Mish Myers, aka Mishy Poppins, is a baby and child specialist with over 20 years’ experience.  Originally from South Africa, she has spent many years in various child-care related capacities, from au pair to teacher, and she now uses her knowledge and skills to help parents and children through her company, Mishy Poppins. Mishy Poppins offers a wide variety of services, from sleep training to baby massage as well as general childcare, and she has a wealth of knowledge and experience on all baby- and child-related issues.

Mish has always had a love of children and started babysitting children who lived on her road when she was just 8 years old. After finishing school, she took a gap year working in the US through Au Pair Homestay USA, where she was able to train as a professional au pair whilst also studying. During her time in the US, she worked with three different families and got to know their children very well. Whilst caring for newborns, toddlers and children up to 10 years old, she realised that she particularly loved looking after newborn babies and felt that this was an age range that she really connected with. “Sometimes people can be scared of looking after tiny newborns,” she explains, “but for me, this is the age I love most, and I am happy and confident in caring for them.”

Although she was tempted to stay in the US and continue working with babies, she decided to return to South Africa to continue her studies. She completed a four-year degree, obtaining a Bachelors of Primary Education in 2002. She was able to juggle her studies alongside working as an au pair for a local family, who employed her for many years as the sole carer of their children. She often accompanied them on many trips abroad during her time with them. This fuelled her travel bug, and after a few years of working for them, whilst simultaneously working as a qualified school teacher, she decided to take another gap year in the UK. She used this time as an opportunity to explore Europe too, and she seems to have enjoyed her time so much that 10 years on she is now happily settled here, living in NW London.

When she first moved to the UK, she held prestigious roles in the City, but after a decade she began to realise that she wanted to work more locally and with children again. She requalified as a teacher in the UK and went back into teaching.

Throughout all of her roles, Mish has always maintained a keen interest and dedication to children, helping and assisting friends, family and community members with their brood, whilst also volunteering in various baby-related capacities. It was through this volunteering that Mish was approached to help out a new mum who had just had triplets. She happily agreed to assist her, working as a night nurse for three months, on call seven nights a week and around other commitments. Despite the long hours and hard work, she describes it as “one of the best things I have ever done.” She excelled in this role and took to it so naturally that she started thinking that she would love to work with babies full time in a professional capacity. “I realised that doing this made me happy,” she explains. “I found it very peaceful, and I noticed that when I finished my shift my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. It all just made sense.”

She decided to use her highly sought-after know-how as well as her wealth of skills, understanding and practice to start up Mishy Poppins. Mishy Poppins has grown mainly by word of mouth, and she now works for families all over northwest London and surrounding areas. Specialising in newborn care, she is experienced with twins and triplets as well as premature babies. She has taken on a multitude of roles from nanny to night nurse, and she also offers parents advice and help on all sorts of childcare issues. Having cared for babies of all ages, across the globe, she also has an amazing knowledge of just about every baby-related product under the sun, from car seats and formula to toys, buggies, baths and other gadgets, which also comes in handy.

As well as long-term care, she also offers ad hoc, short-term help to her clients. Parents call her up for proxy parenting when they need to go out of town for a few days, knowing that their children will be safe, happy and well looked after in her capable hands.

Her belief is that “every child is an individual, with his/her own personality, temperament, needs and likes.” So when it comes to issues such as sleep training, Mish works out a personalised plan for each child that suits their needs and the needs of their parents. “My number one priority is to look after the babies, but I also support the parents, who often just need a bit of help (and TLC) as they are exhausted and a little overwhelmed.”

Mish recognises that many parents can be given conflicting advice from different sources, which can cause more stress and confusion. She shares her own tips and tricks with new parents, who are always grateful to receive the advice. She very much believes that it is best to go with your own maternal instincts and let your gut lead you in the right direction. Obviously, this has to be within particular guidelines, but, she says, “parents innately and intuitively know what’s good for their baby, so they should believe in themselves.”

Talking to Mish, it is obvious that she is extremely passionate about her job. “I know I am doing something that is worthwhile and one of the most important jobs, and I feel honoured that people trust me with their most precious possession, their children. When I hand their babies back over to them, they can see that their babies are happy and content, and I am glowing.”

For anyone thinking of working in childcare, Mish feels that the most important qualities are confidence and being selfless. “For me, when it comes to babies, nothing is too much, and I just can’t wait to spend time with them. I’m not fazed by niggly, colicky or even reflux babies… I’ve pretty much seen it all.”

Mish hopes that her business will continue to go from strength to strength. She is currently working on developing her website and creating a video blog so that she can share some of her knowledge and advice with a wider audience. Eventually, she would love to be able to train others to work with her, and maybe one day even have her own agency. It’s a far cry from her time working in the City. “I probably could have made a lot more money in finance, but I know I would not be half as happy as I am now. This work is so rewarding and I feel like the luckiest person on the planet to do this, almost like I should be paying them for the opportunity! I am so appreciative of the support both the community and my clients have given me, and the fact that I continuously get repeat business and personal recommendations makes me smile.”

Many of the parents Mish has worked with have commented on her unbelievable patience with both their babies and them. She offers stimulation, warmth and guidance, and she sometimes accompanies mums (especially with multiples) to baby classes, essential doctors’ visits, holidays abroad and general days out where an extra pair of hands is welcomed. The genuine love, care, concern and devotion she shows to all the families she has worked with, as well as aftercare guidance and advice, are what make her and the service she provides so super-califragilisticexpialidocious!!

“I believe that what I offer (coupled with blissfully happy babies) is the reason people refer me onto their own friends and family, and I am hugely grateful and appreciative of this. I treat the children like they are my own, so people trust me and know that I will do the best for each child.”

If you would like to find out more about the services that Mishy Poppins provides, please check out her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MishyPoppins or call her on 07908 052936.

Ever thought of giving a friend the gift of sleep? Why not buy night nursing vouchers as the perfect gift for friends and family with new babies.

Mishy Poppins would like to offer Jewish Weekly readers some great offers. For any bookings of 10 consecutive nights, she is offering a 10% discount. For any bookings of 12 nights (non-consecutive but within a 1 month period) she is offering an additional night free.

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