Child Caregivers: 5 Job Tools Nannies May Want to Get for Themselves

After years of experience, a nanny may develop a favorite brand of bottles or model of car seat that she feels is superior to others she’s tried. But since a nanny works in her employer’s home, she’s typically limited to using the items and gear that the parents have already selected. While many nanny employers are open and appreciate the suggestions of their nannies when it comes to purchasing items, gear and supplies, often times a nanny enters the picture too late, after all the shopping has been done.

While you can’t have all of the items to stock a nursery on hand, and shouldn’t switch a baby’s personal care items without approval from her parents, there are a few key tools that may be worth investing in and bringing with you to the job.

These include:

1. A stroller. As any nanny knows, strollers come in all shapes and sizes. While pushing one stroller may be extremely comfortable for an employer, that same stroller could prove difficult to handle for a nanny who is taller, shorter or has a different stride than her employer. Some parents may prefer a bulky travel system that is hard to fold up and travel with, whereas a travel-savvy nanny may prefer a much more compact high-end umbrella stroller that offers many of the same features, including comfort padding, a 5-point harness and full recline. Investing in a stroller that you love also means that you don’t have to worry should the parents forget to leave you theirs or have to send their car into the shop, accidentally leaving the stroller in the trunk.

2. A diaper bag. Diaper bags are highly personalized and organized, based on the individual choosing and packing them. While one person may prefer to simply throw everything into a backpack turned diaper bag, another may be meticulous about organizing and require lots of pockets and space to carry around a fully stocked bag. For some people, carrying a backpack is the most comfortable option, and for others a messenger style bag that is worn across the body feels best. If you and your employer don’t have the same organizing style or comfort preferences, investing in your own diaper bag may make sense.

3. A swaddle blanket. When it comes to swaddling babies, seasoned nannies can be extremely finicky regarding the blankets they use. This is often because their experience tells them which blankets stay put and which ones easily come undone. Since swaddle blankets are relatively inexpensive, having one on hand can be useful. Often times after you show a parent the blanket you prefer in action and they see it works as well as you believe it does, they’ll typically stock up on a few of their own.

4. A carrier, sling or wrap. If you’re a nanny that enjoys wearing your charge, you’ll want to get your own carrier, sling or wrap. As most nannies know, your body shape significantly determines what style and brand of baby carrier, sling or wrap fits you most comfortably. Some designs and brands allow for a customized fit, providing lots of extra material to fit individuals of all sizes, while others are designed to only fit specific sizes. If you’ll be wearing your charge, you’ll want to use a product that you know fits you well and that you are comfortable wearing and confident using.

5. A sound machine. Many parents aren’t aware of the effectiveness of sound machines, and if they are they may not have yet discovered that all sound machines aren’t created equally. If you’ve had great experience with a specific make and model, pulling it out and putting it to the test with a baby who is sleeping poorly could yield some pretty impressed parents should their baby begin to sleep better.

Like any professional, nannies often encounter tools that make doing their jobs more efficient and easier, as well as contribute to them being able to do their jobs well. If you’ve developed an affinity for a specific product, it often makes sense to purchase that product for your own on the job use.

While some nannies may be concerned that bringing their own products into an employer’s home could offend their employers if they have already purchased their products, making it a policy to discuss the essential tools you need to do your job well during the interview, and stating that you always carry them on hand, can eliminate any awkwardness that may result in using your own product without previous discussion.

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