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Nannies

  • By: Ronda Lee Levine
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Nannies take care of children—either in the home as a full-time, live-in caretaker, or out of the home, where children are cared for on a daily basis. The term nanny can refer to any of the following: care giver (for those who care for children in the home), babysitter, housekeeper, au pair (usually someone from a different country brought in by the parents), and baby nurse (someone who specifically cares for newborns). The purpose of the nanny is to allow the parents to work inside or outside of the home and to offer general assistance with children and infants. Nannies come from many diverse backgrounds, and also spark many controversies—mainly, feminist debates about the treatment of domestic workers.

Nannies in History

In the 19th and 20th centuries, ...

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