Absolutely Mama explains the role of a Maternity Nurse and how they can help you and your growing family…
So you’re expecting a baby. If it’s your first, it’s totally understandable if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. And if it’s your second (third, or even fourth!), it’s completely normal to wonder how you’re going to manage with a growing family. If you think you might need a little extra support, you may want to consider employing a childcare professional. A nanny might come to mind first, however there are other options that might better suit your needs. A maternity nurse is a qualified and highly experienced postnatal care specialist, who comes to help you shortly after you give birth to your baby. Some maternity nurses come from a medical background such as midwifery or paediatric nursing and others might be long term nannies who are used to living with families and have undertaken extra CPD to specialise in the care of a newborn. Maternity nurses provide support, teach you how to care for your little one and also allow you to rest and recover from the birth. If you haven’t considered a maternity nurse before, here’s what you need to know…
What are the duties of a maternity nurse?
Maternity nurses are there to help ease you into parenthood (whether it’s your first time or not!), teaching you all the skills you need to care for your new arrival, and helping to look after you and your little one.
The arrival of a new baby brings lots of firsts and a maternity nurse will help to guide you through this time, assisting you with feeding, winding, nappy changing, bathing, dressing/undressing and settling your little one to sleep. Some maternity nurses also undertake practical tasks such as doing baby’s laundry, sterilising bottles and equipment and keeping the nursery clean and tidy. A maternity nurse can accompany you to appointments including your GP and to the hospital and they will have the expertise to support you with any issues that arise such as reflux, colic, tongue tie and bottle refusal. They can also help you with premature babies and multiple births.
If this is your first baby, they can provide information and guidance on feeding (whether breast, formula or mixed feeding) and also help you to set up a good feeding and sleep routine. If you have older children, a maternity nurse can involve siblings and help make the transition to becoming a big brother or sister a little easier. Providing one-to-one care, a maternity nurse will listen to what you need and is there to support and encourage you during this special time.
How does it all work?
Maternity nurses can give you the level of support that’s right for your growing family in the first few weeks and months. You can choose to have a 24 hour live-in maternity nurse, who will be on hand to help you around the clock, a daily maternity nurse or a night maternity nurse. It is also possible to employ a specialist maternity nurse for feeding, weaning, colic etc, a maternity nurse for travel on family vacations, a maternity nurse who specialises in helping second-time around mums, and a postnatal doula who focuses on empowering new mothers.
It is always best to arrange a maternity nurse as soon as you possibly can – as experienced maternity nurses can be booked many months in advance. They can start as soon as your baby is born, or if you have support from your family and friends in those first few weeks, you can arrange for your maternity nurse to start a little later. Fees will vary depending on a maternity nurse’s qualifications and experience.
For example, at award-winning maternity nurse agency, Maternity Mum, maternity nurses are self employed and set their own rates. New starter maternity nurses start from £200 per 24 hours. The more experienced maternity nurses range from £250 per 24 hours and the highly experienced maternity nurses from £300 per 24 hours. When working 24 hours, a maternity nurse will take a 3 to 4 hour break during the day. So when you look at the hours that a maternity nurse actually works, you are getting a lot for your money.
How do I select a good maternity nurse?
It’s always best to employ a maternity nurse through a respected agency so you can ensure they have the correct qualifications. For example, Maternity Mum works with the most experienced postnatal specialists, and all of their maternity nurses have an enhanced DBS, an up to date paediatric first aid certificate and their references are verified. An agency will ask you to fill out a profile providing the details of the arrival of your baby and specifying your needs. Your chosen agency will then match you up with a maternity nurse and you will be able to arrange an interview to make sure they are the correct fit. A good agency will be able to guide you through the whole process and make sure you receive the right level of support for you and your family.
Read next: baby sleep advice.
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