You might be preparing yourself for your baby’s arrival or perhaps reading this whilst your new baby sleeps – either way, you may be considering help with your new addition.
What is a maternity nurse?
A maternity nurse is somebody who specialises in the care of new born babies and, if you choose, can literally move into your home to help you with your new baby, or babies!
How can she help me?
She will guide and support you with all the highs and lows that a new baby brings. This includes:
- Changing nappies
- Feeding baby if the baby is bottle fed (including during the night)
- Helping mum with breast feeding (including during the night)
- Settling for nap/bed time/during the night post-feed
- Nurturing the bond between mum and baby and importantly at this time, dad and baby
- Establishing good routines, offering advice & solutions on various baby related issues
- Taking care of baby’s laundry and nursery, and perhaps the most important:
- Allowing you to sleep during the day and night – baby usually sleeps in the same room as the maternity nurse.
Ultimately, they help you to create some kind of daily routine that works for your specific family.
Some maternity nurses may choose to specialise in particular areas and have a mass of experience and knowledge on subjects such as colic, reflux, premature babies and multiples. A maternity nurse’s priority is the health and general wellbeing of mum & baby.
What to look for
It certainly takes a special kind of person to become a maternity nurse. It is an extremely sensitive, personal and intimate time for clients and therefore requires somebody who is professional, knowledgeable, friendly and discreet. A maternity nurse is there to teach you all the tricks of the trade, and many will have looked after more than 100 babies in their career.
How it works
A maternity nurse works on a self-employed basis, she will have her own contract and will be responsible for paying her own tax and national insurance. You would generally expect to pay a retainer fee when booking a maternity nurse to ensure she doesn’t take on other work whilst you require her to be with you – this is usually 1-2 weeks of the agreed fee.
A ‘booking’ can be anything from 1-2 weeks to 3-6 months. It is generally longer for twins or triplets. You can choose to have days or nights only which is usually charged at an hourly rate, or you may prefer blocks of 24 hours, which is charged at a daily rate up to 6 days a week. Within this time the maternity nurse is entitled to some time off during each 24-hour block booked, subject to contract, to allow her to catch up on sleep or just to head out for some fresh air!
A maternity nurse can prove to be invaluable in your new baby’s first few weeks. Hiring a maternity nurse will ensure that mum & baby’s needs are cared for, that the whole household runs smoothly and that mum benefits from some well-earned rest, particularly after a Caesarean.