Nanny not Bonding with Baby

I just started a job, it's been a week caring for an infant and I am not bonding with the baby. This is the most difficult baby I have ever cared for. Cries all day, refuses to sleep no matter what is tried. On top of that I miss my previous charges. I did not want to leave that job. I know it's early in the job, but I'm positive I will not bond with this child, at least not the way I did with previous charges. Am I a bad nanny? Would it be wrong of me to quit? - Anonymous


Nay The Nanny said...


When my first nanny job ended, I was sure I would never bond with another little guy the way I did with my first charge. The relationship was so special, the bond so strong. I still love my peanut, who is now turning 5 in a couple of months...but since then, I nannied for another little man who I fell in love with. And currently, I have a baby girl charge who is amazing and I love like crazy. So I guess my point is that when you are so close with your charges, leaving them, you cannot imagine ever having that again. And, you won't because each relationship will be unique and different but has the potential to be amazing. It has only been a week and the baby is still adjusting. I would give it some time...if in a few weeks you still feel this way, no, it does not make you a bad nanny and if you are unhappy it is ok to quit. But my advice is to give it a true chance first, who knows what you may be missing out on if you don't. :) Hang in there!

Nanny c said...

How old is the baby? Sorry that you are not bonding with the infant. If it is s very young baby that difficult crying/not sleeping phase will probably pass. Does the child have reflux or another medical condition? Maybe the child is having trouble adjusting to a new caregiver. Not knowing all the details, I don't really have any specific advice.

If you don't feel that you can be the kind of nanny that the child deserves, it is probably better if you do quit. Every child deserves a caregiver who is excited and happy to be there even in the most challenging times. It just might not be the right fit for you. Hope all works out.

dana said...

I feel for you OP and no, it doesn't make you a bad nanny. You so obviously want to care but are probably still grieving the loss of your last charge, whom you were so close with. I'm sure the fact it's a difficult baby makes it harder but try to have a bit of compassion. Maybe something is wrong with this baby. May I ask how old your charge is? Has it had a full check-up? What do the parents say?

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

OP I have felt like you many times over. I have missed my previous charges and have started out w/a new family, wondering if I ever would bond w/this new child. And I always do.

It takes time of course, and may take a little longer since this child sounds to have some difficulties, etc. However, over time I am quite sure you will start to feel closer to him or her and the feeling will surely be reciprocated as well. Just be patient and give it time.

In the rare chance that things do not work out and you still feel this way after say a month or so, then yes, I would say you should move on.

It would be so unfair to this baby if he or she was left in the care of someone who didn't care for him at all.

However, I have full confidence things will work out.

Good luck and please keep up all posted on how things go.

Viv said...

One week is not very long. If you are otherwise happy with this position so far, (respected by your bosses, paid well, good communication, etc, I say give the baby a chance to bond with you.
It took me a while to really bond with the child I care for now. He was a VERY difficult infant, I thought about quitting regularly. I'm glad I didn't because he changed and things got better. Babies are constantly adapting and changing. You may find yourself head over heels in love with this baby if you give yourself and this family a chance. Hang in there and good luck to you.

Bethany said...

Doesn't make you bad sounds like you need to vent after a rough week and our missing your old job.
You have my sympathy I also had a tough week with my new charge and miss my twins. Try and give it a chance if you can, so long as you feel you can still provide safe and quality care for the baby give it a little more time. Bonding takes time.

Texas Nanny said...

In 5 years of nannying and 2 families with 3 infants, I only ever bonded immediately with ONE baby: the one who was born during my tenure as nanny to her big brother.

My first infant job I had for 6 months. baby was 4 weeks when I started. When I left, we still hadn't "bonded".

Second family, I did bond with the older baby (~1 year old when I started) after a few months, but it took him getting a really bad ear infection and needing me before we really clicked.

Sometimes it takes time. Remember, not only do you have to deal with the loss of your previous charges - the baby has to deal with a "loss" of his parents.

Lyn said...

Oh Sugar, I don't think you are a "bad" Nanny at all! It takes time to make bonds and the truth of the matter is, you won't always bond with each child who comes into your care the way you have with past charges. That being said, this is still a new position for you. You are still grieving the loss of your old charges (a very normal thing!). It sounds to me like you are tired and frustrated with your current situation, and understandably so. If I were in your situation I would give myself a time frame to work with. If you are still this worn out and emotional with in, oh, a month, then give your notice and find a new position. I wouldn't leave right away because babies can go from one stage to the next practically overnight. Assuming the child doesn't have a medical reason (like reflux for example) for the constant crying, you could have a very different child on your hands in a months time.

OP, you do NOT sound like a bad nanny. You sound concerned with your current situation. Don't beat yourself up Honey.

curious said...

Hi OP, how old is this baby? What was the arrangement prior to you? Sometimes they go through separation anxiety. Please provide some more specific details.
(anon repost)

world's best nanny said...

Give it time. A week is not long enough! Remember the baby has to adjust to you too.

bostonnanny said...

Depending on the age of the infant bonding can take awhile, especially if the baby was exclusively breastfeed. I would "wear" the baby in a moby wrap at least 75% of the time. To help with the baby sleeping, have the mother sleep with a blanket so that her sent is all over it. Swaddle the baby in it whenever he/she is cranky or tried. It will help soothe the baby. Also keep a strict routine so the baby will know what to expect and have time to adjust.

You have to remember every child has their own personality and you can't expect to bond immediately. Just give it time and try different techniques.

oceanblue said...

I will go against the grain and say find another job and quit I think you feel a bond quickly and if you aren't feeling it now it won't happen. Doesn't make you a bad nanny. You can't force a bond and you shouldn't have to spend your week miserable

ProNan said...

I am sorry this has happened to you but it does happen and it is difficult. I have only expereinced it once in my entire 20 year career with a toddler. After a month of the child crying non-stop, as gently as I could, I explained to the mother that I did not feel I was what the child needed in a nanny. Well, the mom took it personal! I thought she would be pleased that I had her child's well-being at heart but no so be prepared. Although it was difficult i have no regrets, i did what was best for the child. I would give it another week or two. If you still feel the same way, please step away. Best of luck!

Nanny S said...

I've often wondered this myself. I once nannied an 11-year-old girl that I just found annoying and difficult to bond with. Before I started bonding with my current charge I thought I was horrible for not liking her.

So I don't know, but probably not. Life is too short to work a job you're not happy with. Whatever you do, I would not tell the parents your reasoning, even though I bet they are actually picking up on it. Good luck.

frazzled op said...

I'm near the end of my third week and feel much. The same way. She won't soothe at all. I have tried darkening, rocking, no rocking, swaddling all of it the only thing that partially helps is walking. I'M not going to spend the next year strolling a baby to get her to sleep. What kind of 4 month old doesn't soothe. She is healthy according to her dad that is her pedi. I think I m going to quit Friday I cannot take another week of her screaming for two or more hours every day

MissMannah said...

What kind of 4mo doesn't soothe? A lot of them!

You know, maybe it is in your best interest to quit. Is this your first time working with an infant? I know it is not for everyone. Some people work better with different ages. In my case, I prefer infants and can't stand working with school-aged children.

RaleighWorld said...

I quit after two weeks when I was caring for a 1 year old. She wasn't a crybaby, sick, or a difficult baby. I just wasn't feeling "it" and not really being the best that I could for her. Looking back it was probably the hours and pay that I subconsciously had a problem with as well but I knew then the baby and I were not a good match. Better to realize that now than later. Good luck tomorrow, they'll find someone else and so will you!

Memorex said...


I don't comprehend not bonding with the child, I could understand missing former charges or not getting along with the parents, but not that.

On the other hand I wouldn't say you're a bad nanny.