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Night nurse or day nurse for newborn + c-section recovery support

(95 Posts)
Pyra Sat 02-Mar-13 16:26:13

Need some advice, ladies...

I'm thinking of getting a maternity nurse for 4 weeks to help me come up to speed with my first baby due in May by c-section. Due to budget and space constraints, I want her services for half a day rather than full time, 5-6 days a week - either overnight or during the day. I think i would primarily need support in establishing BFing, some sort of routine, and helping with nursery duties while i recover frm the c-section. my mum will also be around to help - her only child - me - was born 33 years ago, so I'm not very sure how much she remembers!

I have interviewed a maternity nurse who seems to be a good option. Her rates as a night nanny are cheaper than her daytime rates (surprising?) and she suggested I would get more value (and rest) for my money from a night nanny rather than a daytime one. Is this something you agree with, or does it vary by baby? I'm hoping to BF, but may also use the occasional formula top up, especially at night, depending on how it goes. One reason I was reluctant to go with the overnight option was that it would cause some disruption to our lives - with DH, me, my mum, the baby and the nurse all in a 2 bed flat (slightly easier in the day with DH at work). But that is really trivial if there is a clear benefit of getting help at night.


RubyrooUK Sat 02-Mar-13 17:16:49

Each baby and mother is so different and how people cope with the early days is really such a personal thing that it's so hard to say. Sorry!

I found newborn nights hard because my DS woke all the time but I was very hormonal and couldn't bear to have anyone but me near the baby. I didn't know this before I had DS but I went a bit mad afterwards and couldn't bear him to be out of my sight. I wouldn't have wanted to give him to someone else at night because those times were sort of hormonally special to me.

It is also very hard to establish a routine with a newborn baby. They are pretty routineless; that tends to come several months down the line. Or in some case, years. grin An early newborn routine if breastfeeding tends to be dominated by when they want to eat. Which is often a bit random and based on their growth needs rather than your timetable.

I think it depends what jobs you want a maternity nurse to do; and what you will get your DH and mum to do. A maternity nurse could give you great breastfeeding support if an expert in this area but that might be a case of observing feeds over a few days. She might also be able to offer some good advice on winding your baby. What are the other nursery duties you want her to do?

To be honest, the most important things for me in the early days were having someone else tackle housework, cook meals etc. I really needed a Stepford Wife. smile

What is the most important stuff that you think a maternity nurse can do for you?

ClairesTravellingCircus Sat 02-Mar-13 17:27:01

I don't know anything about night nurses, but personally I would have found so many people around a bit much!
I think the best kind of help for a new mum is someone who can do housework, laundry, shopping and cooking, leaving you free to get to know your baby. Like the previous poster I didn't want to let baby out my sight, and hated the "helpers" who wanted to hold baby to free me up and do things.

That is my experience, hopefully you'll get someone else with meaningful advice of how to make best use of a maternity nurse. (You want to have her round once your mum has left and dh back to work, to ease you into looking after baby on your own)

Good lucksmile

Pyra Sat 02-Mar-13 19:38:35

Thanks for this. I think a nurse might be best positioned to help me in the first few weeks when all of us are grappling with taking care of a newborn (think zero recent experience) and im trying to establish BF. My mum will be around for 3 months, but I will be transitioning to a live out nanny who will be with us a few hours a day to start with, once the maternity nurse hands over.

The other things I can think of her doing are cleaning the nursery, baby's laundry, giving baths, massage etc. I think I would probably need some down time to recover myself and keep my sanity! I do have a cleaning lady who visits when required, and I think my mum will manage the cooking - so those are not concerns. Just want to get the best out of a maternity nurse's expertise.

Andcake Sat 02-Mar-13 20:54:31

Speaking as someone who had zero experience and no mum visiting I think I'd have gone for a night nurse. Newborns tend to feed every three hours day and night (if not more) but the only thing I found tricky was settling the baby to sleep after each feed as you don't realise how much they hate being put down - fair enough when you realise they were recently inside you. But having someone to hold them for a short while whilst you get an hour or twos sleep or to try and persuade them into the moses basket could be useful.

it is v important when establishing bf to feed at night and i would expect any night nurse to bring the baby to you. Check the person has great bf credentials it is the only difficult part really. Although ds hates baths I wouldn't have missed the first experiences of bathing and caring for him. And why on earth would you want someone else to massage them? Surely the cleaner will do the nursery? I think you will underestimate how much your baby and you will want to be close to each other. I actually hated visitors intruding too much or too long I just wanted to huddle with my new little family.

RubyrooUK Sat 02-Mar-13 21:01:53

Hm, sorry Pyra, I don't think I can be much help to you as I never had a maternity nurse. Hopefully someone who has used one will come along with some good advice!

Like Claire, I would have found someone being around all the time a bit much for me. I actually found the first few weeks an incredibly important time for DH and I to learn how to do all the things like bathing a baby (they do show you how to do this in hospital so there isn't too much to pick up there) together as a couple. We also enjoyed doing all those little things, so they didn't feel like duties really.

I also thought I would need down time to recover myself before the birth. I am a very independent person with a really busy career and no previous baby experience before having DS. But actually I found that I missed him if we were apart for a second (damn hormones again!) so the last thing I wanted was someone to take him away from me. So just bear in mind that you might not be so keen on down time, as nuts as that sounds, when the baby arrives.

As for the nursery duties, we had the baby in our room for the first six months (well, longer actually as he wasn't keen to move out) as per the current cot death guidelines. So although we nominally had a room for him, he was never really in there as he was sleeping in our room. So I'm not sure what someone would have done in his nursery as the baby was never really there.

Not meaning to try and put you off the idea of a maternity nurse at all, by the way. I can totally relate to being an inexperienced first-time mum and calling in the experts. I just found that I didn't know which were the areas where I required help until after the baby came.

The most important areas for me after I had DS, where I am really glad I spent the money were:

- Having done NCT classes so that I met other women like me, who were all in their 30s, shit scared of being mothers, lonely and rubbish at it. The people I met were a valuable support in the early days. We met up several times a week and it gave my time structure. It also gave you someone to share moments like "is green poo normal?" with....:-)

- Getting out to a variety of classes with DS - baby massage, local breastfeeding group when I was having trouble feeding, post-natal pilates when I was a bit healed to help rebuild muscles...all these things got me out of the house, made me friends and helped me recover well.

Anyway, now hopefully someone genuinely useful will come along and tell you how they best used a maternity nanny. Good luck!!!

ZuleikaD Sun 03-Mar-13 07:31:59

I think it's possible to get an exaggerated idea of what 'nursery duties' might encompass. All your newborn will want and need to do is breastfeed and sleep (probably on you) and have its nappy changed for the first few weeks. Your OH can do laundry and cooking. That's really all there is to it. A maternity nurse is unlikely to be a breastfeeding expert and if you need your latch checked (which may not be necessary) a breastfeeding counsellor would serve you much better. For getting breastfeeding established the MN Breast and Bottle Feeding board will have all the helpful advice you need, though it basically comes down to - if mouth is open, stick nipple in. Don't forget you will have support from the community midwives as well, who will visit you at home to check everything's going ok for the first couple of weeks. I really think you'd be better off saving your money.

ReetPetit Sun 03-Mar-13 14:59:27

wow. i find this really self indulgent and ott !! women all over the world are having babies every day. it's part of life and imo something you should experience as a family and too a large extent on your own. the early days and particularly the night feeds are about bonding - you already have your Dh and your mother,why would you want/need someone else around ??fwiw i have have had 2 babies on my own (useless dp absent both times and i managed fine,the only person i would have wanted to see or help me was my mum, the fact her child is grown up as you say is irrelevent - babycare is common sense not rocket science!!

BranchingOut Sun 03-Mar-13 15:10:32

I think that what you actually might need is a postnatal doula. They are there to mother the mother, as well as the baby.

But, if you want to bf, really focus on the bf credentials of whoever you have coming to support you. Feeding at night is very important, so having a night maternity nurse giving bottles will be counterproductive.

I had a CS and found the best thing was learning how to feed lying down, as I was finding it hard to sit myself up with my incision. The other thing I would go for is a co-sleeper cot.

PureQuintessence Sun 03-Mar-13 15:17:29

My only experience with a maternity nurse is my friends maternity nurse. She said it was the biggest mistake she has done, as she ended up feeling like she was not coping, and felt belittled rather than reassured. In fact, the maternity nurse made her feel so inadequate that she signed a six months contract out of fear for being "alone" with her baby. She did not bond with her baby at all, as he was with the nurse so much.

Eskino Sun 03-Mar-13 15:28:28

If you really need to be on top form post csection the thing that is really wearing me out right now is the bit after dd has done feeding during the night, the winding bit and then keeping her upright for at least 30 mins so she doesn't start gargling her milk and snorting it back out her nose.

If I could employ someone I could just hand my dd to when she'd finished feeding who would change and wind her and hold her so i could get back to sleep for an hour and a half til next feed, I would!

bemybebe Sun 03-Mar-13 15:35:46

I would go for postnatal doula. Best money I've spent personally. Much more support were it is truly needed (cooking, cleaning) and less judgement about doing things the "right" way.

bemybebe Sun 03-Mar-13 15:36:17

Also C-section here.

bemybebe Sun 03-Mar-13 15:38:09

"wow. i find this really self indulgent and ott !!"

Wow. Quite a lot of judgement here on a thread asking for advice.

Meringue33 Sun 03-Mar-13 15:45:22

Our LO is 7 weeks and I would love to have someone sleeping near us to bring him to me at night, wind him and put him back to bed, plus change all the nappies and regularly empty the nappy bin :-)
I'd have to get on really well with that person tho - even my DP and parents I have found annoying to be around - think its hormones and the way the mother-baby bond pushes everyone else into second place.

theDudesmummy Sun 03-Mar-13 15:51:49

Not judging but I would have absolutely hated having someone there interfering with the lovely snuggly nights I spent with DS whan he was tiny (we did co-sleep so that made it easier). That was still, so far, the best thing about motherhood.

ReetPetit Sun 03-Mar-13 16:07:25

bemybebe, the op asked for advice, that's what I have given and imo it is self indulgent and ott to 'hire help' for looking after a newborn when you already have family support around you. That is my advice smile

LadyMetroland Sun 03-Mar-13 16:10:51

If you are establishing bf bear in mind that newborns often need to feed every two hours. You may find it useful to have someone there at night who you can hand the baby to after feeding, so you can get a couple of hours sleep between feeds, but couldn't your mum or dh do that?

If you do want to employ someone I would be looking at a potential nurse's bf qualifications first and foremost. If you start giving bottles of formula at night that is a near-certain way of ensuring that you fail at breastfeeding, as establishing your milk supply by doing regular feeds (maybe every 2hrs or less at first) is vital. You need someone who can support you in establishing bf properly.

Personally, if your mum and your dh are both around, plus you have a cleaner, I can't see the need for additional help. You may find there are a lot of people milling around your 2-bed flat twiddling their thumbs as newborns sleep a lot! And when they're awake they just want to be attached to a boob! That's about it for newborns really.

LadyMetroland Sun 03-Mar-13 16:18:07

I also see you mention that you want a nurse to help you establish a routine in the first month. Not even Gina Ford suggests establishing a routine that early! You just have to go with the flow for the first few weeks, especially if you're establishing bf. I would honestly save your money and just enjoy the first few weeks of snuggling with your baby. They are truly magical and can't be got back!

ReetPetit Sun 03-Mar-13 16:42:00

lol lol lol grin

i'm sorry, i've now read the whole thread. i now see you have a 'cleaning lady' and your mum will be around for 3 months at which point you will hand over from the maternity nurse to a nanny! hmm

when will you as a mother actual get to know your baby in the midst of all this?
and what exactly do you think you will be doing while you have your dh, your mum,the 'cleaning lady' plus this maternity nurse who you think is also going to do the baby's laundry and wash it's bottles!?

jesus, it's a wonder you haven't lined up a wet nurse hmm

minderjinx Sun 03-Mar-13 16:45:36

I think I'd have to agree with others above that what you will probably want most in those early weeks is a bit of peace and quiet with your DH to enjoy your first baby. I have to admit that I found even having other family members around quickly got wearing. I'd have hated to have near strangers under my feet - having to make polite conversation when I'd rather have been slobbing about or dozing on the sofa in my pyjamas, being woken by other people using the bathroom or having to wait to get in there myself, no privacy for breastfeeding. I'd save the money and spend it on treats - for example takeaways to save cooking. If you are going to employ someone think what you will do if the baby comes early - they may not be able to bring forward their start date. My first was delivered by emergency C section five and a half weeks early.

Stoney666 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:04:04

Reet I wish there was a like button grin

VivaLeBeaver Sun 03-Mar-13 18:07:21

I was coming on to say you can't give Night Nurse or Day Nurse (medication) to a newborn! grin

ReetPetit Sun 03-Mar-13 18:09:36

lol @Stoney grin glad someone is on my wavelength wink

Blondeshavemorefun Sun 03-Mar-13 18:17:40

if you can afford help then get some - but i would say that as i am a night nanny grin

i have babies from a little as 2/3weeks old into a routine if i am there, so def possible, these have been just bf, mixed and just bottle feeding, so all methods covered smile

also starting early means by the time baby is 12 ish weeks old they will be sleeping 7-7

employing a mn/nn etc is a huge cost but one that all my parents say is well worth it,as then they can sleep at night and can tackle the day

if mixed/bottle then i do feeds and then sort out baby - if bf then i take baby into mum, talk to her if she wants/get her a drink etc, then once baby is fed, i do the winding/changing/settling etc - basically mum feeds and then goes back to sleep

will your mum be staying/living with you - if not then assume you will put mn/nn and baby in one bedroom - or she could have the living room/sofa, i have done that in small houses although not my fav preference

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