As a new mother, it’s often quite disheartening to see new celebrity mums or corporate heavy hitters back on their feet and running their lives after only a couple of weeks. Like me, you must wonder how they do it. Well one possibility is that they may have hired a maternity nurse.
Differing from a nanny a maternity nurse will work in your home for a temporary period, usually 4 to 8 weeks, immediately after the birth of your baby. Their role is to fully support you as new parents (first time or not) and help both mum and baby settle comfortably into a routine
So how does it work?
Your maternity nurse can either be employed on a daily or live in basis. They will be on call 24 hours a day. It is also possible to have your nurse either on a daytime or night-time only basis.
The maternity nurse’s job role will often include:
- Providing care for your newborn baby at a level you are comfortable with.
- Helping you establish a feeding plan, either breast or bottle, including night feeds.
- Providing advice on infant care such as sleep positioning, bathing, changing, hygiene, cord care etc.
- Providing postnatal care and advice to mum.
- Assisting you in establishing a routine to fit around your lifestyle.
- Keeping the nursery clean and tidy and the baby’s laundry done.
- Setting up sleeping patterns and caring for the baby through the night so you can get a good night’s sleep.
All maternity nurses vary in what they are prepared to do but the above is the minimum you should expect.
The main benefits of employing a maternity nurse are:
- You will be able to rest and recover from the birth knowing your baby is well cared for. It can be exhausting and overwhelming bringing a new baby home.
- You will (should you wish) have an established routine put in place.
- You will have someone on hand to answer the myriad of questions you will have about your new baby, much better than Google!!!
- You will learn to understand your baby’s different cries – the hardest part of a maternity nurse’s role is teaching parents a cry is not always a need. You will be taught what your baby is trying to tell you without developing any bad habits.
- You will learn what to expect at certain milestones, like the growth spurt around six weeks that leaves lots of new Mums feeling like their little ones are not getting enough to eat because they didn’t know to expect it.
- If you want to breastfeed your maternity nurse will teach you how to do it properly. Despite most new Mum’s expectations it is not instinctive, it’s a learnt skill by mum and baby and many give up earlier than they would like because of pain caused by not doing it correctly.
- An experienced maternity nurse will also explain the fourth stage of labour to you. This is when the body returns to its pre pregnancy state hormonally and usually occurs around 6 weeks. This often gets misdiagnosed as post natal depression so your maternity nurse can make you aware of what to expect and how to manage this stage.
Having had two children myself I don’t see too many disadvantages in employing a maternity nurse but the obvious one is that a stranger will be living in your home and caring for your new baby. They are going to see you in the middle of the night, trying to breast feed and in lots of situations where you might feel vulnerable. They are however used to this and will respect your privacy and give you the space you need as a family so, providing you are honest about your wants and needs during the hiring process, everything should run smoothly and you should come out the other end of the experience, rested, happy, healthy and loving being new parents.