes. I don’t think most nannies should be intimidated by attachment parenting. If they are good nannies they can follow the parent’s expectations. Good employers (parents) understand that nannies will develop a different relationship with the children and can accept the caregivers will do things differently than the parents.It’s important that I hire someone caring. She doesn’t have to be an attached parent (only I do that).Glenda, a mother

  12. Can a nanny easily work for parents that follow the attachment parenting philosophy if s/he does not agree with the same philosophy?The answer to “Can a nanny easily work for parents if she doesn’t follow the same philosophy?” is NOT if she’s not willing to follow the same philosophy as the parents.As nannies we don’t have to agree with the parents, we just must obey their wishes.As long as the nanny is willing to follow the parents’ instructions than there is no reason why a nanny couldn’t work for them even if she doesn’t agree.Also, what parents do at night when the nanny is off-duty is of no concern to the nanny. When she isn’t work it’s the parents decision to sleep with the child or not. So it shouldn’t interfere with the nanny’s care of the child.Sure, I could work for such parents even though I wouldn’t do the same as a parent.

  13. I’m a huge fan until about the age of 3. My experience is that a young child raised in a child-centered/attachment parenting/Dr. Sears method is a more self-confident and less anxious child than a child raised using any version of a scheduled/’cry-it-out’ method. Now the trick is to be sensitive to when and how to transition to a more ‘family-focused’ method, where the child learns to use the self-confidence to be a more independent and respectful child. I feel that many parents don’t know how to facilitate that transition and they become over-protective and permissive parents, which benefits them, but not their child.Principals that I STRONGLY support:~co-sleeping for infants~responding to baby cues~exclusive breastfeeding for infants~baby wearing~Informed vaccinations (with a more spread out schedule than most doctors use)~avoiding parent substitutes: pacifiers, blankies, playpens, bottle holders~limited television, and violent games and toys~the belief that there is no typical child, every child is different and what works for one, may not work for another~never using punishment that shames the child~I’m even a fan of homeschooling, but that’s mostly because I have no faith in our public school system, and I strongly rebel against the insane costs of a good private school.From the nanny prospective, it can work as long as the nanny is agreeable and will honestly participate. It’s also important that the mother is not the jealous-type, because the nanny needs to be actively involved in the baby-wearing, etc.~L.G.

  14. As far as I am concerned, you cannot practice attachment parenting and have a nanny! Attachment parenting to me means all the responsibilities of child rearing are carried out by the PARENTS! Otherwise it should be called attachment caregiving The pros as I see it are:Children are definitely more secure and are independent. My kids were not afraid of trying new things and didn’t need me to be with them when they did try something new. On the first day of school, my kids were the ones up front dying to get in the door. The early years are the only years you can instill in them what you value, what’s important to you. Once they are with a babysitter, nanny, teacher, coach, and sometimes even relatives, they absorb other peoples opinions, values, morales, or lack of such. In my own case, my father is a racist. I did not want my children exposed to his opinions when they were very young, so I didn’t leave my kids with my parents as babysitters. When my kids were older they did spend time alone with my dad, but they were already secure in who they were and how our family felt about stereotypes. You always know where they are!Cons:It’s alot of work!!!!!!!!!!!!You never have alone time with your partner, you never get out of the house alone. Sometimes you get angry at the kids because you are with them sooooo much. Your child does not get exposed to other people and how they view the world. In some cases, the grass is really greener on the other side. I could have learned much more about parenting had I opened up my mind just a crack!If something unexpected happens to the parent/parents the kids are devastated. When my son was 2 I was diagnosed with cancer. I was in the hospital for a week and he was inconsolable. As a nanny I think it would be very difficult to practice “attachment childcare”. It is really hard work, and even mothers and fathers find it too difficult to continue. Certain aspects of it can be done early on and some should. Feeding on demand is what we are born to do. When was the last time a mother tiger checked her watch to see how long it’s been since the last feeding? I have always believed in responding to a child’s cry at night. They are still children with needs even if it is dark outside. Since I’ve become a nanny though, I’ve noticed the children I care for, wake up happy and refreshed so much more because they have learned to self soothe and get them selves back to sleep on their own. I don’t know what long term effect this may have, since they are not as independent or confident as my children were at this age. Denise

  15. No nanny could work with this nonsense: daughter is almost two years old. I still nurse her to sleep in the sling.Once in the afternoon for a nap and once in the evening. This process takes at least 30 minutes if I’m very lucky, if not more than that. When she falls into deep sleep,I transfer her to the bed.If you had told me this when I was a mom of a 3 month old, I wouldn’t believe it. Back then I didn’t know that most of the babies need some kind of parenting to sleep.My daughter has never been an easy sleeper. She still wakes up at least 3-4 times during the night. While she was growing, I have learned that it is perfectly normal and healthy for them to wake up during the night. I have seen babies who easily drift off to sleep and I have seen babies who gave their parents difficult times and as a result were unfortunately sleep trained. I wholeheartedly believe that sleep training is harmful for babies.While I don’t feel resentful for helping my daughter going to sleep, I’d like to gently encourage her to sleep on her own, if it’s possible at all? And, yes, we do have a sleep routine, bath, stories, etc. But they only seem to help her wind down and accept that it’s bed time.

  16. I was a nanny for several years before I became a parent. I found out about AP formally while I was pregnant, but much of it was intuitive to me and I practiced a lot of the ideas unknowingly when I was a nanny.Anyone can do AP and you can still be AP and have a nanny. If I was to hire a nanny, I wouldn’t hire a nanny who didn’t personally agree with AP. It’s not as easy as saying “I won’t spank, I’ll feed on demand and no controlled crying. check.” it’s a philosophy that you have to adopt so you can make on the fly decisions in a way that’s compatible (although not necessarily the same) with how I would make on the fly decisions.My husband (who is a stay at home dad) and I don’t do everything the same way but we both subscribe to the same principles so even though the execution is different, it’s still compatible.

  17. Well the last parent’s comments are good to hear. As long as the parent who follows attachment parenting understands that when you hire a nanny they aren’t you. I can respect and follow the mother’s wishes no problem. As long as she understands my feelings about raising kids too. Thanks for understanding mom above!

  18. I don't think it's easy for nannies to follow any philosophy they don't agree with. I am the director of Green & Granola Domestics ( and we offer parents a selection of nannies who know about Attachment Parenting and other natural concepts, and part of our screening process is that the nannies must be enthusiastic about these concepts. We won't place anyone who is going against their beliefs! It will show up in their work.

  19. Looks amazing!!!!Scaffold

  20. i just began a nanny position for a 9 month old baby. he comes to my home, where i care for him and my 6 month old baby. i instill many attachment techniques with my own baby, and his parents want for me to do the same for him. the difference is that my daughter is MUCH more independent than the boy i watch. for example, he will sit on the floor and whine and squeal until i pick him up, where my daughter will play, laugh, and babble. he is just more high need than she is. i sometimes feel that i am not able to cater to my daughter's needs (when she has them) when i am constantly holding and pampering the baby boy. i don't want to cheat my daughter out of a warm babyhood, but i don't want to damage the boy i am being paid to care for. don't get me wrong, i play with him all day, but when it is time to go to the bathroom or feed my daughter, he just can't handle it!!! ANY ADVICE?????

  21. Anonymous above: First of all if he comes to your home it's not actually classified as a nanny job. I think you may need to find a different job if you cannot cater to the child you are paid for to care for in the manner the parents are paying for you to care for him

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: