My mum didn't have a maternity nurse, why should I?

Published: 20/12/2022

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but what does that mean in 2023?

Hiring a maternity nurse or night nanny can be a godsend, but it is a concept that is alien to many. We have all heard the stories of our mums, and mothers for generations who looked after their babies singlehandedly.

But did they really?

Society has changed a lot since our parents became parents. Historically it wasn’t uncommon for multiple generations to be living under one roof or down the road from each other. But this is no longer the case. In this global age, people are far less likely to raise a family in their hometown. Many young couples live in different cities, or even different countries to where they grew up. This means that many parents aren’t able to rely on their family network to help. And yet mothers still feel guilty about hiring paid support.

On top of this, many more mums are now choosing to go back to work than they were 30 years ago. This societal progress is amazing, but our childcare system isn’t accelerating at the same rate, meaning lots of parents need to turn to hiring inhouse paid assistance.

Simply going back to work isn’t enough for many parents, they rightly want to progress in their careers. But being a parent is a 24/7 job! And so for these parents, it feels even more important to have their baby in a regular sleep routine from early on. Surviving on three hours of sleep and working a full day is not sustainable long term!

So, what are the options?

When we say ‘maternity nurse’ this usually falls into three categories: 

  • 24 hours maternity nurses, 
  • Day maternity nurses and 
  • Night nannies.

The skill set of all three is pretty much the same, the titles tend to refer to the schedule that they work. Many maternity nurses will do all three shift patterns.

24-hour maternity nurses live with you and work on 24-hour shifts, typically five or 6 days a week 24/5 or 24/6 with a 3-4 hour break each day. Day maternity nurses work 6-12 hours during the day and go home after each shift. Night nannies also live out and tend to work 10-12 hours a night.

What is the value of having a maternity nurse or night nanny?

A maternity nurse will be able to offer a lot of support and guidance to parents as well as practical help. From feeding to bathing to routine, changing, settling or taking care of the baby's laundry. For first time parents especially they can be a great teacher, giving you the tools you need to feel empowered and confident.

One of the main reasons many parents choose to hire a maternity nurse is to get their baby into a routine. Whether you prescribe to Gina Ford or are more inclined to a babyled approach, maternity nurses can help set up good sleeping habits  - which will in turn allow you to get some extra sleep! Not only is sleep important for you as a parent, it is also vital for baby development and their immune system. So it’s a win-win for everyone!

Sleep is the number one thing that most parents need but it is often very hard to get enough of it. If you’re hiring a night nanny or 24 hour maternity nurse they can handle all night time feeding, changing and settling. Or if you prefer, they can bring the baby to you when it’s time for a feed. Either way it will allow you to catch up on some much needed rest. Even if you are hiring someone purely for the daytime it can allow you a chance to pop to bed while they care for your little one for a couple of hours. If you are more rested you can be more present during awake times, which leads to parents being much more fulfilled. It also reduces chances of postnatal depression and will improve marital relationships - we all know that we have a much shorter fuse when we’re tired! Being a parent is a 24/7 job and if you don’t get enough help, you simply can’t do the parent job well.

While a maternity nurse isn’t a replacement for family support, they can help you get off to a good start with your newborn and your family life. Remember, asking for help does not make you any less of a superparent!

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