This is not the cheapest child care option, but for a family who doesn’t have much outside support or are particularly anxious about caring for a newborn this may be a good solution.
A maternity nurse can either live in your home or visit for either days or nights, and tend to work short contracts of 6-8 weeks. A live in maternity nurse will be on duty 24 hours a day for between 5 or 6 days a week or will work 8-12 hour shifts, days or nights only. Most maternity nurses tend to be very experienced nannies, children’s nurses or midwives and will support you if breast or bottle feed and can advise on all aspects of baby care.
Advantages of employing a maternity nanny:
- More recovery time in the immediate post natal period
- More sleep
- More help about the home
- An experienced person at hand
- An extra pair of hands with twins or triplets
Disadvantages of employing a maternity nanny:
- The cost, although some families receive a maternity nanny as a ‘gift’
- Loss of privacy at a very special time
Post Natal Doulas
A cheaper less intensive option than maternity nurses may be a post natal doula. A post natal doula supports the whole family for the first few weeks of life. Her role includes both emotional and practical support. She will encourage you to rest by caring for your newborn for short periods of time.
The post natal doula may help with:
- Light household duties
- General tidying
- She may also help with care of other children
Post natal doulas will be able to support breastfeeding but may refer you to a specialist support person if required. A post natal doula will also be able to teach you about bottle feeding and safety and hygiene.
Post natal doulas usually work 3 or 4 hours per day or every other day for up to 6 weeks. However doulas are flexible and may offer different packages. Charges vary in terms of experience and location but are usually between £10-20 per hour.
Sleep Nannies / Night Nurses
Some night nurses will simply come into your home and take over for the night providing you and your partner with a good unbroken night’s sleep. They will also provide you with a detailed handover the next morning.
However some sleep nannies / night nurses will provide you with all aspects of care as well sleep training and troubleshooting including:
- Guiding your newborn into a good sleeping and feeding routine
- Teaching older babies (over 6 months) to sleep through the night
- Breastfeeding counselling
Night nannies are highly experienced and often have qualifications such as midwife, children’s nurse, health visitors or qualified nannies.
Night nannies can help put a plan of action together with you to follow with your baby. Often night time nannies will also look at your baby's nutritional intake because some foods can have a negative effect on sleep, so night nannies will help you identify these.
If you are thinking of hiring any of the above nurses or nannies to help you, it is important to make sure all childcarers have an enhanced CRB, up to date Paediatric First Aid Certificate and are possibly also registered with OFSTED.