Joanna's Nannies Tips for Caring for Infants
Tips for Caring for Infants from 0-12 months
Not all nannies get a lot of opportunities to work with young infants since they often start with families when the babies are already a couple of months old. Since I am a newborn care specialist and postpartum doula I work with the little babies often. I put together some tips and tricks for caring for infants (0-12 months) for nannies. Hope you find these helpful!
Diapers should be changed every 2-3 hours and right away any time they poop. I normally charge before and after naps as that works out to be 2-3 hours typically. Make sure to thoroughly dry the diaper area before putting a new diaper on by fanning (diaper works great for this) or patting dry with a designated towel or washcloth. If there is any redness or rash it is a good idea to apply some diaper cream (ask parents which one they use) after bottom is fully dry. If the baby has a bad rash consider changing them more often and allowing some "naked time" on a towel if parents are ok with that.
Babies that aren't crawling yet will be fine with having a bath 1-3 times a week as they don't get that dirty. Once babies are starting to get down on the floor and explore more might need a bath 3-5 days a week or some families do every day as part of the bedtime routine.
Children 1 year and younger usually have a bottle about every 3 hours throughout the day. Babies under 3 months will typically have 2-3 ounces at a time while babies 3-6 months will have close to 4-5 ounces each feeding. Old babies, approximately 6 months and up, can start having solids (make sure to ask parents and follow their recommendations for food options to avoid allergy issues or introducing something the baby isn't ready for yet). Remember however, "food under 1 is just for fun" and breastmilk/formula is still their primary source of nutrition. These older infants will typically have between 4-8 ounces per feeding. Babies between 6-12 months old that are eating solids should also be offered 1-2 ounces of water per day.
Ideas for solids to give to babies 6-12+ months:
Avocado, banana, or any veggies steamed until soft
Rice husks/teething crackers, puffs/soft cereals
All food should be cut into small, pea-sized pieces or long stick shapes that the baby can bite/chew on.
Babies under 3 months will spend a lot of the day sleeping. They can only stay awake for 1-1.5 hours at a time so will usually do an alternating 90 minute schedule where they are awake for 90 minutes and then sleep for 90 minutes. They will usually take 3-4 naps a day. After the newborn period, 3-9 month olds will usually be able to stay up a bit longer for around 1.5-2.5 hours and will have approximately 3 naps a day, one in the morning, one mid dad and usually a shorter one in the evening. Once they hit the 9 month to 1 year mark most babies will be happy with 2 longer naps, 1 morning nap (usually between 9am-11am) and one afternoon nap (usually between 1pm-3pm). These older babies can usually stay awake for 3-4 hours in the late afternoon until bedtime. All infants typically sleep for the night between 7pm-7am but of course some schedules vary. Babies under 6 months may eat between 1-4 times during the night.
Always buckle the baby into high chairs, baby seats and activity centers (even if the parents don't)
Do not leave baby unattended (even for a second) on a high surface such as a changing table or in a bathtub (make sure you have everything you need before you start the activity
-Do not let babies sleep in car seats unless they are in the car or stroller meant for that car seat. A car seat sitting on the ground is not at the right angle and a baby could suffocate
Do not let babies sleep in a rock n play (these have been recalled and baby could suffocate)
Practice safe sleep: babies should be in crib, pack-n-play (portable crib) or bassinet laying on a flat surface, on their back (until they can roll over on their own and aren't swaddled, then they can sleep on their tummy) with no extra stuff in the crib such as blankets, teddy bears, etc
Young babies up to 3 months are usually swaddled for sleeping times (double check with the parents). Once the baby is able to roll over on their own they should be switched to a sleep sack (zip-on blanket).There should be no loose blankets in the crib until baby is at least 1 year old. Add more layers of clothing if the room is particularly cold
Do not leave a baby unattended in the same room as pet (you never know what they may do, even by accident)
How to Deal with a Crying baby:
If you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated it is okay to put the baby in a crib or other safe space while you take a quick breather and reset yourself (get a drink of water, go the restroom, etc). You can't calm a baby until you are calm yourself (they can sense if you are feeling uneasy).
Make sure baby isn't hungry, tired or has a dirty diaper (these are the main reasons babies cry but they also may be bored or want to be held)
Take baby outside to have a change or scenery or get some fresh air, a walk in the stroller usually works well for most babies
Try interesting the baby in a different activity such as reading a book and preparing the next bottle, changing the room you are playing in or position baby is sitting or laying in
When in doubt, it is always a good idea to ask the parents how they do things or how they like things done. If you aren't sure what to do it's totally fine to reach out to the parents or a colleague to get some additional ideas.