Caring for an Infant

Caring for an Infant

Why having an infant for a host child is so special

When I started thinking about becoming an au pair, I had many expectations about the experience. I thought about the language, meeting new people, and traveling—but the most important thing I thought about was the age of my host kid. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right host family for you, and the age of the kids you’ll be caring for is a big thing to consider! After all, the kids are always going to be the closest people to you while you are in the USA.


I grew up with a baby sister, and it was a big adventure for me. Every day I got to experience something new: her first smile, her first babbles, the first time that she tried to walk, her first word… the kinds of things that make your heart jump. It is incredible how fast they grow, and it’s so wonderful to see them reach milestones. That is one of the reasons why I made the decision to work with an infant.


Bonding with an infant


Taking care of a baby means having the capacity to love unconditionally, being brave, and having thick skin. Infants need someone to show them how the world works—how to walk, how to talk, but most importantly, someone to show them how to be a friendly, lovely, and kind person. Having a good role model is a significant part of determining the kind of person a child will become.


You don’t need to read a hundred books about babies to get to know your host kid, because a strong connection lets you know exactly what they want in that moment. Babies help you to improve your capacity to communicate without words—because yes, we can learn from them too!


Choosing to care for an infant


As an au pair, I have learned many things about American culture—how to perfect the English language, how to prepare for a weekend trip, and how to meet people; but at the same time, I have been getting to know myself. My little one shows me how strongly I can love someone who is not related to me. She shows me how meaningful a snuggle can be, or how a small smile can turn a hard day around.


When I started interviewing with my host family, my host kid had not been born yet. They were so excited to meet the baby… sharing this moment with them was wonderful. When I got her first picture, I felt like I had been waiting for her for a long time even though I had not. She will grow up knowing that I chose her before she came into this world and that I will love her my entire life.


Life in America with an infant


What I like the most about taking care of babies is the feeling of freedom in your work. You usually get to decide what to do during the day; some days you can go for a walk, go to the park or a museum, or just go for a little run with the best company (your host baby!). Most of the time, your work schedule is the same and is usually during the day, which means that most of the time you have nights and weekends off.

au pair with host kid in the zoo

Some people say that taking care of babies is not a good idea because you cannot practice and improve your English, but I can tell you that this is not true! Surround yourself with people who can encourage you to improve your English skills, like au pairs from other countries who do not speak your native language, or American nannies in your neighborhood. Have an open mind, and do not be afraid to speak in English with others. Build a good relationship with your host parents, and talk to them every day; even if it is just about the weather—in the end, everything is helpful. And remember that speaking is not the only way to learn. You should watch TV, movies, and videos on the internet in English. If you enjoy reading, try reading English books, magazines, newspapers, or blogs—it will help you to learn new vocabulary and grammar that you can use when you are speaking.


Activities to do with an infant


Sometimes people find taking care of babies is a boring job because they think that babies do nothing fun, which is not true either. You can find many activities around your neighborhood, like swimming class, where you can go in the water with your baby (trust me, it is pretty fun!). There are also music classes, where you and your baby can sing together (even if you think that you can’t do it, play instruments and meet more people!)— or one of my personal favorites, which is story time at the local library or bookstores. At my favorite story time, the people dress up in cute costumes, play guitar, read books, and sing. All these things together are literally like a theatre for babies. Taking care of babies can be really fun, you just need to find the right activities to do with them.

Au Pair having swimming class with an infant host kid

In my experience as an au pair, I have learned to find more in myself. I have become more independent, confident, and I trust more in my abilities. I can tell you that you will have hard days and you will feel sad sometimes. Not every day will be wonderful, but when you are facing a difficult situation, just think about what brought you here, who you were before, and what you have become. Trust me that the good days will outweigh the bad! Make the hard situations an opportunity to learn about yourself. I promise, you will not regret anything about this amazing journey.

Hello everyone, I'm Vanessa from Colombia. I'm currently an au pair in San Francisco, I have been here over a year and I don't regret any second of this experience. I'm a dreamer who is always looking for adventures and really good memories, I'm so happy I get the change to share my story so I can inspire more people to get into this wonderful experience.
A line drawing of a gumball machine

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