Caring for a newborn baby, be it your first or fifth, can be a very daunting experience! Even if you’ve done baby classes, the actual experience of bringing this tiny human home and being expected to know exactly what to do is terrifying. (I remember feeling that way even with a level 3 childcare qualification and over a decade of experience with other peoples children – I couldn’t believe they’d let me take this 12 hour old tiny thing home and expected me to just get on with it!) 
Some parents are lucky enough to have family members or friends to step in and help. But for those that don’t, or who want a professional to guide them, help is possible! 
What is a maternity nurse? 
A maternity nurse, or post-natal carer, is a newborn specialist. Their role is to support the parents with a newborn baby, support with breastfeeding if required, and help the baby settle into a routine. 
They typically work 24 hours per day (with a 3-4 hour break, typically in the mornings) and its common to work 6 days per week. 
However it is possible to hire a maternity nurse for days or nights only.  
Typically they will sleep in the nursery with the baby (sleeping when the baby sleeps, being awake when the baby is!) or if you prefer the baby to sleep in with parents, they will get up when you need to assist. 
What do they do? 
Absolutely everything to do with the baby and teach you as parents as they go. They will gently guide the baby to feed and sleep at certain intervals (appropriate to the babys age and weight) and eventually stretch those night feeds further apart until sleeping through (again at a weight that’s appropriate). You can be sure your baby will settle into a strong routine. 
They will be as involved as you like with the night times, either letting you sleep through and taking full care of your baby, or (if you’re breastfeeding) bringing baby to you to feed and then letting you sleep whilst they settle again. 
During the day they will work alongside the parents to care for the baby, building your confidence to go it alone once they leave the role. This includes feeding, changing nappies, settling the baby, monitoring weight gain and tweaking the babys routine as required, 
They will also provide emotional support, breastfeeding support, advise on suitable equipment and best practices. Their end game is to leave you feeling capable of going it alone, with strong structures and routines in place to enable this. 
What training do they have? 
Maternity nurses are trained professionals, with the main event being a Postnatal Maternity Nurse Training. This is a level 3 minimum course that follows strict guidelines. This gives them the framework to care for babies 0-3 months of age, and covers sleep, colic, reflux, baby care, premature babies/low birth weight, breastfeeding, maternal mental health, and caring for postnatal mothers. 
Maternity nurses will constantly be updating their learning and development as they are specialists in the baby world. They will always have enhanced DBS checks, paediatric first aid training and relevant insurance. They will do further specific courses to include things such as tongue tie, understanding birth trauma, post natal depression and many more. 
Some maternity nurses specialise in multiples (twins, triplets) and will be invaluable with the growing family. 
They do not typically care for older siblings or help with housework outside of the baby. 
How much does a maternity nurse cost? 
Maternity nurses are registered as self employed, since they typically work 4-12 weeks with a family before moving to the next role, or doing ad hoc nights when needed for previous clients. 
That means they have their own terms and contracts. You can expect to pay a deposit (varies depending on the MN, but typically a weeks pay for each month of the booking) due up front to secure the dates. This would come off the end of the booking (ie if you booked for 3 months, you’d pay 3 weeks upfront, then pay weekly with the final 3 weeks being paid for by the deposit). 
Their rate will vary depending on the location, their experience, and the number of babies (single, twins, triplets etc).  
In Hertfordshire for a single baby, you will see rates between £270-£400 per day, with the average being £300-£350 per 24 hours (including a 3-4 hour rest break). 
You can hire a maternity nurse newer to her career for a lower price – £250-£300 per 24 hours – as she will be gaining experience but still extremely well versed in newborns. 
For twins, expect an average of £350-£400 per 24hrs, with triplets £380-£430 per 24hrs. 
You can also hire a night nanny, which is similar to a maternity nurse but only works nights. In this instance, they typically work 10 hours per night (9pm-7am) and do all the overnight baby care. This in Hertfordshire is around £17-22 per hour for a single baby, £23-26 per hour for twins. 
To discuss hiring a maternity nurse or night nanny, do give Rosebud Nanny Agency a call!  
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