As told by Frances Howard-Brown
My aim and my goal of being a maternity nurse is to give parents a crash course in the basics of baby care, such as nappy changing, sterilising bottles and preparing feeds. I always like mum to feel in control and like to feel by the time I finish my placement that the parents are fully confident and competent at caring for their baby.
I tailor my daily routine to suit the mother and her baby, adapting and giving as much support and encouragement as is needed. I record everything that a baby does in a daily diary starting at when the baby wakes, when the baby feeds until the baby settles for the evening. This is so that a routine can be structured to suit the baby.
From the moment you confirm your booking with me, I will stay in touch with the mum-to-be. Before my arrival, I will discuss the following with you:
- A hospital list for you and notes on how to prepare for the birth
- A list and notes of equipment you may need for the baby
- Up-to-date information and research on issues you request
- A home visit if you would like to discuss the nursery layout and needs in your home
- Help and advice on whether you want to breastfeed or bottle feed
- Accommodation provided and whether you would like me to sleep in with your baby
- Whether you would like me to wear a uniform
After the birth, I will come and live with you and provide around the clock care. I understand that parents need privacy and space and I would be very happy to sit in a separate area in the evenings to ensure you have your time. I will also provide you with:
- Advice and help with maintaining a healthy diet
- Support and encouragement throughout my stay
- Teach you all the baby care basics: bathing, dressing, soothing etc.
- Planning your day within a framework of feeds to suit your family’s needs
- Allow you to get plenty of rest throughout the day
- Sleep in with the baby at night and settling after
- night feeds or giving a night bottle
- Keeping the baby’s layette and equipment in order, dealing with laundry and bottle preparation
- Help finding out about local facilities and classes for you and your baby
- Help adjusting to a new lifestyle
- Advice on travel, play, clothes etc. for the first year
Once my placement comes to an end, I will leave you with any leaflets and handouts that you require or that I have researched for your particular needs. By the time I leave your family I hope that you, as new parents, feel confident and competent being left to care for your baby alone. I am always available to talk to you once I leave your family to discuss any questions or worries you may have.
My time as a maternity nurse with the babies I care for are happy times. Most importantly I want you as new parents to thoroughly enjoy your baby’s first few weeks and my job is to ensure this can happen by making the transition as easy and comfortable as possible for you all.
I like to meet the mothers-to-be as early as possible in their pregnancy and have the placement confirmed by the agency as soon as possible, so that I can plan my months ahead ensuring that I have worked throughout the year, as maternity nurses are self-employed. I enjoy working with Nannies Incorporated and it gives me the confidence that should I have any problem, the agency will listen to my needs and advise me. I also know that the parents will get very good support from the agency.
Newborn Routine - Maternity Nurse Guidelines for a New Mother
This is a guideline and is adapted to each family’s requirements. This routine is for a 2-week-old baby girl whose mother had a Caesarean section and is breastfeeding; there are also two older children in this household. In the coming weeks, as mum regains her strength, she will gradually take over some of the basic care, for example changing baby and bath time. I also try and involve the father as much as possible by taking over changing and bath time if his schedule allows.
6.00 am Baby starts to wake up. Talk and keep baby calm before the feed.
6.45 am Take baby to mother for a feed. Make mother a drink. During this time, I have a half an hour lie-down before collecting the baby and settling for a sleep.
7.15 am I will help with older siblings such as getting ready for school, dressing, getting breakfast ready.
8.00 am Collect baby from mother and settle for a sleep.
8.20 am Baby is asleep now. During this time, I get ready, I clean and sterilise the bottles from night feed. I do baby laundry - washing and ironing.
10.00 am Baby wakes up now and has a feed. We then go for a walk and I will collect any small amount of groceries that are needed.
11.30 am Baby tends to fall asleep now.
1.00 pm I make myself something to eat and also ensure that the mother has something to eat and drink too.
2.00 pm I wake baby and she has a feed.
3.30 pm The baby is settled for a nap. During this afternoon sleep I also lie down and have a rest.
5.00 pm I wake baby up and give a feed via a bottle, so that mum can be out and not need to rush back to the house.
5.45 pm I give baby a bath and get her ready for the evening. During bath time if there are older siblings in the house, I try to involve them if they would like to assist in bath time.
6.15pm I take baby to mother for a feed. During this time I will make sure that the nursery is ready for baby to settle and tidy up from bath time.
7.00 pm I settle baby for the night.
7.15 pm I will assist with older siblings if required or will start to prepare my dinner.
8.00 pm Usually sit with parents and have dinner. During this time we will discuss the baby and also just general life. After dinner, I will go and sit in an area where I can relax and watch television. I feel it is important for me to leave you as parents so that you can catch up and have your privacy.
10.00 pm I take baby to mother for a final feed. During this time I will get myself ready for bed.
10.45 pm I collect baby and settle for the night.
2.00 am Baby wakes for a feed and I give her a bottle of expressed breast milk.
2.45 am Baby settles and goes back to sleep until around 6am.
This is a routine which works on a 2-week-old baby that was born at 8lbs 5ozs, which means that she can go for longer stretches at night. A baby under 7lbs would have to be fed every 3 hours during the day and night, and a baby between 7-8lbs would often need a feed around 5.30-6am.
A routine depends on the weight of the baby and also how the family would like a routine to be carried out. It may take some babies longer than 2 weeks to be having a good sleep routine during the night. As stated this is a guideline of a routine for a 2-week old baby. As the baby gets older the routine will change since the baby will be more alert during the day. All routines are adaptable to suit individual babies’ and families’ needs.
Each maternity nurse will also slightly vary in their routines and ideas for you and your baby.