Parenting a newborn can be confusing and exhausting - but a bit of assistance can make it all much easier.
The weeks after your baby arrives are one of the most wonderful – and exhausting – times in most parents' lives. You'll have a lot of adjusting and learning to do, so don't feel ashamed to ask for some help!
Family members can be a great source of support and knowledge, but if you don't have family nearby, there are several other ways to get some hands-on advice and assistance.
A maternity nurse can either live in your home and be on duty 24 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week, or work 8-12 hour shifts (days or nights). Most maternity nurses are very experienced nannies, children’s nurses or midwives; they will be able to support you in breast or bottle feeding, and advise on all aspects of baby care.
Advantages of a maternity nurse:
- More recovery time (and more sleep!) right after your baby is born
- More help about the home
- An experienced person at hand if you're nervous or have questions
- An extra pair of hands to help care for twins or triplets
- The cost – this tends to be an expensive option
- Loss of privacy at a very special time
Doula is a Greek word meaning “caregiver,” and a postnatal doula's mission is to support the whole family for the first few weeks of your baby's life, visiting your home for around 3 or 4 hours per day (or every other day) for up to 6 weeks. A doula will offer emotional and practical support, and help take care of your newborn so that you can get some rest.
A postnatal doula might help with:
- General tidying
- Caring for other children
Postnatal doulas can help support breastfeeding or refer you to a specialist support person if you need one. A postnatal doula will also be able to teach you about bottle feeding safety and hygiene.
Sleep Nannies /Night Nurses
Some night nurses will simply come into your home and take over for the night, giving you and your partner a chance to get a good unbroken night’s sleep.
However some sleep nannies/night nurses can help with all aspects of baby care. Things they might help with include:
- Guiding your newborn into a good sleeping and feeding routine
- Teaching older babies (over 6 months) how to sleep through the night
- Breastfeeding counselling
- Advice on how to deal with issues like colic and teething
Night nurses are highly experienced and will often be qualified midwives, children’s nurses, health visitors or nannies.
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 ideally also registered with OFSTED.