Not a Nanny. Definitely not a Nanny. Oh, you can get Maternity Nannies, but their job usually includes looking after an older sibling as well as the baby, or working with an older baby, say 6 months plus. They tend to work for longer contracts too; generally a year or so and they also have different “duties.”
A Maternity Nurse used to be known as a Monthly Nurse back in the 18th and 19th century. A woman who would stay in the house to look after the mother and her baby, after the first few weeks of birth. This time was known as lying-in.
I have my Grandmothers book “Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management” and I love all the little gems that are included on procuring the perfect Monthly Nurse, from the age range (30-50 respectfully) to being honest, sober and noiseless in her movements.
We all do things a little differently, but the main objectives are the mum and baby. I’m there, 24/5 or 6, to help mum recover, to make sure baby is feeding well, be it breast or bottle; no judgements there. To include Dad, help siblings adjust, grandparents to have cuddles and to basically reassure the parents that they’re doing fine.
My aim is to leave first-time parents confident in what they’re doing and rested enough to enjoy the early days, instead of purely existing in a haze of tiredness and waiting for this period to be over. And for second, third time parents? Well, the aims can be different. Perhaps settling everyone into a bit of a routine. Maybe, if I’m there long enough, to try towards having the child sleeping through the night.
I have the privilege of being included in such a wonderful, special time and I come away on such a high after helping a family who has truly appreciated all I have done to support them.
I have heard some people say (when I have tried to explain what I do) “well, that’s all part of being a parent, isn’t it?” And of course, there are the ones who don’t want help, and that’s fine. But there are some people out there who don’t have family close by, are the first of their friends to have babies and are suddenly feeling a bit lost and unsure.
As one lovely mum, who I worked with, said “You don’t get a medal for being a parent.”
With over 20 years experience of helping families to bring up their children, first of all as a nanny, then a pre-school teacher and now as a maternity nurse, I feel it’s fairly safe to say that I have more hands-on experience than most first-time mums. I try and share all the knowledge I have and I am still learning too; there will always be something that I haven’t seen or experienced. But then, I take that knowledge and move onto the next family. It’s such a wonderful job and I’m so lucky to enjoy what I do and to get to travel the world whilst doing it.