Parents often ask us what our number one piece of advice is when finding the right maternity nurse or night nanny for their family. There are lots of factors that play a part, however what it often comes down to is more subjective criteria.
What does “subjective” criteria mean? It’s all about compatibility with different parenting styles, family values and whether or not you feel a connection. This connection, or chemistry, is especially important when working out which maternity nurse is right for you.
Many parents approach finding a maternity nurse similarly to how they would look for a new employee (in the corporate world). They often look for more quantitative and objective criteria (such as years of experience or qualifications) as these are easier to measure. But finding a maternity nurse isn’t the same as hiring an employee in the corporate world. Of course experience is important, but it has to go deeper than that. As a parent, you are letting someone new into your private world and during an intimate time in your life. You have to get used to the idea they will both physically and metaphorically see your dirty washing and be fine with that! What is more important, you are letting them care for your most precious possession - your child.Therefore, you have to find someone that you don’t just tolerate, but feel genuinely comfortable having around.
Think of it a bit like a romantic partnership. The person who is right for your best friend might not be right for you. Often someone who looks perfect on paper can turn out to be the opposite of perfect for you. It just comes down to that initial spark. The same goes with your maternity nurse, you will know very quickly during an interview whether or not you have ‘that feeling’. And from our experience, when parents find and trust those feelings is when the most successful matches are made.
While your gut feeling is a good starting point, it is important that parents start asking the right questions from the beginning to make sure they find maternity nurse that is right for them. This will allow them to build a bigger picture of the person, assessing the objective alongside the subjective criteria. Some topics that are important to cover in the interview are:
- What is your approach to routine? Many maternity nurses will have some level of flexibility here, adapting their approach to suit each family. From Gina Ford to a more baby-led approach, there is no right or wrong way to think about routine. It is just important to make sure you are on the same page and that you make your preference clear (if you have one yet).
- Breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Most maternity nurses will be equally supportive of both. If you do have a strong preference it is important to be clear about this from the offset. If you’re undecided, you will want a maternity nurse who will support whatever decision you make and not strongly push one agenda, as it might not be right for you or for your baby.
- How do you see your relationship with parents? Hiring a maternity nurse is a very personal form of recruitment. You will be sharing the first few months of your child’s life with them. This is time you won’t get back so it’s important that you’re both in agreement as to what that relationship will look like. Do you want someone who feels like part of the family? Do you want someone to chat with, or someone who will discreetly focus on the baby? Do you want someone who is going to take charge or follow things the way you want them to? A good maternity nurse will be able to read the room and work out how you are feeling at a given time. Yet, it is important to consider where your boundary is, and know where there’s is too.
The key thing you are looking for is either a maternity nurse whose approach aligns with yours, or someone who is happy to be flexible.
At this point in your search you might have already worked out which maternity nurse you think is your perfect match, or you might be deciding between two. Either way, we always recommend doing a reference call with one of their recent families. This will help you better understand a maternity nurse’s personality, working style, and how they might fit into your family dynamic. Other parents will give you an insight into this in a way that nobody else can. If you are unsure on what to ask, you can read our guide on reference checking maternity nurses.
There are many factors that contribute to what makes a good match between parents and a maternity nurse. Once you have considered all the measurable criteria it is important that you trust your instincts and find someone you can trust and feel totally comfortable having around.
Personality matching is at the heart of everything we do at myTamarin. If you are ready to start your search then sign up here to get the tailored support of one of our professional matchmakers, who have hundreds of successful matches under their belts.