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Support when baby is born(29 Posts)
This is really a question for those who are already Mums!
This is my first baby and i'm dreading how I will cope once the baby is here- although of course very excited for the experience! We don't really have family we can/want to rely on heavily near by (more people who will pop in an out, put a few dishes in the dishwasher etc) and i'm thinking we are going to need additional support.
I want to be heavily involved in my child's upbringing from the start- but I am considering getting a maternity nanny. Does anyone have any experiences they can share? As I said I want more than anything to be a very big part of my child's life and I plan on breastfeeding (how will this work with a maternity nanny?) but it would be nice to have the opportunity to be able to take 10 minutes to have a shower and put some clean clothes on!
Also how do people cope housework wise?? I cannot live in clutter and dirt- nor can my husband (it would be very unfair to rely on him to do it as he works extremely long hours and it's doubtful he will be able to get time off work even). Do you hire cleaners? Learnt that once baby was born it didn't matter (I really can't imagine this being the case..)
I guess my ideal would be someone who would come in for a couple of hours during the day- look after the baby while I catch up on sleep/bathe and do some housework while i'm taking care of the baby- but I don't know if such a person exists?
I would love to hear other peoples experiences- either positive or negative.
The vast majority of people cope without additional support, especially with only one baby. Babies nap quite a lot when they are newborn. Yes it would be nice to have someone to help out but not really a necessity.
Of course people do cope without support, but equally people live without central heating but that doesn't mean we all have to live in icy houses out of a sense of solidarity...!
If you can afford help, why not get it in? Maybe your baby will be peaceful and happy and you'll be blissed out, and the extra help will feel extraneous. But if the money 'wasted' won't torment you, then this is the worst that can happen, and the other scenario is either you or your baby are feeling unhappy and you are very grateful to have someone to hand.
You can hire a post natal doula, or a mother's help, or a maternity nurse, all of whom will be experienced in helping out in the early days. God, I was a mess when my H went back to work and if there'd been someone coming in every day just to push the baby round in a pram whilst I slept for a couple of hours I might have wept with gratitude
In terms of which 'type' of person to hire, as I understand it, a post natal doula or a mother's help are more about providing assistance to you, whereas a maternity nurse will help more with the baby (but could definitely assist with breastfeeding if she brought the baby to you when it was hungry, could hand you pillows, bring you water etc and generally be supportive. She might even have some experience of bfing mothers and be able to give you tips if you were lucky).
I would personally get a cleaner x2 mornings a week. They can help with bulk of cleaning and laundry so you can both just do day to day stuff
Then look at a nanny just a few hours/ days a week. Somebody who used to nanny full time but now has own family would be ideal as they could drop own children at school and then come over say 9.30-12.30 x2/3 mornings. You could then aim to feed baby just before they arrive, then they can settle baby/ take for walk etc whilst you get an hour or two nap/ shower/ downtime.
I would get someone everyday or full day at this point as you won't know what baby is like, and will want to go and do things with baby anyway
I would get a cleaner separately to any help for baby. Maternity nurse, post natal doula or mothers help could all help out. Maybe have a look somewhere like Childcare.co.uk and see what you can find. You can specify exactly what you want that way.
People will come on here and tell you they didn't have support and that's just life blah blah. But ignore it. F you want help and can afford it go right ahead. We don't have to be slaves to our children.
As someone who also has a husband who works ridiculously long hours- if you want and need support then get it!
It does sound like you want to be highly involved so maybe at first hire a cleaner 1/2 days a week which will help break the back of the cleaning. You might feel wiped out for a while but eventually you will just find time to fit in menial tasks like filling the dishwasher- which is something your partner can take five minutes to do in the mean time.
I was also thinking about hiring a Maternity nurse when my DD was born- but I didn't and personally realised it was the best thing for me. However, a couple of weeks in my neighbour (who is a retired Nursery manager) did start to come in for 2/3 hours a couple of times a week so I could shower and catch up on sleep- she would come first thing, i'd feed and then have a nap, feed again then shower and then once I got up my neighbour went home. It was a great support but I really wanted those precious early weeks to be just family and close friends.
if you want someone to do your cleaning for you, get a cleaner. If you want someone to help you take care of the baby get a part time nanny. How is this a problem? In the nicest possible way I think you need a grip. Most people just get on with it and if they can afford it hire help. I don't really understand what you need advice about.
I don't think asking a question about childcare for a new baby on the childminders, nannies and au pairs childcare section is odd at all, why does the OP need to get a grip?
Like the others have said I would get a cleaner to come a couple of times a week. I had a maternity nanny for a bit with DC1, but it was a bit of a waste of time and money, especially as I was breastfeeding.
I personally can really relate to the OP- my husband works 18 hours a day sometimes and even slept in a different room (he had to get some sleep for his job) when our babies weren't sleeping through- it's damn hard feeling like a single parent.
I personally couldn't do that on my own- and if you can I take your hat off to you and more.
OP I think you should just go with what feels right. I obviously do not know your situation in depth and can only speak from my own experience. I don't have the "normal" support network of a partner that I can rely on heavily when I need it- most people do. So that's something for everyone else to consider before giving out harsh words.
Re you dh not being able to have time off if you are in the UK he is legally entitled to two weeks paternity.
If you feel you will need help and can afford to then do maybe book some help for after husband paternity leave and book a 4 week period initially so you are not paying out loads then don't need the help.
I have done night nanny work for first time parents some from birth others from a few weeks and done 1-2 nights and one family had booked 4 weeks of 2 nights and baby arrived early they didn't want me to start early was Xmas n by time I was due to start they had got into some kind of routine so we renegotiated the booking same hours over few more weeks (actually was more hrs) and did longer fri nights (8-8) so they could go out n then have a lie-in.
I'm a maternity nurse and it's not as most people,think where I take over from the parents my role is to help and teach the parents about their new baby and leave them with the confidence to carry on when I've left. If you can afford a maternity nurse then go for it. Many maternity nurses are now moving away from the traditional 24/6 work and do fewer days or a mix of 24 hours shifts and nights or days only per week.
My normal day would be like this although does depend on family
First feed of morning I change bbs nappy, take bb to mum to feed and usually get mum cup of tea or breakfast.
While bb is sleeping either catch up on sleep myself or up and shower
Teach mum bfing tactics, expressing if needed, setting up bb equipment and how to use it all, show how to change nappies and bathing. Depending on mum she might do full care if confident while I'm in the background to if a mum doesn't feel confident we take the process more slowly.
Make sure mum has lunch, usually I prepare while mum is feeding or cuddling bb.
Make sure mum takes a nap in the avo.
Do any errands mum needs doing especially is she's had c section, might take bb out by self or help mum with walking bb.
Help prepare tea and usually bb is a sleeping so mum finishes tea and has time with partner.
Most first time parents have bb with them first part of night to cuddle or watch the, sleeping and I have them rest of night although I bring bb to mum if bfing.
What I recommend is parents spend first two weeks by themselves while dad is on paternity leave and it's well midwifes can help and I can offer advice as well. Then after first two weeks have MN for as long as you want four weeks is good. By then bb is usually in a predictable routine, parents are rested and ready to face the next 18 years.
Can I just say if you are booking a maternity nurse or night nanny it is best to contact them in pregnancy and book ahead.
The best nannies do get booked up;so if you leave it until the baby is born you will not get the choice of nights.
I too work as a maternity night nurse and as the others have said, if you can afford help then get what you want.
Any good maternity help will fully support you with breastfeeding. If you manage to get some help and support in the early days and weeks, you are likely to remember them for all of the right reasons.
Where you are in the country will determine how many candidates you get to meet. For example there are loads of maternity nurses, night nannies and doulas in and around London but not so many if you live in a remote part of the country.
Good luck with everything
If I were you I would get a cleaner/housekeeper who is willing to clean, cook, shop, etc. if you find the right person I am sure they would be happy to keep an eye on the baby while you have a shower, but it is also easy to take the baby in the bathroom with you, so my priority would be to get so done to cover the things that are less easy to do with a baby.
Having been in a similar situation, if you can afford the help, get it. There's nothing wrong with doing so.
For the house, definitely get a cleaner. On maternity leave, you will spend a lot more time around the house than before, so if you do like everything neat and tidy this will help.
On the help with the baby, it depends what you want. With my first (had terrible reflux), I was nearly at breaking point by 6 weeks and then called a maternity nurse, who saved my sanity. She did a two hour session one morning and following her advice, baby was feeding in a routine (not everyone's cup of tea - I know) and then two evenings with us. She was fully booked for overnights at such short notice. So as soon as I had my 12 week scan with no2, I booked her for overnights for 4 days a week for 4 weeks starting when baby was 2 weeks. It has been brilliant.
A good maternity nurse will be flexible on how you want to do things. For example I still sleep in the same room as my baby, but the nurse has the monitor so as soon as baby cries, she comes through to lift him. However I would definitely agree that if you want one to start looking as soon as possible esp outside of London and SE.
Yes, plenty of people cope without but, if you can afford it, why not get some help. We had a cleaner who came once a week and also ended up getting someone in to mow the lawn as that was one less thing on the to do list. My life would probably have been better for a mother's help or someone as I never managed to nap when the baby napped. I was going to say getting someone in overnight wouldn't have helped and DC1 was ebf & just fed and went back in her cot but I am conveniently forgetting the first 8 weeks when she hadn't distinguished between day & night and could be up for hours between say 1am and 3.30 am.
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I had a maternity nurse for the first four weeks with my first DC and she was a brilliant help. She did the middle of the night feed and kept baby in her room until 6am when he was brought to me for the next feed and she had some time off until later in the morning. It meant I got a longer unbroken period of sleep in the middle of the night which was fantastic.
I was mostly breastfeeding in the day but owing to a problem with jaundice and mastitis at the beginning I had to top up with formula at first anyway until my milk supply picked up. Therefore, she gave formula for the middle of the night feed, but had I been fully breastfeeding I would have pumped to provide her with a bottle for the middle of the night feed. If I had wanted to she would have brought the baby to me for the middle-of-the night breastfeed. Maternity nurses will be flexible and do things as you want.
She was also a wealth of knowledge on babies which I welcomed as I was a clueless career woman who had never changed a nappy in my life. I learnt a lot from having her there. She also cooked a lot of meals for me and generally looked after me, took the baby out for walks to give me a break when I wanted, brought me drinks when I was breastfeeding (always made sure I had a glass of water there as that is advised when you are breastfeeding).
It was a real luxury having her and I think if you are in a position to afford it then its a great benefit to have. I won't be doing this with my second though partly because money is tighter and secondly because I don't need a baby 'expert' this time around. Instead I will be looking for a mothers' help to juggle school runs/homework help and help with chores and housework in the day. I have got used to less sleep after 7 years of raising my DS anyway. For a first time mother I don't think you can beat a maternity nurse though. The other option you could consider (which will probably work out cheaper) would be a part-time doula to come to your house and help out after the birth.
I booked her a long way ahead and I booked her to start approx 2 weeks after my due date as I knew DH would get 2 weeks paternity leave so could help and I knew there was a risk that baby would be late (which he was). Even if the baby was early I figured I would still benefit from some help from a maternity nurse later on so preferred to take that gamble on the timing. The best maternity nurses get booked a long way ahead - I think I was researching and interviewing before or around the 12 week stage and must have booked by 16 weeks at the very latest.
I think that the first step is to decide on your budget and then on the type of help and the hours. The pay can not be the same for a young mothers help and a proffessional maternity nurse for example?
We have a cleaner (since before we had DC),and this definitely helps. I wouldnt have been happy leaving DS with anyone except possibly DH those early weeks as he wanted to be attached to my boob almost all the time! I think very important to get your dh to take maximum amount of pat leave and ideally tag on some annual leave-I found the first two weeks very difficult and other than breastfeed my dh had to do everything including all the cooking.
he works extremely long hours and it's doubtful he will be able to get time off work even).
Christelle, read the OP!
"Babies nap quite a lot when they are newborn" - Ha. Hahahahahaha. Like hell they do (in my experience). My dd sleeps more as a toddler than she did at 4 weeks old.
As others have said you might have a calm, sleeping baby. You might find breastfeeding a doddle. Then again you might not.
Trying to find help when you're holding a screaming baby most of the day, haven't slept much, aren't eating properly and the house is a tip (and your partner is at work) is a lot trickier than finding help in advance. Only you can decide if you want to take that chance. Take a look as some of the posts from new mums on MN, by no means is everyone finding it easy.
We had a fabulous maternity nurse (who was also an experienced midwife) who helped me with my incredible non-sleeping baby. Without her reassurance and practical support I think I would have lost the plot. Like you, we had no family nearby (and not all GPs can cope well with screaming babies anyway).
I found bfeeding v easy from the start (whereas every one of my NCT group struggled in the beginning) and I strongly believe that was down to our mat nurse, who was there to help right from the start.
The only time dp and I had time together without dd when she was a baby was on the rare occasion we left her with our mat nurse. We trusted her implicitly. Don't underestimate how much having a bit of breathing space together matters.
A good mat nurse won't takeover and won't dictate a parenting style, they'll just help and support you. If you live in London I'm happy to message you the names of the two agencies I contacted.
And definitely get a cleaner if you can!
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